Kickoff Monday, Dec 4th 8:15pm Eastern

Bengals (
15.5) at

Jaguars (

Over/Under 41.0


Key Matchups
Bengals Run D
28th DVOA/31st Yards allowed per carry
Jaguars Run O
26th DVOA/30th Yards per carry
Bengals Pass D
21st DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per pass
Jaguars Pass O
13th DVOA/18th Yards per pass
Jaguars Run D
6th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per carry
Bengals Run O
22nd DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Jaguars Pass D
12th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
Bengals Pass O
14th DVOA/26th Yards per pass


Week 13 closes out with the Bengals visiting the Jags for a game with a 40-point total and Jacksonville favored by 10 (so, yes, the Bengals are implied for only about 15 points). On the one hand, we have a Bengals offense that is missing its franchise quarterback and has a guy named “Jake Browning” starting, on the other we have a Jacksonville defense that is allowing the fifth-most passing yards per game. Stoppable force meets movable object? It’s also worth noting that when Joe Burrow got hurt, the Bengals said they wouldn’t change their game plan and they believed Browning could make the throws…they lost to the Steelers, but they didn’t seem to change the game plan.

Out of a comically-low 37 offensive plays, they passed on 26 of them (and the Steelers didn’t take a lead until the end of the third quarter, so it wasn’t like they were playing from behind and chasing). It’s fair to expect Cincinnati to run more than 37 offensive plays here. It’s also fair to think they are likely to skew pass-heavy – maybe not to the degree they did under Burrow, but they showed they want to keep passing with Browning at quarterback, and the matchup very much tilts that way against a Jags defense that is absolutely elite against the run (and not bad against the pass either, but worse).


Ok, so…Bengals run game. The only reasons you would play the Bengals run game are as follows:

  1. Football is weird
  2. Running backs in Showdown always have TD equity (guys tackled at the 1, DPI in the end zone, etc.)

There is really nothing to point to Joe Mixon here besides the above points. At $7,000 he’s priced at an enticing level that is likely to attract ownership, so it’s not even as if you’ll get a big ownership discount here, I expect. It’s not wild to play him, but just be aware the floor is very low given the matchup and the Bengals play-calling tendencies. RB2 Trayveon Williams played 19% of the snaps last week without a single touch – his role is generally very small, and while zero touches is obviously an outlier, there isn’t likely much volume here. At $400 he doesn’t need much, so I think he’s worth including in player pools.

The Bengals passing game is more fun because we have a guy who looks like a non-terrible backup QB…with elite pass catchers. Tee Higgins is back, so the Bengals get their preferred alignment of Ja’Marr Chase, Higgins, and Tyler Boyd at wide receiver with Trenton Irwin backing them up. They’re also all priced down to account for Browning, so even with a clear QB downgrade, they’re enticing in a pass-funnel matchup. Out of 26 dropbacks last week, Chase had six targets, Boyd had five, Mixon had two, “WR3” (Irwin and Andrei Iosivas) had three, and a smattering of multiple tight ends had nine. Obviously Chase is the most talented guy here and at $9,400 in a good matchup, he’s a really interesting piece, because he doesn’t need Browning to make things happen for him – he just needs the ball delivered to him and he can make things happen on his own. Higgins and Boyd are a little tougher because they don’t really make much happen on their own – it’s not like they can’t run with the ball, but whereas Chase is #3 in the NFL on YAC/target, Boyd is 31st and Higgins is 61st. I want to prioritize the guy where, if they get the ball in his hands, he can smash. Of course Higgins and Boyd are much less expensive than Chase and I think they’re all viable here.

Showdown Ownership Projections!

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The tight ends are where things get tricky for the Bengals because they’re using four guys most weeks. We can start by basically throwing out Mitchell Wilcox as nothing more than a punt play – he plays the fewest snaps and has six targets on the season. Then we have Irv Smith…I hate to say it (or rather my best ball lineups hate to say it), but Irv is basically a punt as well, averaging about 2.5 targets per game. Drew Sample? Averaging a little over one target per game (though with two touchdowns!). Preseason hero Tanner Hudson appears to have taken over as the primary pass-catching tight end in Cincinnati, averaging 5.25 targets per game in the last four games despite not playing a whole ton of snaps. Snaps ARE a concern, because Hudson isn’t really on the field when the team is in the red zone…when in close, Smith has six targets, Sample has one, Hudson (and Wilcox) both have zero. So the way I see it, Hudson is the best tight-end play on the Bengals, Irv Smith is second, Sample third, Wilcox fourth – but I see a big gap between Hudson and Smith. Hudson really seems to be ascending in this offense and I think he’s the one player from the group who would be likeliest to see his role increase, whereas the other guys are just “we know what the role is and are hoping they get lucky and catch a touchdown.” 


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