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Zack Moss, Chase Brown - Fantasy Football Outlook for Cincinnati Bengals RBs in 2024

Chase Brown - Fantasy Football Rankings, Waiver Wire Pickups, Draft Sleepers

The Cincinnati Bengals went through some changes at the running back position this offseason. They traded away longtime running back Joe Mixon to the Houston Texans for a 2024 seventh-round pick. Mixon spent the first seven seasons of his career in Cincinnati, where he rushed for 6,412 yards. 

To replace him, the Bengals will turn to a pair of running backs, Zack Moss and Chase Brown. Cincinnati signed Moss to a two-year, $8 million deal this offseason, and Brown was the team's fifth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

But which running back is the one to own out of this backfield? Should fantasy managers draft Moss or Brown in 2024 fantasy drafts? Let's dive in and find out.

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Zack Moss Fantasy Football Outlook

Moss has hopped around from team to team over the last couple of years. He played for the Buffalo Bills from 2020 to 2022 and then was traded to the Indianapolis Colts midway through the 2022 campaign -- where he spent the past 1.5 years. While the former 2020 third-round pick didn't show much potential in his first three years in the league, he took his game to another level in 2023. 

He ran for a career-high 794 yards and five touchdowns while also catching 27 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns last season. Most importantly, though, he showed teams what he can do as a full-time starter in the NFL. In four starts without Jonathan Taylor, Moss had 89 carries for 445 yards and three touchdowns. The 26-year-old also had eight receptions for 72 yards and one touchdown.

Moss showed a lot of great things in that starter role in 2023 and had three top-10 fantasy running back finishes during that four-game span. He even provided some fantasy value when Taylor returned with an RB7 finish in Week 6 and an RB15 finish in Week 8. As the season went on, though, the 26-year-old inevitably saw less and less opportunities. However, he should now be in line for a larger workload in Cincinnati.

That makes him an interesting pick in fantasy drafts this summer. Moss could also be a steal at his current ADP of RB28 in current Underdog Fantasy leagues. He figures to be the Bengals' early-down back and should see plenty of touchdown opportunities on a top offense in the NFL. With Mixon leaving 309 vacated touches, the 26-year-old should see heavy involvement right away.

 

Chase Brown Fantasy Football Outlook

Brown showed some promise down the stretch for the Bengals last year and will enter the 2024-2025 season trending up. After seeing just eight total offensive snaps from Week 1 to 12, the former Illinois running back got his chance to shine over the final six weeks of the season.

In those final six games, Brown totaled 173 rush yards with 11 catches for 149 yards and one touchdown. Those end-of-the-season numbers won't wow many fantasy managers, but the 2023 rookie definitely showed his upside in Cincinnati's offense, especially in the passing game. He caught at least two passes in five of those six games while totaling at least 50 scrimmage yards in four contests.

Now, Brown is expected to see a bigger role in his second year with Mixon's departure. He should be the Bengals' primary pass-catcher out of the backfield, which could lead to some nice fantasy days. There was some hope that the 24-year-old running back could see a starting spot in 2024, but with the arrival of Moss, that almost certainly won't be the case.

Cincinnati will likely roll with the veteran to lead the backfield and have Brown mix in on some early downs as well as third downs. As a result, the young playmaker is not necessarily a strong pick in fantasy drafts this offseason. Fantasy managers could see him having a Giovani Bernard type of role in 2024, a back who can catch 30-45 passes in a year.

 

Cincinnati Bengals Running Backs Fantasy Football Outlook

The running back that fantasy managers will want to own in this Bengals backfield is Moss. He will almost certainly see the bulk of carries in Cincinnati and should be the favorite to get the goal-line touches as well. Last season, Mixon had 257 carries and nine touchdowns. If the 26-year-old can come in and top 200 carries in his first year with the team, there's a good chance he finishes as a top-20 running back in fantasy.

That's why he is a great late-round target in redraft formats. He is currently going outside the top 100 in fantasy drafts, which is too low for the potential starting running back of the Bengals. Moss can certainly provide RB2 value throughout the year and has a ton of upside in this Cincinnati offense.

As for Brown, he is a great handcuff to Moss in fantasy. If the veteran ever went down with an injury, the second-year back should be a great plug-and-play starter. However, he likely doesn't have much standalone value -- unless in deeper formats. He will see some carries here and there on offense, but he could see more of a role in the receiving game than in the running game.

However, if we see more of a 50-50 split in the running game between Moss and Brown, the latter becomes an interesting pick in redraft formats due to his potential in the receiving game, too. What the Bengals plan to do at the running back position remains to be seen, but training camp will likely answer that question. So, fantasy managers should get a better idea of who to draft in the coming months. For now, though, Moss seems to be the favorite to lead this backfield and therefore is the better fantasy option.



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