Welcome to the Week 4 TNF Showdown which features Dolphins at Bengals. I’ll be guiding you through the important aspects to watch in each Thursday night matchup.
Without further ado, let’s see what the Miami Dolphins and the Cincinnati Bengals have in store for us in what should be an electric matchup.
Advanced stats and analytics will be utilized to identify favorable matchups and players to avoid. The purpose of this article is to paint a picture of how the teams play and matchup with one another in less than 1,000 words. As the season continues, less emphasis will be put on last season and early season’s stats. Vegas trends will also be implemented to help predict the game flow. I’ll conclude the article with a Cliff Notes section and give the readers my prediction for the game.
- Miami is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Miami’s last 5 games on the road.
- Miami is 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games against Cincinnati.
- Cincinnati is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Cincinnati’s last 8 games.
- Cincinnati is 4-2 SU in their last 6 games played on a Thursday.
- Austin Jackson (Ankle – IR)
- Tua Tagovailoa (Back/Ankle – Questionable)
- Raekwon Davis (Knee – Questionable)
- Jaylen Waddle (Groin – Questionable)
- Cedrick Wilson (Ribs/Toe – Questionable)
- Terron Armstead (Toe – Questionable)
- Robert Hunt (Undisclosed – Questionable)
- Xavien Howard (Groin – Questionable)
- D.J. Reader (Knee – Out)
- La’el Collins (Back – Questionable)
The Miami Dolphins
Buffalo’s lethal defense brought Tua Tagovailoa back to earth following his show-stopping Week 2 performance, limiting the Dolphins to 186 passing yards on 18 attempts. His output should have been far worse. It looked as if he would not return from the gruesome head injury he suffered late in the second quarter. The Bengals defense offers quite the exploitable matchup as they have struggled to slow down inferior offenses in three straight weeks. Tua is proving to be one of the most accurate passers in the league, and will be a top-12 option tonight.
Jaylen Waddle continues to cement himself as an elite force. Waddle’s earned a 39.0-percent (No. 7 of qualified receivers) Air Yards Share and (barely) is leading the team with 342 (No. 2) receiving yards. He’s electric with the ball in his hands, waddling to 7.5 Yards After Catch per Reception, and is currently averaging 24.3 (No. 4) Fantasy Points per Game. Expect another enjoyable performance against Cincinnati’s soft secondary.
First Read Target Market Share
1. Cooper Kupp (41.3%)
2. Mark Andrews (40.6%)
3. CeeDee Lamb (39.7%)
4. Courtland Sutton (39.6%)
5. Ja'Marr Chase (38.6%)
6. AJ Brown (38.5%)
7. Jaylen Waddle (37.5%)
7. Amari Cooper (37.5%)
My new favorite stat, courtesy of @FantasyPtsData
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) September 27, 2022
Not far behind him is Tyreek Hill. The deep threat has succeeded at stretching the field. Hill’s earning six (No. 3) Deep Targets and generating 2.79 (No. 3) yards of Target Separation. His surplus of big plays through three weeks created +5.5 Fantasy Points per Game above expected. He’s seeing a very similar role to what he grew accustom to in Kansas City. They’ll run him deep, and they’ll also run him across the middle of the field and let him find an opening.
Take the OVER on Tyreek Hill O/U 5.5 receptions.
Beyond the “Big Three”, Miami has been a fantasy football wasteland. Chase Edmonds paves the way for the Dolphins backfield with a sad-trombone worthy 8.8 Weighted Opportunities per Game. Edmonds, however, isn’t even playing a majority of snaps. That would be Raheem Mostert. Mostert has out-snapped and out-touched Edmonds in each of the past two weeks. Neither have yet to amass more than 16 touches in one game. While Cincinnati has been susceptible to pass-catching running backs going back as far as last season, there is not enough opportunity or consistency in Miami’s backfield to slot either in a lineup on a short week.
Mike Gesicki is the starting tight end, but he’s earned one target in each of weeks one and three. With a season-high Snap Share of 59.4-percent and a 12.2-percent Target Rate, you’d have to be crazy to play Gesicki in any non-disaster scenario. Maybe he’ll earn more targets once he learns how to dance.
