Guest of the League
Fantasy Championship 8/13 7:30pm #1
FFL: Playoff Week 3 | NFL: Week 15

Bengals-Raiders Preview

1573768106

Players: Andy Dalton, Derek Carr, Ryan Finley

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor reacts during the second half of NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley (5) calls a play during the first half of NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates after the Raiders defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 26-24 in an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)


Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is sacked by Oakland Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell during the second half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Derek Carr knows full well what the Cincinnati Bengals are enduring this season: nine straight losses to open the year.

Carr began his rookie season as starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders with 10 consecutive defeats before finally breaking through with a win.

''You feel like everything is against you because for the fans, sometimes for older players, they don't see any light at the end of the tunnel,'' he said. ''They just see what's in front of them at the moment and it's hard man. It's tough and one thing I'll say though is, if you can grind through those moments, work really hard, stick to your process, when the good moments come around it makes you thankful for those other moments.''

Carr bounced back from the rough debut campaign to win 12 games and lead the Raiders to the playoffs in 2016. Two more down seasons followed, but Carr has Oakland (5-4) back in contention again this year heading into Sunday's home game against Cincinnati (0-9).

After two straight wins to open a homestand, Carr wants to make sure his team doesn't let up in the third game and squander a chance.

''I don't care about records, man,'' he said. ''I prepare every game as if this is the game and so there is no, 'They haven't won a game.' I don't care how many games they have or haven't won, they got Pro Bowlers all over their football team and they are going to bring it, that's for sure.''

The Bengals are trying to avoid falling to 0-10 for the second time after also doing it in 1993. First-year coach Zac Taylor believes things will get better soon even if it doesn't seem that way right now.

''There'll be a time - I can't wait to look back on it - and say, 'Remember when all that stuff happened?''' Taylor said. ''We'll get there. This is one of the things we have to go through right now, unfortunately. We're going to fight through it, and there are going to be some positive things as this season comes to an end.''

FINLEY II

Rookie Ryan Finley made his debut and had two huge turnovers against the Ravens. His sideline pass was picked off and returned 89 yards for a touchdown, and he had a fumble also returned for a score. Finley finished 16 of 30 for 167 yards with a touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 66.9. The Bengals expect him to be better now that he's experienced a game.

''He's getting used to playing NFL-caliber football and not preseason football, real starting football against a good defense,'' offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. ''And so, his timing was a little bit off. I think you'll see a pretty dramatic leap for him in game two, understanding what it's like to play at that speed.''

SAFETY DANCE

The Raiders must replace a safety again after Karl Joseph went down with a season-ending foot injury last week while making the game-sealing interception against the Chargers. Oakland already lost rookie Johnathan Abram to a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener and now may need to turn to Curtis Riley, who got benched earlier this year, special teams player Dallin Leavitt and newly acquired D.J. Swearinger, who was cut earlier this year by Arizona.

''These last weeks have been great for me,'' Swearinger said. ''I needed this time off, to get myself together. I couldn't be more ready for this opportunity to get here and work hard.''

OH THAT DEFENSE

The Bengals began looking to next year when they benched Andy Dalton and went with Finley at quarterback. They started overhauling the defense this week by waiving linebacker Preston Brown, who had lost his starting job. The linebackers have been the biggest sore spot in the league's lowest-ranked defense.

UNDER PRESSURE

The Raiders' much-maligned pass rush delivered in a big way last week with five sacks in a win over the Chargers. No. 4 overall draft pick Clelin Ferrell had by far his best game as a pro with 2 1/2 sacks after recording none since the season opener. Fellow rookie Maxx Crosby provided consistent pressure and a half-sack of his own and Benson Mayowa had 1 1/2 sacks, giving him a career-high seven this season.

REMEMBER ME?

Taylor signed with Oakland coach Jon Gruden's Tampa Bay team as an undrafted quarterback out of Nebraska in 2007. He was waived before the start of training camp, a move that surprised him then but makes sense now. Taylor was familiar with Tampa Bay's system because his college coach, Bill Callahan, was a close friend of Gruden's.

''I think they probably just brought me in because I could call the plays in the rookie minicamp,'' Taylor said. ''In hindsight, those are the things you start to figure out as you start coaching. That made a little bit of sense. They could evaluate the other players while I got out there and called the plays correctly. It's all good.''

Player Notes
Paul Richardson Dec 14 4:20pm ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson is done for the 2019 season, as the team has set him on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury. It marks the second consecutive season that Richardsons campaign has come to an end while on IR, as the wideout had not suited up since Week 12 against Detroit. After hauling in touchdowns during two of his first three games this year, Richardson saw his role in the Washington passing attack ebb downward as the year progressed. Terry McLaurin should figure to continue to be the No. 1 option for rookie signal caller Dwayne Haskins over the final three weeks. Richardson finishes his season having made 28 catches for 245 yards and two scores.

From RotoBaller

Jared Cook Dec 14 3:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (elbow) and tight end Jared Cook (concussion) were both listed as full participants. Brees was a late add to the injury report on Friday with an elbow injury that looked to have occurred on the last drive of a narrow, Week 14 loss to the 49ers. Cook was able to get a full session in after a limited one on Thursday. Both should be good to go on Monday night- and should be in lineups against the Colts 22nd-ranked pass defense.

