Another week, another divisional Thursday matchup featuring an undefeated team. I suspect Cincinnati will leave this game the way they came into it, with an unblemished record. Win or lose, I’ve figured out all of the players worth giving a shot at starting in your fantasy lineup tonight (or in your DFS lineup perhaps).
Travis Benjamin, WR
The Cleveland offense is in dire straits, and with Manziel starting this week in place of Josh McCown I’d expect to see a regression from almost all of Cleveland’s offensive pieces. The lone exception is Travis Benjamin. Who saw his best game of the season earlier this year when Manziel had his lone start of the season. Benjamin should only really be considered as a flex option, but if bye weeks/injuries/a bad receiving corps plague your team he could be okay to put in as a WR2. That way you would have more options for who to start in your flex when the weekend comes around.
Gary Barnidge, TE
Cincinnati gave up a lot of points to Heath Miller last week, and in my opinion Barnridge is a more dynamic receiving threat than the aforementioned Miller. Having said that, McCowns absence and a lack of other offensive weapons will surely provide Barnridge with a much tougher matchup than Miller saw last week. Regardless, I think Barnridge is a must start, just based off of his body of work over the last several weeks.
Andy Dalton, QB
Unless if you have an embarrassment of riches at quarterback (i.e. you have Phillip Rivers, or Tom Brady in addition to Andy Dalton) Andy Dalton is a must start tonight. Cleveland surrenders 10th most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, and tonight they are playing without their only pro-bowl calibre defensive player (Joe Haden). I expect multiple touchdowns and no picks out of Dalton in a winning effort tonight.
Jeremy Hill, RB
Cleveland gives up the most rushing yards per game in the NFL. So really you could potentially start Hill and Bernard tonight. But I’m only going to suggest Hill, as he is more of a touchdown scorer than Bernard, and the Bengals have been trending toward a more Hill intensive workload as of late. The Bengals should have their way with the Browns tonight, and I expect at least 100 yards and a touchdown out of Hill this game.
A.J. Green, WR
As I mentioned briefly in my Dalton write up, Joe Haden will be absent from tonight’s game. Which should translate to AJ Green absolutely scorching the Browns tonight. Green scorches teams that have a legit top level corner, so I definitely can’t envision a world where the Browns will be able to stifle Green. Not tonight at least. Green was targeted 17 times last week, if he even sees half of those targets tonight it will be a big game for Green. The Bengals have too many offensive weapons, the Browns will be tripping over themselves trying to figure out how to stop any of them.
Tyler Eifert, TE
The Browns have been statistically good against tight ends this season. But the fact is that Eifert is a must play calibre tight end. Eifert has the second most touchdowns by a tight end this season (behind Gronk) and quite frankly I’d be shocked if he didn’t score a touchdown tonight. If you have to decide between Barnridge and Eifert than first of all, good for you. And second of all, go with Eifert.
The Bengals D is my personal pick for start of the week out of all of the NFL’s defenses. The Bengals get to take on one of the NFL’s worst offenses, and they get to do so at home, in prime time, while their opposition is starting their backup quarterback. That is just too many factors leaning in favor of this Bengals D, which is why they are a must start this week.
Is there anyone you are wondering about starting but are unsure? Ask us in the comments, and we will give you the advice you need!