Kickoff: Thursday, September 29th, 8:15 PM ET
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
Betting Odds: CIN -4, 47.0 total via PFF.com
Network: Amazon Prime Video
Writer: Estevão Maximo. (@estevao_maximo on Twitter)
Tua Tagovailoa (Start, QB1)
Tua Tagovailoa QB1 may be surprising to some people, but if you’ve been paying attention for three weeks, you’re not among them. The former top-5 pick has been one of the more prolific passers in the entire league in this young season.
The Dolphins are a perfect example of how terrible o-line play will completely handcuff your offense. The ‘Fins’ passing attack has taken a massive leap in Net Yards per Passing Attempt* going from 5.6 in 2021 to 8.0 in 2022, that mark last year was good for 26th in the league, while they rank second in this young campaign.
The addition of Tyreek Hill and the new scheme under Mike McDaniel are certainly big factors as well, but the o-line no longer being by far the worst in football cannot be understated.
Tua Tagovailoa leads the NFL in QBR (82.9), and is top 5 in both completion percentage (71.9%), and passing touchdowns (8).
*Net Yards per Passing Attempt calculates passing yards per attempt while also factoring in lost yards on sacks.
Chase Edmonds (Start, Flex), Raheem Mostert (Sit)
If you listen to our podcast, among the many frustrating aspects of Week 3, the Chase Edmonds quote-unquote breakout game after fellow QB List writers Erik Smith and Ryan Heath finally gave him the sit label after over a year of unwavering support, was definitely one of the main ones.
Mike McDaniel had deferred to Raheem Mostert in red zone touches through the first two weeks, but with the former Niner being unable to score in either, it was Edmonds who got those opportunities against the Bills, and he capitalized on them, in a day when the Dolphins got shattered in time of possession, but still came out victorious.
Unfortunately for both Edmonds and Mostert shareholders, any sense of clarity in this backfield is unlikely in the near future, with both backs getting a pretty evenly split snap share, with Edmonds at 31.0 and Moster at 29.3.
Since neither back is doing much damage on the ground averaging under 3.5 yards-per-carry, they’re both TD-dependant desperation flex, and since Edmonds got the red zone work in the last game, and found the end zone twice, he gets the nod between the two, but I’d look at other options before starting him in your flex spot if you can.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyreek Hill (Start, WR1), Jaylen Waddle (Start, WR1/2) Cedrick Wilson (Sit), River Cracraft (Sit), Mike Gesicki (Sit)
The expectation heading into the year was that Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill would dominate the targets as one of, if not the best one-two punch of wide receivers in all of football, but even with those expectations in mind, the disparity has been astounding.
Through three games, Hill and Waddle are combining for 659 of the Dolphinns’ 925 receiving yards, with the third best mark on the team being Chase Edmonds who’s averaging 18 receiving yards per game.
It’s a little presumptuous to label two wide receivers on the same team as WR1, but how can you not at this point? Waddle is keeping up with Hill’s elite production getting 29 targets to the former Chief’s’ 30, and also averaging over 100 receiving yards per game.
If you have any other of the Dolphins’ playmakers on your roster, then you’re out of luck. Mike Gesicki continues to be buried in a role that doesn’t fit his abilities, and is a sit for the foreseeable future despite a decent showing in week 2, while River Cracraft and Cedrick Wilson are combining for six targets on the season, not in the last week when Cracraft made his two catches in the end zone, but over the entire season.
Joe Burrow (Start, QB1)
The Bengals’ standout QB came into the 2022 season with the hopes of not running for his life, at least not as often as he had to in 2021, under a revamped offensive line, and with the return of one of the more elite skill position groups in the sport. However, that hasn’t been the case.
Joe Burrow has been the most sacked quarterback in this young season, having been taken down 15 times already, but Zac Taylor seemed to right the ship a little bit in Week 3 with Burrow having his first turnover-free game of the year throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns against the Jets.
The Dolphins’ defense is notorious for its exotic blitzes, but they’ve also been rather vulnerable allowing the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks on the season. There’s the small caveat of going up against possibly the two best quarterbacks in the sport right now in Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen, but it’s not like the Bengals’ offense is your run-of-the-mill passing attack
Joe Mixon (Start, RB1)
Joe Mixon is averaging fewer than 3.0 yards-per-carry on the year. Take a moment to let that sink in. That’s the concerning part, but the Bengals’ running back still leads the league in touches with 71, and in an environment where bell cows are becoming extinct, he’s most definitely an RB1 when healthy.
Samaje Perine got most of the work in the fourth quarter last week as Mixon nursed a small issue, but Taylor said hell be ready to go against the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.
Mixon is also bound for some TD regression, having not found the end zone so far in 2022, surrounding a score to Perine that caught a TD from Joe Burrow on a broken play in the first half against the Jets. It was unfortunate for Mixon’s managers, and not really indicative of a pattern moving forward, as he carries 20 targets and over 100 receiving yards through three weeks.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Ja’Marr Chase (Start, WR1), Tee Higgins (Start, WR2), Tyler Boyd (Sit-flex), Hayden Hurst (Start, TE2)
Need not worry, Ja’Marr Chase is fine. The Bengals’ standout receiver set the bar so high with three touchdown games in last season, that this start to 2022 may feel lukewarm to some, but Chase still carries 35 targets and has been looked at at least nine times in each game.
Chase is still the lead dog in the pecking order, and only 21 receptions in 35 targets shouldn’t last through the whole year. Tee Higgins has done the most with his targets trailing Chase only by 21 receiving yards with fewer targets than Mixon.
Tyler Boyd is an interesting receiver, but with those two hogging the looks, and Hayden Hurst proving to be an upgrade at tight end, having caught 11 of 17 looks, good for fourth on the team, Boyd is relegated to desperation flex status, even in a matchup with shootout potential against the Dolphins.
Tight end is an even bigger wasteland than many anticipated at this point, and although Hurst has only 77 yards on the year and hasn’t found the end zone yet, the former Falcon has been getting consistent looks in a productive offense, which is good enough for TE2 status.
Me likey your sit/starts for each game big time. Mark Borezo