Matchup Analysis: Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Bengals 18, Seahawks 27

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Bengals Rushing offense

Good matchup vs. the Seahawks defense.

Joe Mixon enters his third season fully healthy, and fresh off a breakout that saw him average 4.9 yards per carry and 83 per game. Considering the Bengals’ low-tempo, low-volume offense – Mixon took on less than 17 carries a game – that qualified as a full-on eruption. Mixon is just two and a half years removed from posting one of the best speed scores in combine history, and his burst was on full display throughout 2018. Giovani Bernard returns as a dynamic change-of-pace runner, and the team brought in Samaje Perine off waivers to serve as the No. 3, but neither will see much work on the ground. As usual, the Bengals’ real questions are found along the offensive line. First-round left tackle Jonah Williams won’t play in 2019, moving the team’s best run-blocker, Cordy Glenn, outside. And Glenn, who’s in the concussion protocol, is no sure thing for Week 1. Last year’s first-rounder, center Billy Price, can’t get onto the field, and the right side of this line is one of football’s weakest. Ultimately, the line is weak enough to cast some degree of doubt on Mixon’s ceiling. His talent is considerable, but he’ll need to tap all of it just to stay upright and produce.

The Seahawks finished 2018 ranked 13th in raw rush defense, but it was a fairly hollow number. They faced just 23 attempts per game, giving up the league’s third-most yards per attempt (4.9). It was unfortunate for them to face so many strong runners down the stretch, but they did, and those backs (Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey, Damien Williams, Ezekiel Elliott) all produced majorly with little resistance. The problems lie mostly up front, where the days of deep, dominant Seattle lines have dried up. They’ll enter 2019 with Al Woods on the nose and Poona Ford next to him on the interior; both are replacement-level players, with little depth behind them. The team desperately needs new edge men Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah to help contain outside and chase plays down inside. Otherwise, life will be harder than usual for the strong linebacking corps, and this will again be a targetable unit for fantasy players.

Bengals Passing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Seahawks defense.

Andy Dalton has his limitations, but he’s coming off an efficient, if injury-shortened, 2018 season. Through 11 games, he produced on a pace for over 3,700 yards and 31 touchdowns. Dalton’s age-31 year marks a career turning point, though, and the team is offering a one-year audition for his Bengals future. Preseason buzz suggested he was meshing well with new coach Zac Taylor’s scheme, which uses heavy motion and shifts to create mismatches. Of course, his success still hinges upon whether the Bengals’ shaky line – our Matt Bitonti ranks it 29th in football – can keep him upright. First-round left tackle Jonah Williams has been lost for the year, stretching this group even thinner than they were last year. Dalton will also enter 2019 without top target A.J. Green, who will miss at least the first three or four games. The Bengals have added bodies at wideout, and Tyler Boyd has taken huge steps forward, but there’s no doubt Green will be sorely missed. Boyd should lead the way in his absence, and while his 2018 breakout was impressive, he’s more of a complementary piece than a dominant No. 1. Boyd does his best work from the slot, where he’ll be best able to avoid lockdown coverage while Green is sidelined. Undrafted rookie Damion Willis has won Green’s starting role, and he flashed playmaking potential throughout the preseason. Tight end Tyler Eifert can never be counted on to stay healthy, so the team will likely limit his snaps. He’ll see all the passing-down work he can handle, though, with Green on the shelf, and his career rates – he’s scored on better than 10% of his targets – are still tantalizing.

Seattle’s pass defense, once the most dominant in all of football, slipped into the league’s bottom half in 2018. They finished just 17th in net yards allowed per attempt, and they uncharacteristically allowed 8 passers to throw for 275 yards or more. Cornerback play was especially poor last year, and little has changed in terms of personnel. Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers, both victimized often in 2018, will continue to start on the boundaries. The team will also be evaluating the free safety spot, where shaky Tedric Thompson will face competition from a pair of high-energy rookies. Ultimately, it’s a clear period of transition for this unit, with even the pass rush taking on a whole new shape. Sack leader Frank Clark is gone, and emerging star tackle Jarran Reed will open the year under suspension. Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah offer tons of potential as an edge-rushing duo, though both have struggled with injury and inconsistency at times.

Seahawks Rushing offense

Great matchup vs. the Bengals defense.

