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Fantasy Owners Should Never Assume

It's never safe to assume what happened in Week 1 is typical of what will happen in Week 2 if you're a fantasy football owner, as the early season is always full of traps.

Early season presents potential pitfalls for the inexperienced fantasy player.

They assume what happened in Week 1 often will happen in Week 2.

Unless you're talking about some of the best teams in the NFL, like Kansas City or possibly even Tampa Bay, it isn't true.

Consistency of performance isn't established early and teams expected to be in the bottom half of the league or even the middle can fluctuate greatly depending on opponents and whether they are at home or on the road.

The Cincinnati Bengals went almost two full years under Zac Taylor before they won a road game and lost by an average of 9.9 points in those games.

They've won home games before, so the victory over Minnesota doesn't necessarily establish a major step forward for the franchise or for individual players on a fantasy level.

This must be proven over time.

Play 'Em Without Hesitation

Allen Robinson: Robinson's best work comes along the sidelines against press coverage when he doesn't draw double-teams. He can work the back-shoulder throw better than just about any NFL receiver, and Andy Dalton should be able to put that pass where it needs to go. In this game, the Bengals like to play single-safety high, which doesn't allow for a safety to get over in double coverage the way it would in a cover-2 zone situation. It doesn't allow for double teams much unless they decide to devote two DBs especially to Robinson. In that case, it would take away catches but would free up the secondary to be exposed for big gains in catch and run.





Darnell Mooney: With only one safety and press coverage, a speed receiver like Mooney should be able to make several catches downfield. If Mooney was simply fast it wouldn't necessarily mean big plays, but he's a route runner who can throw off the press coverage. He's also slippery as a ball carrier, and can turn shorter passes into big gains. With defenders in press coverage, their backs are turned to the play more and it gives a receiver an extra second or two to make the catch and to run for yardage.

Ja'Marr Chase: The Bears secondary can't be counted on to have what they called "brain farts" again this week, but even then Chase will get plenty of targets and make some catches. If Chase was going against an established Pro Bowl-caliber player, it would be a week not to play him. But Jaylon Johnson isn't a lockdown cornerback yet. Also, the Bengals' poor record on the road could result in plenty of catch-up mode receptions against the Bears, who should be able to take a lead against a team that frequently trails on the road by the third quarter.

Tyler Boyd: A slot receiver is going to be a good choice against this Bears defense until they get their nickel cornerback situation ironed out. Boyd has both quickness and excellent hands.

Play 'Em

David Montgomery: It might take Montgomery until later in this game to bust some yardage on the ground but look for the Bears to rely on him more as a receiver than last week if the Bengals play the type of coverage they tend to use.

Tee Higgins: Not an automatic because some of his routes require longer to run. However, he is more likely to draw lesser coverage unless one of the safeties is involved. Higgins also has the height advantage at 6-foot-4 and the Bears do not have a particularly tall group of defensive backs.

Sit 'Em

Joe Mixon: Much of Mixon's best yardage against Minnesota came to the outside. The Vikings love applying pressure in the A-gap whether to blitz the quarterback or in run blitzes. The Bengals went outside on them with stretch plays and tosses and got around the edge with frequency. Good luck trying it against a stout Bears defensive front that plays mostly zone pass coverage and would be in position not to be burned to the outside. If Mixon does anything, it would be as a receiver.

Jimmy Graham: Not that he would be a fantasy favorite these days, anyway, but he could have more value in some leagues because he had eight regular-season touchdown catches. The Bears have made it very apparent in one game they are using Cole Kmet for by far the most snaps this year.

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Joe Burrow: Khalil Mack is coming. Akiem Hicks is not far behind. Even Robert Quinn might get involved in sack fest this week. Burrow took five sacks last week at home.


In an IDP league, Roquan Smith will be a favorite for this week especially because the Bengals try to bring so much of their offense out of their running back, whether it's him carrying or catching passes or being the decoy. There wasn't much available for the Rams when they ran early last week because of Smith.  If you're looking for big defensive plays, Khalil Mack would be the play as well. It's not often he'll go two straight weeks being entirely quiet. He appears to be over the groin injury plaguing him last week in practices.

The Bears defense is a good bet in a non-IDP league. It goes beyond the fact Cincinnati's offense is still unestablished. The Bears defense was at its best at home last year early in the season, allowing more than 19 points only once in the first five games and that was in an overtime loss.  And now they have a home crowd making noise to help the defense, along with the Bear-raid siren.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven