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Matchup Analysis: New Orleans Saints at Cincinnati Bengals

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Saints 29, Bengals 25

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

New Orleans Saints Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Saints Offense34.9 (+10.8) (2)112 (+1) (15)290 (+39) (7)
Bengals Defense29.6 (+5.6) (30)128 (+17) (26)319 (+68) (32)

Cincinnati Bengals Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Bengals Offense27.6 (+3.6) (10)93 (-17) (26)252 (+0) (17)
Saints Defense27.2 (+3.2) (27)76 (-34) (1)311 (+60) (31)

Saints Rushing offense

Great matchup vs. the Bengals defense.

The Saints have gone the unconventional route and lean on Alvin Kamara as their lead runner. Kamara isn’t big or powerful, but he’s lightning-fast and one of the league’s most dangerous players in open space. He routinely weaves through traffic and exploits small creases, making him a solid lead dog and a fair interior runner, if a non-traditional one. And that’s especially important with Mark Ingram looking so gassed. Ingram has managed just 181 yards (3.62 per carry) over 4 games back from suspension. He’s faced a host of tough run defenses, to be fair, but simply hasn’t looked like the creative grinder he was in 2017. The Bengals are a fine canvas to engineer a turnaround, and Sunday’s matchup does project as somewhat of an Ingram breakout. But this is now predominantly Kamara’s backfield, so expect him to reap the most benefit. His explosiveness and diverse abilities should give the Bengals’ shaky linebacking corps fits, and he’s always a threat to break chunk runs and outdo his 61-yard season average.

The Bengals defense has become an awfully fertile ground for opposing runners to produce on. On the year they’ve allowed backs to rack up a stunning 5.57 yards per attempt, while each of the last 3 lead runners has topped 85 and found the end zone. The tackles are generally strong, though Geno Atkins has made his name much more as a pass rusher than a run defender. The real issue lies in the second and third levels, where poor fundamentals and a lack of athletic edge has doomed them. With star linebacker Vontaze Burfict out, there’s very little dynamism in pursuit, and shoddy tackling has run rampant throughout this defense. With the likes of Frank Gore and Peyton Barber churning out chunk gains left and right, it’s safe to expect production from virtually any runner in this matchup.

Saints Passing offense

Great matchup vs. the Bengals defense.

The Saints have mostly reinvented themselves as a run-rooted team, one more likely to ice away a game on the ground than to ask Drew Brees them to throw for with 400 yards. But in last Sunday’s showdown with the unbeaten Rams, Brees showed how capable a shootout passer he still is. Brees managed 346 yards and 4 touchdowns in the win, consistently finding Michael Thomas (211 yards) and Alvin Kamara with his Hall of Fame accuracy. Fantasy players can fret (rightfully) about Brees’ weekly volume outlook, but not about his efficiency and ability to maximize opportunity – he’s actually posting career-highs in per-attempt production. Amazingly, he’s virtually the same caliber of the passer he was 10 years ago, and he can never be counted out of a big fantasy day. Throwing to an across-the-field dominator in Thomas (a wild 88% catch rate) and explosive playmakers in Kamara and Tre’Quan Smith, Brees always carries week-winning blowup potential. The matchup is never a concern for his smarts and precision. Unfortunately, beyond those three names, there’s not much to look at among the other receivers. Cameron Meredith looks miles out of the team’s plans, and Austin Carr is a low-impact slot specialist. That could be why the Saints brought in Dez Bryant this week. Bryant may not suit up just four days after his signing, but he’ll eventually bring some degree of an upgrade.

To illustrate the ineptitude of the 2018 Bengals pass defense, take away two specific matchups: a game-script loss to Cam Newton’s Panthers, and a date with low-impact Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins. In the other 6 games, they’ve allowed teams to average a stunning 385 yards and throw 15 touchdowns. All 6 opponents topped 319 yards, completing 67% of throws in a series of no-sweat, no-resistance days. The secondary has been an absolute mess, with the cornerbacks struggling mightily (William Jackson especially) and the safeties unable to provide help over the top. Poor tackling has also allowed big after-catch plays at too high a clip. Even when they’re making plays on the ball and intercepting passes, they’re still one of the NFL’s leakiest units, and a pleasure to face in fantasy matchups.