In 2018, the Seahawks rediscovered their ground-game roots. Only the Ravens ran the ball more often, and few ran more effectively – they look ready to go back to the run-dominant attack that made them Super Bowl winners. Former seventh-round pick Chris Carson continues to outplay his 2017 draft status; he’s the clear-cut lead dog in this backfield. Carson is nimble and creative for a big back, and he doesn’t produce many negative runs. Rashaad Penny was inconsistent as a rookie runner, struggling with his conditioning and burst, and didn’t show much improvement in the preseason. He’s flashed chunk-run potential, though, and makes for a dynamic second option. Quarterback Russell Wilson remains dangerously mobile and instinctive, and though he hasn’t run as much lately, he’s always a threat to take off. The Seattle line remains among the league’s worst at pass-blocking, but an upper-tier group in the run game. Guards Mike Iupati and D.J. Fluker are road graders on the interior, while Duane Brown and Germain Ifedi are above-average on the outside. As a group, they’re plenty qualified to spring holes for Carson and Penny to explode through.

The Cincinnati run defense spent most of 2018 as one of football’s weakest units. They allowed the league’s eighth-most yards per rush and fourth-most per game, with 9 lead backs topping 80 yards. And little has changed personnel-wise entering 2019, with the front seven still severely undermanned. Nose tackle Andrew Billings has come on as a space-eater, and Nick Vigil is dependable on the strong side. But there’s little playmaking dynamism on the second level to take advantage. Middle linebacker Preston Brown remains a stiff, one-dimensional tackler who makes few impact stops. Ultimately, the Bengals rely heavily upon safeties Shawn Williams and Jessie Bates to make plays in the box, which isn’t ideal for stopping chunk runs.

Seahawks Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Bengals defense.

With Doug Baldwin retired and a host of rookie faces joining the wideout room, the Seattle passing game is in full-blown transition. Tyler Lockett is now the clear-cut No. 1 option, with three draft picks and a few practice-squad types vying for attention behind him. Of course, having Russell Wilson under center goes a long way in phases like this. Wilson remains one of football’s steadiest passers, fresh off a season that saw him post his best yardage and touchdown rates in years. He still works behind one of the league’s worst lines, but his mobility and instinctiveness mitigate that somewhat. It’s also fair to wonder how he’ll fare without Baldwin as a security blanket, but Lockett might not prove much of a downgrade. He’s actually been more effective since entering the league in 2015, posting an elite 10.0 yards per target to Baldwin’s 9.1. Lockett lacks the size of a prototypical No. 1, but so did Baldwin, and he’s fast and quick-footed with a nose for inching past downfield coverage. He was outstanding on deep balls last year, a big reason he turned just 57 receptions into 10 touchdowns. He’ll be a difficult cover cover for the Bengals, both inside and out, often drawing free safety Jamie Bates to help in the deep zones. Speedy rookie DK Metcalf and journeyman Jaron Brown will start on the outside, and both have the ability to lift the lid off a secondary. It’s yet to be seen, though, just how much of a connection they’ll forge with Wilson; they could both be looked at as decoys off the bat. Perhaps tight end Will Dissly will offer some seam-stretching value, but he’s still an unknown commodity.

The Bengals were weak in pass defense throughout 2018, giving up the league’s fourth-most net yards per attempt and sixth-most touchdowns. Still, there’s a reason to expect some degree of improvement in 2019. Top cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick returns to full strength after shuffling on and off the field down the stretch. Kirkpatrick was an elite playmaker on the outside when healthy; he pairs with William Jackson III to make up one of the league’s strongest duos. Depth, however, is a major concern. Darqueze Dennard will miss at least the first six games on PUP, leaving a handful of reserve bodies to fight for snaps in nickel and dime sets. Free safety Jessie Bates has impressed greatly, but he can’t be everywhere, and the team needs improved cornerback play in the slot and up the seams. This is a unit that will be improved from last season, but will still struggle with consistency from week-to-week.

Joe Mixon (FanDuel: $7800, DraftKings: $6700)

1PROJ-Dodds17730.53.0220. (H=26)16.1 (H=36)
1PROJ-Tremblay15680.32.6190.111.113.712.4 (H=20)13.7 (H=27)
1PROJ-Bloom17670.53.0220.112.515.514 (H=24)15.5 (H=34)

Giovani Bernard (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $4100)

1PROJ-Dodds41602.3170. (H=6)6.2 (H=11)
1PROJ-Tremblay4170.12.31603.96.25.1 (H=6)6.2 (H=11)
1PROJ-Bloom41502.0160. (H=5)5.7 (H=9)

Tyler Boyd (FanDuel: $6900, DraftKings: $5800)

1PROJ-Dodds5.7690.40009.31512.2 (H=22)15 (H=37)
1PROJ-Tremblay5.8790.401010.416.213.3 (H=25)16.2 (H=42)
1PROJ-Bloom6.0560.30007.413.410.4 (H=16)13.4 (H=30)

John Ross (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $3900)

