Last updated: September 18th at 4:48pm ET.
Team Totals: Bills 25, Bengals 19
This is a near-full-fade spot for Cincinnati skill guys with the Bengals’ offensive line in absolute shambles facing a Bills defense that ranks top ten in QB hits (14) and has allowed a league-low 4.6 yards per pass attempt. Just three games on Sunday’s slate have lower totals than Bengals-Bills, rendering Andy Dalton an uninteresting play outside of deep two-quarterback leagues. … Gutting out a low-ankle sprain, Joe Mixon looked more sharp on his Week 2 touches than the box score suggests, losing nearly 50 yards due to holding calls. But the reality is Cincinnati’s front five struggles to block anyone without breaking rules, and Mixon logged just 14 touches on 55% of the snaps versus Giovani Bernard’s seven touches and 39% playing-time clip. At Buffalo, Mixon is a low-floor RB2/flex play as a road-dog RBBC leader in an offense that appears unlikely to score many Week 3 points. In season-long leagues, I wouldn’t be opposed to selling low on Mixon due to his timeshare usage in a situation that probably won’t get much better. No offensive line has created fewer yards before contact per carry (0.1) than Cincinnati two weeks in.
Dalton’s target distribution: Tyler Boyd 21; John Ross 20; Tyler Eifert 11; Mixon and Damion Willis 8; Alex Erickson 7; Bernard 6; C.J. Uzomah 5; Auden Tate and Drew Sample 3. … Second in the NFL in receptions (19), Boyd catches Cincinnati’s softest Week 3 draw versus Buffalo’s zone, which is willing to concede short completions in exchange for restricting long gains. Boyd ran 66% of his Week 2 routes inside, where the Bills are underequipped minus slot CB Taron Johnson (hamstring). Boyd’s monster Week 2 could have been even bigger had he not lost a fourth-quarter TD on OL Billy Price’s hold. … Although Ross’ 4.22 speed and voluminous usage remain worthy of season-long WR3 bets, this is a tough on-paper spot versus Sean McDermott’s strict-disciplined zone. Much of Ross’ Weeks 1-2 success was built on coverage busts and garbage-time sprints. Buffalo has yielded just one completion of 20-plus yards to an enemy wide receiver two games in. … The Bengals’ tight end situation should be ignored until something changes. Uzomah drew five Week 1 targets, then none in Week 2. Eifert scored a Week 2 touchdown but ran just 12 routes as second-round rookie Sample got more involved.
Fresh off last week’s QB7 fantasy result, this is another smash spot for Josh Allen facing a Bengals pass defense previously-struggling Jimmy Garoppolo lit on Week 2 fire for three touchdowns and 297 yards. By Jimmy G and Russell Wilson, Cincinnati has been blowtorched for 11.0 yards per pass attempt – second most behind tanking Miami – as well as a 5:1 TD-to-INT ratio and 69.6% completion rate. Bills OC Brian Daboll’s full embrace of Allen’s rushing utilization supports Allen’s floor and ceiling; only Lamar Jackson (19) has more quarterback carries through two weeks than Allen’s 17, and Allen’s six-yard rushing TD in Week 2 came on a designed sweep. Allen is viable in both DFS cash games and tournaments in this plum draw. … Devin Singletary’s hamstring pull seems likely to sideline him for at least one game, thrusting Frank Gore into lead-back duties with T.J. Yeldon behind him. Gore’s typical lack of big-play ability theoretically caps his ceiling, but Daboll showed a willingness to feed him big volume with 21 touches on 61% of last week’s snaps, and this week’s matchup couldn’t get juicier. Fielding the worst linebacker play in the league, Cincinnati was throttled for 56/302/3 (5.39 YPC) rushing by Seahawks and 49ers backs in Weeks 1-2. If Singletary indeed sits, Gore will be an unsexy if awfully tempting RB2/flex play favored at home by nearly a touchdown in this best-case-scenario matchup.
Allen’s target distribution: John Brown 18; Cole Beasley 13; Zay Jones 8; Dawson Knox 6; Tommy Sweeney and Patrick DiMarco 3; Gore, Isaiah McKenzie, and Robert Foster 2. … This is a gorgeous matchup for Brown after Cincinnati conceded monster pass plays of 44TD yards (Tyler Lockett), 42 (D.K. Metcalf), 39 (Deebo Samuel), 39 (Raheem Mostert), 38 (Marquise Goodwin), and 36 (George Kittle) in the first two weeks. Ninth in the NFL in Air Yards (243), Brown is again a must-play in DFS-tournament stacks with Allen. … Beasley is Buffalo’s only other fantasy-viable pass catcher, and 51 of his team-high 83 yards last week occurred on an uncovered second-quarter play against the hapless Giants. Beasley still logged only 50% of the Bills’ Week 2 offensive snaps and is a WR3/flex option versus Cincinnati.
Score Prediction: Bills 27, Bengals 17