Bengals vs. Eagles: Top Fantasy Stars to Watch on Thursday Night Football

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 11:  A.J. Green #18   of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a touchdown pass during the NFL game against the New York Giants  at Paul Brown Stadium on November 11, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles are giving up a combined 48 points per game, which means there should be plenty of fantasy points to go around on Thursday night. That's music to owners' ears as the semifinals are set to begin in most leagues.

As owners found out last week, the first game of the week is crucial to fantasy success. Even though it doesn't count more than any other game, getting off to a bad start means teams are forced to play catch up throughout Sunday and Monday. Just ask Brandon Myers owners.

With that in mind, let's examine one fantasy star from each team that should be able to get their owners off to strong starts on Thursday Night Football.

Bengals: A.J. Green

A.J. Green has scored 12 fantasy points over the past two weeks. For many receivers, that's an acceptable total. For Green, it represents a serious slump. He had previously scored in double figures in nine of his previous 10 games.

The driving force behind the second-year star's success was an incredible touchdown streak. He caught at least one TD in nine straight games beginning in Week 2, and probably carried a lot of fantasy teams on his back during that stretch.

If those same teams were able to survive a four-point showing from him last week, the outlook is bright heading into Thursday's game. The Eagles have allowed 25 passing TDs, which is tied for the third most in the league.

It means the Bengals should be able to move the ball pretty well through the air. More importantly, the chances are good that Green finds his way back to the end zone for the first time in a month.

Prediction: 16 fantasy points

Eagles: Bryce Brown

Bryce Brown struggled last week, rushing for just six yards and failing to register a single fantasy point. Owners should have seen the poor performance coming, however, because he was facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' vaunted rush defense.

Nevertheless, after scoring 53 points over the previous two weeks, owners were probably expecting much better than a goose egg. Those who benched him, or survived despite the zero, should have him in their Week 15 lineups.

LeSean McCoy still isn't ready to return following his concussion and has been ruled out, which means Brown will be the go-to back again. It makes him a strong bet to bounce back against a mediocre Bengals run defense.

Owners will probably be hesitant to trust him after last week's game, but Cincinnati is giving up nearly 30 yards per game more on the ground than Tampa Bay. It's safe to give Brown another chance.

Prediction: 15 fantasy points

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