The Bengals have a real chance to put up some points against a poor Colts D. Also, the AFC North is full of tough start/sit decisions.
As Week 1 approaches, that means not only the start of the NFL season, but the start of the fantasy season. We won’t go into every team’s matchups, but we’ll talk about the Bengals and their fantasy outlook, as well as their opponents’ matchups. I’ll also give some of my favorite start/sits at each position across the league.
For this week, the move is to start your Bengals. It’s no secret that the Colts will field one of the worst defenses in the NFL this year, and the Bengals could really dissect that unit. I expect most of the starters to have good games this week.
Andy Dalton – great streaming option. The Colts secondary is in trouble, as Dalton will be able to spread the ball around. 200+ yards and 2 touchdowns, if not more, seems to be in the cards for Dalton. A potentially competitive game will help him, too.
Andrew Luck – low end QB1. Luck is coming off an entire missed season, so I hesitate to throw him in the starting lineup for Week 1. However, the Colts should struggle to run the ball, so Luck will be passing a lot. If you drafted Luck to be your starter, he’s a fine option for this week.
Start him – Tyrod Taylor. My favorite Week 1 streamer, Taylor has a great matchup against Pittsburgh. The Browns should come out hot, and Taylor should get Jarvis Landry, Duke Johnson, and Josh Gordon involved. I think he’ll be a top ten quarterback this week.
Sit him – Patrick Mahomes. The Chargers have one of the best pass defenses in the league, and Mahomes just might not be ready for that pressure yet. I don’t want to start Mahomes until I see him prove it. Try to find a streamer like Taylor or Dalton.
Joe Mixon – total green light. Mixon, who could a top ten running back on the year, has a great Week 1 matchup. I think Mixon could get 20 touches, which would be a near lock for 100 yards or more and a score. Mixon should be a RB1 this week.
Giovani Bernard – PPR flex. I wouldn’t start Bernard in standard until I see his workload, but he should be okay in a PPR format. I’m flexing him in a 14-team league, as he should get 4-5 catches spelling Mixon. That will be enough to get him value this week.
All Colts backs – don’t play them. With the Bengals’ D-line versus the Colts’ O-line, there will be no room to run. Marlon Mack is still not 100%, and Jordan Wilkins will have some growing pains in his first start.
Start him – Jamaal Williams. Williams will get a full workload in Green Bay while Aaron Jones is suspended. He can get 20 touches this week, which will give him a high floor and a high ceiling against a middling Bears run defense.
Sit him – Dion Lewis. He’s not a must sit, but I don’t trust his workload going against the Dolphins. If the Titans get out to a big lead, which is very likely, they will ice the game away with Derrick Henry.
Bengals – Green will succeed. AJ Green will be a great start this week, as he should have no trouble with any corner the Colts throw on him. Tyler Boyd and John Ross aren’t great starts, but both are worth a flier if you need it. Ross has great potential for a boom play against a poor Indy secondary.
Colts – Hilton is solid. TY Hilton is a solid WR2 this week, as Luck should rely on him throughout the game. He will draw coverage from William Jackson III, which will hurt. Chester Rogers is a deep flier, although I would consider him a WR4 for this week.
Start him – JuJu Smith-Schuster. JuJu is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Le’Veon Bell holdout, so he should see a bump in targets this week. He has WR1 upside against Cleveland in a potential shootout.
Sit him – Michael Crabtree. The Bills aren’t good at much, but they can lock down WR1s. Crabtree could struggle with Tre’Davious White, and Baltimore should have a run-focused approach versus the Bills.
Tyler Eifert – a great start. Eifert is fully healthy for Week 1, which means he could be a really solid play this week. He’s Dalton’s second option when he’s at his best. It’s hard to see a scenario where Eifert plays a full game against Indy and has a bad game.
Jack Doyle – low end TE1. In our Q&A with Horseshoe Heroes, Ryan Stano predicted Doyle to have a big game. I agree with him. I think Doyle is a good safety blanket for Luck, and he can take advantage of the Bengals’ weak linebackers.
Start him – Ricky Seals-Jones. This is more of a streaming pick, but I think Seals-Jones could have a great start to the year. He seems like the Cardinals’ third target right now. Also, Sam Bradford loves to throw to his tight ends.
Sit him – David Njoku. There aren’t any major tight ends worth sitting, but Njoku is not a great play this week. He goes up against one of the best tight end defenses in Pittsburgh, and he is still competing for targets with a bunch of other pass catchers. I would wait for his breakout.