Fantasy Football Start/Sit for Dolphins vs Bengals: Start Tua Tavovailoa, Sit Tyler Boyd

Fantasy Football Start/Sit for Dolphins vs Bengals: Start Tua Tavovailoa, Sit Tyler Boyd article feature image

Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured. Tua Tagovailoa (left), Tyreek Hill (right).

NFL fans have been spoiled thus far with some very solid Thursday night matchups.

The NFL kicked things off with the Bills vs. Rams and Chargers vs. Chiefs — two exciting matchups between four teams expected to contend for playoff spots and beyond. Even last week's Steelers vs. Browns matchup was spicier than I expected a game between Mitch Trubisky and Jacoby Brissett to be.

This week, we get the undefeated Dolphins on the road against the reigning AFC Champion-Bengals. Miami is fresh off of a huge, upset win over the Bills, while the Bengals try to right the ship after starting the season 0-2.

Many lineup decisions — like starting Ja'Marr Chase, Joe Mixon, Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle — are easy. Below are some fringe players at each position you may be on the fence about starting in the Dolphins vs. Bengals Thursday Night Football game based on matchups, injuries and trends.

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Dolphins Week 4 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

QB Tua Tagovailoa

Tagovailoa was a sit for me last week going up against the Bills — even without safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. The Dolphins shockingly won the game, though Tagovailoa's stat line was unimpressive. He completed 13 of 18 attempts for 186 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions — good enough for 11 fantasy points and a QB25 finish.

Tagovailoa has boom-or-bust potential: He had finished as the QB2 in Week 2 after tossing a whopping six touchdowns against the Ravens. This week, he will face the Bengals, whose defense has been tough against the quarterbacks and have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to the position this year, though they have yet to face an elite signal-caller.. Cincinnati's defense has battled Mitch Trubisky, Cooper Rush and Joe Flacco, so Tagovailoa may be their first legitimate adversary.

Verdict: Start Tagovailoa as a low-end QB1 assuming he plays. He was banged up in Week 3 and had to be relieved briefly by backup Teddy Bridgewater. Tagovailoa was limited in practice on Tuesday with back and ankle injuries. If Bridgewater starts, he would be a low-end QB2.

RB Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert

I am grouping these two together because they are a true running back committee. Mostert had a strong Week 2 against the Ravens, tallying 11 carries for 51 yards and three catches for 28 yards. He was stymied against the Bills in Week 3 with eight carries for 11 yards. Edmonds was barely utilized in Week 2, logging six touches for 41 all-purpose yards. He bounced back big time in Week 3, logging seven touches for 27 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

In terms of snap counts, the pair is fairly even on the year. Edmonds edges out Mostert slightly with 93 vs. 88 snaps this season, though Mostert has seen more snaps in each of the last two weeks.

Verdict: Sit both if you can. This committee is a headache at best and there's a good chance one of them has a good day while the other is a dud — I just have no idea which. If I had to start one, I would probably feel slightly more confident starting Edmonds, who strikes me as the more talented back and may be the "hot hand" after last week's two-touchdown performance. Both are outside of the RB3 tier for me this week.

TE Mike Gesicki

If you look up "volatile tight end" in the dictionary, you will find a photo of Mike Gesicki. In Week 1, Gesicki saw just one target and logged one yard against the Patriots. In Week 2, he caught four of four targets for 41 yards and one acrobatic, highlight-reel touchdown. In Week 3, Gesicki turned back into a pumpkin and caught his lone target for six yards.

Verdict: Sit. There's a very wide range of potential outcomes for Gesicki in Week 4, making him a very risky play in season-long formats. Perhaps he finds the end zone on a SportsCenter-worthy play; it's more likely he'll be a dud. He is well outside of the TE1 tier based on his sub-6% paltry target share this year. I would much rather look for other options on the waiver wire, such as Tyler Conklin at the Steelers or Evan Engram at the Eagles.

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Bengals Week 4 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

WR Tyler Boyd

Boyd has scored a touchdown in two of three contests this year. He logged 11 fantasy points in half PPR and finished as the WR30 in Week 1. In Week 2, he logged 19 fantasy points and finished as the WR9.

Boyd may be a tempting start coming off of a 105-receiving yard game. I will note that his two good games came when fellow receiver Tee Higgins missed some time in the concussion protocol. Higgins was knocked out of the game early in Week 1 and would not return. He took another hard hit in Week 3 against the Jets, but was able to return in the second half.

Verdict: Sit if you can. Even though Miami has been soft against opposing wideouts, Boyd is the team's clear No. 3 behind Chase and Higgins. He is a boom-or-bust play who would likely require an injury to the aforementioned duo to be start-worthy this week.

TE Hayden Hurst

Hurst saw a whopping 15 targets in the first two weeks of the season, though he didn't do much with them. He tallied 10 catches for 70 yards in that span and was the TE14 and TE21 in half PPR. Entering Week 3, Hurst was banged up with a groin injury and only caught one pass for seven yards against the Jets.

Verdict: Sit if you can. One of these weeks, Hurst will break out. It could be this week against the Dolphins, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends this year. Hurst is a former first-round pick buried on this Bengals offensive depth chart behind the likes of Chase, Higgins, Joe Mixon and Boyd. Unfortunately, with his targets dwindling with each game, he cannot be trusted as a TE1.

RB Samaje Perine

I talked about Perine in my weekly waiver wire column on the heels of his best game of the season. Perine logged nine carries for 47 yards and caught two targets for 14 yards and a touchdown. He finished as the RB15 in half PPR and outproduced Mixon by a significant margin. Mixon was sidelined briefly with ankle soreness, which helped Perine have a field day against the Jets, and tallied 12 rushes for 24 yards and three catches for 14 yards.

Verdict: Sit. Barring news of a re-aggravation of this injury to Mixon, Perine is the clear cut No. 2 in the Cincinnati backfield. Perine is only startable if Mixon were to be significantly limited or fully out in this contest.

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