Bengals Rushing offense

Bad matchup vs. the Saints defense.

Flying squarely under the radar, Joe Mixon has been one of the 2018’s most consistently explosive runners. Mixon has run for 64 yards or more in each of his 6 games thus far, averaging 4.85 per rush along the way. That’s quite a leap from his ho-hum rookie year, which saw him average 3.52 and only top 64 twice. Mixon is a certified stud, boasting a scary blend of burst, elusiveness, and power. His 43-yard scamper in Week 8 was a perfect snapshot of his block-following, ankle-breaking ability. Mixon is enjoying the Bengals’ gradually-improving offensive line, particularly on the left side, where new tackle Cordy Glenn has been a solid upgrade. First-round center Billy Price should be set to return this week, but he’s no guarantee to step into a starting role, with backup Trey Hopkins playing at a high level. He’s already produced solid games against stout run defenses, so he’s essentially a matchup-proof option with ever-present upside for huge rushing lines.

Against all odds, the New Orleans run defense has shone brightly as one of 2018’s stingiest. After allowing 4.40 yards per rush and 112 a game in 2017, they’ve tightened to just 3.39 and 76 this year (both best in the league). Only 2 backs (Peyton Barber in Week 1 and Todd Gurley last Sunday) have registered more than 56 yards, and none have topped 70. Some of that has been related to game flow, as the Saints tend to race up and down the field and take opposing run games out of the plan. But they’ve been simply suffocating on a per-play basis, with former first-round nose Sheldon Rankins coming into his own as a run-stuffer. His stout play in the middle has freed up the team’s mediocre linebacking corps to make easier plays than ever.

Bengals Passing offense

Great matchup vs. the Saints defense.

The Bengals will lurch forward without A.J. Green, for at least a few games, and that’s never an ideal scenario. Green is the Bengals’ engine, and the only true physical mismatch in their stable. He’s long, fast, athletic, and almost supernaturally capable of winning contested balls. Without him, Andy Dalton loses most of his dynamism, and he’ll be hard-pressed to produce much down the field. Slot man Tyler Boyd has enjoyed a massive breakout, on pace for 98 receptions and 10 scores, but he doesn’t really step into Green’s shoes. Boyd’s strength has been as a creative route-runner and security blanket underneath, and while he’s had some downfield success, he doesn’t replicate what Green brings. The supplementary receivers (Alex Erickson, Josh Malone) are limited talents, and speedy John Ross is again iffy to suit up. Dalton will likely spend Sunday looking short to Boyd and his tight ends, striking deep only occasionally (and with far less success than he’s used to).

Even after a midseason shuffle, the Saints continue to field one of the NFL’s worst pass defenses. Ex-Giant cornerback Eli Apple was brought in last week to replace the struggling Ken Crawley, but Jared Goff threw for 391 too-easy yards and 3 touchdowns anyway. The coverage group has been disastrous all season, and it’s hard to project much of a turnaround. Marshon Lattimore, 2017’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, has settled down noticeably after a nightmarish start to his second season. He’s not flawless as he's still a gambler who can be beaten when he guesses wrong but continues to show shutdown ability on the outside. Everywhere else, though, the Saints routinely find themselves in trouble. P.J. Williams has been burned relentlessly throughout the year, and Apple looked shaky at best in his first start. There are always moments of encouragement from this aggressive unit, which can indeed blanket receivers and create splash plays of their own. But with so many downfield deficiencies, they still make for a juicy fantasy matchup

Bengals vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)29 (+5.9)29 (+6.0)29 (+5.6)29 (+6.6)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)32 (+10.2)32 (+10.5)32 (+10.5)32 (+11.7)
6Ben Roethlisberger733246369101-1022.323.321.124.6
7Patrick Mahomes70283935841445037.437.433.836.8
8Ryan Fitzpatrick25111519420118019.519.519.619.6

Drew Brees (FanDuel: $8400, DraftKings: $6300)