From RotoBaller

T Y Hilton Dec 14 2:50pm ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) is a game-time decision for Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints. The 30-year-old is closer to a return this week after being limited in practice, compared to DNPs last week. Even if he does suit up, it's risky to play him, considering it's a Monday night game plus he may see a lot of Saints star corner Marshon Lattimore. It's also worth noting that the team did limit him earlier in the year when he first attempted to return from this injury. If he's unable to go, receivers Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson, as well as tight end Jack Doyle, would see upticks in targets.

From RotoBaller

Minnesota Vikings Dec 14 2:00pm ET

The Vikings Defense has been inconsistent this season, but they definitely have the talent to put up a solid total on the road in Week 15 against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Vikings racked up five sacks and two interceptions against David Blough and the Detroit Lions last week. Phillip Rivers awaits in Week 15, a 38-year-old who has the fifth-most interceptions this year with 15. They have plenty of weapons in Austin Ekeler, Melvin Gordon, Hunter Henry, and Keenan Allen, so the Vikings will definitely have their work cut out for them. Safety Jayron Kearse (toe) has been ruled out and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) is questionable, but it's fair to wonder how significant their absences would even be in this contest as Kearse is a backup and Rhodes has been awful all year. Start the Vikings Defense as they have a good chance of picking up sacks and turnovers in Week 15's road tilt.

From RotoBaller

Irv Smith Jr. Dec 14 1:30pm ET

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. is not a recommended option for Week 15 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Smith Jr. actually received more snaps and targets than Kyle Rudolph in a Week 14 victory over the Detroit Lions, but he was only able to muster three catches for 21 yards. He just simply doesn't get enough targets or red-zone looks to be started with confidence this week, and the Chargers Defense being stellar against tight ends certainly doesn't help his outlook. There are likely higher-upside TE2 streamers available for you to use in your fantasy playoff matchup.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Howard Dec 14 1:30pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard (shoulder) and wide receiver Nelson Agholor (knee) have been ruled out for Week 15 against the Washington Redskins. Howard was limited all week and is probably closer to a return than Agholor, who logged three DNPs this week. With Howard out, Miles Sanders and Boston Scott will lead the backfield against Washington's 27th-ranked run defense. Already thin at wide receiver, the Eagles will start JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, and Robert Davis. The real winners are tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, who will both see more targets against Washington- they've allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to tight ends.

From RotoBaller

Kyle Rudolph Dec 14 1:20pm ET

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph saw his four-game touchdown streak come to and end last week against the Lions, and his outlook for Week 15 isn't looking encouraging. The Chargers Defense has allowed an average of just under four catches per game to tight ends this season and safety Derwin James has made a huge difference since his return in Week 13. Rudolph ranks sixth in red-zone targets among tight ends this season, but his touchdown equity definitely takes a hit with Adam Thielen set to return to action. Owners should prepare for the potential floor game from the touchdown-dependent veteran tight end.

From RotoBaller

Kerryon Johnson Dec 14 12:30pm ET

Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson (knee, IR) is setback-free and nearing a return to the field. Johnson hasn't played since tearing his meniscus in Week 7, which he had November surgery to repair. The 22-year-old has practiced the last two weeks, earning the praise of Coach Matt Patricia for his "good energy." With the Lions sitting at 3-9-1, there's no real reason for Johnson to be out there, though the team seems to want him to get game reps before the season ends. If he returns next week, he'll be looking at a timeshare backfield with Bo Scarborough, which will presumably lower both player's fantasy values.

From RotoBaller

Andy Dalton Dec 14 11:10am ET

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton finds himself in a matchup to avoid on Sunday against the Patriots' league-best passing defense. New England has allowed only 15.4 points a game to opposing quarterbacks, and Dalton hasn't topped 262 yards through the air in his two games since being back under center. He should see a fair amount of garbage time to rack up stats, but the risk greatly outweighs the reward. He might be in play in deep two-quarterback leagues, but owners in other formats should be looking for another option.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Boyd Dec 14 11:10am ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd is a risky option on Sunday when he takes on the Patriots top-ranked pass defense, which is allowing only 25 PPR points a game to receivers. Boyd usually sees the lions share of the Bengals' targets; however, he was out-targeted by Alex Erickson last week, and the two were only one target apart in Week 12 against Pittsburgh. With Boyd likely seeing Stephon Gilmore in coverage, it wouldn't be shocking to see Andy Dalton turn to Erickson and John Ross for targets. Boyd could see a bump in volume during garbage time, but you likely don't want to rely on that with fantasy seasons on the line, which makes Boyd more of a low-end WR3 or WR4 in this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Joe Mixon Dec 14 11:00am ET

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon will get a stern test on Sunday against the New England Patriots. The Patriots are tops in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to running backs, only giving up 16 PPR points a game to the position. While Mixon has been trending up of late, he did only see 59% of the team's snaps last week while they trailed the Browns, with Giovani Bernard seeing 40% of snaps. Mixon also hasn't topped four targets per game during his resurgence, so his passing game involvement hasn't grown to a level that would salvage this matchup. With the Bengals figuring to be behind for much of the game, Mixon won't see much value on the ground and could only play 60% of the team's snaps. That makes him a touchdown-dependent low-end RB2 and a player to avoid in DFS.

