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NFL Matchups: Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills Fantasy Football Preview

Nolan Kelly



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This a snippet of Adam Pfeifer’s NFL matchups column, previews Joe Mixon & the Cincinnati Bengals vs. Josh Allen an the Buffalo Bills for Fantasy Football Lineups. Fantasy rosters needed protective spray because players were bit hard by the injury bug in Week 2. Multiple starting quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers all suffered injuries this past weekend, with a handful of key offensive linemen also going down. As a result, we missed on plenty in this article, but we hit on plenty, as well. Back on the horse. With that in mind, let’s dig into some NFL matchups and NFL game breakdowns for your Week 3 Fantasy Football Lineups.

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Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills

Total: 42

Line: BUF -5.5

Bengals passing game

The Bengals offense is much more creative under new head coach Zac Taylor and as a result, Andy Dalton has had some strong fantasy numbers. He is currently the QB11 in fantasy, throwing for 729 yards and four touchdowns. Cincinnati’s lack of run game and negative game script has led to Dalton leading the NFL in pass attempts with 94. The Bengals are road dogs here in Buffalo but I don’t see myself going to Dalton this week. In 2018, the Bills allowed 9.2 yards per completion, the lowest mark in the NFL.

Through two weeks this year, Buffalo is coughing up just 7.3 yards per completion, which is easily the lowest mark in the NFL. Noticing a trend here? The Bills don’t give up a lot in the passing game, also surrendering just 4.6 yards per pass attempt which, you guessed it, is the lowest rate in the league. Buffalo has a great combination of talent in the secondary and on the defensive line, making Dalton an easy sit for me and an avoid in DFS contests.

I was on Tyler Boyd last week so it was good to see him catch 10 balls for 122 yards on Sunday. He failed to score, but he is a lock for double-digit targets until A.J. Green comes back. His slot percentage jumped back up to 65 percent last week, which bodes well for him here, as he’ll avoid Tre’Davious White for the majority of the game. The problem is that his DraftKings price tag of $6,500 didn’t move, making him an okay option but one that likely lacks GPP-winning upside. In seasonal leagues, Boyd remains a high-volume WR3 in PPR formats, though Sirian Neal and Taron Johnson have played well as nickel corners this season.

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I told some people to sit John Ross for better options last week and it looked like a great call until he took a pass 66 yards to the house with 40 seconds left in Sunday’s blowout. While that may have been fluky, Ross’ usage certainly isn’t. He saw eight more targets this week and found the end zone again, giving Ross an impressive eight touchdowns during his nine career games played without Green in the lineup. Ross remains the big play threat, handling 40 percent of the Bengals’ air yards through two weeks.

You still want Ross to make the big play but unlike in years past, you aren’t exactly depending on it, as he’s inside the top-10 in targets through two weeks. Ross will see plenty of Tre White in this game, who wasn’t fantastic last week but is fast and physical. This clearly isn’t the best matchup, as Buffalo has allowed just two 20-yard passing plays so far this season and zero such plays of 40 yards or more. Finally, Tyler Eifert found the end zone last week but is still playing fewer snaps than C.J. Uzomah, making both tight ends easy avoids going forward.

Bengals running game

Because Cincinnati has gone so pass-heavy, the running backs have been disappointing in fantasy. Joe Mixon left Week 1’s game early with an ankle injury and after missing a few practice sessions, he suited up in Week 2. He rushed for just 17 yards on 11 carries and was stuffed at the goal line. Mixon has obviously disappointed to start the season, though it clearly isn’t his fault. Assuming he gets full practice this week, I still like him as a mid-range RB2 against a Buffalo defense that funnels touchdowns and production to running backs. They surrendered 92 total yards and a score to Le’Veon Bell in Week 1, while Saquon Barkley rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown last week. 50 percent of the touchdowns surrendered by this Bills defense last year came via the run, one of the highest rates in football. I think we see the Bengals try to get their running game going and in tournaments, I have some interest in the talented Mixon at just $5,500 on DraftKings.

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Bills passing game

Josh Allen is looking very good.

Sure, he had four turnovers in Week 1 but two of them weren’t on him. He followed that performance with a 253-yard, one-touchdown effort through the air and 21 yards and a score on the ground against the Giants. Allen has now scored six rushing touchdowns over his last six games dating back to last season, while averaging around nine rushing attempts per game during that span. 12 percent of Allen’s 2018 rushes last year were scrambles, but Buffalo is designing more runs for their quarterback in year two. The additions to the receivers and offensive line have been huge for Allen and I think you have to consider him again this week as a top-12 play.

The Bengals just surrendered five passing plays of 30 yards or more last week and have coughed up three passing touchdowns of 40 yards or more already. Cincinnati is allowing 10.3 yards per pass attempt, the third-highest mark in football, while 12 percent of Allen’s pass attempts have traveled 20 yards or more down the field. You should feel great about Allen once again and while his price has jumped up, he is still under $6,000 on DK.

John Brown is a damn good wide receiver and he is making a huge impact on this offense. Brown had another quality game on Sunday, catching seven passes for 72 yards. Through the first two weeks with his new team, Brown has hauled in 14 balls for 195 yards and a touchdown, while seeing a healthy 26 percent of the team’s targets. Brown remains a top-30 wide receiver this week, as the Bengals have allowed both opposing number-one receivers to find the end zone so far this year (Tyler Lockett and Marquise Goodwin). Brown lines up as the right wide receiver for Buffalo, which means he’ll draw coverage from Dre Kirkpatrick, who has allowed eight catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 10 targets this season.

It was another solid outing from Cole Beasley, who had 83 yards on four catches. The majority of the damage came on a 51-yard catch and run and he seems to have a decent floor in this offense. The problem is he is priced up to $4,400 on DK, which means he’s priced near guys with just a way higher ceiling. Again, the matchup certainly isn’t terrible but Beasley is someone I probably don’t see myself landing on this weekend.

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Bills running game

I expected the Bills to fully commit to Devin Singletary last week, but it didn’t happen. Instead, Frank Gore paced the team with 19 carries and 40 snaps compared to the rookie’s six carries and 22 snaps. Singletary left the game with a hamstring injury and is questionable to suit up this weekend. If he sits, Gore is the unquestioned lead back in a run-first offense in an elite spot. Gore found the end zone last week and could be in line for 17-20 carries without Singletary. The Bills offensive line has impressed thus far, creating 2.88 yards before contact per rush, the second-highest mark in the league. Cincinnati, meanwhile, was absolutely gashed by the 49ers run game to the tune of 269 yards and two touchdowns. They have now surrendered a whopping five touchdowns to running backs through two weeks of play. Opposing defenses are stacking the box 56 percent of the time against Gore this year, but I don’t care. It isn’t exciting, but if Gore is the guy, he’s a top-30 running back play this week and a decent cheap option in DFS contests.

If Singletary does play, both are low-end FLEX options, mainly because the Bills won’t commit to Singletary. The big play has been there though, as five of his 10 carries this year have gone for 15 yards or more.

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I've been obsessed with fantasy sports since as long as I can remember. Back in 1993, while seated in the last row of Mr. MacMillan's math class, I'm fairly certain a few buddies of mine and I invented daily fantasy sports -- popping down our fivers and using nothing more than a newspaper box score, we'd make our NHL player picks for the night's action. Twenty years later I started out playing DFS on DraftStreet, when three-max tourneys with 490 people were a big deal, and I've been hooked ever since. More than anything, I'm interested in using my technical writing skills to articulate and clarify our content in order to help you become a better fantasy sports players player. Armed with Awesemo's grades and the projections from our experts, we're here to help you take the next step. You can contact me by emailing [email protected].

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