Evaluating Andy Dalton's Long-Term Potential as a Top Fantasy QB After Week 7
Andy Dalton has exploded the last two weeks with back-to-back 300-yard, three-touchdown passing performances, but fantasy owners should still be leery of making him their starter by default each week.
The last two great games have come against less-than-stellar pass defenses. Dalton victimized the Buffalo Bills in Week 6 and took advantage of the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The Bills came into Week 7 ranked 22nd in league against the pass, and the Lions weren’t much better at 21st overall.
For the remainder of the season, things could be a bit more difficult.
Next week, the Bengals will take on the New York Jets. While Rex Ryan’s bunch has struggled to score points consistently, their defense has kept them in games. The team is ranked 12th in the NFL against the pass. The Jets have allowed just one quarterback to throw for 300 yards all season.
And while Dalton could break out, especially with A.J. Green as a primary weapon, starting him in Week 8 wouldn’t be the smartest gamble.
Dalton and Green’s chemistry is something you can’t ignore. Provided both are healthy for the Weeks 9 and 10 matchups with the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens, the Bengals’ signal-caller is a smart player to start.
The Dolphins’ 27th-ranked pass defense has forced quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense to produce big numbers to stay in games. The results have been mixed.
Dalton should definitely find some success at Sun Life Stadium.
Baltimore’s pass defense has been up and down. It ranks 18th in the NFL, so the Ravens shouldn’t scare fantasy owners away from Dalton in Weeks 10 or 17.
There are a few other weeks when fantasy owners will want to check their available options before starting Dalton, though.
The Week 11 rematch with in-state rivals the Cleveland Browns is a scary date for Dalton fantasy owners. Not only are the Browns ranked eighth in the NFL against the pass, Cleveland held Dalton to just 206 yards passing, no touchdowns and an interception in their Week 4 meeting. On Nov. 17, Dalton should only be started as a last resort.
The Colts have had very little luck—no pun intended—stopping teams on the ground. The Colts’ run defense ranks just 31st in the NFL. However, the passing defense has allowed just 205.7 yards per game heading into the Sunday night matchup with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Obviously, that number could rise after facing such a potent passing attack, but Dalton and the Bengals aren’t Manning and the Broncos. What Denver does on Sunday night shouldn’t affect a fantasy owner's decision on Dalton against Indy.
How would you describe Andy Dalton's fantasy football status after Week 7?
When the Bengals play their second tilt against the Steelers on Dec. 15, fantasy owners should remember the teams' Week 2 battle. The Bengals prevailed and Dalton did throw for 280 yards and a score, but the Steelers have seemingly flipped the switch since Week 6. The pass defense is ranked fourth in the NFL and the team hasn’t allowed more than 16 points since Week 4.
Moreover, the Week 15 battle with the Steelers is at Heinz Field.
The fantasy points Dalton accrued in Week 2 were decent at best, and they figure to drop in the rematch. Check for other alternatives in Week 15 if you own Dalton.
The Bengals are on a bye in Week 12, so he’s an obvious no-start that week. He is a good pick to start in Week 13 against San Diego and Week 16 against the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams are ranked in the lower third of the league against the pass.
To break it all down, here’s a chart that shows Dalton and the Bengals’ upcoming opponents and the quarterback's playability rating for each week.
A= Automatic Start in most cases, F=Avoid at all costs
Obviously, the details could change with injuries to Dalton, his offensive line, receivers—mainly Green—or even the opposing defense.
At this point, he has played himself into the conversation to start every week on your fantasy team. However, he isn't an automatic play like the elite signal-callers in the league.
Stats per Pro-Football-Reference
Follow me for musings on sports and sports video games.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?