Sunday was a bad day for the Bengals. Not only did they lose at home to the Bills, but they lost perhaps their two best playmakers on offense (likely for the season).
A.J. Green is suspected to have torn his hamstring, and a report says Gio Bernard tore his ACL. The news is further frustrating because the Bengals play the Ravens this week, and Green has historically destroyed Baltimore’s pass defense. In eight games against the Ravens, Green has recorded 726 yards and six touchdowns receiving. Last year alone, he posted 261 yards and three touchdowns receiving against the Ravens.
So what now? What will Andy Dalton do to help dig his team out of their 3-6-1 hole?
Perhaps he’ll look to rookie wideout Tyler Boyd. According to Ryan McDowell of rotoworld.com, the former Pitt Panther performed well against a strong Buffalo defense, as he caught six passes for 54 yards and a touchdown.
With Green and Bernard likely done for the season, Boyd’s value has quickly gone up.
Gio Bernard wasn’t the only dual-threat running back in the Bengals/Bills game to suffer a substantial injury Sunday afternoon. Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy dislocated his thumb, and according to Pro Football Talk, had surgery Monday morning.
Amazingly, PFT reports that McCoy is expected to play Sunday versus the Jaguars and that after his dislocation, he could’ve reentered the game against the Bengals.
Mike Gillislee is Buffalo’s backup running back. If McCoy plays, plays limited reps, or is inactive, Gillislee should see substantial action. As of Monday morning, Jacksonville (Buffalo’s Week 12 opponent) ranked 22nd in run defense. Furthermore, even when McCoy has been healthy, Gillislee has averaged 5.8 yards per carry, 5.0 yards per reception, and has scored five total touchdowns.
Even though Sammy Watkins may return from a foot injury this week, we don’t know if he’ll be 100 percent healthy. Considering Buffalo is short at receiver, their game plan should be run-heavy. Gillislee looks to be a low-risk pickup with the potential to gain 100 total yards and a touchdown.
If you’re like most fantasy players, you’re only a couple of weeks away from the playoffs, but still have so many variables to sort through before you can feel confident in your team.
One way to boost that confidence is to have a solid defense in your starting lineup. There aren’t many great fantasy defenses out there. But if you’re willing to do a little research, you might be able to find a championship-caliber defense on the waiver wire.
As far as this week goes, there are five defenses with have excellent matchups that may be available in your league. Here are some solid options for you to choose from, the team they’re playing against, and their availability across all Yahoo leagues:
QB: Kirk Cousins (2,039, 34th overall)
WR: Tyler Boyd (14,215, 2nd overall)
RB: Wendell Smallwood (18,288, 1st overall)
TE: Jared Cook (6,463, 7th overall)
K: Matt Bryant (8,602, 4th overall)
D/ST: Buffalo (6,540, 6th overall)