Week 2’s Thursday Night Football matchup features the two teams which had the worst showing this past Sunday in the NFL as the Houston Texans battle the Cincinnati Bengals. The Houston Texans had the intention to start the season with Tom Savage at quarterback. The idea sounded fine until Tom Savage actually started the season for the Houston Texans. By halftime Savage was already making himself comfortable on the Houston bench as rookie Deshaun Watson was under centre. Today marks Watson’s 22nd birthday, but it will be difficult for the birthday boy to get much done tonight as he has had a short week to prepare for his first career NFL start. The Cincinnati Bengals didn’t turn to a backup quarterback this past Sunday, but I’m sure coach Marv Lewis was thinking about it as the Red Rifle, Andy Dalton threw 4 interceptions and fumbled once in Sunday afternoon’s shutout loss against the Baltimore Ravens. Tonight offers an opportunity for both teams to forget about their week 1 struggles and get their season back on the right track.
Tonight, expect a strong showing for the Cincinnati Bengals fantasy options. The return of John Ross tonight will help open up the offense and I expect Andy Dalton to have a bounce back week. A.J Green will finish the week with Top 5 Fantasy WR numbers. The Bengals tonight will also lean on Joe Mixon a lot more in the run-game tonight. Whether their offensive line will step up will hard to tell, but I expect the offense around them to perform better.
Giving a rookie quarterback his first career NFL start on the road on a short week of rest is a recipe for disaster, and although I think Deshaun Watson will develop into a fine NFL quarterback, tonight does not bode well for him to succeed. The Texans top 2 TE’s C.J Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin are out tonight meaning they will have to line up with 4-wide often, something the Texans would rather not do considering their lack of depth at WR. Houston also has yet to establish a dominant run game, and I do not expect Lamar Miller to have a lot of success against a very solid Cincy defense.
Fantasy Point Projections (PPR)
Cincinnati: Andy Dalton 16.50/A.J Green 20.30/John Ross 8.70/Tyler Eifert 12.80/Joe Mixon 12.40/Giovanni Bernard 6.30/Jeremy Hill 4.60
Houston: Deshaun Watson 9.60/DeAndre Hopkins 8.40/Will Fuller V 6.80/Braxton Miller 4.20/Lamar Miller 8.70/D’Onta Foreman 4.50
My Prediction: Houston 13, Cincinnati 25
It is simply asking too much of a rookie quarterback to go on the road on a short week for his first career NFL start and win. Deshaun Watson has a bright future, but it is an unfair situation he is being put into tonight. Andy Dalton may not be in the upper tier when talking about NFL Quarterback’s, but he is still a serviceable QB and he will be good enough to come away with the win against an injury-filled Texans team. Expect lots of blitzes from this Cincy defense as they try to get after Watson early.