Kickoff: Sunday, November 27th 1:00 Est
Location: Nissan Stadium, Nashville TN
Betting Odds: TEN +3, 42.5 O/U, per oddshark.com
Writer: Dustin Ludke (@theDunit13 on Twitter)
Joe Burrow (Start, QB1)
Joe Burrow hasn’t had his full complement of receivers for the past few weeks but has been playing well despite it. This past week he ended up just off the overall QB1 on the week. He had 355 yards and four touchdowns. He probably would have gotten to QB1 if not for the two interceptions. He now gets to continue that against the Titans who are giving up the sixth-most points to quarterbacks at 19.17. It’s a great matchup for Burrow who is trying to repeat as the AFC representative a the Super Bowl. He can be started as a QB1. He has seven games in that range on the season. It’s a great matchup and Burrow has four games with three or more passing touchdowns. He has eight touchdowns on the season but six of them have come in the two games against the Steelers. He has also had four rushing touchdowns on the season that have all come in the past six games. Trust Burrow.
Joe Mixon (Start, RB1) Samaje Perine (Sit, Flex)
Joe Mixon left the Week 11 game with a concussion. If he can’t go it will be Samaje Perine as the lead back for the Bengals. I’m assuming he will be back but watch practice reports.
The Bengals are facing the Titans who are giving up the sixth-fewest points to running backs. It’s not a great matchup for Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine. Mixon has been frustrating this season. he is playing on average over 70% of the team’s snaps but at times has seen low volume. He has four games under 15 carries. His fantasy value has been carried by his pass-catching work. He has 53 targets on the season. You can trust him as an RB2. He is averaging 3.83 yards per carry and has six rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns.
If Mixon can’t play I think Perine can be trusted as an RB2 play. If Mixon is starting I think Perine might get into the flex range but I’m not starting him.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Tee Higgins (Start, WR1), Tyler Boyd (Start, WR3), Hayden Hurst (Start if you must, TE2)
It’s very frustrating to not see Tee Higgins get into the end zone. Despite having 71 targets on the season, which is tied for 27th in the league, he only has three receiving touchdowns. He has done well being the true alpha while Ja’Marr Chase recovers from a hip injury. Higgins is coming off a 13 target, 9 reception 148 yard game against the Steelers in Week 11. He now faces the Titans who are giving up the third most fantasy points to wide receivers. Neither of the Titans’ starting corners rate over 65 on PFF.com in coverage. Thanksgiving isn’t the only day that Higgins will feast this week. Start him as a WR1.
Tyler Boyd is actually playing more snaps and running more routes than Higgins but isn’t seeing the level of opportunities he is. Boyd did have six targets in Week 11, catching two of them for 42 yards. Boyd needs a touchdown to get outside of the flex range. It’s happened four times this year. Given the great matchup, he could have a good day. I would start him as a WR3 in hopes he either gets a few more targets or a touchdown. Trenton Irwin ran 33 routes in Week 11 and played on 70% of the snaps. He only saw four targets and did get a touchdown but I’m not expecting that again from him. It’s the first time his name has been talked about in his three-year career.
Hayden Hurst looked poised to take the step out of the tight-end middling log jam but this week took a step back. After having three weeks of solid production and either being in or just outside the TE1 range he fell to a sit this past week. He now has the Titans who are giving up the fifteen most points to tight ends. It’s not a stellar matchup so I’m benching Hurst and looking for a better matchup.
Ryan Tannehill (Sit, QB2)
Ryan Tannehill came back after missing two games and has put any thought of Malik Willis to bed. Tannehill has the Titans firmly in the division lead and the race for the number-one seed overall in the AFC. He has played admirably having two touchdowns in each of the last two games. He draws the Bengals who are coming off a tough divisional win and in the hunt for their divisional title. The Bengals are giving up the twelfth fewest points to the quarterback at 12.77 according to FantasyData.com. It’s not a great matchup for Tannehill even with his good play so far this season. He will probably finish in the QB2 range but the upside isn’t there where I want to start him. He is a sit for me this week. He doesn’t have great receiving weapons and the team has a run-first scheme.
Derrick Henry (Start, RB1)
Just as the snow starts to pile up across the country so do the carries for Derrick Henry. The Titans rusher has seen over 20 carries in seven games this season including the Week 10 Thursday night matchup against the Packers. He now comes in with three extra days of rest and preparation and gets to take on the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are giving up the twelfth fewest points to running backs but that shouldn’t scare you off of King Henry. He is averaging 4.39 yards per carry and already has a league-leading ten touchdowns on the season. He was drafted as your RB1 and he has been that for you. The injury concerns are mute at this point. He is on pace for 391 carries, a number we haven’t seen anything close to since 2014 when DeMarco Murray has 392.
Dontrell Hilliard and Hassan Haskins are nothing more than a change of pace back. Neither has proven themselves as a true pass-catching back and are just handcuffs at this point. Hilliard can have a decent workload if the Titans can get a lead but that isn’t something I’m projecting in this game.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Robert Woods (Sit), Treylon Burks (Start, WR2) Austin Hooper (Sit)
The Titans have turned into a two-man show in the passing game. If you were holing out hope that wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine or tight end Austin Hooper could be fantasy relevant you should look elsewhere. Westbrook-Ikhine did run 27 routes which tied for the team lead. He only saw two targets after having eight targets, 5 receptions 119 yards, and two score days in Week 9. That seems to be the outlier in his season-long performance and you cant count on it. The same can be said for Hooper who only ran 14 routes that were tied with fellow tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo. Neither is seeing enough opportunities to be fantasy relevant.
Treylon Burks was back for his second game after missing four and posted eight targets, and seven receptions for 111 yards. This came while only playing on 50% of the team’s snaps but ran 21 routes. It’s what fantasy managers were expecting from Burks and it looks like he is finally able to step into the WR1 role on that team. He gets the bangles who are giving up the seventh fewest points to wide receivers. Despite that ranking, they do not have great corners. Burks will probably draw coverage from either Cam Taylor-Britt or Eli Apple. Both rate under 44 in coverage on PFF.com. Burks can be started as a solid WR2.
Robert Woods has come back to life after a very disappointing season start. He has seen seven targets in the past two games. He has caught two and then six of them over the past two weeks. In Week 11 he posted 69 yards to go with his six receptions. He gets a good matchup with probably having Apple covering him. If he draws coverage from Mike Hilton it could be worse for him but Hilton is normally covering the slot receiver and Woods only played 26% of his time in the slot. you can start Woods as a solid Flex play with WR3 upside. He is lacking touchdowns and the overall passing pie is down due to the team leaning on the run game but there is still enough volume to make Woods relevant.