Statewide bragging rights are on the line this Thursday as the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Cleveland Browns. This clash of AFC North rivals should be a battle as the Browns look to spoil the Bengals’ perfect season so far. With many teams, including the Browns going through major roster changes this week, here is a look at the players who should start and ride the bench for this game.
Start – Marvin Jones: Marvin Jones is looking for a big bounce back game after getting shut down by the Steelers last week. Jones only managed to secure two of five targets for 12 yards as the Steelers put the clamps on Andy Dalton. The Browns offer a much more welcoming pass defense to help the Bengals get back on track. Jones has a nose for the end zone and should be able to find it against a Browns team that has a problem shutting down the pass.
Start – Duke Johnson: Johnson should not be a starter if you only count rushing statistics. The rookie had accumulated 179 yards for the entire year, averaging 3.3 yards per carry. But, Johnson is also one of Cleveland’s best receiving threats. The back is known for the occasional big play, including a 52 yards catch last week against the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson should see more touches against Cincy in what will certainly be a close game.
Sit – Jeremy Hill: Just as the Browns have only lost half their games by one score, the Bengals have won more than half their games by one score or less. In order for Cincinnati to pull away in this game, their going to need their best players to show up. Don’t expect Jeremy Hill to be one of those players. Hill has only 292 yards on 89 carries. He has managed 5 TDs for the year, but those came from only 2 games. The Bengals aren’t particularly known for their running attack, so don’t expect them to change their formula this week and use Hill more than before.
Sit – Dwayne Bowe: Bowe is self explanatory. Fantasy owners, like the Browns, are waiting for Bowe to do something, anything this season. In the beginning off the season, Biwe was projected to put up at least 800 yards this year. Cleveland paid $9 million for the veteran, who has accounted for a total of ZERO catches on the year. At this rate, he’ll have to get at least 100 yards a game just to reach the status of having a decent year. Even if Bowe manages to get some production this game, Manziel will try to limit his mistakes by searching for reliable targets in order to keep his starting job.
Toss Up – Tyler Eifert: With quarterback Andy Dalton an obvious starter for this game, the only question that bugs fantasy owners is whether or not to put their faith in Eifert for the week. Normally, the tight end position is one of the most consistent in terms of generating fantasy points in years past. Not so much this year with multiple injuries and poor play of notable QBs around the league. Eifert had two great games against Oakland and Seattle this season with 194 yards and 4 touchdowns for those outings. But, he has also only racked up 69 yards in the last two games. With A.J. Green expected to catch the attention of the Browns’ defense, Eifert should get more chances this week. Hopefully he can capitalize on them.