Game Predictions & Player Projections - HOU vs. CIN

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: HOU 10, CIN 17 (Line: CIN by 4, O/U = 38.5)

UPDATE: Tyler Boyd was a healthy scratch and John Ross will make his debut.

This smacks of a very low scoring game. These two teams combined for only seven points last week. The Texans were throttled by the visiting Jaguars while the Bengals were shutout by the visiting Ravens. Both teams played very flat and uninspired though the Texans at least have an excuse with the distraction of the flooding.

The Texans won 12-10 when the Bengals visited in Week 16 last year. That game score might happen again. This is the Thursday night game because what both teams really needed was a shortage of time to prepare. This game is not how the NFL can win back viewers.

Houston Texans

1 JAC 7-29 10 @LAR ---
2 @CIN --- 11 ARI ---
3 @NE --- 12 @BAL ---
4 TEN --- 13 @TEN ---
5 KC --- 14 SF ---
6 CLE --- 15 @JAC ---
7 BYE xxx 16 PIT ---
8 @SEA --- 17 @IND ---
9 IND ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU @ CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Deshaun Watson 30 190,1
RB Andre Ellington 3-20
RB Lamar Miller 90 3-30
WR DeAndre Hopkins 6-60,1
WR Braxton Miller 2-20
PK Ka'imi Fairbairn 1 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Tom Savage era lasted about an hour in Houston. The rookie Deshaun Watson came off the bench to score once and then do almost nothing else. Lamar Miller had a moderate yardage game despite running behind one of the worst lines in the NFL that just lost their right guard for a week or two. The only positive from last week was that the quarterbacks threw at DeAndre Hopkins 16 times. They are not going to win much but at least they can try to help Hopkins' fantasy value.

QUARTERBACK: Tom Savage was yanked last week after going 7-13-62 and losing two fumbles while being sacked six times in the first half. Deshaun Watson fared marginally better with one score during his 12 completions for 102 yards. Watson would throw one interception and lose a fumble while only being sacked four times.

A starter has not been named yet but assumedly Watson gets the call. Either way, there isn't much fantasy value.

RUNNING BACK: Lamar Miller took almost all the carries last week but only gained 65 yards on 17 carries. He added two catches for 31 yards. Miller's outlook doesn't get any better looking at the upcoming schedule but at least he is getting almost all the work in the backfield. D'Onta Foreman only ran the ball once. Tyler Ervin caught four passes for 18 yards in more of a third down capacity.

WIDE RECEIVER: The Texans failed to complete a pass to any wideout besides DeAndre Hopkins (7-55). He had a NFL-high 16 passes thrown to him - three more than any other receiver in the league. That's a positive since it will require plenty of opportunities for him to get past the heavy coverage he attracts. Jalen Strong returns from suspension but there is no reason to expect him to be any better than Bruce Ellington or Braxton Miller. Hopkins carries the only fantasy value of this crew.

TIGHT END: C.J. Fiedorowicz was just placed on injured reserve. Stephen Anderson will fill in but doesn't merit any fantasy consideration. He's out with a concussion for now anyway.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bengals get CB Adam Jones back from suspension which should help. They already held Joe Flacco to only 121 passing yards last week and the secondary is the strength of this defense. Miller is still worth starting this week and the Bengals allowed 151 rushing yards to the Ravens. The Texans don't typically travel very well but this should be at least a moderate game for Miller who could have nice stats if the scoring remains low which is likely.

The quarterback is uncertain, the tight end is concussed and the wideouts haven't even caught a pass yet besides Hopkins. And the Bengals feature a good secondary. Hopkins always starts because of his potential but no other receivers should be considered. If Hopkins can continue to get an obscene amount of passes, he'll remain fantasy relevant. But that is a risk until the quarterback spot is locked down with an effective starter.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 21 20 25 12 29 30
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 5 22 2 6 18 27

Cincinnati Bengals

1 BAL 0-20 10 @TEN ---
2 HOU --- 11 @DEN ---
3 @GB --- 12 CLE ---
4 @CLE --- 13 PIT ---
5 BUF --- 14 CHI ---
6 BYE xxx 15 @MIN ---
7 @PIT --- 16 DET ---
8 IND --- 17 @BAL ---
9 @JAC ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
CIN vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton 220,1
RB Giovani Bernard 50,1 2-20
RB Jeremy Hill 30 1-10
RB Joe Mixon 20 4-20
WR A.J. Green 4-60,1
WR Brandon LaFell 3-40
WR John Ross 2-40
TE Tyler Eifert 2-20
PK Randy Bullock 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The question after every Week 1 debacle is the same. Are we that bad or are they that good? There's no doubt that the Ravens have a good defense but they throttled the Bengals in their own stadium in dominating fashion.The passing game was not only bad, it mirrored the same sort of results that the Texans had last week as well. Back at home, the Bengals offense will be better and the Ravens defense really could be that good. This week and then going to Green Bay for Week 3 should be all we need to know about the Bengals ability to turn around a very bad start.

QUARTERBACK: Andy Dalton only completed 16 of 31 passes for 170 yards and four interceptions. He lost a fumble, He was sacked five times. The offensive line was already known to be below average but it couldn't keep anyone out on passing plays. A. J. Green was the only receiver with any success and he had ten targets - twice any other receiver.

RUNNING BACK: There's plenty of room on the Joe Mixon hype train. The rookie only gained nine yards on eight carries but was the main receiver out of the backfield with three catches for 15 yards. Jeremy Hill ran for 26 yards on six carries while the most effective back was Giovani Bernard. Despite coming off a torn ACL last year, Bernard ran for 40 yards on seven carries and gained 39 yards on his single catch. This will remain a three-way mess but for now, Bernard has the most appeal. Mixon should catch up and pass them both eventually, but the volume is not there yet for any of them to do much.

WIDE RECEIVER: The rookie John Ross could make his debut this week but he's been out with a sprained knee and is behind in his development. A.J. Green led all receivers last week when he totaled 74 yards on five catches mainly because his ten targets were double any other receiver. All other wideouts combined for four catches for 35 yards. The problem here is that the incoming Texans also have a decent secondary. Ross should eventually develop into at least a field-stretching deep target, but for now only Green carries any reliability.

TIGHT END: Tyler Eifert only caught one pass for four yards. It was his only target. The tight ends had to block more last week and yet Dalton was still sacked five times. Eifert remains the No. 2 preferred target for Dalton.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This week is a chance for the Bengals to dust themselves off and get back on track. The incoming Texans feature a very good secondary that will once again depress the passing stats. And they only allowed one completion to a tight end last week so Eifert carries some risk again.

A.J. Green is a must start but draws another tough matchup. His potential demands he starts but he could see another lower-production effort. The Texans were weak against the run and allowed Leonard Fournette to gain 100 yards and a score in his debut. But the Bengals are going to divide the carries up among all three players. The safest play is Bernard who ran best. Next would be Mixon who had a few more catches. But then Hill could score if the ball is near the goal line.

Aside from Green, Bernard is a deeper flex play. Anyone else is a bigger risk than advantage.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 30 24 24 28 30 22
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 11 26 1 1 25 30

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