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The fantasy life: Ravens vs. Bengals start and and sit

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Life is just a fantasy, can you live this fantasy life?

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Some players are must starts (Aaron Rodgers, Alvin Kamara, and Rob Gronkowski to name a few), but here we work to give you value and over-performers, depending on what type of fantasy format you are playing. At this point we are breaking up start/sit for Thursday and Sunday/Monday games. We apologize to those who must have complete lineups in by Thursday’s game.

Matt Phillips is a multiple fantasy football champion, and co-host of the podcast “Pigskin Dynasty: Your Podcast for All Things Fantasy Football”. You can find him on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Podbean, and other podcast mediums. He also has live episodes on Facebook every Sunday morning at 9:00 am EST.

If you are anything like me, week one was full of surprises. Who, for example, knew Ryan Fitzpatrick would be the fantasy quarterback stud? Was it not supposed to be Drew Brees that left that game with all the points? (He was second best FWIW...)

According to ESPN, Fitzpatrick was barely a roster participant, showing in just 1.15 percent of ESPN leagues. Of those, only 0.47 percent had him in their starting lineups. Also surprising was the production from Patrick Mahomes, Tyrod Taylor, DeSean Jackson, and Will Dissly. Mostly, however, the usual suspects found themselves delivering.

How did we do?

  • We are sorry for Andy Dalton and Russell Wilson, but you are welcome for Jimmy Garoppolo and Dak Prescott.
  • We are sorry for Peyton Barber and Jordan Howard, but you are welcome for James Conner and LeSean McCoy (we were strong predicting running backs).
  • We are sorry for Chris Hogan and Mike Evans, but you are welcome for Amari Cooper and Josh Gordon (we need to do better at wide receiver).
  • While we didn’t give you Jared Cook to start at tight end, we did a good job in both starts and sits for this position, hurt a bit by Delanie Walker getting injured, significant enough to be place on IR.

Do not bail on us after only one week! Tonight’s game has some intriguing options to consider for your fantasy roster.

Besides, this is a true revenge game, right? Some folks have to step up.

Start

QB Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

I was all in on Andy Dalton last week, projecting 279 yards and 3 touchdowns. He ended up posting 243 with 2 touchdowns and one interception. Is it a win? Well, I was close regarding his stats, but considering how others performed I could have given you a better start.

I expect this game to be a shootout, and Dalton has the tools to succeed. Joe Mixon proved to be a capable back, something I said last week would help the Red Rifle. A.J. Green should build off of his week one 6-92-1 performance, and I also look for John Ross to be a bigger impact.

Projection: 265 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception.

QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Yes, I’m starting both quarterbacks!

Flacco did play against one of the worst defenses last week, but man he looked good posting 236 yards and a three-touchdown performance in the heavy rain!

Current forecast call for light rain but I think he can match that performance in a game I expect to be more competitive. While I do think Dalton has a better cast, Flacco may see more touchdown options due to a weaker running game. Nevertheless, Flacco for Daily leagues is a strong play, especially when stacking him with Michael Crabtree as they combine for a nice salary of 10,900 dollars according to Draft Kings.

Projection 252 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception.

RB Javarious Allen, Baltimore Ravens

Alex Collins looked good and got a touchdown in his third run on opening drive against the Bills. Then he fumbled and didn’t get another touch until the third quarter.

I have a strong feeling Allen is the back to start! He touched the ball more than Collins, and Keenan Dixon is expected to be out with a knee injury. His pricing for Daily is low, so take the chance. In standard PPR leagues he might be a strong flex play if you are looking for options.

Projection: 15 total touches, 4 catches, 70 yards, 1 touchdown.

RB Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Like there was any hesitation in starting Mixon!

Opening week saw him get 22 touches, 149 yards, and a touchdown. That stat line is amazing. Watch him closely as he may become a weekly must start. As I noted, the game should see some rain, potentially allowing the Bengals to lean on their running game.

I think Mixon is going to be a beast during this game and is strong start in all formats.

Projection: 120 total yards, 2 touchdowns.

WR John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals

John Ross finally showed up!

Targeted only twice, he made the most of it, scoring on a nice fade to him last week for his only catch. I believe he will eventually solidify himself as WR2 behind Green. I know he only had one catch, but I am putting my credibility on the line that he will see more targets.

Ross is fast and can easily take a slant to the house. If you are looking for value in Daily leagues, John Ross Is a sneaky play. I also think he finds the end zone making him a decent flex in standard PPR leagues.

Projection: 4 catches, 52 yards, 1 touchdown.

WR Willie Snead, Baltimore Ravens

He reminds me a lot of Steve Smith, and had a pretty decent stat line of 4 catches from 6 targets for 49 yards and a touchdown. He is technically third in depth chart but saw the most targets. I don’t think this was a fluke.

Projection: 4 catches 65 yards and a touchdown.

Bengals AND Ravens D/ST

I do believe this game will be a shoot out, but last week both defenses were still able to get sacks and turnovers. In a game like this, it usually ends with a key turnover or touchdown which I expect to happen. Dalton and Flacco are accustomed to making at least one poor decision.

I am confident both defenses are worth starting regardless of the possible points allowed.

Projections: Bengals defense projections: 20 points allowed, 3 sacks, 1 interception. Ravens defense, 24 points allowed, 4 sacks, and 1 interception.

K Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens

Most accurate kicker in the game, plays on a team whose offense seems to move the ball but never punches it in. Will have plenty of opportunities to score points.

Last week I had him at 3 field goals and 2 extra points. I just missed as he was one field goal shy.

Projection: 2 field goals and 2 extra points.

Sit

RB Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens

Yes, I know he is going to the be starting running back for the Ravens, but I believe he won’t produce starting running back numbers. Allen appear to be the more producing back and had more touches. As mentioned before, Collins fumbled the ball in the first quarter and didn’t see another touch until the start of third-quarter.

Allen is also a better receiver, which I love for my running backs. Allen’s much cheaper and I believe he will produce bigger numbers.

Projection: 11 total touches, 2 catches, 43 total yards.

WR Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals

He out-targeted John Ross by three, but I think he gets less (see my John Ross “start”).

The question is whether you want to bet on an underneath threat, or a big play threat? At this moment, unless someone gets injured Boyd’s stat line is touchdown dependent. Look for Ross to see that big play potential as the Ravens try to take away Green

Boyd might get some looks, but he is not getting the points.

Projection: 3 catches, 29 yards.

TE Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals

He is touchdown dependent on this offense! I do not like touchdown or bust players. Last week the Ravens held Charles Clay to zero catches. While that might not happen again, I don’t expect a good game from Eifert.

Projection: 4 catches, 31 yards.

TE Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

I love Mark Andrews coming out of the draft, and I believe his potential to be a great tight end has a high ceiling. However, I don’t expect him to have a good fantasy season this year.

He had three catches for 31 yards last week, and I believe that is his ceiling for right now. Hold off on Andrews for the present, but keep your eye on him and be prepared to grab him off the waiver wire.

Projection: 3 catches, 27 yards.

K Randy Bullock, Cincinnati Bengals

He was perfect last week, hitting both field goal attempts and all four extra points. But he is a kicker that has been on five different teams since joining the league in 2013. Be wary of such a journeyman.

Projection: 1-for-2 field goals and 3 extra points.