7@ BAL7122302122043018.918.916.816.8
8@ MIN53182312011000997.87.8
9vs LAR71253634640416034.934.931.434.4
10PROJ-Dodds26383051.80.6260.223.623.623.6 (H=56)23.6 (H=75)
10PROJ-Tremblay25382891.80.96130.323.823.823.8 (H=57)23.8 (H=76)
10PROJ-Bloom202523320.5230. (H=43)20.1 (H=57)

Bengals vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25 (+4.3)27 (+5.2)27 (+4.9)26 (+5.4)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+8.4)31 (+8.9)31 (+8.9)31 (+9.4)
6James Conner661911127418024.928.926.931.9
6Stevan Ridley612000000.
7Kareem Hunt46158616555232.137.134.637.1
7Spencer Ware228590333008.911.910.411.9
8Peyton Barber4319851000014.514.514.514.5
8Jacquizz Rodgers33140442502.

Alvin Kamara (FanDuel: $8800, DraftKings: $8700)

7@ BAL39176412211013.515.514.515.5
8@ MIN38134518731119.626.623.126.6
9vs LAR41198225434129.633.631.633.6
10PROJ-Dodds12600.66530.316.722.719.7 (H=39)22.7 (H=51)
10PROJ-Tremblay12540.66460.214.820.817.8 (H=33)20.8 (H=44)
10PROJ-Bloom12500.84350.516.320.318.3 (H=34)20.3 (H=42)

Mark Ingram (FanDuel: $6800, DraftKings: $4500)

7@ BAL3512320221004.
8@ MIN2313630332909.212.210.712.2
9vs LAR34933021303.
10PROJ-Dodds10470.53190. (H=20)13.2 (H=38)
10PROJ-Tremblay11470.33230.19.412.410.9 (H=18)12.4 (H=34)
10PROJ-Bloom15710.62100.112.314.313.3 (H=26)14.3 (H=44)

Bengals vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+3.1)28 (+5.0)29 (+5.3)28 (+6.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+9.6)31 (+12.5)31 (+12.4)31 (+15.5)
6Antonio Brown6365105100016.521.519.024.5
6JuJu Smith-Schuster50107111000011.118.116.623.1
7Tyreek Hill5210768128013.620.617.120.6
7Sammy Watkins60747400007.411.49.411.4
8Mike Evans70136179100023.929.926.932.9
8DeSean Jackson468368114013.216.214.716.2

Michael Thomas (FanDuel: $8600, DraftKings: $8100)

7@ BAL669769100012.919.916.419.9
8@ MIN51658100008.113.110.613.1
9vs LAR651512211100027.
10PROJ-Dodds81110.600014.722.718.7 (H=37)22.7 (H=55)
10PROJ-Tremblay81040.6000142218.0 (H=34)22.0 (H=52)
10PROJ-Bloom6830.500011.317.314.3 (H=23)17.3 (H=34)

TreQuan Smith (FanDuel: $5600, DraftKings: $4600)

7@ BAL52634400004.
8@ MIN41431800001.
9vs LAR48322310008.310.39.310.3
10PROJ-Dodds3430.20005.58.57.0 (H=10)8.5 (H=17)
10PROJ-Tremblay2320.20004.46.45.4 (H=6)6.4 (H=10)
10PROJ-Bloom3450.40006.99.98.4 (H=14)9.9 (H=23)

Dez Bryant (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)


Austin Carr (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

7@ BAL150000000000.00.0
8@ MIN191000000000.00.0
9vs LAR150000000000.00.0
10PROJ-Dodds1900000.91.91.4 (H=0)1.9 (H=2)
10PROJ-Tremblay0500000.50.50.5 (H=0)0.5 (H=0)
10PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Cameron Meredith (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3100)

7@ BAL180000000000.00.0
8@ MIN90000000000.00.0
9vs LAR130000000000.00.0
10PROJ-Dodds000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
10PROJ-Tremblay000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
10PROJ-Bloom1150.10002.13.12.6 (H=2)3.1 (H=4)

Bengals vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+3.6)31 (+5.6)30 (+4.4)30 (+5.3)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+6.8)31 (+10.7)30 (+8.8)30 (+10.6)
6Vance McDonald51876806.813.810.313.8
7Travis Kelce60559509.514.512.014.5
8O.J. Howard534468112.816.814.816.8

