This article is part of our DFS NFL series.
We've had some subpar matchups on Monday Night Football this season, but we'll close out the calendar with the game of the week as the Bills head to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals. There are a lot of implications for both teams, as Cincinnati can clinch the AFC North with a win and Buffalo will look to keep pace with the Chiefs for the top seed in the conference. The game total is 49.5 with the Bills generally a one-point favorite despite being on the road. That leaves the Bills with an implied total of 25.25, and the Bengals 24.25.
With two of the best quarterbacks in the league squaring off, it should come as no surprise that the duo of Josh Allen ($11,400 DK, $17,000 FD) and Joe Burrow ($10,800 DK, $16,000 FD) are the two most expensive players on both platforms. Allen is priced higher on both sites, so we'll begin there. A lot has been made of the elbow injury that kept him on the injury report ahead of Buffalo's Week 16 matchup against the Bears. While his production has arguably become more inconsistent in recent weeks, he's still put up 30-plus fantasy point performances on both DK and FD in two of his last five games. The Bengals look like a tough matchup overall, but they have been essentially league average in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks in the last five weeks.
Burrow, while also excellent, has been more steady and less spectacular than Allen. He's managed at least 25 FD and DK points in four of his last six games, never posting below 18 points in that span but also not topping 31.7 points on DK and 30.04 on FD. The Bills have consistently been a difficult matchup for quarterbacks this season.
Despite the higher price point, I'd side with Allen based on matchup and ceiling. There's a case to be made for Burrow in cash contests, but I'd still comfortably land on the side of Allen.
Joe Mixon ($9,000 DK, $12,000 FD) has tallied 16 total touches in two of three games since returning from a concussion and 23 in the other. He's largely been uninspiring on the ground, though he has five and seven receptions in each of the last two games. Samaje Perine ($4,600 DK, $8,000 FD) began the season as the clear backup to Mixon, though his success while Mixon was sidelined seems to have changed the dynamic between the duo. While still clearly behind Mixon in workload, Perine has 10 targets combined in three games since Mixon returned and has a minimum of four carries in each game. That typically does more to harm Mixon's potential than make Perine an attractive option to roster, especially because Perine is relatively expensive. Finally, the Bills have been a consistently tough matchup for running backs. The positive is that Mixon isn't priced as a workhorse back, which creates at least some buying opportunity in tournaments.
Similar to Cincinnati, Devin Singletary ($7,000 DK, $10,500 FD) has been the lead back in Buffalo without being a workhorse. However, he's had far worse results than Mixon. His production is closely tied to touchdowns, which is difficult to predict, though the Bengals have allowed only 11 touchdowns to running backs this season and have absolutely shut down the likes of Leonard Fournette, Rachaad White, Nick Chubb and Rhamondre Stevenson in the last three weeks. Even if Singletary scores, he's posted better than 20 DK points twice and 15 FD points four times this season. Boiled down, there's a strong chance Singletary doesn't have a good game, and even if he does, it's not likely to be for a score that will sink your chances of winning if you don't roster him. James Cook ($5,600 DK, $10,000 FD) has only out-carried Singletary once this season and his role typically isn't that much greater than that of Perine.
All told, these aren't particularly compelling backfields from a fantasy perspective.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Ja'Marr Chase ($10,600 DK, $14,000 FD) is the most expensive wide receiver on both sites, and for good reason. He's seen a minimum of 12 targets in the last three weeks. That opportunity has turned into reasonable production but not much in terms of ceiling performances. In four games since returning, he has surpassed 20 DK and FD points only once. Tee Higgins ($9,8000 DK, $11,500 FD) has scored a touchdown in four consecutive healthy games, which masks the fact that his role has been mediocre. Since Week 13, Higgins has a 24.7 percent target per route run rate, as compared to 32.9 percent for Chase and 22.4 percent for Tyler Boyd ($5,000 DK, $9,000 FD). All that is to say Chase is back in his full role, while Higgins is clearly capable of big-time performances but has been touchdown reliant for his recent run of success. Boyd comes at a discount, but he has surpassed 50 receiving yards only once in his last eight games. Hayden Hurst ($3,000 DK, $7,500 FD) is set to return after missing the last three weeks. He had a fairly consistent role even with the receiver corps fully healthy in Cincinnati, and his target share checks in at 14.5 percent — one percentage point higher than Boyd. He's a good value on both sites.
Stefon Diggs ($10,400 DK, $13,000 FD) has turned in three consecutive subpar performances. He still leads Buffalo in routes run in that span, but he has only a 13.8 percent target per route run rate and 1.06 yards per route run. It's a near certainty he'll snap out of that funk at some point, and the Bengals secondary has been susceptible in recent weeks. Gabe Davis' ($6,400 DK, $11,000 FD) price finally reflects his level of production this season on DK. It doesn't yet on FD, and I'd simply find a way to get to Higgins on FD. Isaiah McKenzie ($2,800 DK, $7,500 FD) has earned at least five targets in four of his last five games, though he's surpassed 40 yards once in that span and hasn't topped 24 yards in any of his last three games. He joins Hurst as a desperation punt play. Dawson Knox ($4,800 DK, $9,500 FD) has seen his usage and efficiency spike in recent weeks and is a good play. Since Week 14, he leads the team in targets per route run rate and yards per route run.
Trenton Irwin ($4,400 DK, $7,000 FD) somehow has three touchdowns on eight targets in the last three games. He's worth mentioning but playing him is chasing production that is extremely unlikely to occur again.
Tyler Bass ($4,200 DK, $8,500 FD) has been an accurate kicker once again this season, though he's made one or fewer field goals in eight of 15 games. His fantasy points per game (9.2) looks decent, but that number is inflated by a six-field-goal performance against the Browns. Meanwhile, Evan McPherson ($4,000 DK, $8,000 FD) has gone from postseason hero to some significant struggles in his second season. Both by opportunity and accuracy, he's less appealing than Bass.
The Bills ($3,600 DK, $9,000 FD) have forced 14 interceptions this season, which comes in near the top of the league. However, they are much more of an average unit when looking at forced fumbles and sacks. Meanwhile, Burrow has taken two or fewer sacks in seven consecutive games. He has thrown four picks combined across his last three games, but overall this isn't a positive matchup.
The Bengals ($3,400 DK, $8,500 FD) come in on a relatively strong run of defensive performances, posting between eight and 10 fantasy points in each of their last three games. They've done that primarily by causing turnovers, though Allen has just three picks in his last six games.
Overall, I wouldn't be eager to play either defense, but would have a slight preference of playing the Bills if forced to make that choice.