This week's Fantasy Index Weekly is available now.
Matchup preview for this weekend's games available now
Posted Jan. 02 at 10:37 AM
We published our postseason Redrafter Cheat Sheet on Monday (Subscriber login | Order it here) -- and it ranks players based on their cumulative value through the duration of the NFL playoffs, so a mediocre player from a Super Bowl contender might be ranked higher than a superstar from a lesser team. And we've just posted this week's Fantasy Index Weekly, with rankings and analysis based on this weekend's matchups (click "read more" to see our analysis of the Bengals, which is taken from the product.
You can order any one issue -- the playoff Redrafter or either of the two weekly matchup previews -- for $5 each, or you can receive all three for $11. (Fantasy Index full-season subscribers automatically receive the updates as part of their package.)
The Bengals opened as a 5-point underdog, but they have a chance to win this game. They went 7-1 in the second half of the season, while Houston is struggling right now. This looks like a pick-‘em type game to us. If this game were played on a neutral field, we think Cincinnati would probably win. ... The matchup looks OK for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Not great; Houston ranked 7th in run defense during the regular season. But the Texans have been tailing off recently, while the Bengals have been coming on. Green-Ellis averaged only 60 yards in his first nine games of the season, but he’s averaged 93 in his last six (and that includes a 14-yard effort at Pittsburgh). Granted three of his four 100-yard games have been against lesser run defenses -- Philadelphia, Kansas City, Oakland -- but he’s playing pretty well right now. Houston’s defense, meanwhile, is slipping. It allowed only 83 rushing yards per game in the first half of the season, with no rushing touchdowns. It’s allowed 113 in its last eight games, with 5 TD runs. So there’s a reasonable chance Green-Ellis will run for 80-90 yards and maybe a touchdown. He’s not a factor in the passing game; he averaged less than 7 receiving yards per game during the regular season. Green-Ellis didn’t play in Week 17 in part because of a tight hamstring, but they say he’s fine. If he’s missing, the Bengals will turn to Cedric Peerman as their primary tailback. That would be a big downgrade. ... The matchup isn’t great for Andy Dalton. Houston’s defense allowed a league-low 53 percent completions during the regular season. But the Texans didn’t play nearly as well in the second half of the season. They were only average in terms of yards (243 per game), and they gave up 29 TD passes. Only five teams allowed more touchdowns on pass plays. Dalton could be just fine in this game, potentially playing pitch and catch with A.J. Green (the kind of receiver who can give any secondary headaches). Note, however, that the Bengals aren’t passing the ball nearly as aggressively now as earlier in the season. They seem to have figured
The text on this page is taken from today's edition of Fantasy Index Weekly, which is available now.
Log in to view this week's edition of Fantasy Index Weekly online, or wait for e-mail delivery in a few minutes. The Weekly includes rankings and analysis of this weekend's matchups.
If you're looking for a sheet that will help you with a postseason draft, then order the Fantasy Index Redrafter for the NFL playoffs.
Haven't ordered yet? What are you waiting for? Sign up now and get immediate access!
out they’re better when they rely more on the running game and their defense. Dalton in his first six games this year averaged 288 passing yards, with 12 TDs (2 per game). In his last 10 games, he’s averaged only 194 passing yards, with 15 TDs (1.5 per game). He didn’t play well in either of the Houston games last year, with 3 interceptions and just 1 TD in those eight quarters (189 and 257 yards). Dalton, of course, is more experienced now, while the Texans aren’t nearly as good (they allowed 11 fewer TD passes last year, and 35 fewer passing yards per game). We’re putting down Dalton for 225 passing yards and 1.4 TD passes. Note also that he’s about as likely as any quarterback to run for a touchdown. He doesn’t move as well as the three rookie quarterbacks, but if there’s an opening for a quarterback draw around the goal line, he’ll take it. He scored 4 TDs in the regular season. ... A.J. Green is a franchise-type wide receiver. He’s a Fitzgerald-Megatron type guy who can take over a game, even when he has a superstar cornerback on him. The Texans will cover him with Johnathan Joseph (the former Bengal they lured away with the big contract). But Joseph isn’t up there with the likes of Darrelle Revis or Champ Bailey. Green potentially could light him up and be the key guy in the Cincinnati upset (if the game plays out that way). Our concern with Green is that he’s cooled off recently; opponents are keying on him, and the Bengals have responded by trying to get other guys involved. Green averaged 91 yards in the first 10 games of the season, with 10 of the team’s 21 TD catches during that run. Green averaged only 73 yards in the final six games, with just 1 of the team’s 7 TD catches in those closing games. But whatever; the cream tends to rise in the postseason. ... Jermaine Gresham looks like probably the best of the tight ends this week. He’s pretty good anyway, and all of the franchise-type tight ends are sidelined this week -- Gronkowski, Gonzalez, Graham, Witten. This also looks like a favorable situation. The matchup is just OK for the passing game in general, but Houston has tended to lose track of tight ends. The Texans allowed 11 TD passes to that position in the regular season, which tied for most in the league. In each of their last four games, the Texans allowed a touchdown to a tight end. Gresham didn’t play a big role in the Week 17 game (they pulled him early), but he averaged 49 yards in the first 15 games, with 5 TDs. We like him in this matchup. ... With Mike Nugent on injured reserve, Josh Brown will be Cincinnati’s kicker the rest of the way. He’s had the hot foot recently, with 13, 10, 7 and 11 points in his four games. He looks like a good enough option. Weather won’t be a problem. ... Marvin Jones is Cincinnati’s other starting receiver. He’s just a rookie, and they moved him into the lineup a month ago. He caught 5 passes in each of the last two games. He’s good on end-arounds. He carried the ball in three straight games prior to Sunday, with gains of 37 and 10 yards. He caught a touchdown against the Ravens. We expect he’ll catch about 4 balls. He played well enough in those final games that we’re placing him just ahead of their little slot receiver, Andrew Hawkins. Hawkins caught 51 passes and 4 TDs in 14 games in the regular season. ... The Bengals Defense looks pretty good. It’s probably the most underrated of the playoff teams. In the regular season, only five teams (in the entire league) allowed fewer yards, and only six allowed fewer points. It’s got a nice pass rush (2nd in the NFL with 51 sacks). Matt Schaub had some issues late in the year; he was sacked 3-4 times in each of his last three games (after being sacked 3 times only once in the first 13 games). Schaub threw only 12 interceptions, but 8 of them were in the final eight games. If Cincinnati pulls an upset in this game (which we think is possible), it probably would be with the defense leading the way with maybe 3-4 sacks and an interception or two. The kick-return units looks average. Adam Jones scored on an 81-yard punt return early in the season; Brandon Tate looks serviceable but has scored on only 1 kick return in 33 games with Cincinnati.
Add a Comment
Already a registered user? Please sign in to add comments.
To add comments, you must become a registered user of our site. To register, please click here.