Cincinnati Bengals @ Philadelphia Eagles
Both teams came into this game winless, and both teams will leave that way. This was a tough game to watch, with both offensive lines struggling to provide their quarterback time to throw or their running backs any lanes to run in. Carson Wentz continued to struggle with ball security, throwing two interceptions and almost losing a fumble. Joe Burrow did well working with what he had, but frequently he was forced to either check the ball down or throw it away. The Bengals had a seven-point lead late, but Wentz was able to rally and lead the Eagles down the field to tie the game, scoring the touchdown himself on a scramble after avoiding a sack. In overtime, neither team got much going, with the closest the game to ending being a horrible throw from Wentz that should have been a game-winning interception but was dropped. The Eagles had a chance to kick a 59-yard field goal late in overtime to win the game, but after a false start penalty backed them up five yards they instead elected to punt rather than risk giving the Bengals a shorter field, albeit one with under 20 seconds left in the game. The punt worked, as the Bengals were unable to summon a miracle on the last play of the game. These teams tied, 23-23, and will both remain without a win heading into Week 4.
Joe Burrow: 31/44, 312 yards, 2 TDs, 8 sacks | 1 carry, -1 yard
Joe Burrow was under pressure for most of the game and he actually did well to only take 8 sacks. His offensive line looked completely overmatched, and aside from Tyler Boyd his receivers weren’t consistently creating separation. Still, Burrow looked pretty good and took care of the football. He was accurate and mostly took what the defense gave him, which mostly meant checking it down. His best play was a little spin move outside the pocket to avoid a sack before firing a nice throw downfield to his receiver, but the play was called back because the receiver stepped out of bounds before coming back in to make the catch. He briefly left the game after a late hit but didn’t appear any worse for wear after returning, even having a double-digit streak of completions. Both of Burrow’s touchdowns came on short passes, with the first being set up by a pretty fade that he threw to Auden Tate, allowing Tate to draw a defensive pass interference in the endzone. Overall, Burrow was impressive for a rookie making his third start. For fantasy purposes, the Bengals figure to be trailing in most of their games and they haven’t shown any hesitation in letting Burrow throw the ball a lot. He’s a solid streaming option going forward.
Joe Mixon: 17 carries, 49 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 16 yards
Giovani Bernard: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 55 yards
The Bengals offensive line also struggled in the running game which led to Joe Mixon frequently being met in the backfield. After he was stuffed on a few inside runs, the Bengals tried to get him involved on several toss plays, but there just wasn’t any running room for Mixon to find. On several runs, he had to fight through the first contact simply to get back to the line of scrimmage. Mixon could have salvaged his day on a goal-line carry, but unfortunately, he was stuffed and the Bengals opted to pass it in rather than give him another chance. Giovani Bernard had a key play, taking a screen pass 42 yards to convert a long third down and set up a field goal to extend Cincinnati’s lead to seven. He continues to siphon away third-down work from Mixon. It’s tough to have a lot of faith in Mixon right now, as the offensive line is crushing his upside as a runner and he’s losing too much passing down work to have a solid floor. If you drafted him, you’re starting him, but I would not be targeting Mixon as a buy-low option.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyler Boyd: 13 targets, 10 receptions, 125 yards
A.J. Green: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 36 yards
Tee Higgins: 9 targets, 5 receptions, 40 yards, 2 TDs
Auden Tate: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 29 yards
Drew Sample: 1 target, 1 reception, 1 yard
Tyler Boyd was targetted early and often, and aside from a miscommunication between him and Burrow on an option route, it seems the two are very much on the same page. Boyd did almost all of his work on short routes, mostly on routes over the middle but he did mix in a few out-breaking routes as well. He is locked in as a solid WR2, but his upside may be a bit limited. Tee Higgins got the start today, as John Ross was a healthy scratch, and asserted himself in the red zone as one of Burrow’s go-to options.
