The Bengals (3-10-1) are coming off one of the biggest upsets this season as they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 on Monday Night Football. Cincinnati were overwhelming underdogs but actually played like the better team. The Bengals did not get much from quarterback Ryan Finley, but he did make sure to taken care of the football. Finley was 7-of-13 for 89 yards and a touchdown. He was also the team’s second-leading rusher with 47 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
His only touchdown pass in Week 15 went to running back running back Giovani Bernard, who also recorded a game-high 83 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown. Defensively, the Bengals did a tremendous job, forcing three turnovers, which included a Ben Roethlisberger interception.
As for the Texans (4-10), they suffered their third-straight defeat, losing 27-20 to the Indianapolis Colts. Houston had a chance to tie up the game in the fourth quarter, but wide receiver KeKe Coutee fumbled the ball just yards away from the end zone. Star quarterback Deshaun Watson had another tremendous performance, completing 33-of-41 passes for 373 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
This season, Watson has 4,134 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, six interceptions, 394 rushing yards, and three touchdowns on the ground. He could have a similar type of outing against the Bengals’ defense on Sunday.
Date: Sunday, Dec. 27
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Notable Statistical rankings (Football Outsiders)
Fantasy football start/sit advice
Giovani Bernard, RB, $4,800
The veteran change-of-pace running back had his best game of the season against the league’s best run defense last week. Bernard recorded a season-high 83 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown. He also had a 14-yard receiving yard touchdown, giving him 21.7 fantasy points. Additionally, it was the first time Bernard scored both a rushing and receiving touchdown since Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans.
This week, Bernard will be facing one of the league’s worst run defenses in the Texans. Houston is giving up 150.5 yards rushing per game and 18 total touchdowns to opposing running backs this season.
Tee Higgins, WR, $4,700
With Tyler Boyd suffering a concussion in Monday night’s game, there is uncertainty surrounding his status for Sunday’s game against Houston. If he cannot play that means more targets for both A.J. Green and Tee Higgins. The latter led Cincinnati’s wide receiver unit with three receptions (six targets) for 31 yards. In the Bengals’ last three games, the rookie has 13 receptions (22 targets) for 136 yards. Despite not scoring a touchdown, he has been a solid WR3/FLEX option in fantasy football.
This week, Higgins will be looking to find the end zone against a Texans’ defense that has given up six receiving touchdowns in the last four games.
Deshaun Watson, QB, $7,600
Watson has played out of his mind season, despite not having a full compliment of playmakers at the skill position. The dual-threat quarterback is a must-start QB1 and has had six 20-plus fantasy point performances this season. Last week against the Colts, Watson scored 23.4 fantasy points. He will be trying to put up another 20-point performance against a Bengals’ defense that is only allowing 17.2 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Brandin Cooks, WR, $6,200
The veteran wide receiver has provided the Houston offense with a shot in the arm during the second half of this season. Since their bye in Week 8, Cooks has 29 receptions (42 targets) for 416 yards and a touchdown. Cooks has been the Texans’ top wide receiver option with Will Fuller V getting popped for a six-game suspension. Last week against the Colts, he produced six receptions (seven targets) for 59 yards. Furthermore, he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 9, but could snap that cold streak on Sunday as the Bengals have allowed two receiving touchdowns in the last three games.