The Cincinnati Bengals face off against the Falcons in Week 7. While that may seem like fantasy football goodness on paper, we'll take a deep dive to evaluate each of the relevant matchups so that you can make a decision on whether to fire up the Bengals on your fantasy squad or leave them on your bench.
Burrow has been a bit uneven this year for fantasy purposes, but he's coming off his best game of the season (32.5 points against the Saints). This week, he should continue his hot streak, as the Falcons are among the top 10 friendliest matchups for opposing fantasy passers. Burrow has put up at least 18 fantasy points in every game this season against those types of defenses (Pittsburgh in Week 1, Miami in Week 4, and Baltimore in Week 5).
Verdict for Burrow: Start 'Em
Bengals Wide Receivers
The Falcons give up the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, so the Tiger Trio should have a big day on Sunday.
Cornerback A.J. Terrell hasn't been as good this season as he was in years past, so the Bengals may be able to exploit him and the rest of the Falcons' secondary. The Falcons really don't have anyone to match up well with Tee Higgins' size, so if his ankle injury doesn't hinder him, he should be a good start.
Ja'Marr Chase started to get hot last week; this secondary should allow him to continue to sizzle. The Falcons just lost starting corner Casey Hayward to injury. It looks like they'll probably shuffle nickel cornerback Isaiah Oliver to the outside, and put CB Darren Hall in the nickel role. That could spell concern for Tyler Boyd, as Hall currently grades out at a studly 87.9, per PFF (albeit in limited playing time).
Verdict for Higgins: Start 'Em
Verdict for Chase: Start 'Em
Verdict for Boyd: Sit 'Em
The Falcons are better than you think against opposing runners, as they are among the top half of the league in the fewest points given up to opposing rushers (Well, they're in the top half, but barely; they give up the 18th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.)
All in all, they're an average matchup, but that's probably enough for me to shy away from Mixon this week if I have better options. It hasn't been a great season for him so far; he's failed to eclipse 100 scrimmage yards since Week 1. The way to beat the Falcons is through the air, so it would not be surprising to see the Bengals pile on the scoreboard by relying on their passing attack this week.
Verdict for Mixon: Sit 'Em
Cue the #revengegame narrative. Atlanta is bottom-5 in the NFL against opposing tight ends. Hurst should have every opportunity to make an impact in this game, including in the red zone.
Verdict for Hurst: Start 'Em
The Falcons are middle-of-the-pack against opposing kickers. With fantasy, kickers derive value from field goals, not extra points. The Falcons give up so many touchdowns, opportunities for field goals just aren't plentiful. McPherson should get plenty of opportunities to kick PATs in this one, but he's unlikely to get a bunch of field goal opportunities, so you're probably best served looking elsewhere for one week.
Verdict for McPherson: Sit 'Em
The Falcons' offense doesn't seem formidable on paper, but they've not been a great matchup for opposing fantasy defenses (23rd out of 32). They've scored 23 or more points in 5-of-6 games this season. That may not seem like a ton, but for perspective, the Bengals have only scored 23 in 3-of-6 games.
Marcus Mariota brings a rushing element that may be difficult for the Bengals to stop, a poor man's Lamar Jackson, so to speak. Drake London and Kyle Pitts on the outside could present matchup problems for the Bengals corners, who lack the height to go up and get it against those twin towers. The Vegas line on this game is 47.5 points, so this could be a high-scoring affair for both teams.
Verdict for Defense: Sit 'Em
Good luck with your fantasy teams this week!