Last updated: September 5th at 1:11pm ET.
Team Totals: Seahawks 26.75, Bengals 17.25
The Seahawks are my favorite Week 1 team stack with Russell Wilson, Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett, and Seattle’s Jadeveon Clowney– and Ziggy Ansah-infused defense as core components. Although Wilson has a slow-start reputation after the Seahawks struggled to figure out their early-season pass protection in past years, 2019’s club returns 4-of-5 starters up front and enters season two post-Tom Cable, the league’s worst offensive line coach. No AFC team allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks than Cincinnati last year, and only four clubs served up more QB rushing yards. Wilson is due for positive regression in the latter metric after failing to score a single rushing TD for the first time in his seven-year career. … Top five in the NFL in rushing despite missing two games last season, Carson easily held off 2018 first-round disappointment Rashaad Penny and should trample Cincinnati as a near-double-digit home favorite. Per multiple beat reports, Seattle’s coaching staff has made a philosophical shift toward throwing to running backs more, and Pete Carroll identified Carson as one of the best pass catchers on the team. Last year’s Bengals served up the NFL’s fourth-most receiving yards per game to backs (56.3), and this year’s linebacker corps of Preston Brown, Jordan Evans, and Nick Vigil is among pro football’s worst. Per ViSN’s Mike Lombardi, Seattle under Carroll is 14-0 with a +198 point differential in September home games. Fearless Establish The Run rankings guru Pat Thorman placed Carson as a top-five RB1 play on the week.
Injuries to D.K. Metcalf (knee) and David Moore (shoulder) secure slot man Lockett’s target share after Lockett destroyed on 2018 interior routes, catching 26-of-29 slot targets for 454 yards (17.5 YPR) and five TDs. The Bengals lost physical slot CB Darqueze Dennard (knee surgery) to PUP and in his place will trot out B.W. Webb, who is on his eighth NFL team. … Metcalf will try to play despite having his knee scoped in late August. His usage and effectiveness are entirely up in the air, and it’s possible he will be limited to a decoy role running clear-out routes on the perimeter. … Jaron Brown re-signed with the team on Monday after being released at final cuts and figures to play the second-most snaps in Seattle’s wideout corps. Albeit a substandard talent who commanded just 19 of Wilson’s targets in 16 games last year, Brown is an opportunity-based dart throw at or near the minimum on DFS sites. … I expect seventh-round pick John Ursua to open the season as the Seahawks’ No. 4 receiver, playing a slot role across from Lockett with Metcalf and Brown outside in four-receiver 10 personnel looks. Ursua caught 4-of-4 preseason targets from Wilson for 100 yards. He should be rostered in Dynasty and deep PPR leagues. … Tight end jobs are also up for grabs between 2018 early-season star Will Dissly and jack-of-many-trades, master-of-none Nick Vannett with Ed Dickson (knee) sidelined. Dissly might be more interesting if he weren’t coming off a patellar tendon tear.
DFS players interested in Seahawks team stacks shoulder consider “bringing it back” with Tyler Boyd, a lock to dominate Andy Dalton’s targets in ex-Rams assistant Zac Taylor’s Cooper Kupp ian slot role with A.J. Green (ankle) sidelined and UDFA rookie Damion Willis starting outside. The Bengals look likely to play from behind as nearly two-score underdogs on the road, while Seattle was desperate enough at slot corner to trade for Parry Nickerson at final cuts after losing slot maven Justin Coleman to Detroit in free agency. The Bengals’ offensive-line depletion should encourage Taylor to dial up short, high-percentage, chain-moving passes to Boyd. … In 16 career games sans Green, Dalton has a 16:13 TD-to-INT ratio and averages 226 yards per start. He’s a poor two-quarterback-league option at The Clink. … Joe Mixon’s bad news is Cincinnati lost first-round LT Jonah Williams (shoulder, I.R.), LG Clint Boling (retirement), and possible fill-in LG Christian Westerman (retirement), while 2018 first-round C Billy Price got benched in camp and LT Cordy Glenn is in concussion protocol. Mixon’s good news is he was last year’s RB9 in per-game PPR scoring behind a similarly poor line and draws a Seahawks front missing DE Frank Clark (Chiefs) and DT Jarran Reed (suspension). Mixon is entrenched as a low-end RB1 and contrarian DFS play. … Giovani Bernard opens 2019 as one of fantasy’s top handcuffs, especially after landing a two-year, $10.3 million commitment from the Bengals just before Week 1. No. 3 back Trayveon Williams (foot) is expected to miss the opener, and No. 4 back Rodney Anderson tore his ACL in the preseason finale.
Perhaps comeback mode as lopsided road dogs will propel a non-Boyd Bengals pass catcher to outkick expectations, but generally these are fantasy situations to avoid. Cincy’s tight end target share between C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Eifert, and rookie Drew Sample is to be determined, while Willis and injury-plagued John Ross project as starters outside. Willis is my sleeper from the ancillaries if forced to pick. Starting for A.J. Green, Willis ran 4.48/4.50 forty times at 6-foot-3, 204 at Troy’s Pro Day after ranking seventh nationally in receptions of 40-plus yards as a senior and averaging 15.6 yards per catch. Seahawks LCB Shaquill Griffin and RCB Tre Flowers each allowed passer ratings of over 100 when targeted in 2018.
Score Prediction: Seahawks 27, Bengals 13