Game Predictions & Player Projections - DEN vs. CIN

David Dorey, @DMDorey

UPDATE: Virgil Green is out because if his calf injury. Jeff Heuerman has been added to replace Green and has at least a shot for a touchdown against the Bengals. Tyler Eifert has been in limited practices all week but is listed as doubtful and is not expected to return this week.

Prediction: DEN 16, CIN 20 (Line: CIN by 3)

The Broncos remain unbeaten but now hit the road in what should be their toughest venue of the season. The 1-1 Bengals lost in Pittsburgh but return for their home opener. The venue makes the difference in what should be a tough, lower scoring game between two very good defenses.

The Broncos won 20-17 when the Bengals visited during Week 16 last year.

Denver Broncos

1 CAR 21-20 10 @NO ---
2 IND 34-20 11 BYE ---
3 @CIN --- 12 KC ---
4 @TB --- 13 @JAC ---
5 ATL --- 14 @TEN ---
6 @SD --- 15 NE ---
7 HOU --- 16 @KC ---
8 SD --- 17 OAK ---
9 @OAK ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Case Keenum 210,1
WR Emmanuel Sanders 4-50
WR Demaryius Thomas 4-40
TE Jeff Heuerman 3-30
PK Brandon McManus 3 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: Opening with two home games allowed the rushing effort to be more successful and asked less from the passing offense. That won't stand this week though the schedule remains mostly kind for much of the season. The passing effort under Trevor Siemian has been just good enough to win but he hasn't scored with receivers other than C.J. Anderson. This is definitely a lesser talented passer than the Broncos have featured in many years.

QUARTERBACK : Two weeks in and Trevor Siemian has one passing score against three interceptions and while facing the Panthers was going to be tough, he only managed 266 yards and no scores against the visiting Colts with one interception. The Broncos are not going to win their games by passing but Siemian is going to be called upon to win games soon and so far he's only connected with Demaryius Thomas in one game. Otherwise, there has been no significant performances by any receivers.

RUNNING BACK : C.J. Anderson already rushed in two scores and caught a third. He is collecting at least three catches per game as well but while he had over 20 carries each week, he's only totaled 166 yards on 40 carries for a 4.1 yard per carry average while in home games only. Last week versus the Colts, he only ran for 74 yards on his 20 runs while Devontae Booker gained 46 yards on his nine rushes. Anderson is the clear primary back here but it will be interesting to see if Booker is buying himself any more playing time. Booker was limited to three carries in Week 1 thanks to losing a fumble.

Anderson rushed for 73 yards and one score on just nine carries versus the Bengals last year.

WIDE RECEIVER : Demaryius Thomas injured his hip in Week 1 and it was presented that he was no lock to play or at least play well. With Sammy Watkins already showing what playing injured looks like, many fantasy owners left him on their bench or begrudgingly played him. Thomas responded with five catches for 90 yards - the only time any receiver has turned in over 50 yards this year. Emmanuel Sanders has gone quiet with never more than five catches for 49 yards. No wideouts or tight ends have scored. This has all declined to the entire passing offense being all about Thomas and even then he's only had one marginally good game.

TIGHT END : Virgil Green hasn't topped 48 yards or scored this year and now he is day-to-day with a strained right calf. I will assume he can play and update if needed. Green is nothing more than a mediocre attempt to get 40 yards per week so far.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The problem this week is that the Bengals will be in their home opener and the defense has already shut down Antonio Brown and Brandon Marshall. The only wideouts with any success has been the #3 guy and on the Broncos Jordan Norwood is not worth any consideration.

C.J. Anderson is a must start but the Bengals haven't given up any rushing touchdowns so far. But both Matt Forte and DeAngelo Williams gained over 90 yards when they faced the Bengals - albeit in home games. Anderson is the only Bronco that has any real attraction this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 30 3 31 27 14 2
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 20 24 8 17 17 26

Cincinnati Bengals

1 @NYJ 23-22 10 @NYG ---
2 @PIT 16-24 11 BUF ---
3 DEN --- 12 @BAL ---
4 MIA --- 13 PHI ---
5 @DAL --- 14 @CLE ---
6 @NE --- 15 PIT ---
7 CLE --- 16 @HOU ---
8 WAS --- 17 BAL ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 10 190,1
RB Giovani Bernard 20 7-60
WR Tyler Boyd 4-50
WR A.J. Green 4-40
WR Brandon LaFell 3-20
TE Tyler Kroft 4-40,1

Pregame Notes: The Bengals are still waiting for any signs of a rushing offense to emerge and outside of A.J. Green's monster season opener, the offense has struggled. But starting out against two good defenses on the road is a major culprit though this week is little different. The schedule clears up after this week but this first home game will give a better picture of what the rest of the season will hold.

QUARTERBACK : Andy Dalton threw for exactly 366 yards and one score in both games this year and that will be tough to replicated against the Broncos this week. He's had no rushing support to mention and little help outside of A.J. Green. Tyler Eifert's absence has been felt and not compensated by any other player other than Giovani Bernard who led the team last week.

RUNNING BACK : Jeremy Hill caught no breaks opening his year against the Jets and Steelers in their stadiums. His results have been predictably poor - only 53 yards on 20 carries over the two weeks though he had three catches for 37 yards in Pittsburgh which was unusual. Giovani Bernard gets five runs per game but chipped in nine catches for 100 yards and a score last week. With the Broncos likely to shut down the receivers again this week, Bernard's role will remain very busy.

WIDE RECEIVER : A.J. Green's big opener led to only two catches for 28 yards versus the Jets. Brandon LaFell only managed 39 yards on three catches in that game while Tyler Boyd was able to come up with six receptions for 78 yards though he lost a fumble. This unit is still a work in progress and facing great defenses is not going to allow much success. They should all start to improve with the home stand versus the Dolphins in Week 4.

TIGHT END : Tyler Kroft is expected to be the starter this week since his knee injury has improved. Neither he nor C.J. Uzomah has matter much and the Bengals need Tyler Eifert back whenever that happens. Until then, this unit is just going to produce barely average stats every week.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Broncos are #1 against wide receivers and the only one that matters for the Bengals is A.J. Green. It is good that he is home but he's still a risk to have a down game with either Chris Harris or Aqib Talib on him. He is a must start but this is not a good situation for him.

Figure that the Broncos have held both Cam Newton and Andrew Luck to under 200 yards and just one score. Both Hill and Bernard are moderate plays this week and Hill could have high receptions again this week. But the rest of the Bengal players are in a negative situation.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 15 13 7 21 6 22
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 16 13 1 20 15 17

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