9️⃣ TO 8️⃣5️⃣
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) September 27, 2020
Higgins was wide-open on both of his touchdown catches and if he’s going to get close to the nine targets he saw today as well as end zone targets, then he is definitely worth rostering in fantasy leagues. The big rookie’s best reception may have been on the aforementioned play where Burrow spun to avoid pressure, and even though the reception ended up not counting Higgins did a good job of getting his feet down. He’s a big target, so it seems likely the Bengals want to get him involved around the goal line, and he’s a good compliment to Boyd’s skillset. A.J. Green saw a lot of Darius Slay today, which resulted in a slow day. He’s still involved in the offense, and I would feel comfortable starting him in a more favorable cornerback matchup. Auden Tate drew three targets in the end zone, failing to catch any of them but drawing a defensive pass interference to set up a touchdown on one of them. Drew Sample was a complete non-factor as the starting tight end just a week after Burrow targetted his tight ends very frequently. It’s possible that was just a product of the game plan, and I would hold onto Sample if you have the bench space to see how his role develops going forward.
Carson Wentz: 29/47, 225 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 3 sacks | 9 carries, 65 yards, 1 TD
Jalen Hurts: 2 carries, 8 yards
Carson Wentz needed to impress today to quiet down anxious Philadelphia fans, and unfortunately, he continued his tough start to the season. Wentz was off-target often, forcing his receivers to adjust to the ball instead of hitting them in stride. He missed Miles Sanders for an easy long touchdown on a wheel route, misplaced the ball on his second interception, and was very fortunate to not throw a third interception in overtime when an errant throw hit a defender in the hands. The positive takeaway for Wentz was his work on the ground, as even though the Cincinnati pass rush was able to pressure him frequently he was able to get out of the pocket and pick up yards with his feet. The most important of those runs was a scramble that resulted in the game-tying touchdown very late in the game.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) September 27, 2020
Today was the most Wentz has run since the 2017 season when he was an MVP candidate, and hopefully, this is a step in the right direction for Wentz to recapture that magic. He really needs to clean up his mechanics on his shorter throws because he’s throwing them too high at an unacceptable rate, and his deep ball looked off today as well, but if he can make up for it with his legs then he’s still a useable fantasy quarterback. His upcoming schedule is pretty brutal, so Wentz is a safe drop, but he’s someone to keep an eye on as a streaming option later in the season.
Miles Sanders: 18 carries, 95 yards | 8 targets, 4 receptions, 12 yards
Boston Scott: 3 carries, 5 yards | 1 target
Corey Clement: 3 carries, 8 yards
The good news for Miles Sanders is he looked good with the ball in his hands and he dominated the backfield touches. The bad news is the offensive line he’s playing behind looks terrible and his quarterback seems to have a hard time connecting on passes to him. Sanders could have had a really nice game if Wentz hadn’t overthrown him on a wheel route where Sanders easily burned the linebacker trying to cover him. Wentz missed a few short targets to Sanders as well, but it’s encouraging to at least see the targets. With injuries once again depleting the Eagles’ skill-position group, Sanders should get all the work he can handle going forward and appears to have put his pre-season injury completely behind him. Boston Scott and Corey Clement split the backup duties, with Clement coming in for a red zone possession, but neither was able to do anything with their limited touches.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Greg Ward: 11 targets, 8 receptions, 72 yards, 1 TD
DeSean Jackson: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards
Zach Ertz: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 70 yards
Dallas Goedert: 1 target, 1 reception, 7 yards
John Hightower: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 19 yards
Deontay Burnett: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards
DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert both left this game with injuries, and early reports are that Goedert at least will be out several weeks.
#Eagles TE Dallas Goedert, declared out today with an ankle injury, is expected to miss some time. He’ll have an MRI to determine the full extend of his ailment, but his status going forward is now in doubt.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 27, 2020
With two of their main playmakers shelved, the Eagles focused on the combination of Greg Ward and Zach Ertz in their passing game. Ertz looked like his usual reliable self, making several difficult catches in traffic including a nice one-handed grab, and he should be Wentz’s favorite target going forward if Goedert misses time. Ward emerged last season as a reliable slot receiver, and after taking a back seat to start the season he reappeared today to lead the team in receiving yards. His touchdown reception came towards the end of the first half on a blown coverage, but if the Eagles are going to be without several receivers going forward then Ward is worth an add because he’ll get targets out of necessity.
— QB List (@TheQBlist) September 27, 2020
Rookie John Hightower drew a defensive pass interference penalty and thanks to his speed he figures to be first in line to replace DeSean Jackson in the lineup should the veteran miss any time. He’s not worth a roster spot in most leagues, but in deeper leagues, he may be worth keeping an eye on and he makes for an intriguing DFS dart throw thanks due to his big-play upside.
-Dan Adams (@dadams0323)