After a wild opening weekend, the NFL already is back.
Week 2 gets underway with a “Thursday Night Football” matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans, two teams looking to rebound after disappointing losses in Week 1.
Although the Bengals and the Texans both boast a plethora of talented players, neither team has a surefire fantasy stud. Still, fantasy football often comes down to matchups, and there are some points to be had in Thursday night’s game at Paul Brown Stadium.
Whether you’re playing a daily fantasy sports contest or making a last-minute roster move in your season-long league, here’s who we think you should start and sit Thursday night:
TEXANS VS. BENGALS
Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals. Injury history and a frustrating tendency to be boom-or-bust has prevented Eifert from becoming the true fantasy star many projected him to be. Still, he’s among the most talented tight ends in the game, and should find some open space in the middle of the field, especially with Texans linebacker Brian Cushing out with a suspension. We expect him to score at least one touchdown Thursday, and anything else is gravy.
Lamar Miller, RB, Texans. Miller perhaps will benefit most from having a rookie quarterback under center — assuming reports about Deshaun Watson starting are true. A legitimate dual-threat back, Miller should see plenty of action in the passing game, as Watson likely will be forced into plenty of check downs. We don’t expect massive numbers from Miller, but enough to make him a worthy RB2.
Bengals D/ST. For as bad as the Bengals’ offense looked Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, their defense actually played quite well. This is an athletic, aggressive unit that should be fired up to play in front of its home crowd after such an ugly start to the season. None of this bodes well for Watson, who, while talented, is in a tough spot making his first NFL start.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans. Listen: Hopkins is, without doubt, one of the most talented receivers in the game. But the Texans’ revolving door at quarterback — which stops on a rookie this week — has limited his fantasy upside. While he’s always a threat to make a big play, we expect the Bengals to blanket Hopkins throughout the game, making him an iffy fantasy start.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans. A day may come when Watson is a fantasy stud, but it’s not happening this week. He’s too inexperienced, his offensive line is too porous and the Bengals are motivated and ready force him into mistakes. If he’s on your team, keep him on the bench.
Bengals running backs. Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon both are talented backs — especially Mixon. But it’s too difficult at this point to forecast who will be the bell cow of the Bengals offense — Mixon had eight carries against the Ravens to Bernard’s seven and Jeremy Hill’s six. And although the Texans’ defensive front looked iffy against Jacksonville Jaguars rookie back Leonard Fournette on Sunday, it’s still a talented unit. We need to see more games before we’re ready to start anyone in the Bengals’ backfield.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images