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Tonight in a clash of 1-2 football teams, the Miami Dolphins travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals. The Bengals look to get back on the postseason track while the Dolphins are still searching for an identity under new head coach Adam Gase. If you have players from either team, you may be wondering whether to start them. In this piece, I hope to give you some insight into individual matchups that may help you make those lineup decisions.


  • Miami Dolphins

    The Dolphins corners have not played particularly well through three games. The highest rated corner according to pro football focus in Miami is Byron Maxwell, who only graded out to a 57.8 thus far. [UPDATE: Byron Maxwell will see fewer snaps in favor of Tony Lippet. This should not change your outlook, start Green with plenty of confidence] What does this mean? It means start A.J. Green. The former Georgia Bulldog is currently 6th in the NFL in receiving and he lines up all over the field for the Bengals. No corner on the Dolphins is a match for the 6’4″ star, and he is a must-start. Neither Brandon LaFell or rookie Tyler Boyd has been able to establish themselves as a legitimate threat opposite Green. Until someone does, leave them on your bench.

    Tight end Tyler Eifert is not going play tonight. His replacement C.J, Uzomah is nowhere near the threat Eifert is. You can find a better tight end option.

    Without Eifert, Green seems to be the only noteworthy receiving threat. Until Eifert comes back or Boyd/LaFell establish themselves, Andy Dalton is no better than a high-end QB2. Leave him on the bench if you can grab a streaming option with more weapons.

    The Dolphins have let up the 2nd most yards on the ground in the NFL thus far, which makes Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard worth starting. I like Hill as an RB2 with his propensity for scoring touchdowns. Bernard is an RB2 in PPR leagues and an RB3/flex in standard leagues. You never know which back will have the better game, but with a juicy matchup ahead, start them as you normally would. I like Hill better against a team that let a bruising back (LeGarrette Blount) like Hill run all over them.

    Players to start vs. Dolphins

    • A.J. Green
    • Jeremy Hill (RB2)
    • Gio Bernard (Flex)

    Players to sit vs. Dolphins

    • C.J. Uzomah
    • Andy Dalton
    • Brandon LaFell
    • Tyler Boyd

    Big Questions:

    • Can the Dolphins put together a game plan to either shut down the run game or A.J. Green?
  • Cincinnati Bengals

    The Bengals have faced three teams that have excellent receiving options thus far. (Jets, Steelers, Broncos) Due to this fact and the fact that they have been playing in close games, Cincinnati’s against the pass stats don’t look great. Adam Jones hasn’t played up to the solid reputation he has rebuilt himself, and Dre Kirkpatrick has been plagued with a hamstring injury that will keep him out of tonight’s tilt. A surprise may be that their slot corner, Joshua Shaw, currently grades out as the 6th best amongst corners who play at least 67% of their snaps in the slot. (according to Pro Football Focus) This is interesting because the Dolphins best weapon on offense is slot receiver Jarvis Landry who has the 3rd most receiving yards in the NFL to date. None of the teams the Bengals have played have had a slot receiver anywhere near as talented as Jarvis Landry, so I would still give the edge to Jarvis, making him a WR2 with upside again this week. Don’t expect a full repeat of last weeks 120 yard and a touchdown performance, but he could very well come close to that stat line.

    DeVante Parker has been playing well the past 2 games, and against the struggling Bengals secondary, he makes for an interesting boom/bust play. If you don’t have a lot of options due to injury, throw Parker into your flex and hope for the best. He will go up against 3rd-year corner Darqueze Dennard for much of the night, and he has not looked great so far against some talented wideouts.

    Kenny Stills hasn’t done much this season despite getting hyped up in the preseason as the “#2 receiver” in this offense. Leave him on the bench until he proves he should be started.

    The running game is something that I would completely avoid for this team. Arian Foster will not play again tonight, leaving the workload to be split between Damian Williams, Jay Ajayi, Kenyan Drake, and Isaiah Pead. None of those backs got more than 9 carries or 40% of the snaps last week against the Browns. None should be started as this is an awful running back by committee. Fun fact: the Dolphins leading rusher through 3 games is quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

    Speaking of the former Texas A&M QB, despite a bad turnover ratio, he has actually thrown for 300+ yards in consecutive games. Statistically speaking, he has been a top-10 QB for fantasy purposes. With how poor the Dolphins running game has been, expect Tanny to throw early and often tonight. He is a sneaky streaming play has he has more weapons than he has ever had and the Bengals haven’t exactly been stellar vs. the pass this season.

    Jordan Cameron is out this week, and his replacement, Dion Sims, is not worth starting unless you play in an extremely deep league.

    Players to start vs. Bengals

    • Jarvis Landry
    • DeVante Parker (flex)
    • Ryan Tannehill

    Players to sit vs. Bengals

    • All Dolphins running backs
    • All Dolphins tight ends
    • Jordan Cameron (Out)
    • Kenny Stills

    Big Questions:

    • Can any of the Dolphins running backs get anything going at all?
    • Who wins the DeVante Parker vs. Darqueze Dennard battle?
    • Will the Bengals continue their success against slot receivers, or is Landry too much to handle?

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