The Denver Broncos offense is coming off of an admirable Week 8 performance—albeit against the New Orleans Saints. It will look to replicate its efficiency heading into its Week 9 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals on the road.
Last week, Peyton Manning threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns for the fourth consecutive game. He may find it difficult to make it a fifth against a Bengals defense that hasn’t allowed any passer to throw three touchdowns against it.
Still, he’s a must-start in Week 9 and thereafter.
Cincinnati hasn’t allowed more than one receiving touchdown to any team’s crop of wide receivers in a game this year. It has only given up four total TDs to wide receivers, but it hasn’t faced a murderer’s row of talent at the position. Mike Wallace, Torrey Smith and Josh Gordon are the best fantasy receivers that the Bengals have faced so far. Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas, therefore, should still be solid (if not spectacular) starts.
The Bengals have also allowed four touchdowns to players at the tight end position in 2012; however, Manning’s tight ends aren’t consistent enough to be counted on for fantasy purposes in this matchup.
Willis McGahee, on the other hand, has a great matchup with the Bengals, who have allowed nine total touchdowns to running backs in seven games. Running back position groups facing the Bengals have reached the 100-total-yard plateau in every game this year.
What was most surprising about the Broncos in Week 8 was Denver’s defensive display against the Saints. It held the Drew Brees-led offense to just 14 points despite forcing just one turnover and registering one sack.
We know that defense is capable of racking up fantasy points based on its six forced turnovers against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers two games ago, so trusting them as a starting unit this week may be a shrewd fantasy decision.
On the other side of the ball, expectations should be tempered.
Andy Dalton may prove to only be useful in desperate fantasy situations; the Broncos haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer all season.
Denver is also a difficult fantasy matchup for fantasy wide receivers with a more impressive history of opponents than what the Bengals have. You’ll still be starting A.J. Green, but keep in mind that Denver has limited guys like Julio Jones (four catches, 14 yards), Brandon Lloyd (three for 34) and Marques Colston (five for 63).
The Broncos have only been run over once this season, when the New England Patriots’ crew of running backs got 50 collective carries for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Running backs in the rest of the league average 3.3 yards per carry against Denver. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is averaging 3.4 yards per carry this season—making it unlikely that he reaches 100 yards on Sunday.
Denver has faced a who’s who of the best tight ends in the league: Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez. It has even seen Owen Daniels and Heath Miller.
It’s no surprise that the Broncos rank among the more favorable matchups for fantasy tight ends. They’ve allowed six touchdowns to the position this season; you could do worse than using Jermaine Gresham as a bye-week option.
Conversely, it is not advisable to go with the Bengals D/ST against the Broncos on Sunday—Denver has already caused two opposing D/ST units to finish the week with negative fantasy points (ESPN standard scoring) this season.
Manning has thrown one pick since Week 3.