2013 Fantasy Football Preview: Can Cincinnati Bengals’ Andy Dalton Improve?

Andy Dalton

David Kohl – USA TODAY Sports

The entire NFL universe are expecting big things from Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in 2013. In his second year, Dalton succeeded in putting up pretty decent numbers and ranked 13th overall among fantasy quarterbacks with 3671 passing yards and 27 touchdowns to only 16 interceptions. He also put up 120 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns last season, including two touchdowns over 10 yards, one in week 3 and one in week 7.

At this point, it would be necessary to point out that 1350 of those 3671 yards went to receiver A.J. Green, amounting to 37% of his total yards, as well as 11 touchdowns, amounting to 41%.  This is an extremely heavy reliance on one player and unfortunately necessary as the Bengals receiving corps was one big injured mess for the majority of the season. Along with this, Dalton was not really able to rely on running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to dump the ball off to as he has never been known for his pass catching skills.

This season, however, Dalton has a seemingly endless supply of pass catchers, and with the implementation of Jay Gruden‘s new two tight end offensive system, it should also involve an endless supply of open receivers, too. Along with the continuing incline of one of the top three receivers in the NFL, Dalton will have Jermaine Gresham and rookie tight end Tyler Eifert working in tandem with one another to pick apart defenses. To add to this, the Bengals have the return of slot receiver and their number two receiver, Mohamed Sanu. Sanu emerged in the middle of the 2012 season, scored four touchdowns in three games, and then abruptly ended his season when he fractured his foot in practice. Sanu will be looking to return in 2013 and pickup where he left off as the top red zone threat that the Bengals have.

Finally, the Bengals elected to use the 37th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft to make an excellent choice of bolstering the backfield. With compliments flying around about rookie running back Giovani Bernard being heralded is the next Ray Rice and that he could play any position he wanted, it’s surprising that he hasn’t been made mayor of Cincinnati yet. In spite of this error which I’m sure will be corrected soon enough, Bernard still has a great set of hands, and the Bengals have been using him a lot to practice bubble screens and other short pass plays that could end up being very fruitful for Dalton’s fantasy stats in 2013.

Projection

Picked at an average of the ninth round in 2012, this is likely to change quite a bit in 2013. Although not sought as one of the top quarterbacks that will be taken in the early rounds, Dalton should be on the top of the list of the second tier quarterbacks in round six or seven.

4,150 passing yards, 29 passing touchdowns – 90 yards rushing,  3 rushing touchdowns

Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals writer. You can follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88


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