From RotoBaller

Curtis Samuel Dec 14 10:20am ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel is coming off of a two-catch, 25-yard performance against the Falcons in Week 14. Despite this, the 23-year-old has five receiving touchdowns on the year and has the capacity for another against an average Seahawks Defense. Fantasy managers need to understand that there is some risk involved with Samuel in Week 15, but the upside is equally there.

From RotoBaller

D.J. Moore Dec 14 10:00am ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore has been one of the league's most productive wideouts in 2019 and will look continue that trend on Sunday against a Seahawks Defense that has allowed a middle-of-the-pack 35.43 fantasy points to his position. Moore didn't have the best outing in Week 14, finishing with just four catches for 81 yards. Despite this, the 22-year-old has remained relatively consistent and has been targeted at least eight times in 10 games this year, while receiving double-digit looks in seven games. He is a solid option in all formats in Week 15 but should be considered a must-start in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Kyle Allen Dec 14 9:50am ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen will attempt to salvage what has been a disappointing season on Sunday against Seattle. With Cam Newton (foot) potentially already having played his last game with the club, the sophomore will look to make his case to remain the signal-caller come next season, with Seattle being the first of the team's final three opponents in 2019. Though the Seahawks are a long way removed from the "Legion of Boom" days, the defensive unit has played well enough to get the job done for a team that is propelled by a high-octane offense. With Allen throwing all 12 over his interceptions on the year throughout his previous seven starts, fantasy owners shouldn't expect much, while realizing that he could have a few solid outings left in the tank for those in need of a fantasy quarterback in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Christian McCaffrey Dec 14 9:30am ET

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has failed to hit the 100-yard mark on the ground in any of his last four games but has stepped things up as a receiver, nonetheless, by collecting 38 of his 48 targets for 330 yards during that same span. The Seahawks have been decent against opposing backs this year, limiting them to just 23.10 fantasy points point per game. Though this may seem discouraging to some degree, McCaffrey is the kind of player who could easily cause that average to rise by the end of Week 15. With the Panthers out of postseason contention, however, the 23-year-old could see a decline in snaps, but while this is a realistic possibility, he has played too well this year to bench. Consider him a must-start despite the risks.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Dec 14 5:30am ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones did not play well during his first encounter with the Bears Defense back in Week 1, finishing the night with just 39 yards on 13 attempts, while catching only one pass for no gain. However, the 25-year-old is fresh off of a Week 14 outing against the Redskins, where he logged 134 yards and a score to go along with six catches for 58 yards. Though Chicago is a much more formidable opponent, his performance against Washington suggests that the potential for significant production is always there, with his outlook for Week 15 being no different despite the tougher matchup.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Dec 14 5:30am ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams still remains fantasy relevant despite rushing for a subpar 24 yards on seven carries against the Redskins in Week 14. The 24-year-old has demonstrated this season that he can produce on a week-to-week basis, as evident by the five touchdowns he logged in four-straight outings not too long ago. While the matchup against a tough Chicago Defense will likely make fantasy owners apprehensive, he still should have a place in fantasy lineups, especially in deeper formats for those looking for someone with a significant upside in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Dec 14 3:30am ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (toe) has been removed from the team's injury report and should be ready to go against the Bears in Week 15. After an up-and-down season from a production standpoint to start the year, coupled with a four-game absence as a result of turf toe, the 26-year-old has picked things up, especially as of late, compiling 31 catches (49 targets) for 307 yards and three touchdowns over his last five outings. He did struggle against Chicago in Week 1, but the upside is always there whenever he is on the field and should be considered a must-start in all formats on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Rodgers Dec 14 2:30am ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a difficult matchup on Sunday against a Bears Defense that limited him to just 203 yards and a touchdown during the Thursday night season opener. The veteran hasn't been consistent, especially as of late, and has logged a touchdown or less in four of his last five games. The 36-year-old has played relatively well against Chicago throughout his tenure in the league, however, maintaining a 66.9 completion percentage to go along with 46 scores and only 10 picks in 22 career meetings. The upside is there for the fantasy managers who won't be scared off by his recent string of shoddy performances and is worth a start in Week 15 in all formats.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Dec 14 1:10am ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs had a great game in a tough matchup last week, beating Darius Slay for six catches and 92 yards in the win. He'll have another tough draw against Casey Hayward and the Los Angeles Chargers Defense in Week 15. They have a great secondary and play a lot of zone coverage, which is not Diggs' strong suit. However, Diggs has shown huge upside this season and he put up strong fantasy numbers despite tough matchups in two of the last three weeks. Having Adam Thielen back to draw attention away only helps his cause, and this game projecting to be close means that the Vikings will likely be forced to the air more. Start Diggs as a WR2 who has some sneaky upside in Week 15.

From RotoBaller