The Cincinnati Bengals will pick up where they left off before their bye week as the leader of the AFC North against the 5-6 San Diego Chargers. It will be the the first blackout of the NFL season, but fantasy owners around the country will be anxiously monitoring their rosters as the playoffs loom. As usual, we're here to discuss what owners of Bengals players can expect for the week.
Andy Dalton: The good news for Dalton owners is that the Chargers are very generous to fantasy quarterbacks. They're currently giving up the third-most fantasy points to the position. The reality, however, is that Dalton has been difficult to trust over the past month. The Chargers won't be able to stop A.J. Green, and of course that benefits Dalton's production. Consider him an "elite" QB2 this week. He can be started as a QB1 in deeper leagues.
Running backs: It wasn't long ago that the Chargers were a tough defense to throw fantasy running backs against. However, over their four games, the Chargers have allowed an average of nearly 130 rushing yards. Giovani Bernard is a weekly RB2 in all formats, and Week 13 is no exception. Expect a decent amount of rushing yards with his usual cushioning in the passing game. Bernard needs to see some opportunities in the red zone, and it's hard to imagine he won't. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has become fairly touchdown dependent since Bernard's emergence. He hasn't scored since Week 5, so he's a very risky flex option despite the softer match up.
Wide receivers: A.J. Green is coming off a game with just two receptions for seven yards against the Cleveland Browns. He was a massive disappointment for fantasy owners but it's time to forget about it. Joe Hayden won't be shadowing Green for the remainder of 2013. Green has a huge opportunity to redeem himself against a San Diego defense that has give up the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Block Week 11 from your memory and continue starting Green with confidence. Dalton has plenty of other targets at his disposal, but there's no way of telling who will be the primary beneficiary alongside Green. That said, Marvin Jones could possibly bounce back after a three week slump. Regardless, both Jones and Mohamed Sanu are extremely risky starts that should be in WR4 or WR5 discussion.
Tight ends: Jermaine Gresham has scored in two of his last three starts but, as always, Tyler Eifert dilutes Gresham's potential. Consider both a TE2 with some edge to Gresham for his scoring potential.
Defense/ Special teams: They're a tricky subject this week. Cincinnati is undoubtedly a top fantasy defense in 2013, but they're also a unit that falls short against Cleveland one week but manages to put up big numbers against Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Philip Rivers has thrown 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. He doesn't get sacked often. To make matters worse, the Chargers are averaging 24 points a game at home. Still, the Bengals can often excel when least expected. They're a borderline top-10 start despite the difficult match up.
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