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Each week, our staff here at QB List will be previewing all the fantasy-relevant things you should be on the lookout for in this week’s games. Today, we preview all the upcoming Week 10 action.
Saints vs. Bengals
The Saints continue to play through one of the hardest schedules in the league. While the Bengals are not in the same class as the Rams or the Vikings, they still pose a tough matchup for the Saints. This game is going to be played in Cincinnati, outdoors, which can often limit the Saints offensive production. The current forecast calls for a sunny day that will reach into the mid 40’s. While this is not as comfortable as the Superdome, these conditions should not be a problem on Sunday.
How can the Bengals slow down Drew Brees?
I am sure many teams this season have asked the same question. QB Drew Brees is displaying his vintage deadly accuracy this season (76% overall, 68% on throws of 10+ yards) which makes it very difficult for the opposing secondary to stop him. With most elite quarterbacks, the only sustainable way of stopping them is getting significant pressure without blitzing. This is incredibly difficult for most teams and that is why Brees is rarely slowed down. The offensive tackle pairing of Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead is extremely impressive and will prevent the Bengals capable edge rushers Carl Lawson and Carlos Dunlap from getting consistent pressure. DT Geno Atkins has the potential to be a nightmare on the inside, but this offensive line handled the stout interior of the Rams last week which leaves me encouraged for this matchup. This Bengals defense comes in as the 6th worst in points allowed and I do not believe they will pressure Brees enough to make an impact. I expect another solid week from Brees.
How will the running game perform this week?
This Bengals defense is average against the run meaning the Saints should be efficient on the ground, however the more important question is how much will the Bengals score? WR AJ Green will not be playing this week which should limit the Bengals offense. However, the emergence of WR Tyler Boyd cannot be ignored. He should be able to fill in for the injured Green and I do not expect the Saints to play that well, especially on the road. S Marcus Williams has not seemed to recover from his season ending mishap in Minnesota, as he continues to underperform. CB Eli Apple has not been a positive addition as the second corner spot continues to be a huge source of trouble for the Saints. What does all this mean? I am expecting another high scoring affair where the Saints will be favoring the pass and their uber talented RB Alvin Kamara. RB Mark Ingram is in for another tough week and will only be viable if he finds the endzone. Ingram can “go off” in any week but his usage this week will make that less likely than usual.
Dez Bryant signed by the Saints? Where did that come from?
This is really a short lived flurry of news. WR Dez Bryant finally got the shot he was looking for, then very sadly tore his achilles in his first practice. This is really unfortunate for the veteran wideout and may potentially end his career. This move was going to hurt rookie WR Tre’Quan Smith and possibly eat into the stud WR Michael Thomas’s high target share. Without Dez in the fold, the situation remains the same. This matchup should not be extremely tough for Thomas or Smith as standout second year corner William Jackson has not lived up to his incredible rookie year. With Brees and Head Coach Sean Payton scheming all week, both of these receivers will have an opportunity to produce well in this matchup. As I laid out before, this game should favor passing which bodes well for anyone catching balls from Drew Brees. Even TE Benjamin Watson could have another solid week.
Boom: Drew Brees
Bust: Mark Ingram
Sleeper: Benjamin Watson
Will Andy Dalton take advantage of a bad Saints secondary?
I think Andy Dalton could be in for a good game here (though I’ve said that before in positive matchups and he’s bombed before). But so far this year, the Saints have given up the second-most points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks, averaging 25.2 fantasy points per game. Plus, I also expect this game to be a shootout, since the Bengals’ secondary is also terrible. I think Drew Brees will be able to throw all over them, and if that happens, then the Bengals will be throwing a lot too, which could be good for Dalton. Still, I have a tough time trusting Dalton as a QB1 this week given what he’s done this season, so I see him as a deep league QB1 or a high-end QB2 in most leagues.
What will this receiving corps look like without A.J. Green?
Unfortunately, A.J. Green will be missing what would likely be a great fantasy game for him. He’s dealing with a toe injury that will have him out for at least this game and the next, potentially more (though hopefully not). However, what Green’s absence does mean is that you should fire up Tyler Boyd as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 this week. We’ve seen all year how Boyd can explode for a huge game, and now that he’s going to be the top target in the passing game, he should be in for some good production. He’s also likely to draw P.J. Williams in coverage, who has been playing terribly this year. I expect Boyd will still line up in the slot, but I think he’ll get a pretty large target share, as both John Ross and Alex Erickson haven’t been playing particularly well this year. Ross is the most interesting of the two other Bengals receivers, however he’ll likely draw Marshon Lattimore in coverage, so I’m not as excited about his potential this week.
What can we expect from Joe Mixon?
While the Saints secondary is terrible, their run defense has actually been pretty good, giving up the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Not a single running back has gotten more than 100 rushing yards against the Saints. Now, Joe Mixon is a special talent, and I’d argue that he’s an RB1 every week no matter who he’s playing, but just be aware that this might not be as good of a game as you might expect. Still, I’m tossing Mixon out there in every league.
Anything worthwhile at the tight end position?
If you’re going to start a tight end, it’s C.J. Uzomah, however I’m not overly confident in his ability to put up production. He’s generally only been getting a few targets here and there and will be going up against a Saints defense that gives up the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, so I’m not real psyched about starting Uzomah.
Boom: Tyler Boyd
Bust: C.J. Uzomah
Sleeper: John Ross