Game Previews: All Fantasy Relevant Players For Week 3
Bengals vs. Panthers
Andy Dalton is….good?
I mean I’m not ready to say that just yet, but I will say that he has a very talented cast around him that helps inflate his value. He’ll be going up against a Panthers secondary that held Dak Prescott to 170 yards and no touchdowns in Week 1, but allowed 272 yards and two touchdowns from Matt Ryan last week, so it’s hard to say how Dalton will do. Just know that as soon as you put your faith in Dalton, like a son who gets a face tattoo, he will disappoint you.
What to expect from the Bengals wide receivers?
Well I think we all know that A.J. Green is amazing, but what about the other Bengals receivers? Tyler Boyd has had one bad game and one great game so far. I think Boyd is talented and has seemingly jumped John Ross on the depth chart, so I could see Boyd having some value but not a ton. As for Ross, he’s obviously got big-play potential given his ridiculous speed, but I don’t see how you can trust him this week. And as far as Green goes, I really like him this week. I expect he’ll be shadowed by James Bradberry, which is s a matchup I think will lean heavily in Green’s favor.
The running backs?
Joe Mixon is out this week with a knee injury sadly, which leaves Giovani Bernard as the likely primary benefactor. Yes, the Bengals signed Thomas Rawls but I don’t see him having a major role in this offense. Bernard, on the other hand, is very talented and could be somewhat productive this week, even against a good run defense.
When will Tyler Eifert break loose?
Eifert’s been splitting up time with Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah and, as a result, hasn’t really broken out just yet. As he gets more playing time, I think he’ll eventually get better, but for now, I’d stay away.
Will Cam and Christian continue to be an uber-efficient duo?
Cincinnati is coming into this matchup ranked at #7 in run defense by DVOA. Thus far, the Panthers have faced the #20 and #31 run defense in Dallas and Atlanta respectively. Something to consider, however, is that both of these DVOA scores are taking into account how Carolina played against them combined with their other opponent and preseason outlook. Cincinnati has also not faced a team nearly as talented in the rushing game as Carolina, so it’ll be interesting to see which side will prove to be more legitimate. Either way, I’ve bought into the hype surrounding RB Christian McCaffrey, and QB Cam Newton is a unique talent that’s been utilized well so far. Perhaps they won’t average 5.19 yards per carry, but they’re the focal point of this offense for a reason. Hell, McCaffrey may even score his first TD of the season.
Will Wright cement himself as the clear #2 WR on this team?
It’s only been two games, but WR Jarius Wright only has two fewer catches than WR Devin Funchess, and one fewer than WR Torrey Smith, WR DJ Moore, and TE Ian Thomas combined. With how effective McCaffrey has been in the passing game (20 catches averaging 7.4 yards per catch), there’s likely limited upside as the third receiving option on a run first team, but if you’re looking for TD upside he could provide some if they look to him in the red zone once again. It’s definitely something I’ll be on the lookout for in the game scripting, and by Monday will have a better idea of whether he’s worth a potential flex play or merely a bench stash if Funchess were to get injured.
Which Carolina Defense will show up this game?
The Bengals are without their blossoming second-year RB Joe Mixon, so their 13th ranked rushing attack by DVOA may not be what appears on the field come Sunday. However, RB Gio Bernard is a very skilled pass catcher, arguably more so than Mixon, so the Bengals could rely more on their 6th ranked passing game. In their first game against Dallas, the Panthers defense looked lethal. Last week against the Falcons, certainly not as prolific.By DVOA, they rank 18th in rushing defense and 26th in passing defense, which suggests they’re more like what we saw week 2 than week 1. From a more standard approach, they’ve allowed 4.9 yards per rushing attempt (albeit against RB Zeke Elliott and RB Tevin Coleman) and 7.8 yards per pass attempt.