Sunday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Cincinnati vs. Buffalo

Sunday Night Football DFS Breakdown: Cincinnati vs. Buffalo

This article is part of our Showdown/Single Game DFS Breakdown series.

Sunday night's matchup between the Bengals and Bills is one of the most important matchups of the season, with two of the AFC's most ambitious squads colliding at a time where both offenses are getting hot. Joe Burrow, knock on wood, appears to be mostly past the calf injury that ruined the first month and half of the season for him and the Bengals offense. With Burrow rolling again and both Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins healthy, the home team Bengals are ready to shoot it out with Josh Allen and the 5-3 Bills. Both teams head into the game with three losses, and neither is likely to leave any tricks in the bag by the time this one is over. The Bengals are favored by 2.5 points with the over/under at 50.5 – up from 47.0.

QUARTERBACK

Josh Allen ($11400 DK, $17000 FD) faces a tough test here on the road against a good Bengals defense, but he might have more help among his pass catchers than he has in some time, at least as long as Gabe Davis and Khalil Shakir continue to thrive and provide relief to Stefon Diggs, who tends to see constant double teams. Both Davis and Shakir raked last week, allowing Allen to post big numbers despite a down game from Diggs. Normally a down game from Diggs would leave Allen in trouble, but last week was no such case. If Allen and Diggs can get some relief then they should be

Sunday night's matchup between the Bengals and Bills is one of the most important matchups of the season, with two of the AFC's most ambitious squads colliding at a time where both offenses are getting hot. Joe Burrow, knock on wood, appears to be mostly past the calf injury that ruined the first month and half of the season for him and the Bengals offense. With Burrow rolling again and both Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins healthy, the home team Bengals are ready to shoot it out with Josh Allen and the 5-3 Bills. Both teams head into the game with three losses, and neither is likely to leave any tricks in the bag by the time this one is over. The Bengals are favored by 2.5 points with the over/under at 50.5 – up from 47.0.

QUARTERBACK

Josh Allen ($11400 DK, $17000 FD) faces a tough test here on the road against a good Bengals defense, but he might have more help among his pass catchers than he has in some time, at least as long as Gabe Davis and Khalil Shakir continue to thrive and provide relief to Stefon Diggs, who tends to see constant double teams. Both Davis and Shakir raked last week, allowing Allen to post big numbers despite a down game from Diggs. Normally a down game from Diggs would leave Allen in trouble, but last week was no such case. If Allen and Diggs can get some relief then they should be able to remain productive even in tougher matchups like this one.

Joe Burrow ($10200 DK, $15000 FD) probably draws an easier matchup than Allen, as the Bills defense has dealt with major injury losses at the second (Matt Milano) and third (Tre'Davious White) level each. Burrow's only obstacle all year was the calf injury that plagued him since training camp, and if he has shaken that injury then it should simply plug the Bengals back into a 35-to-40 touchdown pace as a passing offense. The Bills pass rush needs to be taken seriously, but the corners can't cover Ja'Marr Chase or Tee Higgins. The Bengals should be ready to play in a shootout if necessary.

RUNNING BACK

Joe Mixon ($8000 DK, $12500 FD) was excellent against the 49ers last week, so hopefully he can play like his usual self through the chest injury he's dealing with. Aside from him the Bengals are down to Trayveon Williams ($4600 DK, $7500 FD) and Chris Evans ($200 DK, $5500 FD), neither of whom have made any impression from scrimmage. Williams seems like the more capable runner than Evans, but if Mixon fails to capitalize it's possible the Bengals backfield overall doesn't do a whole lot.

James Cook ($6200 DK, $10500 FD) continues to split work with Latavius Murray ($2600 DK, $8000 FD) but both running backs seem reasonable at their respective prices. Cook's limitation is volume and perhaps red-zone rushing opportunities, which Murray claims at his expense if true. Murray's limitation is he's nowhere near as explosive as Cook. It seems that while Cook's floor is somewhat disappointing his upside remains considerable in the event that he stumbles into a touchdown or two.

WIDE RECEIVER + TIGHT END

Ja'Marr Chase ($10800 DK, $16000 FD) is arguably the toughest fade in this game, as he has the ability to push for 40 points in a shootout setting against the Bills' shuffling secondary personnel. It seems that the limiting factor against Chase would sooner be teammate Tee Higgins ($6600 DK, $10000 FD) than the Bills defense, which is attempting to patch up its overmatched corner personnel with a trade for former Packers corner Rasul Douglas. If Burrow has time to throw then both Chase and Higgins have major talent advantages over the players covering them. Tyler Boyd ($5400 DK, $9500 FD) remains a capable player but draws the toughest cornerback matchup against Taron Johnson. Irv Smith ($1600 DK, $7500 FD) has been a disaster to this point but continues to draw most of the tight end routes for Cincinnati, leaving Drew Sample ($200 DK, $5500 FD) to almost exclusively block.

Stefon Diggs ($11000 DK, $14500 FD) is one of the very toughest receivers to stop, but it will be interesting to see if the Bills can continue as they did last week, when they made the Buccaneers pay for selling out to stop Diggs at the expense of cutting loose Gabe Davis ($7400 DK, $11500 FD) and Khalil Shakir ($3400 DK, $7000 FD). If the Bengals sell out to stop Diggs then it's crucial that Davis, Shakir and Dalton Kincaid ($6800 DK, $8000 FD) continue to step up to pick up the slack. A big game from Diggs doesn't preclude any of the previously mentioned targets from enjoying a big game at the same time, it's just to point out that if those three secondary targets don't step up during a down game from Diggs then the results won't be as good as from last week, when the Bills rolled the Buccaneers. Quintin Morris, Trent Sherfield and Deonte Harty are hanging around as punts among the route runners.

KICKER

Tyler Bass ($5200 DK, $8500 FD) is in a bid of a cold stretch here with six or fewer fantasy points in his last four games, but it's worth recalling he produced 50 fantasy points in the four games prior to that. If the Bills have favorable field positioning or/and the Bills have a poor ratio of yardage to touchdowns, then Bass can capably pick up the slack.

Good as Bass is, Evan McPherson ($4800 DK, $8500 FD) might be the best kicker in this matchup. Whether that proves to be the case depends on how McPherson kicks in upcoming games – his memorably excellent rookie year has given way to more struggles since, but overall McPherson has excellent peripheral stats and there's reason to think he might improve from his relatively cold start to 2023. McPherson has just two games of double-digit fantasy points this year, but his 19-point showing from Week 3 reminds that McPherson's range gives him uncommon upside for a kicker.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Both of these defenses have an assortment of good players, and overall they're both likely above-average. Even in a game with a high over/under it's not easy to completely write off these defenses, though it's unlikely that either makes sense as a priority target. It would likely require chasing a unique lineup combination to pay for either of the Bills ($4200 DK, $9000 FD) or Bengals ($3800 DK, $9000 FD) – for one to capitalize it probably would require a down game from the opposing quarterback, which is always possible, just not the specifically expected result in this case.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mario Puig
Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.
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