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The Read Option, Week 11: Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens

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The Read-Option is Adam Pfeifer’s weekly fantasy football game-by-game breakdown, covering everything a fantasy manager needs to know before setting or building lineups for the week. Below, check out his breakdown of the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens game for Week 11.

 

Week 11 Fantasy Football Breakdown: Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens

BAL -3.5, O/U 48
Pace: CIN: 27.7 sec/snap (26th), BAL: 28.2 sec/snap (30th)

FTN Data Breakdown

  • Keaton Mitchell played a season-high 22% of the snaps in Week 10.
  • He has three 15-plus yard runs on just 12 carries this season.
  • The Bengals have allowed 16.5% of the runs against them to gain 10-plus yards, the highest rate in the league.
  • They are also allowing 2.50 yards before contact per rush (worst in the NFL).

Quarterback

Joe Burrow QB Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow had a strong fantasy showing against the Texans on Sunday, completing 27-of-40 passes for 347 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Burrow struggled with Houston’s pass rush, as he was under pressure on just over 40% of his dropbacks on Sunday. However, he still looks as healthy as ever. He has now eclipsed 300 passing yards in three of his last five games, while rushing for at least 20 yards in two of his last three. And since Week 8, Burrow actually ranks fourth among all quarterbacks with seven designed rush attempts, while the Bengals are operating far more under center than they were to start the year, which is opening up the play-action pass game. Over the last three weeks, Burrow is sporting a play-action dropback rate of 26%, up from his 17.8% play-action rate from Weeks 1-7. Now on a short week, he’ll face a tough Baltimore defense, likely without Tee Higgins again. The Ravens are allowing a 76.7% completion percentage off play-action this season (third-worst), as well as 9.3 yards per attempt off the play type (eighth-worst). Burrow is my QB10 for this Thursday.

Running Back

You can continue to rely on Joe Mixon in fantasy despite averaging 4.3 yards per touch on the year, which ranks outside the top-40 running backs in the league. Of course, he has played 74% of the snaps for the Bengals this season, while handling about 80% of the total rushing attempts and averaging a strong 18.1 touches per game. Mixon only has one game with 20 rushing attempts this season, as the Bengals continue to lean on the pass. Their 66% neutral-script pass rate ranks second in football, while they are also calling passes 66.9% of the time on early downs, the highest rate. His season-high for rushing yards in a game is 87, and now has to face a Baltimore defense that is allowing the fewest points per drive in the NFL (1.24). Consider Mixon a mid-range RB2. 

Wide Receiver

Ja’Marr Chase entered last week’s game with a back issue, and while he wasn’t 100% healthy, he still caught five passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. Chase ran a route on 91% of dropbacks, which is actually down from his route participation of 97%. Since the 2021 campaign, Chase is now averaging 10 targets, seven receptions, 93.3 yards, one touchdown and 22.4 PPR points per game in seven contests without Tee Higgins, who is unlikely to return this week. You are obviously starting Chase.

Meanwhile, Tyler Boyd becomes a much more viable WR3 with Higgins sidelined. He caught eight of a team-high 12 targets for 117 yards on Sunday, his most yards in a game since Week 4 of the 2021 campaign. His 27% target per route run rate was a season-high, and he should be in line for at least 6-8 targets again this week. We also saw Trenton Irwin find the end zone, while running a route on 81% of dropbacks. Irwin is a fine flex play in deeper leagues. 

Tight End

With Higgins sidelined last week, the tight ends played a larger role for the Bengals. Irv Smith, Tanner Hudson and Drew Sample all played meaningful snaps, but it was Hudson who caught Burrow’s eye. He caught six-of-seven targets for 33 yards, with five of those receptions coming on the opening drive. It was very surprising, especially since he was signed from the practice squad on Wednesday. I still would have a hard time trusting any tight end from this team, as no one even reached 40% route participation.

Quarterback

The touchdown variance hit Lamar Jackson again on Sunday, as he failed to score multiple touchdowns for the third straight week. Jackson has now finished outside the top-14 fantasy quarterbacks in each of the last three weeks, as Baltimore running backs have scored eight touchdowns during that span. Of course, Jackson is still playing terrific football and continues to provide such a high weekly floor, averaging 9.2 rushing attempts and just over 48 rushing yards per game. He’ll now face a Cincinnati defense that is coughing up 27.4 rushing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks this season, the fifth-most in the league. It has no doubt been frustrating, but Jackson is still averaging 0.60 fantasy points per dropback and belongs in all lineups. The Bengals are also likely to be without both Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard for this game. 

Running Back

We are going to continue to see Keaton Mitchell play more and more. After exploding for 138 yards and a touchdown on just nine carries in Week 9, the rookie rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown on three carries this past Sunday, while adding a 32-yard catch. Mitchell played a season-high 22% of the snaps, and after the game, head coach John Harbaugh stated that he will be “more involved” this week against the Bengals. That is exciting, especially when you consider that Cincinnati has allowed 16.5% of the runs against them to gain 10-plus yards, the highest rate in the league. Mitchell, meanwhile, has three 15-plus yard runs on just 12 carries this season. He is a flex play with upside.

With Mitchell playing more, it likely moves Gus Edwards from high-end RB3 range to flex consideration, though he keeps finding the end zone. Edwards has scored six times over the last three weeks, as Baltimore is running the football 62.8% of the time when inside the red zone this season, the third-highest rate in the league. There is certainly an opportunity here for the Ravens to run all over the Bengals, who have struggled all year in that department and just allowed Devin Singletary to rush for a career-high 150 yards and a score on Sunday.

Wide Receiver

Zay Flowers bounced back last week, catching five passes for 73 yards. The target share has come down in recent weeks, as Flowers is now sporting a modest 20% share since Week 7. He’s still the clear WR1 on this team, despite Odell Beckham finding the end zone in back-to-back weeks. Cincinnati has been strong against perimeter wide receivers this season, which is where Flowers lines up over 70% of the time. He had a middling game against them back in Week 2 and remains a WR3.

Tight End

Mark Andrews TE Baltimore Ravens

Of course, Mark Andrews doesn’t leave your lineup. Last week was his worst game in weeks, but he’s still sporting a 22% target share since Week 7. Andrews has posted either 65 yards or a touchdown in all but two games this season and now gets a Bengals defense that is coughing up the second-most fantasy points (15.2), fourth-most receptions (6.1) and third-most receiving yards (66.6) per game to opposing tight ends on the season. 

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