Matchup Analysis: Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Texans 17, Bengals 22

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Houston Texans Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Texans Offense7.0 (-13.2) (27)93 (+0) (13)110 (-110) (30)
Bengals Defense20.0 (-0.2) (17)157 (+64) (30)111 (-109) (4)

Cincinnati Bengals Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Bengals Offense0.0 (-20.2) (32)77 (-15) (17)144 (-76) (26)
Texans Defense29.0 (+8.8) (27)155 (+62) (29)125 (-95) (5)

Texans Rushing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Bengals defense.

Lamar Miller remains locked in as the Texans’ featured back, taking 19 of the team’s 30 targets-plus-carries in Week 1. But the sledding will be tough as long as Houston is incapable of generating a passing game. Miller is a fine outside runner who can bounce off-tackle runs into solid gains, which bodes well for his chances against stacked boxes. He was solid in a tough rushing matchup last week, averaging 3.8 yards per rush behind an incomplete line. His weekly prospects for success should be looked at critically; this offense isn’t set up to provide him with much running room at the line, so his efficiency will wane. But he’s generally dynamic enough to turn positive game scripts into big stat lines. He’s spelled by Tyler Ervin, a quick-footed dual threat who will run the ball occasionally from passing sets. Ervin has intriguing athleticism, but will also contend with crowded defenses unafraid of the Texans’ passing “attack.”

Cincinnati struggled against the run throughout 2016, with 7 opponents reaching 120 ground yards and 5 topping 150. And in last week’s opener, they struggled with the Ravens’ mediocre rushing attack, allowing Terrance West and Buck Allen to fall forward for positive, clock-killing runs. With Vontaze Burfict and Shawn Williams out, the Bengals’ pursuit and playmaking chops are uninspiring, and the first and second levels can be won by offenses.

Texans Passing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Bengals defense.

Simply put, The Texans “boast” a woeful quarterback depth chart, one that rivals those of the Jets and 49ers. Both Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson are wholly ineffective passers with drive-killing tendencies, and neither looks likely to captain this passing game to much success. Savage was terrible in his brief Week 1 work, but Watson didn’t fare well in his stead, taking 4 sacks over 2 quarters and posting an anemic 3.4 adjusted yards per attempt. He’ll almost certainly start Thursday’s tilt with the Bengals, but there’s little reason to get excited about his arm potential. One of the draft’s weakest throwers by velocity, Watson doesn’t look like a big-play creator and will struggle to maximize DeAndre Hopkins’ downfield ability. It doesn’t help that left tackle Duane Brown’s holdout is torpedoing the offensive line, leaving Watson to learn the NFL pass rush in hyper speed. Expect continued reliance on quick-hitting underneath routes, with shaky accuracy stifling the receivers’ fantasy potential up and down the field. Hopkins is an elite on-ball receiver who can create some degree of magic on his own, but his chances at efficiency look precarious at the moment.

Cincinnati looked awful in Week 1, but the pass defense wasn’t their concern by any stretch. The Bengals weren’t tested downfield by Joe Flacco and the Ravens in Week 1 – he attempted just one throw beyond 15 yards all day – but their own play deserves some credit for that hold. The Texans’ flimsy, underdeveloped passing game won’t provide much more of a challenge, so the Bengals are in a position to absolutely tee off on Deshaun Watson. They boast a strong pass rush and intercepted 14 passes last season, and Watson has struggled thus far with ball placement. They do, however, tend to allow a lot of room (and receptions) to running backs in the flats.

Bengals Rushing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Texans defense.

The Bengals backs never got off the ground in their shutout Week 1 loss, abandoning the power-running game early. As a result, Jeremy Hill was a bit player and rookie Joe Mixon was a low-impact x-factor. Giovani Bernard cashed in on the hurry-up skew, racking up 40 yards on 7 rushes. There’s lots of dynamism in this backfield, but in a more neutral game script, we can’t expect much rushing production from these Bengals. Their line is among the league’s worst, averaging a subpar 4.0 yards per rush in 2016 and having lost its two best blockers in the offseason. It’ll be hard to project the backfield’s distribution all season, and even harder to project them to huge weeks.

The Houston run defense is generally strong. Before last week, it hadn’t allowed a rusher to reach 100 ground yards or an opposing offense to hit 110 over its last 11 games (playoffs included). Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory combined for 142 yards in Week 1 behind a shoddy line, but that was aided by the game’s blowout flow. Fournette managed just 3.44 yards per rush before the score hit 12-0 – essentially out of hand for the Texans’ quarterback-less offense. Still, it must be noted that much of their 2016 success was inflated by way of not facing many elite running games. All told, we can’t regard this run defense as one to target or one to avoid, though we should probably lean more toward “avoid” when a mediocre rushing offense is on the slate.

Bengals Passing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Texans defense.

