The AFC west leading Denver Broncos head to Cincinnati this Sunday where they take on a Bengals team that has lost three straight contests after starting the season with a 3-1 record. It's safe to say the two teams are headed in opposite directions particularly on the offensive side of the football as Peyton Manning looks to have rounded into mid-season form and Andy Dalton has had a rough ride the last couple of weeks.
Dalton in particular has thrown six interceptions in the last three games, including three against the Cleveland Browns in week six. Although his 381 passing yards that day still allowed him to put up good fantasy numbers, he'll have to take better care of the ball against a superior Broncos squad that will no doubt put points on the board now that things are clicking in the passing game. The aforementioned Manning has thrown for at least 300 yards passing and three touchdowns in five straight games. Couple that with the fact he has thrown just one interception in that same stretch and it's easy to see why the older of the Manning brothers is averaging well over 30 fantasy points a game this season.
This Sunday's matchup has no shortage of fantasy talent when it comes to wide receivers either. Manning and teammate Demaryius Thomas have really been working on their timing in practice the last few weeks and Thomas' fantasy numbers reflect that. He has managed at least 100 yards receiving in three of his last four games and has a touchdown in back to back contests. On the other hand, Eric Decker is on fire with at least one score in four straight games (including a pair of touchdowns against the defensively challenged New Orleans Saints). Of course, we can't talk about receivers in this game without mentioning one of the top fantasy WRs overall, the Bengals' A.J. Green. Green is coming off of his worst game of the season as he only managed one catch (albeit for an eight yard touchdown) in a 24-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7. A single catch performance is usually a bad sign but in Green's case there is no question he's an absolute fantasy beast and always a must-start.
Although not as intriguing in this game, the rushing attack advantage easily goes to the Denver Broncos. Willis McGahee is coming off of his best game of the season, carrying the ball 23 times for a season-high 122 yards rushing and a touchdown (plus a pair of catches for 33 yards). Mcgahee's performance gives him three 100-yard games on the season, but he has been inconsistent as the other four contests each yielded less than 70 yards rushing. Still, McGahee's outlook is much better than that of his counter part BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who has yet to rush for 100 yards this season and hasn't topped 70 yards since Week 4 against Jacksonville.
Overall it's safe to say the Broncos have the better team fantasy wise, but since the game is in Cincy, the Bengals' home field advantage could indeed result in a few big plays courtesy of the Dalton to Green connection that has been lighting up fantasy leagues all season and make the game much closer than most owners would expect.
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