It was great to have football back in our lives last weekend. Week 1 showed that sometimes you just have to roll with the chalk as DFS scores and cash lines were very high thanks to stale pricing that had been sitting on the shelf for weeks. Week 2 should be a different story with fresh salaries and a glimpse into which teams and players might be ready to produce this season.
Note that my Hot Sheet data points will take into account the first week of the season combined with last season’s numbers for the first few weeks of the new season.
Also, be sure to check out my Top Bets for Week 2 at the bottom of this writeup. My Week 1 plays went a perfect 5-0!
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Note: DVOA referenced in this article stands for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average which is a metric from FootballOutsiders.com. Numbers in BOLD represent potential Hot Plays.
So, let’s get right to the numbers and analysis…
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Ravens are coming off a Week 1 thrashing of the Bills but have a short week to travel to meet their division-rival Bengals on Thursday night. Joe Flacco and the passing game for the Ravens had success in the opener with 260 yards through the air to go along with three TDs. Meanwhile, the Bengals allowed Andrew Luck to throw for 319 yards and two scores. Despite those gaudy Week 1 numbers, I expect a major regression in the Ravens passing offense against a familiar foe on a short week as they ranked 30th in passing yards last year. I don’t like any of the individual matchups for the Ravens primary receivers and the TE position which could have some success doesn’t have any fantasy-worthy targets expect maybe a single game flier on Nick Boyle. The running game should feed RB Alex Collins more than seven times this week and could have some success against a Bengals defense that ranked 29th in rushing yards allowed to opposing RBs last season and didn’t have a much of a test in Week 1 with a weak Colts ground game. The best play on the Ravens is probably their kicker (Justin Tucker) and defense.
The Bengals picked up a hard-fought road win over Andrew Luck and the Colts in Week 1. While they are on a short week, they at least get some home-cookin’ against a familiar foe. Andy Dalton and the Bengals passing game will likely struggle against a strong Ravens pass defense that was stingy last season allowing the 3rd fewest TD passes and the 10th fewest passing yards per game. The Bengals do have a lot of good playmakers on offense so one of them could slip behind the defense for a long score but predicting one would be foolish. Joe Mixon had a strong Week 1 performance with 95 rushing yards and a score and could be the best option to move the ball down the field for the Bengals in this game. The Ravens ranked 25th in rushing yards allowed to opposing RBs last season. It figures to be a defensive struggle without much fantasy intrigue.
- Alex Collins (*)
- Ravens defense (*)
- Joe Mixon (*)