Even though the Cincinnati Bengals were on a bye week, there's suddenly a lot to digest heading into Sunday's game. The New England Patriots put up a terrible performance against the Kansas City Chiefs, losing 41-14. The Patriots played so poorly on both sides of the ball that it's easy to assume that the Bengals will put up franchise records across the roster in Foxboro.
Of course, fantasy football owners are likely going to throw every Bengals player they have into their starting lineup as well. Overreaction? Maybe. Even the softest match ups don't translate into fantasy success. And there's always a chance that the New England Patriots perform well at home even after a shorter week. It's time to temper expectations just a bit and really consider the strongest options as we head into Week 5.
If you own A.J. Green, you're starting him. He'll have a date with Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner is practicing with the team again after serving a four-game suspension. Regardless, Green will have his share of opportunities. You didn't draft him to bench him.
The Patriots gave up 207 rushing yards on Monday night. However, they gave up less than 70 yards in their last two contests. Regardless of which Patriots defense takes the field on Sunday, Bernard will find work in the passing game if all else fails.
They've been terrific all season. The only reason they're not an "obvious start" is because there's a chance that the Patriots rebound at home. Odds are that they won't. If you've held on to Cincinnati's defense through the bye week, it's time to plug them in again. The Patriots only scored over 20 points once, and that was against a Minnesota Vikings offense that handed them a touchdown as well as excellent field position for three field goals.
I'm willing to label Sanu a low-end WR3 with upside in PPR leagues. It's very possible that the Bengals lean on Sanu with Green on Revis Island, but Hue Jackson could dial up a significant amount of run plays. It all depends on how the game is progressing of course. Ultimately Sanu should see at least 60-70 yards with a potential touchdown to put him over the edge. Marvin Jones' status is up in the air for Sunday, so be sure to monitor the situation before you lock Sanu in on Sunday morning.
This isn't exactly a firm "sit." Just proceed with caution. Andy Dalton has been efficient all season, but he isn't exactly lighting it up from a fantasy perspective. He's averaging just one touchdown per game (if you count his receiving touchdown) and 240 passing yards. New England has been stingy with fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, but they've played below average talent so far this season. However, they did make Alex Smith a good Week 4 producer. I'd feel safer labeling Dalton a QB2 this week just because of how deep the position has been this season.
There's just no telling what the Bengals will lean on offensively, but the Patriots have been tougher on the run game than the passing game. You could do worse than plugging Hill into your flex spot hoping for a goal line carry. He's a great boom-or-bust candidate, but if you have more security at the position, use it.
Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $350,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 5's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first place wins $30,000. Starts Sunday, October 5th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.