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Bengals vs. 49ers: Fantasy starts and sits

Who to start in your fantasy lineup when the Bengals host the 49ers.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals had an interesting Week 1 as far as fantasy went. Pretty much the opposite of everything we expected to see. They threw the Ball over 50 time, Joe Mixon was pretty much a non-factor even before leaving with an ankle injury, John Ross had one of the best weeks in fantasy and the Bengals’ defense was actually playable.

Can we expect more of the same this week against the 49ers?

Must starts

George Kittle, TE, 49ers: Kittle is the only must start this week. He is very clearly the focus of this 49ers offense, and even if the Bengals do everything to try and take him away he should still end up with enough volume to end up as one of the top tight ends of the week. It is also worth noting that on top of Kittle’s eight catches for 54 yards, he had two touchdowns called back due to penalties.

Favorable matchups

Joe Mixon or Giovani Bernard, RBs, Bengals: In the event Mixon doesn’t play Bernard should be in your lineup. Last week was a rough go for Mixon as there was never any room to run, but the 49ers were a little bit looser against the Bucs last week giving up over 100 rushing yards and 30 receiving to their running backs. Sledding may not be smooth quite yet with left tackle Cordy Glenn out for a second week. Still, Mixon (or Bernard if Mixon doesn’t play) could still be RB2’s for the week.

John Ross, WR, Bengals: You should feel comfortable playing Ross until A.J. Green comes back. Then we will have to evaluate again if he is getting enough targets to still be worth this high of consideration. What we saw Week 1 wasn’t even an optimal production from Ross. He had several drops on a day where he was 52 yards away from doubling his career receiving yards. Andy Dalton believes in him, and this offense has ways for him to get open very easily. Don’t expect a repeat of last week against a better secondary, but feel confident in Ross being your WR2 or flex.

Matt Breida, RB 49ers: Last week the 49ers lost Tevin Coleman, which leaves them with Breida and Raheem Mostert at running back. Mostert was the more efficient runner, but Breida out touched him 15 to 10, and he was the starter last season after injuries struck. If I had to play one it would be Breida for those reasons. The Bengals showed they still have issues with running backs coming out of the backfield, so he should be a solid flex option.

Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals: This is for PPR scoring, if you are in standard leagues he is far more of a risk. Boyd is the Bengals slot receiver, and Cincinnati does a great job of manufacturing ways to get him on the field and open, but his targets are limited by that role. Last week Boyd caught eight passes for 60 yards, which is a good PPR score, but a very disappointing standard. Boyd was missed on a wheel route that could’ve ended up being a big play last week, which could’ve really changed how he is perceived going into Week 2.

Bengals defense vs. the 49ers: Cincinnati came out with a great plan last week against Seattle. This is a very different defense compared to last week, and it was obvious throughout the game. 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t have a very smooth game last week, and the Bengals could be in line for a few turnovers based on how loose he was being with the ball. They’re a pretty nice streaming option considering no one outside of Bengals fans picked them up.

Good but not great

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: The 49ers present a better pass defense than the Seahawks did last week. That isn’t the only thing working against Dalton. Seattle came out with a game plan that forced Cincinnati to go to the air to move the ball. Part of Dalton’s big week came from him throwing a career high in yards while attempting over 50 passes. It is hard to imagine he replicates that kind of volume again this week.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers: Garoppolo only threw for 166 yards last week with one touchdown (he did have two called back to Kittle, though). The Bengals had plenty of success getting to a mobile Russell Wilson last week, so it is hard to believe they won’t be able to also disrupt Garoppolo as well. Basically, Garoppolo is as good as Kittle can be on the day. The 49ers just don’t appear to have a receiver to compliment their start tight end yet.

49ers defense vs. the Bengals: The Bengals offense had a good day in Week 1, but the Seahawks defense still had five sacks and a forced fumble on the day, which is a pretty solid outing. The 49ers also have enough pass rush to give Andre Smith and Bobby Hart all they can handle on the outside. San Francisco also was very opportunistic last week with two turnovers returned for touchdowns.

Tyler Eifert or CJ Uzomah, TEs, Bengals: Cincinnati had an interesting split between Uzomah and Eifert. Uzomah was actually second on the team with 66 receiving yards on four catches, and Eifert caught all five of his targets for 27 yards. Each has some value in PPR leagues. Eifert may get more run in the red zone after the Bengals struggled in that area of the field last week, and Uzomah was used several times on misdirection plays that resulted in big yards.

Just sit them

Damion Willis, WR, Bengals: Willis is the team’s starter until Green returns, but he didn’t do much to take advantage of his opportunity. He caught three passes for 30 yards on five targets. There are just better options out there that are less risky than hoping Willis goes off.

49ers WRs: Here is all you need to know. Only one 49ers receiver caught more than a single pass last week. Rookie Deebo Samuel caught three passes for 17 yards. Richie James caught a 39 yard touchdown pass, but do you really want to throw that guy in your flex?