News & Analysis

Jahnke: Fantasy football reactions from the Browns' win over the Bengals

The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals clashed in the Battle of Ohio on Thursday night, with Cleveland ending up victorious while leaning on their biggest fantasy football stars.

Even though both of these teams played just a few days ago, we saw a change in usage for both sets of skill positions, especially at wide receiver.

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Here is how the skill players were used in tonight's game and how it impacts their fantasy football value in the future. The biggest takeaway from the Bengals camp — even though they lost this game — is that their rookies should become bigger fantasy assets as the season goes on.

Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns
WR WR
Tyler Boyd – 78 snaps Odell Beckham Jr. – 39 snaps
Tee Higgins – 60 snaps Jarvis Landry – 35 snaps
A.J. Green – 57 snaps KhaDarel Hodge – 33 snaps
Mike Thomas – 32 snaps Rashard Higgins – 5 snaps
John Ross – 28 snaps JoJo Natson – 3 snaps
Alex Erickson – 8 snaps
TE TE
Drew Sample – 54 snaps Austin Hooper – 57 snaps
C.J. Uzomah – 47 snaps Harrison Bryant – 30 snaps
Cethan Carter – 7 snaps Stephen Carlson – 4 snaps
HB HB
Joe Mixon – 46 snaps Nick Chubb – 36 snaps
Giovani Bernard – 42 snaps Kareem Hunt – 20 snaps
D’Ernest Johnson – 2 snaps
Total – 92 snaps Total – 58 snaps

Winner: RB Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

There was plenty of reason for concern last week after Kareem Hunt garnered more playing time than Chubb, who ended the game with just 11 touches. That wasn't the case this week, however, as Chubb actually had more carries in the first half against the Bengals on Thursday night (12). It seems that Chubb's and Hunt’s playing time will be greatly dictated by situation — as long as the Browns can remain competitive in games, Chubb will be just fine.

Loser: RB Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals running back was consistently drafted in the first round of fantasy drafts, but he hasn’t lived up to that draft status so far. He was RB35 this week, and after recording 86 yards from scrimmage along with zero touchdowns, fantasy owners should start to worry. The Bengals played Giovani Bernard over Mixon in the two-minute drill in the first half and played him significantly more in the second half when they worked on a comeback.

Waiver Wire Target: WR Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

The second-round rookie wide receiver only played 15 snaps in Week 1, which tied for fourth-most on the team with Auden Tate and Mike Thomas. The story was much different this week, where he was clearly the third wide receiver, and the team even trusted him with the two-minute drive to end the half. He only saw six targets, but seeing that big of a jump in snaps is a promising sign for an increased role as the season progresses.

Buy Low: QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

From a football perspective, Burrow has looked decent in his first two starts after the unique offseason. He was QB20 in Week 1, and his numbers looked decent in this game, in large part due to his 61 pass attempts.  He’s had 11 rushing attempts over the last two games and is tied for the third-easiest schedule for the rest of the season. Burrow has a high floor because of his rushing, and given how much passing Cincinnati needs to do, he will only improve as the season goes on.

Injury to monitor: TE C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals' starting tight end left on a cart in the fourth quarter with what looked like a lower leg injury. He had a nice game up to that point, though, catching four of his six targets while finding the end zone once. He was a borderline TE2.

Drew Sample, a second-round pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, took over the every-down role after primarily playing as the second tight end in two-tight end sets.

He played 108 snaps as a rookie and 24 snaps in Week 1, primarily as a run-blocker, but he became Burrow's favorite target after Uzomah left the game. After entering the contest with just seven career targets, Uzomah saw eight targets in the fourth quarter of this game alone.

Sample is a waiver-wire target just to see if he can continue having a high target share in this full-time role, assuming Uzommah’s injury is as serious as it looks.

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