Connor Allen

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Dose: Bengals' Backfield

Thursday, October 4, 2018


Week 5 is upon us and the NFL is more exciting than ever. Scoring is up over 40 touchdowns from the same point last season and games have been riveting. I expect this week to be much of the same with a whopping six games that have an O/U point total at 50 or higher. This doesn’t even include the Chiefs-Jaguars game which is currently lending the Chiefs three points and an O/U of 49. Oddsmakers are putting a ton of faith in the Jaguars defense despite the Chiefs scoring 38>42>38>27 to start the year. We start Week 5 with a once-historic matchup between the Patriots and Colts that features a plethora of injuries.

 

 

Thursday Night Football


T.Y. Hilton (hamstring), Jack Doyle (hip), and Marlon Mack (hamstring) have all been declared out for Week 5 against the Patriots. Doyle and Mack have been out for multiple weeks and weren’t expected to return on a short week. Hilton got banged up in Week 4 against the Texans and will now leave the Colts with Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers, and Zach Pascal as their primary pass-catchers. Luck will have to be at his best to pull off an upset here.

 

On the other side of the ball, both Rob Gronkowski (ankle) and Josh Gordon (hamstring) are questionable. Gordon is expected to contribute after seeing similar injury reports prior to last week’s game and playing 18-of-81 snaps. As long as he’s healthy his usage is likely to rise as their top outside receiver. Gronkowski looks to be on the other side of questionable as most around the league don’t expect him to play. He left last week’s game in the second half and didn’t return. He practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday which gives him a chance to suit up, but it seems unlikely.

 

For a more in-depth look at this game check out Evan Silva’s Matchup Column.

 

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Bengals' Backfield


After an abysmal 2017 season where the offensive line was in shambles and the offense averaged 18.1 points per game, expectations weren’t very high entering 2018. The first four games have revealed an entirely different team that’s averaged the fourth-most points per game at 31.5. Not to mention they’ve also played their past two games without RB Joe Mixon (knee). It was the Giovani Bernard show in his absence as he played 88 and 60 percent of the snaps the past two weeks. Mixon is looking to return this week after practicing on a limited basis in full pads on Wednesday. Local beat reporter Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Dehner expects him to play, a good sign for his chances of suiting up. The Bengals may especially need him back since Giovani Bernard (knee) was unable to practice on Wednesday and is trending towards missing their Week 5 matchup against Miami.

 

The most likely scenario is looking to be Mixon suiting up and Bernard missing the game. If this happens Mixon will probably assume a share of the snaps similar to his 76 percent in Week 1. After last week’s impressive outing and usage, Mark Walton will likely play around 20 percent of the snaps. This puts Mixon in an interesting spot as a 6.5-point home favorite with a game total of 49.5. Miami’s defense has been good against the run with a 3.68 Yards Per Carry allowed (82nd percentile) and 43 percent rushing success rate allowed (67th percentile) per the QuantEdge.com. They haven’t been great at defending running backs in the passing game though with an average of 10 targets (44th percentile) and 67.25 yards (37th percentile) allowed per game. With his projected workload Mixon is a solid RB2 with multi-touchdown upside against Miami.

 

 

Fournette Sidelined


After getting injured midway through Week 1, Leonard Fournette (hamstring) sat out Weeks 2 and 3. He returned for Week 4 only to reaggravate his injury after 12 touches. He has been declared out for Week 5 against the Chiefs, leaving T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant to shoulder the workload. Yeldon played on 58 and 67 percent of the snaps in Fournette’s absence Weeks 2 and 3, receiving 12 and 13 touches. However, his best fantasy performances have come in Weeks 1 and 4 after Fournette went down with 15.8 and 25 PPR points. He will have a massive opportunity this week against the Chiefs who have allowed the highest success rate (57 percent), most DK points (38.12 PPG), and receiving yards (96.2) to opposing running backs. Yeldon is an interesting DFS play and should be in nearly all of your fantasy lineups as an RB2 with upside.

 

 

Quick Hits


Falcons DT Grady Jarrett (ankle) is out for Week 5 against the Steelers. Jarrett has been a difference-maker for the Falcons’ defense and they have been worse in every statistical category without him. The Falcons will struggle to defend the Steelers on the road without multiple starters injured. ... Will Fuller (hamstring) was limited at Wednesday's practice. Fuller was injured in last week's game and was unable to return. His limited practice is a good sign for his potential availability. ... Devonta Freeman (knee) was limited at Wednesday's practice. HC Dan Quinn said he expects Freeman to return in Week 5 against the Steelers. It’s unclear what Freeman’s role would be in that instance but it would certainly downgrade Tevin Coleman to nothing more than a high-end flex play. ... Dalvin Cook (hamstring) didn't practice on Wednesday. This could just be another day of rest as Cook is supposed to return this week. If he doesn’t practice on Thursday it’s time to worry about his playing status for Sunday. ... Free agent RB Charcandrick West worked out for the Bucs. The Bucs have struggled to get much of anything going on the ground this year but West would just be veteran depth. ... Browns coach Hue Jackson has a "great level of optimism" Antonio Callaway (knee) will play in Week 5 against the Ravens. Jackson also said they want to “dial back” Callaway this week. Jackson lives in his own world. Practice reports are your best choice at figuring out Callaway’s playing status. ... Marquise Goodwin (hamstring, quad) didn’t practice on Wednesday. Goodwin got injured during last week’s game but was able to return. As long as he turns in some limited practices he will probably be good to go against the Cardinals. ... Adrian Peterson (ankle) didn’t practice on Wednesday. Since the Redskins play on Monday they don’t have to release an official injury report until Thursday.  If Peterson sits Chris Thompson becomes a very intriguing high-upside start. ... Darren Sproles (hamstring) remained sidelined at Wednesday's practice. Sproles hasn’t played in multiple weeks and may not return in Week 5. Even if he does he will be in a running back committee with Jay Ajayi, Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement. ... Robby Anderson will not be suspended by the NFL after his two arrests in the past year. This is good news for Anderson’s official playing status but he hasn’t made much of an impact on the field this season. ... Head coach Mike McCarthy singled out rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling as the next man up at receiver should Randall Cobb (hamstring) and Geronimo Allison (concussion) sit Week 5 against the Lions. In a game with a high game total (51) that projects to be a shootout, Valdes-Scantling could be fantasy relevant with both Cobb and Allison out. ... Sterling Shepard (back) did not practice Wednesday. Shepard had a cyst removed earlier in the week but is expected to play on Sunday. ... Larry Fitzgerald (back, hamstring) didn't practice on Wednesday. Fitzgerald isn’t getting any younger and is banged up. He’ll take all the rest he can get and will likely be a game-time decision. ... Chris Carson (hip) didn't practice on Wednesday. Carson will likely need to practice at least on a limited basis to have a shot to play. In his absence, Mike Davis oddly dominated touches over 2018 first-rounder Rashaad Penny.



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