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Bengals vs. Ravens fantasy starts and sits

Which Bengals player needs to be in your lineup this week?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

The Bengals haven’t given much for their fans to cheer about over their 0-5 start to the season. That may not change as they visit the Ravens this week, but what could be changing is the fantasy outlook for some players headed into the matchup.

Must start

Mark Ingram, RB, Ravens: Whatever running back is playing the Bengals you have to start. They have given up the second most points per game to opposing running backs, according to Fantasy Pros. The only team that has given up more is the Dolphins, just to give you an idea at how bad they’ve been. Ingram leads the Ravens in carries with 74, and he has six rushing touchdowns, which is tied for second in the NFL.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens: Jackson hasn’t looked like that same unstoppable quarterback we saw in Week 1, which could be because he played the Dolphins that week who give up 27.4 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. The Bengals aren’t that much farther behind giving up 20.4 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. It also doesn’t help that the Ravens offense is focused on making opposing defenses defend sideline-to-sideline, which has given the Bengals’ defense trouble all season long. Jackson should have an easy time being one of the top fantasy quarterbacks this week.

Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals: Boyd is going to see a pretty crazy volume of targets as long as A.J. Green remains out. Last week he posted 10 catches for over 100 yards and his first touchdown of the season. The Ravens have also quietly given up the 10th most points to opposing wide receivers this season.

Favorable matchups

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: I would really like to put Mixon in the must start section, especially after he had one of his best games of the season last week. Still, it is hard to ignore that almost 60 of Mixons’ rushing yards came on the Bengals’ first drive. Whether Cincinnati can replicate the magic from that first drive more consistently will determine whether Mixon can be relied on more consistently after a rough start to the fantasy season.

Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens: Andrews is listed as questionable but is expected to play. If he is able to give it a go he should see some extra volume with wide receiver Marquise Brown ruled out. Andrews has quickly become one of Jackson’s safety blankets, and Cincinnati hasn’t been great with slowing down teams who target their tight ends.

Willie Snead, WR, Ravens: Snead is up here because of Marquise Brown’s absence as well. He hasn’t blown anyone away with his production this season, but he is the next man up on the target list. He admittedly is pretty boom or bust still, but the way this Ravens offense operates it is hard to imagine that he doesn’t make his way into the endzone at least once.

Good but not great

Ravens defense: The ravens aren’t the same defense we’ve become accustomed to, but the fact is the Bengals offense struggles to consistently move the ball. Until the Bengals prove they can score points and protect Andy Dalton, the defense playing the Bengals should be in your lineup.

Auden Tate, WR, Bengals: It is clear Cincinnati believes in Tate as a starting receiver right now. He has 22 targets over the past three weeks. More importantly he had two redzone targets last week (one which went for his first touchdown). Tate has more appeal in PPR leagues as it is doubtful he will have a high yardage total, but he could be in line for a score or two on Sunday.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: The Ravens are on the tougher side of matchups for opposing quarterbacks. They give up 17.1 points per game to opposing quarterbacks, which is good for the 19th worst in the NFL. Dalton has been shaky at times, but he had two touchdowns last week, and if you need a quarterback off the waiver wire this week, Dalton may be the best of a bad situation.

Just sit them

Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals: If there was ever a game to unleash Eifert, it was last week against a team that struggled to cover tight ends. The Bengals were also down Alex Erickson on top of not having Green or John Ross. Yet he still didn’t see the field. Eifert remains to be a situational player who you have to hope scores a touchdown, and he and Dalton haven’t been on the same page the past two weeks in that area.

The Bengals defense: There just doesn’t seem to be much reason to risk playing them. They have struggled against bad offenses, so why would you play them against one that is competent.