Thursday Night Fantasy Football Preview: Browns at Bengals

Will we see the 2013 A.J. Green vs. the Browns (nine catches for 58 yards in two games with zero TDs) or the 2012 version (14 catches for 193 yards and three TDs)?

Mark Zerof/Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

We are entering Week 10 and this Browns/Bengals game is for first place. Who saw that coming? Put your hands down, liars.

Cincinnati is undefeated at home this season (4-0-1). Cleveland has won four of the last five games. Granted, the combined record of the Browns last three opponents is 2-23, and they gave Jacksonville their only win during that span.

This is the Bengals third-straight home game and will be on the road until December after this game. While at home, Cincinnati is averaging 29 points. Away from Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals are averaging 13.3 points this season.

Vegas lists the Bengals as a 6 ½ point favorite with an over/under of 45 total points. That leaves us with a projected score of about 26-20, Cincinnati.

Strong plays:

A.J. Green, WR – He continues to be a must-start week after week. This season, Green has either reached 100 yards receiving, caught a touchdown, or both in every game.

Jeremy Hill, RB – I hope all of you Giovani Bernard owners were smart with the handcuff. Hill rushed for 154 yards and two TDs on 24 carries (6.4 yards per rush) against the Jaguars last Sunday. Cedric Peerman had the second-most carries with five. Also, Cleveland is 30th against the run (139.6 yards per game) this season.

Medium plays:

Mohamed Sanu, WR – When Green was out, Sanu stepped up as the No. 1 receiver. Now, he’s just a great complementary player. Even with Green back in the lineup last week, Sanu led the team with eight targets, four receptions, and 95 yards.

Terrance West, RB – Expect a lot of handoffs in this game. The Bengals are 31st in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (139.6 ypg). Last week, West had five more carries than Ben Tate. West also caught a short pass for a touchdown. If there is a running back that will have a decent game for Cleveland this week, I’m betting on West.

Billy Cundiff, K – For the first time this season, I am pushing for a kicker as a medium play. That’s how exciting of a game this will be. Three of the last five kickers that have faced the Bengals scored double-digit points (Stephen Gostkowski, Graham Gano, and Justin Tucker). Also, in the past two weeks, Cundiff has made three field goals in each game.


Weak plays:

Ben Tate, RB – This game could be his breakout performance of the year, but I’m done with Tate. In the past two games, Tate has tallied 29 yards on 25 carries (1.16 yards per attempt). His only saving grace was that he found the end zone against the Raiders and he caught four passes for 29 yards against the Buccaneers.

Andrew Hawkins, WR – Even before he was considered a game-time decision for Cleveland, I was against him as a fantasy start for Week 10. So far, the Bengals have only allowed five receiving TDs to opposing WRs. Two of those touchdowns were to Allen Hurns last week. Kelvin Benjamin, Julio Jones, and Steve Smith Sr. were the only other receivers to score on Cincinnati.

Greg Little, WR – Sadly, ‘Mr. Reliable’ thinks he’s more than ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ in this contest. I don’t foresee a DeSean Jackson-against-Philadelphia or Steve Smith Sr-against-Carolina type of game with Little.

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