Good news - the Bengals begin their season this weekend. More good news – your fantasy football leagues being this weekend, too. On this opening weekend the Bengals play the Jets, so we look at each team and see who has favorable matchups and who doesn’t.
While we can recommend that you start this guy or sit that guy, it doesn’t make a lot of sense without knowing your entire roster. For example, if you waited until the 10th round of your draft to select your first wide receiver, then somebody like Tyler Boyd is a must start for your team. But if you have Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, and Amari Cooper on your roster, then Boyd is an unlikely candidate to break into that lineup. So I have placed each significant fantasy player into various categories for how likely they are to be “startable” based on your roster.
ABSOLUTELY START THESE PLAYERS
These are the players that regardless of who else you have on your roster, should be starting.
A.J. Green (Bengals WR): Even with Darrelle Revis covering him, Green is a top WR1 in fantasy football and a weekly start without question. Always start your best players.
Brandon Marshall (Jets WR): Just like with Green, Marshall is a WR1 in fantasy football, and should be starting every week, even with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him the ball.
Players who are poised to outperform the weekly average projections:
Eric Decker (Jets WR): The Bengals were one of the better defenses last year against teams trying to throw the ball against them, securing more interceptions than touchdowns allowed, and getting a number of sacks. But they still gave up plenty of passing yardage to teams who were playing from behind. With cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard and William Jackson hurt, Reggie Nelson in Oakland, and Leon Hall in New York with the Giants, the Bengals secondary could be more susceptible in Week 1 against the Jets. Decker could be in for a solid game.
Players who are likely to underperform:
Andy Dalton (Bengals QB): Any defense with Revis is going to be a hard defense to throw against. Last year the Jets finished in the top five in interceptions, and were one of the better teams in passing yards allowed.
Jeremy Hill & Giovani Bernard (Bengals RBs): Last season the Jets allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns, surrendering only four of them all season. The Jets held opponents to only 83.4 rushing yards per game, which was the second best mark in the NFL. With Hill and Bernard splitting the work, and facing a tough defense to run against, their fantasy production could be severely limited in Week 1.
Matt Forte (Jets RB): The Jets are not the only team with a stingy run defense. The Bengals were seventh in the NFL last season with 92.3 rushing yards allowed. The Bengals only allowed eight rushing touchdowns, which was another stingy statistic compared to the rest of the league. Even if Forte dominates the carries for the Jets, the odds are strong that those carries may not translate into much fantasy production.
AVOID STARTING THESE PLAYERS
If you are looking at starting one of these players, you roster is in desperate need of help:
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Jets QB): The Bengals were one of only a few defenses who grabbed more interceptions than touchdown passes allowed. With Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap as one of the premier pass rushing duos in the NFL, Fitzpatrick could find himself in a difficult matchup, and fail to generate many fantasy points for you.
Tyler Eifert (Bengals TE): Eifert is injured and not playing. In fantasy football it is advisable to avoid starting players who are not going to play.
Brandon LaFell (Bengals WR): LaFell had a limited preseason for the Bengals, and his role is still unknown with how many targets will be sent his direction. Until we have more information regarding his situation, LaFell is not a recommended start in FFL.
Mike Nugent (Bengals K): The Bengals offense should be good again this season. But most of a kicker’s point production comes from making field goals, which is something that Nugent struggled to do this preseason.
Nick Folks (Jets K): The Bengals were one of the NFL’s top teams last year in points allowed. Points could be hard to come by for the Jets.