CINCINNATI BENGALS at BALTIMORE RAVENS
Flacco has been disappointing all season, finding himself in exclusively a QB2. Don’t expect that trend to change this week, even with Cincinnati missing key players in the defense. Although he should pass for 250 yards or more, Flacco looks unlikely to record a multi-touchdown game, having done so in less than half of his games so far this season.
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Dalton’s scorching hot streak came to a shuddering halt last week, as he finished with just 9 points in standard leagues after scoring at least 25 in his previous 3 games. While it will be difficult for Dalton to reach those levels again, he simply has too many weapons at his disposal to put up bad stat lines for an extended period, and the Ravens’ defense ranks in the middle of the pack for points allowed to opposing QBs. Dalton should have around 18 points, and is a top-15 play this week.
Rice’s struggles this season are well documented, as is his sub-3 yards per carry. Rice keeps proclaiming that he is healthy, but his production has been anything but. While his offensive line has indeed been offensive, Rice hasn’t helped the situation. Until he proves otherwise, he’s an RB2 or even a flex option. He should see around 70 total yards against a Bengals defense which is ranked in the top-5 against opposing RBs.
Bernard had a sensational game against Miami, including a highlight-reel 35 yard TD run. Unfortunately for him and his owners, he also suffered a rib injury, and hasn’t practised all week. Even if he does suit up, the Ravens have given up fewest points to opposing RBs this season. Bernard is in low-end RB2 territory this week, and his ascent will have to wait for another week at least.
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Green-Ellis is exactly the type of back the Ravens traditionally feast on, and this week should prove to be no exception. He’s at best a flex play, and a good game would be in the region of 60 yards total.
Smith ranks as the 19th highest scoring WR in standard scoring, and that’s a reasonable expectation for him for the rest of the season. Of course, he will have some games where he explodes, but he can be trusted as little more than a high-upside WR2 from here on out. With the Bengals’ injuries in the defense, he should see around 80 yards receiving, and is around 50/50 to score.
Brown, a preseason sleeper, has 5 TDs on the season, or five times his much more celebrated teammate, Smith. He seems to have cemented himself as Baltimore’s second choice wideout, and is a viable swing-for-the-fences option if you’re a heavy underdog. Just be aware of his relatively high goose-egg potential.
Green is the #4 wide receiver in standard scoring, and the #1 in PPR. Every week we predict him to get 100 yards and a score, and he rarely lets us down. Let’s go for that again this week.
In a turn of events that will have surprised precisely noone, Jones went from scoring 36 points in week 8 to scoring 6 points last week. However, he, like Brown above, seems to be making the #2 WR position his own, partially by virtue of the fact that Mohamad Sanu, his main competition, keeps making costly errors. Jones should see similar yardage to last week (60+), and we like him as an outside bet to score.
Dallas Clark / Ed Dickson
As always, if you have to start of either of these two outside of a 20-team league, please stop playing fantasy football.
Although inconsistent all season, Eifert has undeniable talent, and with Jermaine Gresham’s status up in the air, he may finally have a chance to shine. He will still be far down the line in terms of targets, but it’s opportunities like that this that can propel players into the fantasy stratosphere. Keep an eye on Gresham’s status leading up to the game.
Buffalo Bills at PITTSBURGH STEELERS
400 yards and 4 TDs last week? Looks like Todd Haley may have been right about the Steelers’ offense being ready to break out. Ben had his best fantasy game of the season by far, but much of it was with the Steelers playing catch-up with the Patriots. This week he faces a Buffalo defense giving up the 8th most points to opposing fantasy QBs, but he it still just outside QB1 status, unless you’re desperate. 300 yards and 2TDs could be his ceiling.
Want a safe RB2? Le’Veon Bell is your guy. His upside is unquestionably far above that, but the Steelers’ offensive woes mean that this will be his cap for now. He will, as usual, see 20+ touches, and is becoming increasingly involved in the passing game. He should have another 90-100 total yards, with a chance to score.
Brown is the #11 WR in standard scoring this season. The Bills have given up second most points to opposing fantasy WRs this season. Less 100 yards will be disappointing, and a TD isn’t out of the question.
After last week’s explosion, Cotchery is the 24th highest scoring WR in fantasy. He won’t (ever) replicate last week’s exploits, but he’s a solid WR3 with upside against this Bills secondary.
Unsurprisingly, we like Sanders’ big play ability more than Cotchery’s dependability against this secondary unit which can be burned deep. Sanders might only catch 4 balls, but there’s a possibility two will go for scores.
Miller hasn’t become as big a focal point of the offense that many of us hoped and expected he would be. He should record in the region of 40-60 yards against Buffalo, but don’t expect much more than that. He’s a low-end TE1 this week.