Kickoff: Saturday, December 24th, at 1:00 PM EST
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Betting Odds: CIN -3, 41.5 total via Oddsshark
Writer: Matthew Cava (@cavaM_ Twitter & Reddit)
Joe Burrow (Start, QB1)
Entering Week 16 with a 31:10 passing touchdown to interception ratio, Joe Burrow orchestrated a comeback win down 17-3 at halftime against Tampa Bay last week. Burrow completed 27 of 39 attempts for 200 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. The four-TD effort was his second of the season (back in Week 11 against the Steelers), and his 10th multi-touchdown game on the year. The Patriots’ defense isn’t easy, as they rank in the middle of the pack allowing the 15th fewest fantasy points to QBs this year, but Burrow is a set-it-and-forget-it QB1.
Joe Mixon (Start, RB2), Samaje Perine (Sit)
Since a Week 10 BYE – and to be fair, he missed Weeks 12 and 13 – Joe Mixon hasn’t been a driving force in the Bengals’ offensive output. Fantasy owners who likely drafted him as an RB1 in the summer, are getting an RB2 return most weeks. It doesn’t help either that Samaje Perine is eating into his touches. The New England defense won’t make Mixon’s life any easier, as they have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs on the year. FantasyData projects Mixon to finish as the RB12 on the week in full-PPR leagues.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Ja’Marr Chase (Start, WR1), Tee Higgins (Start, WR2), Tyler Boyd (Sit), Hayden Hurst (Sit)
The Patriots are allowing the ninth fewest fantasy points to WRs on the year, but the duo of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins aren’t the easiest of assignments. Last week against the Bucs, Chase was targeted 13 times, catching seven passes for 60 yards and a score. Higgins – hamstring injury and all – caught five of his eight targets for 33 yards, a touchdown, and a 2pt-conversion. Higgins has now scored in three straight games, keeping him in the WR2 camp, and Chase pegs to be a consistent WR1. Tyler Boyd got involved in the party as well against Tampa Bay, catching all five of his target for 35 yards and a touchdown. However, he’s third in the pecking order for Burrow, and unless you’re in a bind, you should look to sit him. Otherwise, he’s a touchdown-dependent WR3 most weeks. Hayden Hurst has missed the last two games with a calf injury but did log a limited practice on Tuesday, which could bode well for his ability to return this week. Even so, at this stage you’ve likely found an alternate option at TE, and thus can leave Hurst on the wire.
New England Patriots
Mac Jones (Sit)
Rumor has it Mac Jones is still trying to reach the surface after the vicious, game-ending stiff-arm suffered from Chandler Jones last week. 2022 has been really poor for Jones compared to his rookie year, as he owns a 7:8 passing touchdown to interception ratio, and has only thrown for 2,310 yards. The New England offense relies on their run game, and so Jones hasn’t had fantasy relevancy all season in single-QB leagues, and won’t again this week against the Bengals.
Rhamondre Stevenson (Start, RB1), Damien Harris (Sit)
Ankle injury be damned. Rhamondre Stevenson exited Week 14 after hurting his ankle, went on to be deemed ready enough for Week 15, and then went on to turn 19 carries into 172 yards and a touchdown against Las Vegas. It was his second 100+ yard rushing effort on the year, and given his weekly volume alone, will remain on the RB1 radar. The Bengals aren’t an easy defense to run against, as they’ve allowed the 10th fewest fantasy points to ‘backs on the year. Damien Harris logged a limited practice session on Tuesday, but he did the same last week and was ultimately ruled out on Saturday afternoon. If he’s actually active this week against Cincinnati, he’ll eat into Stevenson’s workload a bit, but not enough to warrant a spot in your starting lineup.
Wide Receivers/Tight End
Jakobi Meyers (Sit), Nelson Agholor (Sit), Hunter Henry (Sit)
Jakobi Meyers was the catalyst of the epic loss last week, but even before that went down, Meyers only caught two of six targets for 47 yards and a 2pt-conversion. Hampered by his QB’s play, he doesn’t hold relevancy in the Semis’ this week. It’s also worth noting that Meyers has been tagged as limited in practice this week so far with a concussion, which is odd considering he played the entire game last week having cleared the concussion protocol. Nelson Agholor also remains off the fantasy radar as he has all season. Tight end Hunter Henry sees a handful of targets on a weekly basis, but he’s not seeing enough looks to warrant a spot in your lineup.