Andy Dalton’s Week 1 face-plant was quite surprising. Over his previous * games with both A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert in the lineup, he’d posted a stout 8.61 adjusted yards per attempt – then somehow a -0.3 mark last Sunday. A swing that wild – especially at home – is one I’m generally inclined to chalk up as an aberration, and I tend to keep my expectations in place. Dalton, Green, and Eifert make for a dynamic trio of playmakers; few receivers create as many splash plays as Green, and virtually no one produces touchdowns on Eifert’s level. But for all of that ceiling, we can’t lose sight of this offense’s warts. There’s a lot of concern over the offensive line, and Dalton is hard to view as a weekly plug-and-play for high efficiency. He’ll be hounded by pass rushes all year, threatening drives left and right and clamping down on his ability to throw downfield.

The Texans didn’t coax much of a passing game from Blake Bortles and the Jags, who jumped ahead early and came sharply off the gas. But it was encouraging that Houston didn’t allow a deep ball to connect; in fact, since the start of 2016, only Denver has allowed fewer completions of 20+ yards. This pass defense bordered on the elite last season and adds J.J. Watt back to the mix; the loss of cornerback A.J. Bouye may not be felt much with this pass rush in place. The Bengals will almost surely throw more this week than the Jaguars did in Week 1, but the sledding will be tough. It’s worth noting that, in Week 16 of last year, these Texans allowed Andy Dalton and Brandon LaFell to hook up for an 86-yard score, but virtually nothing else (just 182 yards on Dalton’s 40 attempts).

Bengals vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)4 (-8.8)4 (-8.8)6 (-7.1)5 (-8.0)
1Joe Flacco66917121110009.

Deshaun Watson (FanDuel: $6700, DraftKings: $4400)

1vs JAX4812231021121609.
2PROJ-Dodds19342001.11.13180.115.715.715.7 (H=35)15.7 (H=53)
2PROJ-Tremblay19322030.9129013.613.613.6 (H=27)13.6 (H=41)
2PROJ-Bloom17331450.61.36330.212.912.912.9 (H=25)12.9 (H=38)

Bengals vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25 (+7.3)22 (+4.6)25 (+6.1)22T (+4.1)
1Terrance West2719801100014.
1Javorius Allen332171010007.

Lamar Miller (FanDuel: $6400, DraftKings: $5300)

1vs JAX6417650223109.611.610.611.6
2PROJ-Dodds19780.4214011.613.612.6 (H=25)13.6 (H=34)
2PROJ-Tremblay20870.4190121312.5 (H=24)13.0 (H=32)
2PROJ-Bloom18730.43170.1121513.5 (H=28)15.0 (H=41)

Tyler Ervin (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1vs JAX50380541802.
2PROJ-Dodds290.12150. (H=6)5.6 (H=13)
2PROJ-Tremblay31303230. (H=9)7.2 (H=20)
2PROJ-Bloom00031401.44.42.9 (H=2)4.4 (H=8)

DOnta Foreman (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $4100)

1vs JAX214000000.
2PROJ-Dodds21001601.62.62.1 (H=1)2.6 (H=2)
2PROJ-Tremblay2901801.72.72.2 (H=1)2.7 (H=2)
2PROJ-Bloom7290.20004.14.14.1 (H=4)4.1 (H=5)

Bengals vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10 (-5.6)2T (-12.9)5 (-9.1)3 (-13.4)
1Jeremy Maclin484256100011.613.612.613.6
1Mike Wallace4711800000.

DeAndre Hopkins (FanDuel: $7400, DraftKings: $5800)

1vs JAX7916755100011.518.515.018.5
2PROJ-Dodds5670.40009.114.111.6 (H=18)14.1 (H=33)
2PROJ-Tremblay7870.400011.118.114.6 (H=28)18.1 (H=51)
2PROJ-Bloom7750.500010.517.514.0 (H=26)17.5 (H=49)

Braxton Miller (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3400)

1vs JAX631000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds3340.20004.67.66.1 (H=9)7.6 (H=19)
2PROJ-Tremblay3330.10003.96.95.4 (H=7)6.9 (H=16)
2PROJ-Bloom21500001.53.52.5 (H=2)3.5 (H=5)

Bengals vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)8 (-4.6)6 (-6.9)6 (-5.8)6 (-7.0)
1Nick Boyle45111401.

C.J. Fiedorowicz (FanDuel: $5100, DraftKings: $3100)

1vs JAX24444604.
2PROJ-Dodds000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Tremblay1110. (H=1)2.7 (H=3)
2PROJ-Bloom000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Stephen Anderson (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $2500)

1vs JAX57521401.
2PROJ-Dodds000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Tremblay000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Bloom000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Bengals vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)18 (+1.0)18 (+1.0)17 (+0.0) (+0.0)
1Justin Tucker2222888.00.0

Kaimi Fairbairn (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $--)

1vs JAX0011111.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1. (H=13)7.3
2PROJ-Tremblay1. (H=9)5.8

Bengals vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25T (+7.6)25T (+7.6)28 (+16.4)28 (+16.4)
1Baltimore Ravens022154100151525.025.0

