Thursday Night Football Fantasy Matchup - Week 2
CIN @ CLE - 43.5 o/u CLE -6
One orange-clad team from Ohio with a young Heisman-winning quarterback takes on another in this AFC North matchup. Both teams lost their opener, though in very different fashions, and they will be looking to bounce back in their home state. Cleveland is favored in this matchup, although we don’t know too much about either of these teams quite yet.
Cleveland struggled offensively against Baltimore last week, with Baker Mayfield failing to find his weapons, for the most part, in the passing game. He was able to find David Njoku in the endzone for the team’s lone score, but he was limited to under 200 yards and completed under 54% of his passes. Unfortunately, Njoku went to the IR after the game with an injured knee, so at TE Baker will be leaning on Austin Hooper. Hooper is a decent streaming option this week, but not a top-tier starter. Jarvis Landry led the WR corps in yards and receptions and should be a good option at WR2 or Flex this week, especially in PPR leagues. The jury is out on Odell Beckham Jr. at this point; He is always a threat for a big week, but his chemistry looked off and he was limited to 22 yards receiving in the opener. If you have other options, you may want to go with them until he proves to be more involved in the offense. Also, avoid Baker. You can definitely do better at QB this week.
Cleveland’s RB group was involved in the offense, even when the game script went against them. Kareem Hunt led the halfbacks in receptions and carries, proving his value to the offense. Nick Chubb also got double-digit carries, and both backs were over 5 YPC on the day. Both are likely to be RB2 options, with Chubb likely ranked a bit higher. The offense should have a better day back in Ohio, so both are solid options at the RB position, with Hunt a good flex play in PPR as well.
Cincinnati is led by the NFL’s #1 overall pick Joe Burrow behind center. His passing stats were pedestrian against LA, but the highlight came on his 23-yard TD run. It was the only TD they would end up scoring in last week’s contest. Burrow did well at distributing the ball, which unfortunately is not a great recipe for fantasy managers. AJ Green led the team in receptions and yards and is undoubtedly the most talented WR on the roster. Tyler Boyd and John Ross also saw work from the WR spot, and Burrow completed four passes to TE CJ Uzomah for 45 yards. AJ Green is a solid WR2 this week, with Uzomah being a low-end, TD-dependent TE2. Boyd might be worth a start if you have some injury trouble at WR, but only if you’re desperate.
Joe Mixon led the RB group with 19 carries and a nice 69 yards. He’ll be a solid option, as the Bengals are showing their commitment to feeding him in their offense. Burrow had the second-most rushing yards and carried the ball 8 times. Gio Bernard was the only other rusher, getting 1 carry to go along with 4 receptions out of the backfield. He’s not a great option to start except in the deepest of PPR leagues.
Defense and Kicking Game:
Both defenses are likely to have plenty of opportunities to get sacks, but based on the spread, the Cleveland D/ST looks to be a top-10 option this week, with Cincinnati DS/T slotting in much lower. It’s the week of the Cleveland streamer. Both teams just signed a new kicker after their Sunday game, so it’s probably best to look elsewhere to fill your K slot.