Here is a fantasy preview of the Week 1 matchup between the Jets and Bengals. I will be doing these previews on a weekly basis throughout the season. Since every league has its own scoring system, I will not give score predictions for each player. Instead, I will predict stat lines and you can convert those stats into points based on your league’s scoring system.
QuarterbacksRyan Fitzpatrick – 245 yards passing, 24 yards rushing, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Fitzpatrick gets to open the season against one of his former teams, and the matchup is rather favorable. While the Bengals had a top-10 run-defense in 2015, their pass-defense was pedestrian (ranked 20th overall). CB Darqueze Dennard is doubtful for today’s game, and LB Vontaze Burfict is suspended for his dirty hits in last year’s playoff game against the Steelers. Those are two key losses for an already average pass-defense, which bodes well for Fitzpatrick from a fantasy standpoint. He is only owned in 35.1% of fantasy leagues on espn.com, but he may be worth a start in deeper leagues, two-QB leagues, or if you happen to have Tom Brady and need a fill-in for Week 1.
Andy Dalton – 215 yards passing, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Andy Dalton is basically the new Tony Romo. He performs well and puts up solid numbers, but he will never be appreciated because he has not won in the playoffs. He was the 19th ranked fantasy QB last season even though he missed the final three games, meaning he might have cracked the top-10 if he stayed healthy. While he is underappreciated, I would advise against starting Dalton this week if at all possible. He is going up against a strong Jets defense with a brand new receiving corps and no Tyler Eifert.Running Backs
Matt Forte – 20 carries, 73 yards, 1 TD; 4 catches, 23 yards
We did not see much of Forte in the preseason, but he was very active in the few drives he played against the Giants. I am intrigued to see exactly how Forte is used today, and I believe he will be very effective in Gailey’s system. If he stays healthy all season, he will make fantasy owners very happy. He is a solid RB2 or flex option this week.
Bilal Powell – 9 carries, 22 yards, 0 TDs; 6 catches, 42 yardsAs long as Forte stays healthy, he will see the bulk of the carries and be this offense’s primary RB. Powell is not worth a start in a standard league, but he may be worth a start in a deep PPR league because of the playing time and targets he will see on 3rd down.
Jeremy Hill – 14 carries, 37 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch, 8 yards
I strongly urge you to avoid starting any RBs who are playing the Jets unless you have a bona fide superstar like Le’Veon Bell or Todd Gurley (who both play the Jets in 2016). Jeremy Hill did not have any 100-yard performances in 2015, but he is always a threat to score a TD. If you don’t have any better options, just hope that Hill gets a goal line opportunity because he will not put up any significant yardage total.
Gio Bernard – 10 carries, 22 yards; 6 catches, 42 yards
Bernard provides some value in PPR formats this week against a Jets defense that has always struggled to cover RBs. Darron Lee was drafted to solve that issue, but he will likely have some growing pains early on against one of the league’s best pass-catching RBs.
Brandon Marshall – 8 catches, 93 yards, 1 TD; Eric Decker – 6 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD
Towards the end of last season, I started grouping Marshall and Decker together in my fantasy previews because it was pretty much the same story every week. They both have great chemistry with Fitzpatrick, he spreads the ball almost evenly, and they are both great fantasy options. Marshall is a strong WR1 and Decker is a low end WR1 in this favorable matchup against a weak Cincinnati secondary.
A.J. Green – 9 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD
If the Jets opt to double team Green and put Revis on the 2nd WR (Brandon LaFell), Green may have a tough day. He will only end up with a respectable WR1 stat line because Dalton will be forcing the ball his way all day.
*Neither team has a viable fantasy option at Tight End*
Jets – 285 yards allowed, 17 points allowed, 3 sacks, 2 turnovers
Bengals – 355 yards allowed, 27 points allowed, 3 sacks, 1 turnovers
*Kickers are fluky in fantasy, so I will refrain from giving any kicking predictions. My points allowed prediction, however, can be an indicator of a kicker’s fantasy output (i.e. 27 points = 3 extra points, 2 field goals)*
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com