If you’re making Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs DFS picks for Sunday in Week 13, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve analyzed each team’s highest-probability game scripts to assess the most likely outcomes, including which players are in line to thrive more than anticipated or fall short of expectations.
The following recommended fantasy football lineup (for tournaments, 50/50, or head-to-head competitions) aims to lock in a relatively high floor while maximizing upside.
This marks the third time these teams have played each other since the beginning of this calendar year. Cincinnati won both on the final plays of the game: two Evan McPherson field goals that helped propel the Bengals to the playoffs, and then to their first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years.
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With Ja’Marr Chase potentially returning and Joe Mixon 50/50 (as of Saturday evening), this impressive offense is back to full strength. They’re fifth in the league in scoring while averaging an impressive 21.3 points against three of the league’s seven stingiest defenses based on points surrendered per game (Cowboys, Jets, and Titans).
The opposing Chiefs are giving up 0.7 more points per game than they did last year. But whereas they had the fourth fewest sacks last season, this season, they’re tied for the fifth most. Joe Burrow has absorbed the fourth most sacks in the league. That’s a tough combo for Cincinnati.
On the flip side, K.C. has yielded the third most passing TDs — though, for context, opposing teams have been forced to play catch-up against the 9-2 club. This has resulted in a high degree of pass attempts against the Chiefs, compared to the third-fewest rushing attempts.
If the Bengals keep this one close (as I expect will happen), they could generate a more balanced attack than many of K.C.’s opponents have achieved. Cincy will be incentivized to establish the run against the Chiefs’ middling rush D.
I want to figure out how to put Burrow and his top playmakers in this DFS lineup. But there are too many expensive Chiefs to consider, too. That’s largely what makes this slate so difficult to assemble. In the end, we might need to choose two to three high-ceiling Bengals to group with two to three high-ceiling Chiefs and hope they’re the right combination.
A stat that could impact this lineup: Cincinnati’s defense has the third-fewest sacks. Considering how strong the Chiefs’ o-line is, and how rarely Mahomes gets sacked, we can envision K.C. having the space and time to maneuver against a defense that’s struggled since CB Chidobe Awuzie went down in the second quarter in Week 8.
In fact, during those four games since Awuzie’s injury, the Bengals yielded an average of 24.8 points versus the Browns, Panthers, Steelers, and Titans. Jacoby Brissett threw for (at the time) a season-high 278 yards. Baker Mayfield threw more than one TD pass for the first time all year. Kenny Pickett amassed the second-most passing yards of his young career. And Ryan Tannehill threw for 291 yards — his second-highest total since Week 12 last season.
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These aren’t just stats. Look at the whole picture. If Cincinnati can’t contain some of the NFL’s lowest-output passers, how can they possibly slow Mahomes and his receivers?
Again, the Bengals’ ability to move the clock on offense might limit the damage. And to be clear, I believe Cincy will prevail in the end. But both sides realistically could hit 27+ points. It might once again come down to the final play. And until then, as many as six or seven Chiefs playmakers could get solid-to-heavy usage.
That’s a lot to consider for this DFS slate.
Top DFS Picks for Bengals vs. Chiefs
Today, we’re playing DraftKings “Showdown Captain Mode,” which includes one player who earns 1.5 times his scoring output, plus five Flex players.
The following NFL betting recommendations are based on proprietary PFN predictive analytics pulled from decades of NFL historical data. Using this data, I’ve built dozens of models showing actionable probabilities of better-than-expected and worse-than-expected outcomes.
Captain: QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs ($16,800 Captain Cost)
There’s a good chance either Mahomes or Burrow will be the highest-scoring DFS player in this game. I’m giving Mahomes the edge in a more favorable aerial matchup.
Flex: QB Joe Burrow, Bengals ($10,200)
But don’t worry, Cincy fans. We have to include Burrow, too.
Flex: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chiefs ($6,600)
At his best, JuJu Smith-Schuster could be the top-scoring WR in this contest. I’m going for a ceiling here, rather than a concerningly low floor.
Flex: RB Samaje Perine, Bengals ($6,400)
Now things get tricky. As referenced earlier, as of late Saturday night, Chase and Mixon are questionable. Chase appears more likely to return, which is why I’m not factoring the expensive Tee Higgins into this lineup.
If Mixon sits, Samaje Perine becomes a terrific DFS bargain, and the following picks will fit nicely under our salary cap. If Mixon starts, however, then we’ll swap out Perine for Travis Kelce, and then replace Smith-Schuster and Skyy Moore for Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Justin Watson.
Flex: TE Hayden Hurst, Bengals ($4,800)
This summer, I pushed Hayden Hurst as the biggest TE bargain in fantasy, despite an ADP inexplicably outside the top-20 tight ends. All signs pointed to him outperforming his predecessor, C.J. Uzomah. He’s currently in the top 10, and I see no reason to fade him in what could be a touchdown fest.
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Flex: WR Skyy Moore, Chiefs ($4,600)
Cheap, and with a nice ceiling. As noted above, we’ll downgrade him to Watson to make room for Kelce if Mixon returns.