Cincinnati Bengals: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 1 vs. Vikings
Sit ‘Em – Justin Jefferson, WR
Call this the ultimate contrarian play, call it wrong, call it foolish, but I just don’t expect Justin Jefferson to go big Sunday. Also I call this a “sit” with an asterisk. Probably if you own Jefferson you have fairly high draft capital tied up. That’s to be expected. Also it is also good policy to “start your studs”, so if you feel compelled to start Jefferson, also be prepared to be let down.
On paper this game looks like one in which Dalvin Cook and Jefferson should run wild. However the games aren’t played on paper, and typically defenses, especially ones with a new scheme or fresh infusion of talent tend to hold up better early in the season. Of course eventually, injury, etc will cause the eventual downward spiral (let’s hope not this year), but look no further than the last two openers, where an overmatched Bengal defense performed admirably against the Seahawks and Chargers respectively.
To just assume a defense will be bad this year, just because they were last year is short sighted. Teams generally attempt to fix deficiencies either via the draft or free agency. The Bengals are no different.
The Vikings offensive line is not good. The Bengals will be sporting perhaps the deepest line rotation on defense they have seen in a decade. I expect a steady dose of Cook, but I also expect Lou Anarumo to dial up different looks and bring the heat on Kirk Cousins.
If this happens and the home crowd supplies the PBS home field advantage, Cousins could be running for his life too much to allow Jefferson to shake open in that intermediate range he thrives in.
Prediction – 5 rec, 62 yards
While notable players absent from my predictions, does anyone really need to be told to start Dalvin Cook or Joe Mixon? Championships are won making the not so obvious decisions.
However above all, have fun with it. Follow your players and root on the home team. A win over the Vikings will go a long way towards a good season.