Fantasy Football: Is Andy Dalton Now An Every Week Starter?

By Brad Berreman

Fantasy football owners that had to use Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in Week 8 due to a bye week or injury concern were surely rewarded, as he threw for 325 yards and five touchdowns with one interception against the New York Jets. Over the last three weeks Dalton has been one of the most productive signal callers in the entire league, with 1,034 passing yards (at least 325 in all three games) along with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

Does Dalton have a chance to keep up his current pace? Is he now an every week starter for his fantasy owners? Let’s take a closer look.

Just one of Cincinnati’s last three opponents, the Buffalo Bills in Week 6, entered Week 8 in the bottom half of the league against opposing quarterbacks (ESPN scoring) and the only clearly favorable matchup on their upcoming schedule is in Week 13 against the San Diego Chargers, who went into their Week 8 bye allowing the third-most fantasy points (19.7 per game) to the position. So Dalton may be hard-pressed to maintain his current pace based on a look at the matchups he has coming, but over the last three games that hasn’t mattered a lot.

Dalton put together a fairly productive run from Week 2-Week 9 last season, with at least 299 passing yards in four of seven games and multiple passing touchdowns four times over that span as well. He then had nine passing touchdowns without an interception from Week 10-Week 12, despite not topping 230 yards through the air in any of the three games. But from Week 13 through the end of the season, leaving aside Week 17 when he saw limited action (10-for-15 for 78 yards and a touchdown), Dalton did not have multiple passing touchdowns and only topped 250 passing yards once in the four games that mattered most to fantasy owners.

Dalton may find his way into a lot of fantasy lineups for Week 9 against the Miami Dolphins, with six teams on a bye and a wide range of options (Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, Colin Kaepernick, Eli Manning, Carson Palmer) unavailable to their owners. He is a viable low-end QB1 or high-end QB2 for the coming week under that circumstance, but beyond that Dalton has the look of a middle tier QB2 with some downside for anyone who expects him to produce anywhere near the level he has over the last three games.

Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.

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