Andy Dalton has been on fire in the past few weeks, and I’m not just talking about his hair. The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback has racked up 80 fantasy points in his last three games, and he put up at least 30 points in two of those. If you relied on Dalton in the past weeks, then you’ve likely reaped the benefits all the way to your league’s championship. If you want to take home the title though, I’d encourage you to leave the signal caller who got you there on your virtual bench.
Dalton is a mediocre quarterback who is surrounded by an incredible amount of offensive talent. Pro Football Focus has Dalton graded as the 16th-highest quarterback despite having the highest graded offensive line in terms of pass protection, the fourth-highest graded running back in Giovani Bernard and two top-25 receivers, A.J. Green and Marvin Jones.
The Bengals have playmakers capable of making any defense look bad and so far this season, Dalton has been able to get them the ball in areas that allow them to make plays against bad defenses. Dalton isn’t going to win games or rack up fantasy points with sheer ability. He succeeds when the playmakers around him are able to take advantage of an inferior opponent.
This week, the Bengals take on a very tough Baltimore Ravens team that is fighting for a playoff spot. The Ravens should be extra motivated this weekend and they come into the game already giving up the 11th-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks — and this is including Peyton Manning‘s seven touchdown performance against them in Week 1.
The Ravens held Dalton to 274 passing yards and two touchdowns while intercepting him three times when these two teams met back in Week 10, and that’s the type of performance we should expect from Dalton this weekend, not what he’s done in the past three weeks.
When the Bengals’ offense is clicking, Dalton obviously has the potential to put up some monster fantasy numbers. When they aren’t though, things can get ugly pretty fast. Dalton is fourth among all quarterbacks in total fantasy points this year with 258. 161 of those points came in six games though, meaning he scored just 97 points in his other nine (which averages out to 10.7 points per game, fewer than what Geno Smith averages).
Dalton has had four games this season in which he’s scored single-digit fantasy points and against a tough and motivated Ravens defense, he may very well have his fifth game of single-digit fantasy production in Week 17. If Dalton carried your team to a fantasy championship, it’s time to thank him for his hard work and then put him back on the bench.