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Bengals at Colts fantasy football starts and sits

Who should be in your fantasy lineup from the Bengals’ game against the Colts?

NFL: AUG 31 Preseason - Bengals at Colts Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Bengals and Colts will be playing today after a brief scare with Indianapolis having a COVID-19 scare late in the week. That is good turn of events for fantasy players as there are still several games in doubt due to late positive tests during the week. This season has almost become which team can fill out their roster the most with players actually having their games. It is unfortunate that this game likely won’t have the fireworks that many fantasy fans would be hoping for.

Must starts

Surprisingly, both of these teams have faired pretty well on defense and aren’t great matchups for any position. It doesn’t help that each offense has really had their struggles offensively, which means there aren’t very many matchup proof players on either offense. That means there are no “must start” players from this game. There isn’t a player I can point to and say he will surely produce for your team this week.

Favorable matchups

Bengals defense: Cincinnati’s defense hasn’t been bad the past few weeks. They are going to miss D.J. Reader, but what makes them an interesting streaming option this week is how opportunistic they’ve been. Rookie linebacker Logan Wilson has a pick in the last two games, and safety Jessie Bates has been jumping passes left and right. Philip Rivers has been known to get pretty careless with the ball, and if the Bengals manage to get multiple turnovers or even better take one back for a touchdown, it will make your week in fantasy.

Colts defense: Joe Burrow looked like a rookie last week. You could make the argument that maybe he learned a lot from that film and will turn it around this week. It is more likely though that Indianapolis will be able to rattle Burrow again with how incredibly talented their defensive line and linebackers are. At the very least, you should be able to expect multiple sacks this week. There is also the chance Burrow turns the ball over a few times as well.

Good but not great

Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, wide receivers, Bengals: These are probably the only two Bengals I would feel even the slightest bit starting this week. Each have proven to be consistent targets for Burrow, and this week the Colts can’t have someone like Marlon Humphrey shadowing Boyd in the slot. I would call Boyd a WR2 and Higgins a solid flex this week in PPR leagues, but I’m not expecting a very high ceiling.

Jonathan Taylor, running back, Colts: The rookie running back hasn’t exactly taken off in his starting role since Marlon Mack went down with an injury. The Bengals have been surprisingly solid against the run, but that will really be put to the test without Reader on the field. Still, the improvements across the defense should hold strong against the run as well. Taylor hasn’t broken 100 total yards in his past three games. He has scored in two of his last three, though. He is a touchdown dependent flex play this week.

T.Y. Hilton, wide receiver, Colts: Hilton’s season-high is currently 69 receiving yards in a game. The good news is that came last week where he also saw a season-high 10 targets. Hilton just hasn’t been a very consistent fantasy threat. The one avenue for hope is if they try and line him up against LeShaun Sims on the outside. Last week, Cincinnati didn’t have William Jackson shadow Marquise Brown, and if they try that again this week, Hilton could have a big play or two.

Joe Mixon, running back, Bengals: Mixon almost got to 100 total yards last week, despite it being an atrocious game from the offensive line. He will always have volume going in his favor, and he is a very talented back that can break defenders tackles pretty consistently. It is just unfortunate that most of the time he is forced to do that in the backfield instead of a couple yards down field. That has really capped off his ceiling and dropped his floor.

Just sit them

Joe Burrow, quarterback, Bengals: Nothing against Burrow, but he simply isn’t worth the risk this week. The Colts are the toughest matchup in fantasy for opposing quarterbacks, according to Fantasy Pros. He is also coming off a very rough performance just a week ago. He is a streaming option that is matchup based until he start consistently performing again.

Philip River, quarterback, Colts: Believe it or not, the Bengals are allowing the sixth fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per game in 2020. They are coming off a week where they held Lamar Jackson in check for a vast majority of the game as well. Rivers isn’t helping his cause as he enters this game after having his worst performances of the season the past two weeks. He also hasn’t throw for multiple touchdowns in a single game yet this season.

A.J. Green, wide receiver, Bengals: Until Green looks like a healthy version of himself you just can’t afford to have him in your lineup. Last week he went out of the game with a hamstring injury, and it could be that is something he has been trying to play through. It certainly would explain why we haven’t seen him hit that next gear on his routes yet this season. It would also be a more welcome explanation than him declining that hard.

Mo Alie-Cox, tight end, Colts: Cox has scored a touchdown in two of his past three games, but last week he didn’t even record a catch. Now, he’s ruled out for today, so you may want to actually consider dropping him.

Nyheim Hines, running back, Colts: After Week 1 where Hines scored twice, he has gone scoreless. In fact, his best game since then was in Week 3 when he totaled just over 60 yards. He also hasn’t caught more than four passes, so PPR leagues can’t even count on him there.

Drew Sample, tight end, Bengals: You don’t get fantasy points for your tight end’s offensive line being so bad he gets more matchups blocking a pass rusher one-on-one than targets. It also doesn’t help that the Colts allow the fewest points to opposing tight ends in the league. Sample is avoidable this week.