The Bengals open up their home schedule this week against the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland’s defense played well, forcing Michael Vick into four interceptions a week ago, but I’m bullish pretty much across the board on Bengals vs. their in-state rivals. These battles have been low-scoring defensive struggles of late, meaning fantasy points will be limited. Who are the players that can help your fantasy team this week? Read on to find out!
Andy Dalton — A solid QB2 option this week, Dalton threw for 270 yards and a score in his last outing against the Browns. Yes, he missed some throws, especially as things spiraled out of control in Baltimore, but he looked good for much of the game and put up solid numbers against a much tougher defense.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis — I’ve made no secret about how much Green-Ellis impressed me in Week 1 at Baltimore. The Bengals have had a 100-yard rusher in four of their last six vs. the Browns and have scored at least one rushing TD in three straight meetings. Green-Ellis is a must-start.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
AJ Green — Cleveland held Green to just four catches a year ago but the Cincinnati No. 1 averaged 37.8 yards per those four snags. With Joe Haden unavailable, I expect a good showing from Green this week featuring one of those important big-play scores. Fun fact: Four of Green’s seven TDs last year came on plays of 35 or more yards.
Armon Binns — Appears to have won the No. 2 receiver job but it’s still too soon to put him into your lineup.
Andrew Hawkins — A trendy pick-up following his eight-catch, 86-yard opener, Hawkins should be a great play against a team that should be playing soft coverage without their top corner, right? Wrong. Hawkins may turn out to be a solid No. 3, but not coming off his career game. I like Hawkins more against a team we’ll be looking for creativity against, not a team we should be hitting with the ground and pound.
Jermaine Gresham – The production just hasn’t matched the skillset with this most frustrating Bengals skill player. He had 11 catches and two TDs vs. the Browns a year ago but I just can’t buy into him following last week’s eight-target, three-catch showing. He’s starting on one of my teams, but wouldn’t be if I had another option.
Mike Nugent – He’s a kicker, and hopefully you only have one. So you’re starting Nuge if you have him. He gets mention this week because the Bengals have averaged nearly three field goal attempts per game over the course of their last six meetings with the Browns.
Forget the numbers from last week, this defense should start over any unit outside the elite 3-4. The Browns had four turnovers and just 12 first downs against Philadelphia last week. Cleveland has scored more than 24 points against the Bengals just once since 2005 and no team scored more than that number at Paul Brown Stadium in 2011. I expect two turnovers, five sacks and fewer than 14 points allowed from this unit on Sunday.
Wondering about anyone not listed above? Sit ’em.
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