Last season, I said Andy Dalton was being undervalued by Fantasy players.
How did I know this? The problem was that most Fantasy players were just looking at his stats from 2014 and not the bigger picture. In 2014:
- A.J. Green played in 13 games
- Tyler Eifert played in 1 games
- Marvin Jones missed the entire season
Mohamed Sanu recorded the second-most receiving yards for the Cincinnati Bengals that season.
With Green and Jones able to play a full 16-game season in 2013, Dalton threw 33 touchdowns and racked up 4,296 passing yards.
So with a healthy Green, Eifert, and Jones in the lineup, I knew Dalton had a chance to replicate his numbers from 2013. Even though a thumb injury set him back, the 28-year old quarterback went from being underrated in a lot of leagues to a revenant starting option.
Now, Dalton is being drafted in Round 10.
Is he a steal as a 10th-round pick? Lets take a look at his 2015 season a little more closely before making any decisions.
Andy Dalton 2015 Fantasy Football Review
From Weeks 1-6, Dalton was the highest-scoring quarterback in Fantasy Football, according to data from FantasyPros.
Between Weeks 1-6, Dalton scored more Fantasy points than Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Cam Newton. He threw 14 touchdown passes during this time frame, and he even scored two rushing touchdowns.
In terms of passing yards, Dalton’s production started to slow down after Week 6, though. From Weeks 1-6, he averaged 293.5 passing yards per game. From Weeks 8-13, he averaged 236.6 passing yards per game.
Dalton’s touchdown production was roughly the same in the later part of the season as it was in the early part, but he did put up a goose egg in Week 10 against the Houston Texans.
But even when he started to slow down, Dalton was still the fifth-highest scoring quarterback in Fantasy Football from Weeks 1-13.
He wasn’t even drafted in a lot of leagues last year, so he far exceeded your return on investment if you drafted him near the end of your 2015 draft. You might have even been able to pick him up off of waivers.
Now, let’s take a look at who he has to throw the ball to in 2016 Fantasy Football leagues.
Andy Dalton: 2016 Fantasy Football Weapons
A.J. Green is the focal point of this offense, so there’s not a lot to review about him.
It seems like he’s been in the league forever (especially since I remember drafting him as a rookie), but Green is just 27 and will turn 28 in July. Green has hauled in at least 1,000 receiving yards in every single season he has played, and he also has a minus of six touchdown receptions in every season.
But outside of Green, Dalton doesn’t have any targets that are reliable. Tight end Tyler Eifert may not be able to suit up until September because of an ankle injury, and Marvin Jones is now in Detroit.Embed from Getty Images
That basically leaves Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd as Dalton’s strongest weapons. LaFell is best remembered for dropping six passes last season, and he’s reportedly having issues now with drops.
Boyd was compared to Keenan Allen in his draft profile, but scouts worried about his speed and ability to gain yards after catching the ball. He is praised for solid hands, however, but we all know that it takes the right situation and a very special receiver to be Fantasy relevant in their first season in the NFL.
Dalton also has pass-catching specialist Giovani Bernard in the mix, but Bernard won’t always be on the field.
It’s hard to imagine that Green will be targeted more and the he could improve upon his 86 receptions last season, but keep in mind that Antonio Brown caught 139 passes last year.
Green’s currently being drafted near the end of Round 1, which is nice to know if you don’t have an early pick in a PPR draft.
Andy Dalton 2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
Since he’s being drafted in Round 10, I think that’s a fair price for Dalton.
I’m glad Fantasy players aren’t suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out) because of what he did last year and draft him too early. Dalton would be undervalued if he had Jones and a healthy Eifert in the lineup, but he’s being drafted at the right spot in Round 10 because of his current situation.
I wouldn’t want to rely on him as weekly starter this year, but Dalton has more value than people give him credit for. Dalton threw 33 touchdown passes in 2013, which would have given him the seventh-most touchdown passes in 2015.
If you draft a stud quarterback early or wait until the later rounds to draft a quarterback, Dalton is a solid backup for your Fantasy team.
But because he really just has Green to target until Eifert returns or one of his other receivers step up, it may take this offense a little bit of time to build momentum.