Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green looks like he will be a go against in-state rival Cleveland in Week 12. But it’s hard to start him with confidence against the Browns today.
Green, whose last catch was a spectacular 36-yard touchdown against Pittsburgh in Week 10, missed last week and the final three quarters against the Steelers after he hyper-extended his knee on the scoring play.
Green participated in two full practices to close the week, as did QB Andy Dalton, who is battling an injury to his throwing shoulder. The last time Green had a considerable ailment was a toe injury prior to Week 3. He then went out and had his worst week of the season — a four-catch, 29-yard performance against the visiting 49ers.
Upon his return to game action this week, Green gets fantastic cover corner Joe Haden. The 41-yard TD Green caught in the fourth quarter of the season opener, the only catch of his four targets during the game, is the longest pass play Haden has allowed this season and one of just two TDs. Receivers have caught 28 of 59 passes thrown Haden’s way for 356 yards and the two scores, according to Pro Football Focus. That comes out to 6.16 fantasy points per game allowed.
All Cincinnati receivers should struggle as a matter of fact.
Cleveland is the best in the league against fantasy receivers. The Browns have allowed just four TDs to receivers this season and a receiver hasn’t posted more than 54 yards since Week 6. The Browns are the best in the league against the pass at 166.5 yards per game on the second-fewest attempts allowed in the league (28.2). Cincinnati is 17th in both passing yards (223.1) and attempts (34.5) per game.
Jerome Simpson is too inconsistent to play. He’s coming off an 8-for-152 performance on a team-high 13 targets, but also had a goose egg the week before and was held to 6.4 fantasy points in the opener against Cleveland. Andre Caldwell, who started in Green’s place last week, produced a 13.8-point day, his third double-digit game of the season, but in six of the other seven games he was held to 5.2 points or less.
It’s tough to sit Green as he has scored a touchdown in six of nine games he has played in and been a double-digit fantasy producer in all but one game this season in Athlon’s half-PPR format. But with Green coming off the knee, going up against Haden and a stingy Browns pass defense and the weather expected to be rainy and windy, just limit your expectations.
By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter