Here’s how the Bengals’ 24-20 loss in Nashville looked from a standard fantasy league perspective.
QB, Andy Dalton – 14.6 points (20-35, 265 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 2 fumbles lost
For the third time in four weeks, Andy Dalton tossed a pair of touchdowns and did it on Sunday with big plays. That’s something the Bengals hadn’t had much of this season. Dalton hit Brandon LaFell on a 37-yard touchdown in the first quarter, then connected with A.J. Green for a 70-yard score that gave Cincinnati its only lead of the afternoon.
Those two long touchdown tosses accounted for 40 percent of Dalton’s passing yards, but it was enough to overshadow a 57.1 completion percentage for his sixth double-digit performance in Bill Lazor’s seven games as offensive coordinator.
Dalton lost points on a pair of first-half fumbles. The first on a strip-sack, the second on a mishandled snap.
Despite 87 straight throws without an interception, Dalton still isn’t QB1 material moving forward. The Bengals head to Denver this week and Dalton is a tricky play.
We know the Broncos can rush the passer with Von Miller coming off the edge. But Denver only has 20 sacks in nine games this season. The Broncos are ninth against the pass with two lockdown starting corners – Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. – but their 29th-ranked scoring defense is yielding 26.6 points per game.
Use Dalton as a bye week fill-in for Cam Newton next week, the last bye this season.
RB, Joe Mixon – 10.5 points (37 rush yards, TD, 1 rec, 3 yards)
Joe Mixon ran for 37 yards and one touchdown and caught one pass for three yards against Tennessee.
It was the rookie’s third-straight double-digit fantasy day, but the problem is that most of his points are coming via one play.
The last two weeks were red zone touchdown runs for Mixon. The week prior was a 67-yard catch-and-run against Indianapolis.
Mixon hasn’t been able to have a breakout day and there are many reasons why. First, the Bengals continue to struggle running the ball, owning the league’s 31st-ranked rushing attack.
Secondly, Cincinnati’s offense hasn’t been able to stay on the field. Over the last two weeks, the Bengals have run just 87 offensive plays and have lost time of possession by over 40 minutes combined.
Mixon is too touchdown-dependent for a starting RB slot. Play him as a FLEX in the near future with the hope he can find the end zone. The Broncos have allowed seven touchdowns to running backs over the last two games. So, Mixon could have dual-threat value at Mile High.
WR, A.J. Green – 20 points (5 receptions, 115 yards, TD)
A.J. Green snapped a three-game funk (seven catches for 74 yards combined) with his third 100-yard outing of the season in the loss to Tennessee. Green was the AFC’s highest scoring fantasy receiver in week 10, thanks to a 70-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
He thanked his fantasy owners after logging just one catch and getting ejected against Jacksonville.
Green is always going to be a WR1 in any lineup, although his numbers are skewed because of three big games. The seventh-year receiver is sixth in the NFL in receiving yards (693), despite being tied for 15th in catches (44).
The Broncos haven’t allowed a receiver to break 85 yards this season. Denver’s “No Fly Zone” secondary hasn’t allowed a 100-yard wide receiver since December 2015.
WR, Brandon LaFell – 18.5 points (6 receptions, 95 yards, TD)
Brandon LaFell turned in his best fantasy outing of the season in the loss to Tennessee. Along with a touchdown, the veteran receiver posted season-highs in targets (10), catches (6) and yards (95).
It’s really noteworthy that LaFell out-targeted Green 10-7. But, Sunday’s performance is an outlier on LaFell’s season stat line. It was the first time he broke the 50-yard barrier.
LaFell remains a low-end WR4 or a risky FLEX play against Denver.
TE, Tyler Kroft – 0.90 points (1 reception, 4 yards)
It was a disappointing Sunday for Tyler Kroft. The third-year tight end caught just one of six targets for four measly yards. Kroft was averaging 10.78 fantasy points per game since the start of October.
As is the case in fantasy land when you don’t have a top-tier tight end, you will likely have to rely on a touchdown if you start Kroft.
DEF, Cincinnati – 3.00 points (24 points allowed, 4 sacks, INT)
If your league has standard scoring for defenses, the Bengals struggled once again, scoring less than four points for the third time in four games.
In standard leagues, however, Cincinnati did not get credit for a fumble recovery when Titans’ wide receiver Corey Davis fumbled out of the end zone.
Paul Guenther’s unit will be an attractive option against Denver. The Broncos’ offense is 24th in scoring and has turned it over 21 times, second-most in the NFL.
K, Randy Bullock – 2.00 points (2/3 PAT)
Randy Bullock is not a good option with Cincinnati’s ineptitude on offense. He missed his first extra point of the season against Tennessee and nearly missed another, clanking it through off the left upright.
Bullock is the 28th ranked scoring kicker in the NFL this season. He’s made just one field goal since Week 5.