Ben Watson (FanDuel: $5900, DraftKings: $3400)

7@ BAL356643110.316.313.316.3
8@ MIN140000000.00.0
9vs LAR334362112.215.213.715.2
10PROJ-Dodds3360. (H=8)7.8 (H=20)
10PROJ-Tremblay3300. (H=6)7.2 (H=17)
10PROJ-Bloom3340. (H=9)8.2 (H=22)

Josh Hill (FanDuel: $4300, DraftKings: $2600)

7@ BAL440000000.00.0
8@ MIN340000000.00.0
9vs LAR5542100132.03.0
10PROJ-Dodds1140.1232.5 (H=2)3.0 (H=5)
10PROJ-Tremblay1100. (H=1)2.6 (H=4)
10PROJ-Bloom1110. (H=1)2.7 (H=4)

Dan Arnold (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2500)

7@ BAL11323503.
8@ MIN100000000.00.0
9vs LAR131000000.00.0
10PROJ-Dodds000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
10PROJ-Tremblay170. (H=1)2.3 (H=3)

Bengals vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)26 (+1.0)26 (+1.0)17T (+1.1) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)22T (+1.3)22T (+1.3)17 (+0.5) (+0.0)
6Chris Boswell2222888.08.0
7Harrison Butker1266999.09.0
8Chandler Catanzaro2223888.08.0

Wil Lutz (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

7@ BAL1133666.06.0
8@ MIN3333121216.016.0
9vs LAR11669911.011.0

Bengals vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10 (-1.6)10 (-1.6)14 (-0.9)14 (-0.9)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)14T (-1.4)14T (-1.4)18 (-0.6)18 (-0.6)
6Pittsburgh Steelers2127530000333.03.0
7Kansas City Chiefs1023921001101014.014.0
8Tampa Bay Buccaneers3740220000221.01.0

New Orleans Saints (FanDuel: $3200, DraftKings: $2200)

7@ BAL23.0035110000111.01.0
8@ MIN20.0042341101141415.015.0
9vs LAR35.004830100022-2.0-2.0
10PROJ-Dodds24.903502.210.600. (H=22)7.9 (H=32)
10PROJ-Tremblay24.253402.31.10.700. (H=25)8.6 (H=37)

Saints vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+6.7)31 (+6.6)32 (+6.8)31 (+7.4)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+7.6)31 (+7.6)31 (+7.7)31 (+8.7)
7Joe Flacco6823392792014022.422.419.619.6
8Kirk Cousins7331413592123025.325.321.724.7
9Jared Goff60284039131317032.332.330.333.3

Andy Dalton (FanDuel: $7900, DraftKings: $5800)

7@ KC5015291481100010.410.48.98.9
8vs TB652134280203100232320.220.2
10PROJ-Dodds25382751.91250.121.421.421.4 (H=51)21.4 (H=69)
10PROJ-Tremblay22352551.71.1250.119.619.619.6 (H=43)19.6 (H=59)
10PROJ-Bloom21351981.51.1250.115.915.915.9 (H=30)15.9 (H=41)

Saints vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)6 (-4.3)8 (-4.2)7 (-4.3)7 (-4.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)7 (-3.8)8 (-2.6)9 (-3.0)9 (-3.1)
7Alex Collins2811380431004.
7Javorius Allen30330332102.
8Latavius Murray61135616539015.520.518.020.5
8Roc Thomas31-10111501.
9Todd Gurley54136817611013.919.916.919.9
9Malcolm Brown6000111817.

Joe Mixon (FanDuel: $8000, DraftKings: $7700)

7@ KC451350053105.
8vs TB552112324315025.828.827.331.8
10PROJ-Dodds16690.64290.1141816.0 (H=30)18.0 (H=38)
10PROJ-Tremblay16670.54280. (H=27)17.1 (H=35)
10PROJ-Bloom17670.54220. (H=27)17.1 (H=35)

Giovani Bernard (FanDuel: $6100, DraftKings: $4500)

10PROJ-Dodds3110.13180. (H=6)7.1 (H=13)
10PROJ-Tremblay260.12130. (H=3)5.1 (H=7)
10PROJ-Bloom2602110. (H=2)4.3 (H=5)

