Last week, the Bengals were involved in a goldmine game for fantasy football players. If you started a Cincinnati or Atlanta player last week they likely performed well for you. This week, the Dolphins are heading to Cincinnati for a 1:00 p.m. ET matchup at Paul Brown Stadium, and while the prospects aren’t as good as last week, there are still plenty of players you should be starting in Week 5 from the Bengals and Dolphins for fantasy football.
A.J. Green (Bengals WR): Green saved his fantasy last week with a touchdown in the final seconds. He ended up with four catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. He also had another touchdown called back due to a penalty on the offensive line. Simply put, the Bengals are targeting Green in the redzone.
Joe Mixon (Bengals RB): The Bengals lead running back returns this week, and Giovani Bernard will be out this week as well. This will be Mixon’s first game back since Week 2, and he is going up against the Dolphins’ defense that has allowed the fourth most points to opposing running backs, according to Fantasy Pros.
Tyler Boyd (Bengals WR): John Ross will be out against the Dolphins, and this may actually have a negative impact on Boyd’s production. Fans don’t notice how often Ross runs off coverage or his mere presence of speed opens up things underneath.
The reason Boyd is still considered a favorable matchup? The fact that he will likely absorb most of Tyler Eifert’s targets now that the tight end is lost for the season. Boyd has become Andy Dalton’s only safety blanket, and Dalton has shown a willingness to target Boyd during key situations late in the game as well. Boyd is more of a flex starter this week than a WR2, but he should still be pretty productive in PPR formats.
Kenyan Drake (Dolphins RB): Drake has been sharing the backfield with Frank Gore this season, but Drake is the back to play this week. The Bengals struggle covering backs out of the backfield and reaching outside holes to keep quicker backs in check. Drake could easily have a nice game as a flex play this week.
Good but not great
Bengals defense against the Dolphins: It isn’t an ideal start by any means. However, with the Bears defense on a bye and the Bucs offense also on bye, the pickings could be slim this week if you stream defenses. The Dolphins have major issues on their offensive line, and they have been known to be pretty generous with turnovers. You shouldn’t expect a game winning performance by them, but they won’t lose you the game at least.
Dolphins defense against the Bengals: The Dolphins defense leads the NFL with nine interceptions, and their pass rush is also pretty decent. Again, I’d only pick them up if you’re desperate. They will likely allow the Bengals to score a ton of points, but the interceptions and sacks could keep them from putting up a stinker.
Dolphins receivers: Miami doesn’t have one guy who Ryan Tannehill looks to consistently over everyone else. This leads to a pretty general unpredictability about who is worthy of playing. Out of Danny Amendola, Kenny Stills, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant all have within 13 to 11 catches on the season. The Bengals secondary has given up some fantasy worthy performances this season though. It is a matter of which one will have it.
It feels like Stills and Wilson are the safest starts this week. Wilson is very much a boom or bust play though. He is known to create that long play for a touchdown, but if he fails to do that then he doesn’t do much for you fantasy wise. Stills seems to be more consistent with his stat lines, but again these guys are dependent on getting a touchdown since none of them see a steady stream of targets.
Andy Dalton (Bengals QB): Dalton is tied for second in the NFL with 11 touchdowns. The Bengals haven’t been afraid to let Dalton take a few shots at the end zone when they get within range. The problem this week is the Dolphins have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and they have consistently been able to take the ball away when opposing teams go to the air. It may be worth benching Dalton for a week considering how well the quarterback position has been doing so far this season.
Just sit them
Frank Gore (Dolphins RB): Despite the Bengals defense seemingly struggling against the run, Gore is not the kind of back they will struggle against. Agile and speed backs is what gives them trouble. The defense will have no trouble converging on Gore, especially with Vontaze Burfict back in the lineup. The only thing that could save Gore is a goal line touchdown.
Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins QB): Tannehill has been pretty much a roller coaster ride all season. He has seven touchdowns on the season, but he played a pretty soft schedule leading up to last week when he was shutdown by the Patriots. There are just better options out there this week.