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NFL Week 3 Bengals at Panthers fantasy football starts and sits

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Who else aside from A.J. Green can make sure your fantasy teams pulls out a victory this week?

Carolina Panthers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

The Bengals are trying to stay perfect on the season, but is there anyone in their matchup with the Panthers that can help your fantasy team win? The absence of Joe Mixon hurts, but their are still plenty of guys worthy of being in your lineup.

Must start

A.J. Green (Bengals WR): Why would you even think about benching Green? He has four touchdowns through two week. It is a no brainer to keep him in your lineup. Although outside of Green it is hard to find another player for the Bengals who is worthy of a must start.

Christian McCaffrey (Panthers RB): If you own McCaffrey in PPR formats it will be hard to put him on your bench ever. He caught 14 passes last week against the Falcons. Plenty of those passes came from Cam Newton dumping it off to him as pressure closed in. The Panthers’ offensive line won’t be getting much better, so McCaffrey leading in targets could continue to be a thing.

Favorable matchups

Giovani Bernard (Bengals RB): Bernard is replacing Mixon as the lead back for the Bengals. This is the second week in a row the Panthers are dealing with a backup running back. Last week Tevin Coleman ran for over 100 yards against the Panthers, and Bernard could be line for a similar stat line. Volume alone will make Bernard an attractive flex option.

Cam Newton (Panthers QB): Newton had a pretty productive day throwing the ball against the Falcons. He had three touchdowns and an interception with over 300 yards passing. The reason he is such a good option in fantasy this week is his added ability to run the ball. He has 100 yards rushing on the season and a touchdown. The Bengals linebackers will already have their hands full with McCaffrey, so if Newton gets out of the defensive line’s containment he could have some big gains on the ground.

Andy Dalton (Bengals QB): Dalton is tied for third in the NFL with six passing touchdowns and has the third most touchdowns since Week 3 of last season—yes that’s a thing. His yards have been lacking, but it is clear that when the Bengals get into the red zone, Dalton is the man to finish off the drive. Carolina’s pass defense also had trouble last week against Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

Good but not great

Tyler Boyd (Bengals WR): Boyd has clearly taken a hold of the second receiver spot for Cincinnati. He had 91 yards and a touchdown last week against the Ravens but that is hardly a stat line you can expect him to replicate that often. With Green, Tyler Eifert and John Ross also in the mix for targets, Boyd’s ceiling doesn’t get much higher than last week. He is a nice roll of the dice flex option though.

Tyler Eifert (Bengals TE): Eifert saw an increase in snaps last week after being out snapped by C.J. Uzomah in Week 1. Still, Uzomah was far more productive in Week 2 despite that. Eifert is always a guy who you could put money on to be a target in the red zone, but he just hasn’t gotten one yet. The only reason he is this high is because of the state of the tight end position in fantasy.

The Bengals’ defense: Cincinnati could rack up a few sacks, not to mention they have gotten a fair amount of turnovers this season. They aren’t an ideal option by any means, but if you are in need of a defense you could do worse.

Panthers wide receivers: Devin Funchess has been the leading wide receiver through two weeks. He has 14 targets on the season. He is followed closely behind by Jarius Wright with 12 targets. Next on the list is Torrey Smith with nine targets. Only Funchess has at least 10 receptions and over 100 yards on the season. Wright and Smith are the ones with touchdowns though. These guys are deep flex plays, but even then it is hard to feel good about any of them. I’d say Funchess is the safest start of the bunch.

Just sit them

John Ross (Bengals WR): Ross has two catches on the season. He and Dalton still seems to have some issues getting on the same page as well. There are just better options than Ross in fantasy.

Panthers tight ends: First off I had to look up who is even catching passes from Newton at the tight end position since Greg Olsen won’t be playing. Ian Thomas, the Panthers fourth-round pick from this past draft, saw three targets last week and dropped a touchdown. There were four other players who saw more targets than him. It is usually a good idea to play whichever tight end goes against the Bengals, but I just don’t see it this week. If you insist on starting on of Carolina’s tight ends anyway, Thomas would be the guy.

D.J. Moore (Panthers WR): The rookie receiver caught a 51 yard touchdown pass last week... That was it. He was only targeted one more time. Meanwhile, Smith, Wright and Funchess were each targeted seven or more times. Don’t go chasing points.