Game Overview ::
By Hilow >>
- Expect the Bengals to continue to be forced into a pass-heavy game plan, with reduced efficiency with Brandon Allen at quarterback
- Giants should be able to run their ideal game plan here, with lower pass rates and heavier run game involvement
- Likely sloppy game overall, with only Wayne Gallman carrying a solid pairing of floor and ceiling
How New York Will Try To Win ::
We know by now how the Giants play down to their opponent, looking to simply keep the game close until the fourth quarter in an attempt to win it late. They are likelier than a standard week to have success in that game plan here, against an opponent that should have troubles sustaining drives due to key injuries to Joe Mixon and Joe Burrow (note: After this writeup was completed, Gio Bernard was also added to the injury report with a concussion; if Gio misses, Samaje Perine will likely see 15 to 18 low-upside touches). The Giants have really subdued the ceiling on Daniel Jones this year, who checks into Week 12 with only three games over 40 pass attempts over the team’s first ten games (with the Giants passing at ridiculously low 46.4% rate over the previous three weeks). Look for more of the same in a game in which the Giants shouldn’t fall behind early.
On the ground, expect a 60/20/20 running back opportunity split with Wayne Gallman leading the way, followed by change of pace back Alfred Morris and third down specialist Dion Lewis. Morris has seen exactly eight or nine rush attempts each week over the past three games and Lewis hasn’t seen over five running back opportunities since a Week 2 game against the Bears. This should leave a likeliest scenario of 20-22 running back opportunities for Gallman in a matchup that yields an above average 4.31 net-adjusted line yards metric (the Bengals check in last in the league in adjusted line yards allowed at 4.93, allowing an obscene 5.24 running back yards per carry and the 29th most and 31st most second level yards and open field yards per touch to opposing backfields, respectively). Because of the “good-not-great” touch expectations for Gallman, his ceiling will be highly dependent on touchdown equity, but having scored five touchdowns in his four games as the lead back, the ceiling is tangible (all five touchdowns have come on rushes inside the five).
Through the air, we shouldn’t expect more than 33-35 pass attempts from Jones against an opponent that will be hard-pressed to force the Giants’ hand. Likeliest scenario lands all of Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard and Even Engram in the seven to eight target range, Golden Tate in the five to seven target range, with four to five targets for the running backs and two to three for the ancillary members of this pass-catching corps, meaning both floor and ceiling is a tough sell on that kind of volume for all the Giants’ pass-catchers.
How Cincinnati Will Try To Win ::
The Bengals will be starting former Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen, whose most recent NFL action came in three starts for the Broncos in 2019. Over those three games, Allen completed just 39 of 84 pass attempts (46.4%) with a healthy 7.7 intended air yards per pass attempt, a Dak-like 7.2 completed air yards per completion, but miniscule 3.3 completed air yards per pass attempt. What this tells me is the Broncos were using his big arm on deep throws (similar to how the Broncos are playing this year, with the highest intended air yards in the league), which is somewhat telling of how we should expect him to be utilized in Cincinnati. The major differences we should expect with the shift from incumbent/injured quarterback Joe Burrow to Allen are the completion rate (65.3% in 2020 for Burrow) and decision-making ability (defensive reads/progressions), likely leading to decreased drive success rates and increased turnovers moving forward. The hits to the expected drive success rate and overall efficiency of the Bengals’ offense keep coming with the news of Joe Mixon to the IR (and the late-update news, now, of Gio in the concussion protocol, as noted above), as this team should continue to be forced into a pass-heavy approach until he returns. In all, we have a likely pass-heavy offense with an inefficient quarterback, making the touchdown equity and fantasy prospectus for all skill position players on the Bengals offense a tough sell.
The backfield should continue to be roughly a 2:1 split in expected running back opportunities between Giovani Bernard and Samaje Perine (again: note :: Perine should now lead this backfield), with the clear edge in pass game involvement landing with Gio. In the games the Bengals have been able to control without Mixon, Gio has landed in the 14-16 rush and four to seven target range, with Perine in the seven to nine rush and one to two target range. In games in which the Bengals are behind, overall rushing from the offense as a whole dips a solid 40% with little to no change in the receiving expectation for the running backs. The matchup on the ground yields a below average 4.095 net-adjusted line yards metric and it’s tough to envision clear paths to success for either of these running backs on a team whose overall touchdown expectations are hindered by the switch at quarterback.
From what we have seen over Allen’s short career, expect an ability (whether right or wrong is a different story) to throw into tight coverage and open up downfield. This demi-gunslinger mentality for Allen plays more into AJ Green’s (13.5 aDOT, 30.7% team air yards, 6’4” 210 pound frame and 4.48 40 with the lowest average separation at target in the NFL) and Tee Higgins’ (13.5 aDOT, 28.7% team air yards, 6’ 4” 215 pound frame) games as opposed to Tyler Boyd (8.2 aDOT, 21.2% team air yards, unofficial 4.54 40), and Allen has shown the propensity to home in on his top wide receiver (which points to an inability to progress through reads properly more than anything else). The Bengals continue to operate heavily out of 11-personnel (77% season average, 77% over the previous five games), so expect over 80% snap rates for all of the three primary wide receivers moving forward. Because of how these teams match up, we should expect a floor of 65 offensive plays run from scrimmage for the Bengals, with ceiling for 70+, and when paired with a likely heavy pass play rate, we should expect a floor of 40 pass attempts for Allen with ceiling for 45+. The efficiency is likely to be lacking, meaning we’re looking for splash play potential and/or volume for bankable floor and/or ceiling, but the looks should be there for this offense. Zac Taylor does a good job of mixing the sides of the field of his perimeter wide receivers (Green and Higgins) as well as the route trees of each, so the fantasy prospectus of these pass-catchers likely comes down to whether or not James Bradberry (51% completion rate allowed on 49 targets, with three touchdowns allowed in coverage as well as three interceptions; 6’ 1”, 212 pound frame with a slow 4.50 40) shadows either of them. Overall, there isn’t a clear picture as to who should emerge as Allen’s favorite target this weekend, so all members of this high expected volume passing game should be reserved for MME play.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
This game should be one of the most pass-heavy games on the week on the Bengals’ side of the ball, albeit with likely little translation to the scoreboard through poor overall efficiency. The Giants pass at the league’s 17th highest rate (59.61%) and remain without their first and second string running backs, while the Bengals pass at the league’s third highest rate (63.79%) and are without their starting running backs. The Giants rank 26th in the league in drive success rate at 70.9% while the Bengals were down at 22nd in the league with Joe Burrow at quarterback; we’re likely to see a drop in their 72.3% drive success rate moving forward with Allen at quarterback. In all, this should translate to high pass rates for the Bengals and lower-than-season-average pass rates for the Giants, with stalled drives and low time of possession per drive the norm here; it is unlikely the Bengals jump out to a large lead based on remaining offensive personnel and it is unlikely the Giants jump out to a large lead based on offensive philosophies.