1PROJ-Dodds2.6310.20004.36.95.6 (H=7)6.9 (H=14)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.1260.202046.15.1 (H=6)6.1 (H=11)
1PROJ-Bloom2.0290.30004.76.75.7 (H=7)6.7 (H=13)

Alex Erickson (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3200)

1PROJ-Dodds1.3150.10002.13.42.9 (H=2)3.5 (H=5)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.4170.10102.43.83.2 (H=3)3.9 (H=6)
1PROJ-Bloom0.000000000.1 (H=0)0.1 (H=0)

C.J. Uzomah (FanDuel: $4300, DraftKings: $2600)

1PROJ-Dodds1.8210. (H=5)5.1 (H=12)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.4150. (H=2)3.5 (H=6)
1PROJ-Bloom1.0110. (H=1)2.7 (H=4)

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


Cincinnati Bengals (FanDuel: $3100, DraftKings: $2000)

1PROJ-Dodds26.33772.10.70.500. (H=14)6.1 (H=22)
1PROJ-Tremblay26.753691.70.70.500. (H=12)5.5 (H=19)

Russell Wilson (FanDuel: $8200, DraftKings: $6300)

1PROJ-Dodds20282281.70.65250.221.321.321.3 (H=48)21.3 (H=63)
1PROJ-Tremblay17262061.60.75260. (H=40)19.2 (H=53)
1PROJ-Bloom16232121.70.53210.119.619.619.6 (H=42)19.6 (H=54)

Chris Carson (FanDuel: $6600, DraftKings: $5700)

1PROJ-Dodds17790.81.9160.114.916.815.9 (H=36)16.8 (H=46)
1PROJ-Tremblay17780.61.9160.113.615.514.6 (H=31)15.5 (H=40)
1PROJ-Bloom19920.72.0180.115.817.816.8 (H=40)17.8 (H=51)

Rashaad Penny (FanDuel: $5900, DraftKings: $4900)

1PROJ-Dodds8400.22.2170. (H=14)9.7 (H=20)
1PROJ-Tremblay9440.31.4110. (H=14)9.3 (H=19)
1PROJ-Bloom10480.31.0707.38.37.8 (H=11)8.3 (H=15)

Carlos Hyde (FanDuel: $5400, DraftKings: $4100)

1PROJ-Dodds5160.10.6402.63.22.9 (H=2)3.2 (H=3)
1PROJ-Tremblay1500.0000.50.50.5 (H=0)0.5 (H=0)
1PROJ-Bloom8200.30.0003.83.83.8 (H=3)3.8 (H=4)

Travis Homer (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1PROJ-Dodds0000.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay280.10.3301.721.9 (H=1)2 (H=2)

Tyler Lockett (FanDuel: $6800, DraftKings: $6000)

1PROJ-Dodds5.0700.615011.116.113.7 (H=27)16.2 (H=41)
1PROJ-Tremblay3.2510.51508.611.810.3 (H=16)11.9 (H=24)
1PROJ-Bloom4.0660.716011.415.413.5 (H=26)15.5 (H=38)

DK Metcalf (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $4000)

1PROJ-Dodds3.0430.30006.19.17.6 (H=12)9.1 (H=22)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.6370.30005.58.16.8 (H=10)8.1 (H=18)
1PROJ-Bloom3.0490.30006.79.78.2 (H=13)9.7 (H=25)

Phillip Dorsett (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3100)

1PROJ-Dodds2.2290.20004.16.35.2 (H=7)6.3 (H=15)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.3270.201046.35.2 (H=7)6.3 (H=15)
1PROJ-Bloom2.0240.20003.65.64.6 (H=5)5.6 (H=12)

David Moore (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $3500)

1PROJ-Dodds0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Greg Olsen (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $3200)

1PROJ-Dodds3.0340. (H=10)8.2 (H=23)
1PROJ-Tremblay2.2230. (H=5)5.7 (H=12)
1PROJ-Bloom5.0510.36.911.99.4 (H=18)11.9 (H=45)

Will Dissly (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2900)

1PROJ-Dodds1.9220. (H=6)5.3 (H=12)
1PROJ-Tremblay1.4150. (H=4)4.1 (H=7)
1PROJ-Bloom2.0270. (H=7)5.9 (H=14)

Luke Willson (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2500)

1PROJ-Dodds0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Tremblay0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)
1PROJ-Bloom0.000000 (H=0)0 (H=0)

Jason Myers (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)


Seattle Seahawks (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3100)

1PROJ-Dodds18.23402.40.90.700. (H=22)9.7 (H=33)
1PROJ-Tremblay17.253402. (H=31)11.8 (H=46)