Houston Texans (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3100)

1vs JAX29.0028000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds21.203372.31.10.700. (H=18)8.7 (H=27)
2PROJ-Tremblay22.003372.31.30.700. (H=21)9.6 (H=32)

Texans vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)6 (-6.3)6 (-6.3)8 (-4.6)8 (-5.5)
1Blake Bortles64112112510313011.611.610.310.3

Andy Dalton (FanDuel: $7000, DraftKings: $5500)

1vs BAL611631170041204.
2PROJ-Dodds23352461.41280.118.318.318.3 (H=43)18.3 (H=55)
2PROJ-Tremblay22352261.31.3140. (H=35)16.2 (H=45)
2PROJ-Bloom22322221.21.5370.115.715.715.7 (H=33)15.7 (H=42)

Texans vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+12.3)26T (+11.6)27 (+12.1)27T (+14.1)
1Leonard Fournette392610013324018.421.419.924.4
1Tommy Bohanon2610011116.

Joe Mixon (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $5000)

1vs BAL22890331502.
2PROJ-Dodds10390.32160. (H=16)9.9 (H=21)
2PROJ-Tremblay10380.32140. (H=15)9.6 (H=20)
2PROJ-Bloom9340.32100. (H=12)8.8 (H=17)

Giovani Bernard (FanDuel: $5700, DraftKings: $4000)

1vs BAL297400213907.
2PROJ-Dodds8330.221706.28.27.2 (H=10)8.2 (H=19)
2PROJ-Tremblay9390.21805.96.96.4 (H=8)6.9 (H=14)
2PROJ-Bloom6260.13210. (H=11)8.9 (H=22)

Jeremy Hill (FanDuel: $5700, DraftKings: $3900)

1vs BAL10626011-
2PROJ-Dodds8320.31605.66.66.1 (H=8)6.6 (H=13)
2PROJ-Tremblay8300.21704.95.95.4 (H=6)5.9 (H=11)
2PROJ-Bloom10340.40005.85.85.8 (H=7)5.8 (H=10)

Texans vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)1 (-11.6)1 (-17.9)1 (-14.6)1 (-18.4)
1Allen Hurns51434200004.
1Allen Robinson3111700001.

A.J. Green (FanDuel: $8200, DraftKings: $7800)

1vs BAL551057400007.412.49.912.4
2PROJ-Dodds6720.500010.216.213.2 (H=21)16.2 (H=31)
2PROJ-Tremblay6800.400010.416.413.4 (H=21)16.4 (H=32)
2PROJ-Bloom7880.500011.818.815.3 (H=27)18.8 (H=41)

Brandon LaFell (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3700)

1vs BAL57532400002.
2PROJ-Dodds3430.20005.58.57.0 (H=12)8.5 (H=22)
2PROJ-Tremblay3360.20004.87.86.3 (H=10)7.8 (H=18)
2PROJ-Bloom4450.10005.19.17.1 (H=12)9.1 (H=24)

John Ross (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3300)

2PROJ-Dodds2260.10003.25.24.2 (H=4)5.2 (H=10)
2PROJ-Tremblay1130.10001.92.92.4 (H=1)2.9 (H=3)
2PROJ-Bloom2200000243.0 (H=2)4.0 (H=6)

Cody Core (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1vs BAL102000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1100000121.5 (H=0)2.0 (H=2)
2PROJ-Tremblay000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Tyler Boyd (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3600)

1vs BAL42411100001.
2PROJ-Dodds000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Tremblay2220.10002.84.83.8 (H=4)4.8 (H=8)
2PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Texans vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)5T (-4.7)1 (-8.0)3 (-6.4)1 (-8.1)
1James OShaughnessy1111801.

Tyler Eifert (FanDuel: $5800, DraftKings: $4300)

1vs BAL5411400.
2PROJ-Dodds4410.46.510.58.5 (H=14)10.5 (H=27)
2PROJ-Tremblay3370. (H=10)8.5 (H=18)
2PROJ-Bloom4380. (H=13)10.2 (H=25)

Tyler Kroft (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $2500)

1vs BAL1211500.
2PROJ-Dodds1900.91.91.4 (H=0)1.9 (H=2)
2PROJ-Tremblay190. (H=1)2.5 (H=3)
2PROJ-Bloom000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Texans vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)23T (+4.0)23T (+4.0)22T (+4.0) (+0.0)
1Jason Myers3423111112.00.0

Randy Bullock (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $--)

1vs BAL0000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1. (H=14)7.6
2PROJ-Tremblay1.722. (H=16)8.3

Texans vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+22.6)30 (+22.6)29T (+19.4)29T (+19.4)
1Jacksonville Jaguars7203101301303028.028.0

Cincinnati Bengals (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3900)

1vs BAL20.0026811000334.04.0
2PROJ-Dodds16.503312.41.10.800.410.910.910.9 (H=27)10.9 (H=32)
2PROJ-Tremblay16.003472. (H=33)12.3 (H=39)