Texans-Bengals fantasy football preview

Week 10 was a weird one in fantasy land. Kirk Cousins lit up the scoreboard in FedExField like a Christmas tree (little early, Kirk), thanks to the Saints defense coming to town. Ben Roethlisberger dropped a 26-point performance on the Browns ... from the bench. And the Packers 24-year streak of beating the Lions in Lambeau Field was snapped, as Detroit came into Green Bay and upset the Pack, thanks to a couple of #ThatHelpsNoOne contending touchdowns. Still, there were some stellar fantasy performances to be had. Hopefully they were for your squads. But before we close the book on Week 10, we still have one more game to play -- Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals. We break it down below.

Houston Texans at Cincinnati Bengals, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN (Monday)

Texans:

It might sound crazy, but Hoyer has been a pretty reliable fantasy quarterback this year. His .516 fantasy points per attempt ranks 12th in the league among signal-callers who have played in at least six games, and he's averaged over 20 fantasy points per game since winning the starting job back in Week 5. Also working in his favor is that the Texans fall behind often, as they likely will in this game, forcing Hoyer into pass-heavy game scripts. With the Texans likely chasing the Bengals all game long, Hoyer has upside as a nice streaming quarterback for Week 10.

In the team's first game sans Arian Foster (Week 8), they split up the backfield touches primarily between Alfred Blue (19 touches, 72 yards) and Chris Polk (nine touches, 22 yards). That will likely be the case again, but there's so much uncertainty with this backfield coming out of the bye (Do they still trust Blue? Will Polk or Jonathan Grimes see more work? Etc.) that we can't recommend starting any one other than Blue as a desperation flex play. Keep an eye on this backfield, though, and be prepared to pounce if either Polk or Grimes emerges from this contest with a meatier share of the touches.

Hopkins is an every-week, plug-and-play WR1 regardless of the matchup. His season-low target total in a game is 11, and he's scored 15 or more fantasy points in five of his last six games.

Washington has been a garbage-time hero, scoring many ofhis 59.1 fantasy points on the season while Houston has been trailing big time. He also entered the team's Week 9 bye on a bit of a tear, so he's in the conversation of a sneaky good WR3 or flex play against the Bengals this week. Just know that while his ceiling is high, his floor is near goose egg levels.

Bengals:

Throw out his Week 8 stinker against the Steelers (9.64 fantasy points), and Dalton is averaging almost 23 fantasy points per game. He's beaten bad matchups all season long, meaning he's almost a must-start this week against a Houston defense that has bled points to quarterbacks in 2015. Their .553 fantasy points allowed per pass attempt ranks as the eighth-highest total in the league.

We keep waiting for Jeremy Hill to respond to the urgings and criticisms of his coaches and play like he did in 2014, but it hasn't happened yet and we're starting to doubt if it ever will. It appears we might see winter come in "Game of Thrones" before we see Hill run like he did in 2014. That's why he becomes a risky flex play at best this week, while Giovani Bernard could be in the RB2 discussion, or at worst a strong flex play. Over the last two weeks, they've seen almost identical snaps (66 to 65) and each produced 120 total yards. The only difference? Bernard did his damage on a mere 17 touches, while it took hill 32 to get there. The Bengals still seem intent on making Hill a thing, but Bernard is the safer and smarter play this week.

Starting A.J. Green has been frustrating this year, as he's only scored double digit fantasy points in three games -- the three games he's scored a touchdown in. Yet, for those keeping the faith, this could be another big week for Dalton's favorite target. Houston allows a passing touchdown to a wide receiver on 6.4 percent of pass attempts, the eighth-worst mark in the league. Lock in Green as a WR1 once again and expect good results.

Against a secondary like the Texans, there could be extra space for the Bengals' ancillary pass-catchers to roam and make some plays. But which one to start? Over the last four weeks, Jones has more than doubled the number of targets Sanu has received (31 to 15), making him the safer bet for a solid outing as a WR3 or deep flex play.

Eifert has emerged as one of the league's premier red-zone threats, hauling in 10 of his 13 targets in that space with nine touchdowns on the season. Were his touchdown in Week 3 not overturned on a baffling "catch rule" rationale, he'd have caught 11 of 13 for 10 touchdowns. Eifert is a locked-in TE1 from here on out. Enjoy the ride.

Don't forget to tune in to NFL Fantasy LIVE for more top-notch analysis and up-to-the-minute news, weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on NFL Network. Or you can always stream it on demand whenever you'd like at wwww.nfl.com/fantasylive.

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