The Cincinnati Bengals
Joe “Joe Brrrr” Burrow is starting to warm up. Against the Jets, he stepped up and delivered three passing touchdowns on 7.6 Yards per Attempt. This was not without it’s struggles. Burrow completed only 64-percent of his passes and continues to be under constant duress. This forced Joe Cool to rely on his legs. While the completion percentages are down, the accuracy metrics aren’t. The horrid Week 1 performance is behind him, and I expect Burrow to take full advantage of the banged-up dolphins defense.
If you’ve read my previous work on RB Opportunity metrics, you’re probably sending countless offers for Joe Mixon who has failed to score a touchdown this season. Mixon leads all running backs with 22.1 Weighted Opportunities per Game, thanks to a 16.3-percent (No. 5) Target Share. The carries will come back as Cincinnati regains their footing, and the touchdowns will as well. Against a banged up Dolphin’s front-7 who gave up nine receptions and nearly 100 total yards to Devin Singletary last week, that turnaround starts tonight.
– Joe Mixon's ankle injury is not expected to linger into TNF in Week 4
Mixon with 20 targets, only 1 behind Ekeler for RB leader of 2022
No TDs through 3 weeks, but 9 RZ (5 GL) carries, and 2 RZ targets
He will find the end zone soon
– If Tee Higgins misses Week 3 after ⬇️⬇️
— Josh Larky (@jlarkytweets) September 26, 2022
After torching Pittsburgh for 10 receptions and 129 receiving yards, Ja’Marr Chase struggled to produce in Weeks 2 and 3. While he totaled 11 receptions, he was held to 83 total receiving yards. After his breakout rookie season, Chase is getting a lot of attention from defenses, and will likely see a lot of Xavien Howard in tonight’s matchup. Cincinnati needs to get back to letting Chase loose downfield, and raise his 8.6 (No. 66) Average Target Distance and 2 (No. 48) Deep Targets.
Hammer the OVER on Joe Mixon O/U 3.0 receptions, and sprinkle Ja’Marr Chase Any Time Touchdown Scorer.
Tee Higgins took another tough shot to the head on Sunday, which somehow only knocked him out for a few drives. Robbed of a highlight reel touchdown, Higgins continued the dominance he displayed near the end of last season. He makes the impossible seem easy, catching more passes than catchable targets for a 118.2-percent (No. 5) True Catch Rate. Higgins is a lock for 7+ targets, and has a high likelihood of scoring every week. Deemed healthy, roll out Higgins with confidence.
I don’t give a damn what you try to define Tee Higgins as — he’s an alpha. https://t.co/ViGlc0h0zY
— Nate Liss (@AnOutragedJew) September 25, 2022
Despite being the No. 5 target on the team, Tyler Boyd has earned enough opportunity to be a playable fantasy asset thus far. He compiled 35 receiving yards and a (nullified) touchdown on the team’s first drive. The Bengals throwing the ball 41.7 times per game allows plenty of opportunity for all pass catchers in this offense. Boyd is a low-floor flex option in deeper PPR leagues.
After two games of seven or more targets, Hayden Hurst is establishing himself as a weekly PPR streaming option. He caught five passes in each of the first two weeks and earned a 16.9-percent Target Share. In Week 3, he was limited to 31-percent of snaps and 14 routes due to a groin injury. Hurst is no longer on the injury report, indicating he’s fully healed. He’s a legitimate streaming option this week, but I’d prefer David Njoku or Tyler Conklin if either are available.
- Tua Tagovailoa won’t be limited by the fake back injury.
- Stay away from the ambiguous Dolphins backfield.
- It will be a big fantasy day for all four of this game’s star receivers.
- Expect a hot night from Joe Cool.
- Bold Prediction: Joe Mixon is this weeks RB1.
- Hayden Hurst is a weekly PPR streaming option.
The Bengals enter tonight favored by 4 points. While the Dolphins potentially have the superior squad, and are far and away the public favorite to cover, they are banged up and traveling on a short week. The Bengals are slowly returning to form, and could use a home stand against an undefeated team to cement their confidence. I fully expect them to come out firing today and take care of business, covering the spread.
The total is set at 47 points. Each team’s trends certainly suggest the under being the favorable pick. Even though both offenses are loaded with weapons and have the potential to explode into a shootout, battling injuries on a short week generally tells us we’re in for a slow start. I’ll be taking the under tonight, and sweating that out as I continue on my tirade of fading the public money.
Prediction: Bengals 27-22