Fantasy news & notes: How high can Jeremy Hill go?

Times are tough in the 'Nati. The Bengals own the fourth-worst record in the AFC at 3-6-1 and just lost A.J. Green (hamstring) and Giovani Bernard (ACL tear).

Green will reportedly only be out a couple weeks, but with the team going no where don't be surprised if he takes it slow and is gone for the year.

For fantasy purposes the two Tyler's, Eifert and Boyd, should be the biggest beneficiaries in the passing game as both will see an uptick in targets, while Jeremy HIll sees a massive boost to his overall ceiling.

Scoring points will be a much bigger chore, but whatever touchdown opportunities Tyler Eifert loses will be mitigated by an increased weekly yardage floor as Andy Dalton is expected to pound him with more targets.

While it's true that Brandon LaFell could see an increased workload as well, Boyd is the unknown and most interesting player here. The rookie from Pitt was a second-round pick, stands at 6-foot-2, weighs 200 pounds, and ran a 4.58 40-yard-dash.

He lacks elite speed but makes up for it as a guy that routinely makes tough, contested catches. When Green went down, Boyd saw eight targets, catching six for 54 yards and a touchdown. He led the team in receptions and yards in Week 11.

Jimmy Smith, star corner of the Bengals' Week 12 oppononent, the Ravens, has missed practice all week with a back injury and is extremely unlikely to play. Baltimore already gives up the third-most fantasy points to the wide receiver position and that was with a healthy Smith. Don't be surprised if Boyd has a solid day that could become a great day if he catches a touchdown.

Jeremy Hill, all of a sudden, is walking into a massive workload with only the lightly-regarded Rex Burkhead playing behind him.

I understand the hesitation to trust him as a legit top-12 running back, but there are only a handful of true workhorse backs left in the league and Hill will be one of those guys moving forward. Unless the Ravens jump out to a massive lead (unlikely) expect Hill to see 20-to-25 touches. And like most power backs, the more work he gets, the more likely he is to break a big run.

Not only do I think Hill has an every-week RB2 floor moving forward, given the offense, workload and talent, Hill has top-five scoring potential every week as well.

More news and notes ...

NEWS: Zach Miller suffered a season-ending foot injury and Jay Cutler has a shoulder injury of unknown severity that was originally feared to be a season-ending labrum tear.

- Fantasy spin: In typical John Fox fashion, the Bears said Cutty is day-to-day, refusing to even rule him out for Week 12. It's important to remember that earlier in the season Cutler was also deemed "day to day" with a thumb injury and missed approximately six weeks before magically being healthy enough to play once Brian Hoyer went down with an injury of his own. As for the Miller angle, Logan Paulsen and Harvard rookie Ben Braunecker are next in line at the tight end position. Needless to say, neither can be trusted at this point in fantasy.

- Bottom line: For all of Cutler's deficiencies, the dude could sling it. With Matt Barkley at the helm, play Cam Meredith at your own peril.

NEWS: Sammy Watkins could return Sunday versus the Jags. Watkins practiced this week but Rex Ryan says the star wide receiver's snaps would be limited even if he does play.

- Fantasy spin: Watkins is unplayable this week considering the snap count and the specter of Jacksonville's Jalen Ramsey, but in Weeks 13 and 14, the Bills face off against Oakland and Pittsburgh respectively. Both are extremely delectable matchups.

- Bottom line: Hopefully you stashed Watkins last week or earlier, it sounds like he's close to returning. If for some reason he's out there on the waiver wire, scoop him up.

NEWS: Ryan Mathews (knee) didn't practice this week, expect him to miss Monday's game versus the Packers. Darren Sproles reportedly has a fractured rib but did practice in full Thursday and is expected to play.

- Fantasy spin: Hello, Wendell Smallwood. How you been? Good? With Mathews essentially out and with Sproles nursing a fractured rib, the West Virginia rookie is expected to have a significant role in the offense on Monday against a Green Bay team that last week gave up three touchdowns and about a million yards (ed. note: 137 rush yards) to unspectacular Rob Kelley. It's entirely feasible Sproles plays and balls out, but even in a 50-50 role Smallwood could produce.

- Bottom line: Smallwood is a high-upside flyer worth flex consideration, just don't go in expecting a high floor as well.

NEWS: Jordan Reed suffered a Grade 3 AC joint separation in his shoulder in the first half of the team's Week 12 loss to the Cowboys.

- Fantasy spin: Despite the injury, Reed came back in the second half and dominated. Reed finished the day with 12 targets, 10 receptions for 95 yards, two scores and an amazing, heavily-defended, one-handed grab for 33 yards. Luckily Reed has 10 days to recover before their Week 13 tilt versus the Cardinals.

- Bottom line: Considering Reed did the vast majority of his damage after the injury, he could play on Sunday. However, his injury status will need to be monitored closely.

Other news and notes:Rob Gronkowski practiced in a limited capacity this week with a perforated lung/chest injury. He's considered day-to-day and will be questionable going into Sunday's game against the Jets.

Lamar Miller (ribs) was a limited participant in practice this week, he is expected to be fine for Sunday at home versus the Chargers. In a strange juxtaposition, San Diego is giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs despite giving up the fifth-fewest rushing yards. The 12 rushing scores allowed by the Chargers defense is tied for second-most in the NFL.

Mark Ingram (concussion) was a limited participant in practice this week. As of Thursday, Ingram was still in the league's concussion protocol but he told reporters he expects to play Sunday versus the Rams. The participation in practice this week would suggest the same.

Michael Floyd popped up on the injury report midweek and missed practice Thursday with a hamstring injury. Floyd will unfortunately be questionable in a terrific matchup against the Falcons.

Jeremy Maclin missed practice again this week with a sore groin. Don't expect him for the Sunday night road game versus Denver.

Want more fantasy news and notes? Follow James Koh on Twitter: @JamesDKoh

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