The Cincinnati Bengals spent the offseason adding to what appeared to be an impressive group of offensive skill players. A team that already came equipped with star wideout A.J. Green and red zone beast Tyler Eifert approached the 2017 NFL Draft like a fantasy football owner, spending the ninth overall pick on speedy wide receiver John Ross and the 48th pick on running back Joe Mixon. Things were looking promising for Andy Dalton and company before the regular season came calling and swiftly pummeled Cincinnati into an 0-2 hole. Two games, eight quarters, and 120 minutes of football into the 2017 season, the Bengals are the proud owners of zero touchdowns after falling to the visiting Houston Texans 13-9 on Thursday night.
As was the case in Week 1, Andy Dalton simply couldn’t get the Cincinnati offense moving consistently, missing numerous throws as the Bengals settled for three field goals on the night. Dalton’s struggles limited A.J. Green to just five receptions on eight targets, a stat line that was created primarily on the back of a 50-yard reception. Green has seen a healthy 18 targets in two weeks, but the quality of the targets is what should be concerning Green owners with Dalton looking lost under center. Tyler Eifert managed three catches for 42 yards on four targets in this matchup, but watched Brandon LaFell and Alex Erickson combine for 13 targets in yet another dismal offensive performance. The Cincinnati rushing attack didn’t fare much better, led by rookie Joe Mixon’s 36 yards on nine attempts. Mixon was more productive than Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard on Thursday, but all three players will continue to be involved in this backfield until the lead role is officially handed to the rookie as the season progresses. Things may look bleak in Cincinnati, but don’t worry Bengals fans, a trip to Lambeau Field awaits in Week 3!
The Houston offense didn’t look considerably more impressive than their opposition in this contest, but rookie Deshaun Watson made just enough plays to grind out a win in his first NFL start. Watson completed 15 of 24 passes for 125 yards but his wheels did the heavy lifting as he motored into the end zone for the only touchdown of the evening on a nifty 49-yard run just before halftime. Watson is far from polished as an NFL passer and completed passes to just four players on Thursday night, including only two wide receivers. One of those receivers has proven to be a security blanket for Watson early this season, as 13 of Watson’s 24 pass attempts were tossed in the direction of DeAndre Hopkins. Nuk hauled in seven of those 13 targets for 73 yards and has now seen a ridiculous 29 targets in two games while operating as the only remotely attractive fantasy option in the Houston offense.
The Texans went with a new starting quarterback in Week 2 and also used a different running back rotation, handing rookie D’Onta Foreman 12 carries after the youngster saw just one attempt Houston’s season opener. Lamar Miller ran the ball 18 times for 61 yards as he and Foreman rotated behind Watson, leaving both players in a nearly even timeshare in an offense that won’t provide many scoring opportunities. Miller still deserves starting consideration in fantasy leagues but his shine is wearing off quickly. Foreman should be added where available for running back-hungry squads but this offense won’t inspire much confidence in the fantasy world unless Watson progresses in a hurry.
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Texans at Bengals Quick Slants
Braxton Miller caught two of three targets for 10 yards on Thursday as Deshaun Watson was locked-on to Hopkins. Steer clear of Texans’ receiving options outside of Nuk. … Rookie John Ross made his NFL debut, only to be benched after losing a fumble early in the game. Better days will be ahead for Ross as long as Dalton gets his game back on track. … Jeremy Hill received six carries for the second-straight week, but spun them into just 17 yards. Hill’s role should decrease as the winter months arrive and Mixon becomes more comfortable in the NFL. … Alex Erickson caught four of six targets for 62 yards in an effort that helped zero fantasy teams.
In Other News…
Odell Beckham’s troublesome ankle was back in the news on Thursday as Eli Manning’s top target was officially “limited” at practice. Beckham has an extra day to heal with the Giants set to face Detroit on Monday, but fantasy owners will be in a bind with Beckham likely holding a “questionable” tag heading into a prime time game for a second consecutive week. Considering that Beckham warmed up prior to Week 1 and appeared to be at least close to returning, his Week 2 status should be viewed with positivity at this point although the ankle injury is reportedly a 6-8 week issue, according to Beckham himself. With the injury occurring roughly a month ago, that would put the first-round fantasy pick on the back nine of his recovery as he attempts to make his season debut. Eli Manning and the Giants did their best Bengals impression in Week 1, failing to find the end zone in a disappointing offensive showing. Stay tuned to Rotoworld for updates over the weekend, but hopefully Manning will get rolling with his most dynamic weapon back in the starting lineup.
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Jamison Crowder (hip) struggled in Week 1 but is now practicing fully in preparation for Week 2. Crowder should bounce back nicely against the Rams. … Danny Amendola (knee, concussion) missed practice on Thursday and looks like a long shot to suit up this weekend. Chris Hogan should shine with Amendola out in a prime matchup against New Orleans. … Danny Woodhead (hamstring) was officially placed on injured reserve on Thursday, meaning the PPR wonder will be out until after Baltimore’s Week 10 bye. Fantasy footballers who scooped up Buck Allen should benefit in the meantime. … John Brown (quad) did not practice on Thursday and should be monitored as Sunday approaches. … Golden Tate (finger) was limited at practice on Thursday but should be ready to roll on Monday against the New York Giants.
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