Mark Walton (FanDuel: $4800, DraftKings: $3500)

7@ KC1441000000111.01.0
8vs TB10270111001.
10PROJ-Dodds1300000.30.30.3 (H=0)0.3 (H=0)
10PROJ-Tremblay1500200.70.70.7 (H=0)0.7 (H=0)
10PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Saints vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)32 (+11.9)32 (+15.4)32 (+13.9)32 (+17.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)32 (+13.7)32 (+18.9)32 (+15.6)32 (+21.2)
7John Brown5077134100019.426.422.929.4
7Michael Crabtree48956600006.611.69.111.6
8Stefon Diggs641110119100017.927.922.930.9
8Adam Thielen69771031115017.824.819.326.8
9Brandin Cooks5986114100017.423.420.426.4
9Cooper Kupp606589100014.919.917.419.9

Tyler Boyd (FanDuel: $7800, DraftKings: $7500)

7@ KC58432700002.
8vs TB6010913811-2019.628.624.131.6
10PROJ-Dodds6730.512010.516.513.5 (H=23)16.5 (H=34)
10PROJ-Tremblay5680.513010.115.112.6 (H=20)15.1 (H=29)
10PROJ-Bloom6620.50009.215.212.2 (H=19)15.2 (H=29)

John Ross (FanDuel: $5600, DraftKings: $3900)

7@ KC301000000000.00.0
10PROJ-Dodds3400.30005.88.87.3 (H=11)8.8 (H=22)
10PROJ-Tremblay2300.20004.26.25.2 (H=6)6.2 (H=12)
10PROJ-Bloom3440.30006.29.27.7 (H=12)9.2 (H=23)

Alex Erickson (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3400)

7@ KC2021-10000-
8vs TB5041500000.
10PROJ-Dodds2270.20003.95.95.1 (H=7)6.1 (H=13)
10PROJ-Tremblay3380.30005.68.67.3 (H=13)8.8 (H=25)
10PROJ-Bloom3250.10003.16.14.8 (H=6)6.3 (H=14)

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

7@ KC1433300000364.56.0
8vs TB60000000000.00.0
10PROJ-Dodds2210.10002.74.73.7 (H=4)4.7 (H=9)
10PROJ-Tremblay2200.10002.64.63.6 (H=4)4.6 (H=9)

Josh Malone (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

8vs TB40000000000.00.0
10PROJ-Dodds000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
10PROJ-Tremblay1100000121.5 (H=0)2.0 (H=2)
10PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Saints vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)4 (-2.8)6 (-3.6)6 (-2.7)7 (-3.3)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)14 (-1.2)14 (-1.9)17 (-0.8)16 (-1.3)
7Mark Andrews2611816.
8Kyle Rudolph63743903.
9Gerald Everett18534804.

C.J. Uzomah (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $3700)

7@ KC57221317.
8vs TB630000000.00.0
10PROJ-Dodds3360.4697.5 (H=12)9.0 (H=24)
10PROJ-Tremblay3350. (H=10)8.3 (H=21)
10PROJ-Bloom3340. (H=9)8.2 (H=20)

Saints vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)6T (-1.2)6T (-1.2)6T (-1.5) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)6 (-1.7)6 (-1.7)6 (-1.9) (+0.0)
7Justin Tucker1123555.05.0
8Dan Bailey0023222.02.0
9Greg Zuerlein23339911.011.0

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

7@ KC1111444.04.0
8vs TB1145778.08.0

Saints vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2T (-2.0)2T (-2.0)2T (-5.1)2T (-5.1)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2 (-4.1)2 (-4.1)2 (-5.6)2 (-5.6)
7Baltimore Ravens2433910100333.03.0
8Minnesota Vikings3027001000222.02.0
9Los Angeles Rams454870010022-2.0-2.0

Cincinnati Bengals (FanDuel: $3200, DraftKings: $2100)

7@ KC45.0055121000440.00.0
8vs TB34.0057664001202019.019.0
10PROJ-Dodds28.9040220.80.500. (H=12)5.6 (H=18)
10PROJ-Tremblay29.754032.50.90.500. (H=14)6.1 (H=21)