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Defense Will Be On Fantasy Display at Cincinnati

Previewing Week 5 around the NFL from a Fantasy Football perspective.

Fantasy points from the offenses will be well earned as the Seahawks travel to face the Bengals in an early Sunday game this week. The Seahawks have the second-best defense in the NFL right now, and the Bengals are allowing 19.3 points per game and have been very good against the run while getting after opposing passers frequently.

Cincinnati is the only team that has not allowed a rushing TD yet, and the Bengals have allowed only 85.8 yards per game on the ground. Marshawn Lynch or Thomas Rawls will have to work very hard for their numbers this week. Savvy Fantasy owners who drafted Lynch have likely acquired Rawls in many cases. Because of the potential sheer volume of touches for either player who may start, there is still considerable promise for respectable production. If there is any RB in the league who can break the run of no scores against the Bengals, it's Lynch. Rawls will be worth a look as a flex player if he is again needed to play an expanded role this week.

The Bengals have registered 11 QB sacks so far, so Russell Wilson will continue to excite Seahawks fans and Fantasy players who watch him with his creative plays on the run. The Bengals do rank 27th overall against the pass, so Wilson should be able to complete more timely throws this week. With his combined rushing and passing yardage making him at least a solid Fantasy starter in most weeks, you have to keep him in your starting lineup in most cases. If the Bengals are going to be stingy on the ground, then Wilson will need to throw more than one TD pass to ensure that the Seahawks remain close on the scoreboard, which they have always done since 2012 with No. 3 at the helm.

The Bengals allow only 4.80 standard Fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends on But Fantasy owners must maintain faith in Jimmy Graham, especially with the uncertain state of the tight end position, He is still just outside the Top 10 at his position with 29.40 standard Fantasy points on Few TEs have his potential promise going forward, so keep him if you have him as your starting TE right now. You're not likely to find too much of an upgrade on the trade market, and you certainly will not find a viable replacement in free agency.

Doug Baldwin has registered 31.80 Fantasy points on so far, and he has scored twice in the first four games. He is obviously Wilson's most trusted target in key passing situations, and if you are looking for a quality bye week substitution, especially in a PPR format, he can be your guy. Jermaine Kearse now has three games above 75 receiving yards and is a prime option for Wilson when he goes downfield or makes things happen when he scrambles and the defense breaks down. He also deserves strong consideration as a bye week fill-in for you.

Steven Hauschka is the top producer in Fantasy Football at the kicker position, with 43.00 points on This should be another very rewarding week for his owners, as he'll get more field goal chances if the Bengals defense tightens up in the red zone. The Seahawks should move the ball efficiently enough to provide him with a quality mix of possible field goal and extra point chances.

The Seahawks defense/special teams ranks fourth on with 48.00 Fantasy points. They are allowing only 17.8 points per game, third-best in the NFL, and have not allowed an offensive TD in the past two games, both of which Kam Chancellor has started. The Bengals have the league's top-ranked offense in terms of total yards, and are averaging 30.3 points per game.

Andy Dalton is the second-best QB on, with 89.18 Fantasy points. Jeremy Hill scored three TDs last week and A.J. Green is healthy again and playing at a very high level. Yet the Seahawks defense cannot be reserved, as Chancellor and Earl Thomas will certainly be well aware of assisting the QBs with Green. The Seahawks are allowing 9.78 Fantasy points per game to opposing RBs, second-best on As Seahawk fans well know by now, an excellent defense can limit any offense, so continue to start the DST with confidence.


In other games, Eli Manning may throw more than two TD passes again as the Giants host the 49ers, Marcus Mariota has looked confident so far and can roll up some good yardage totals against Buffalo. Philip Rivers is a rock-solid start vs. Pittsburgh and Sam Bradford has a very appealing matchup against New Orleans.

Rookie Todd Gurley had a breakout game last week and will be a crux of an improving offense that won't back down against Green Bay. T.J. Yeldon is still seeking his first pro TD, and may get it at Tampa Bay, Doug Martin will have another quality outing against the Jaguars and Ronnie Hillman is an upside play against the Raiders. Keep a watch on Dallas' Christine Michael possibly emerging this week against New England.

Calvin Johnson did not find the end zone against the Seahawks last week, but should score vs. Arizona. Leonard Hankerson may continue to rise against Washington. Willie Snead has emerged as a quality PPR play and faces the Eagles. Tavon Austin is a threat to score again as he takes on the Packers. Allen Robinson is a very strong play against the Buccaneers.

Owen Daniels must be started against the Raiders, who have easily been the best Fantasy matchup for TEs every week. Antonio Gates should make a triumphant return against the Steelers. The Giants defense looked aggressive against Buffalo and is a fine start against the 49ers. New England also looks like a good start against Dallas.

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