The Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns is a matchup between two 0-3 teams, and here is hoping you are doing better than these teams in fantasy. If you are looking for your first win though, several Bengals and Browns could help get it.
It hurts that a couple of key offensive weapons for the Bengals are out this week, including Tyler Eifert and John Ross. The Bengals will also be getting Vontaze Burfict back, which only helps out a defense that has been playing well already. The Browns are fairly healthy as far as fantasy-worthy players go.
Both of these teams are coming off of probably their best offensive output of the season. The Bengals scored their first touchdown last week. Meanwhile, the Browns put up 28 points including two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Here's to hoping for some fireworks on Sunday for fantasy’s sake.
A.J. Green (Bengals WR): Last week Green had a typical Green game. It was obvious that without Eifert that the Bengals new offensive coordinator decided to get the ball to Green as early and often as possible. Green finished with 10 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. The Bengals will be without Eifert again, so Green should get all the targets he can handle against the Browns secondary.
Duke Johnson Jr. (Browns RB): A fun little fact. Johnson comes into this game as the leading receiver for the Browns. He has 11 catches for 160 yards. The Browns have absolutely no talent at the receiver position after Corey Coleman was put on Injured Reserve, and until he returns Johnson may be Deshone Kizer’s best target.
Hue Jackson has been known to get the best from the players he has, and he has never been afraid to do unusual things to get that production. Splitting Johnson’s time between running back and receiver has really helped the Browns’ offense, and it could win you some fantasy games.
Joe Mixon (Bengals RB): Mixon has finally been introduced to the feature back role in the Bengals offense. He had 18 carries for 62 yards. Mixon also pitched in with three catches for 39 yards. He was the second-leading receiver last week. The only reason Mixon isn’t a must-start is because I want to see if the Bengals make this a trend, and also if Jeremy Hill steals goal-line carries from him. Last week Giovani Bernard caught a touchdown in the red zone instead of Mixon, so obviously, the committee hurts his value slightly.
Andy Dalton (Bengals QB): That is right. I’m doing it. Dalton is a great play this week. Last week he had a pretty good outing with two touchdowns and no turnovers. Dalton has also torched the Browns during their five-game winning streak against Cleveland. He has thrown nine touchdowns while never throwing an interception. He may be running for his life if Myles Garrett makes his debut this season, but if you need a quarterback don’t be afraid to take a chance on Dalton.
Bengals defense: The Browns offense has been generous to fantasy defenses. They have either given up a ton of sacks to defenses, or they have dealt out turnover after turnover. The Bengals defensive line has shown they can get after the quarterback, and they will be getting Burfict back this week. The Bengals may still be available after they played the Packers last week. I’d streamline them this week.
Good but not great
David Njoku (Browns TE): Njoku is a fairly high-risk player. He is a better option in deeper leagues, but he has scored a touchdown each of the past two weeks. He hasn’t done much else, but it is clear Kizer keeps an eye out for him when they get closer to the end zone.
Tyler Kroft (Bengals TE): The Browns are awful at covering tight ends, but Dalton has had trouble throwing to anyone aside from Green. If you own Eifert, and you missed out on other waiver options, Kroft isn’t a horrible play, but because of the matchup, he has a chance to put up a decent outing.
Rashard Higgins (Browns WR): After being the waiver wire darling last week, Higgins disappointed everyone chasing points. He only caught two passes for 10 yards. I would keep him on the bench to see if he is more of the Week 2 Higgins or the Week 3 Higgins.
Just sit them
Any other Bengals receiver: Kroft is the only slight exception because of the matchup, but it is clear Dalton isn’t comfortable behind this offensive line. Last week it was pointed out on several occasions that he would attempt to escape the pocket if his first option wasn’t open. That bodes terribly for Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell who haven’t done much of anything this season already. You really shouldn’t even own any of them until Dalton proves he can be patient in the pocket.