What has been deemed the Joe Burrow Bowl by many, may have some fantasy relevance for your fantasy championship game. The Bengals and Dolphins don’t have records that would inspire you to play anyone on either side, but there are a few players who could end up pushing you over thee edge.
Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals: If Mixon is able to have a fantasy worthy game against the Patriots, then you have to play him this week. The Dolphins give up 22.9 fantasy points per week to opposing running backs, according to Fantasy Pros. It has to be a little bitter sweet for fantasy players who ended up drafting Mixon so early. This was what many people expected when they took Mixon, and this proves they were right to take him. It unfortunately took too much of the season for the coaches to figure out how to get him going.
Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals: Boyd fell victim to New England’s defense last week. Being Stephon Gilmore’s assignment all day isn’t easy, and it gets especially worse when Andy Dalton is having an off day. Boyd’s second half of the season hasn’t been terribly impressive either. He has only gotten to double digit targets once since the bye week, but the Dolphins do allow the second most points per game to opposing wide receivers. This could very well be a game where Boyd goes off after being frustrated last week. It really all depends on Dalton getting him the ball.
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins: The Bengals defense isn’t the same pushover it was earlier in the season, but Parker has become a pretty solid bet for the Dolphins offense in the passing game. He is a big play receiver, and he has four touchdowns in his past three games. He still has a pretty low floor at times, but those have become fewer and farther between to end the season. Parker probably ends up as a WR2 agains a Bengals defense that only allows 20 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Volume gets him over the hump there.
Good but not great
Bengals defense: Last week Carl Lawson, Sam Hubbard and Carlos Dunlap were on fore against the Patriots, and that seems like it could be what fans have to look forward to as long as Dunlap has some juice left in the tank. Add in Geno Atkins and you make it tough for a team who relies on the passing game like the Dolphins. If Cincinnati was more consistent about forcing turnovers they’d be far more appealing, but they are worth a streaming option here.
Patrick Laird, RB, Dolphins: This only applies to PPR leagues. Laird has been solid since the Kenyon Drake trade, and has worked out quite the role in this offense. The past three weeks he has had at least 10 carries and five targets. Those targets are the important part to Laird’s value. It is hard to imagine him reaching the endzone unless he breaks off a big play, so those catches in PPR leagues could be crucial. The fact he also seems like the most polished turd in the bowl means he will be in line for starting running back volume against a defense that can’t be trusted to shutdown anyone on the ground completely.
Dolphins defense: We all saw Dalton last week. There is nothing to say he can’t pull off a similar performance this week. Plus Miami will be at home, which usually favors the defense. Still, if I had a gun to my head I’m probably picking up the Bengals defense instead. The way to look at it is Cincinnati has the safer floor while Miami could strike out swinging for the fences or knock one out of the park.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins: After Parker, Gesicki has been Fitzpatrick’s favorite target. He has at least five targets in the past eight games, but aside from that there hasn’t been much to get excited about from a fantasy perspective. He has only topped 50 yards three times on the season, and he only has two touchdowns on the year. You can at lest expect him to get his targets, but whether he does something with them is anyone’s guess.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: Are you playing in a deep two quarterback league and need a quarterback for some reason? You may be desperate enough to roll the dice on Dalton then. There is no denying that Miami is a favorable matchup for the veteran quarterback, but after falling down a hole we haven’t seen in awhile from him, it makes it hard to trust that he will be able to fully take advantage of this opportunity. Also when you add in Cincinnati realizing that Mixon is their best option to move the ball, it takes away opportunities for the quarterback.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Dolphins: Really the only thing keeping Fitzpatrick from being a player to sit is the fact he does add some value in the running game. This is not a great matchup for him at all though, and I can’t imagine a situation where you realistically sit someone else for Fitzpatrick.
Bengals’ tight ends: Tyler Eifert finished last week with three catches for 44 yards. C.J. Uzomah hasn’t been relevant since the Jets game and somehow Cethan Carter caught his first touchdown of his career last week. This position is a mess, and even if you guess right, the payoff isn’t worth it for the risk.
Allen Hurns, WR, Dolphins: Hurns is coming off an ankle injury, but his season has never really taken off anyway. He has had some barely flex worthy games recently, but his two best stat lines are four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown and five catches for 68 yards. Those are his best doesn’t seem worth the risk considering what is on the line this week.