December 6, 2013 / 1:49 pm

Fantasy Football: Dalton’s Stats Tell Two Different Stories

I have Andy Dalton, quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, on all three of my fantasy football teams, so I have a vested interest in his success this season. He has been relatively decent this season, averaging 15.64 fantasy points per game. He has passed for an average of 262 yards per game, 1.83 touchdowns, 1.33 interceptions, and a completion percentage of 61.43 percent. Those stats are pretty good, good enough to be 14th among all quarterbacks this season in total fantasy points and 21st in average fantasy points. However, underneath these reasonably decent statistics lays a bit more complexity. Andy Dalton has actually had two completely different “seasons” within the 2013 campaign. Let’s explore him further to uncover the true Andy Dalton.

For one three week period—Weeks 6, 7, and 8—Dalton was other-worldly. Unstoppable. It’s not even that the Bengals played that exceptionally in those weeks. Cincinnati beat the Bills 27-24 in overtime in Week 6. In Week 7, they beat the Lions by the same margin. Yes, the Bengals beat the Jets 49-9 in Week 8, but Dalton’s stats were amazing even in the previous two weeks. Over that three week period, Dalton averaged a completion percentage of 66 percent, with 344.67 passing yards per game, 3.67 passing touchdowns, and only 0.67 interceptions. Both his total fantasy points (83.66) and fantasy points per game (27.89) rank first among all quarterbacks during that period. By comparison, Matthew Stafford, the quarterback ranking second in both categories for that period, had a total of 77.52 points and 25.84 points per game. For those three weeks, Andy Dalton was completely insane, putting up numbers higher than those of some of the most elite quarterbacks in the league. However, his numbers from the other weeks tell a different story….

In all other weeks aside from Weeks 6, 7, and 8, Dalton has been played pretty poorly. The Bengals went 5-4 in that period, and Dalton’s weakness in those weeks reflect that inconsistency. In Weeks 1-5 and 9-13, Dalton averaged a completion percentage of 59.88 percent, with 234.44 passing yards per game, 1.22 touchdowns, and 1.56 interceptions per game. His 104 total fantasy points across that period ranks 23rd among all quarterbacks, and his 11.56 points per game ranks 33rd. He was pitiful in that period of time. His fantasy points per game ranks below “elite” fantasy quarterbacks like E.J. Manuel, Kellen Clemens, and Matt Schaub.

Dalton’s stats from Weeks 1-5 and 9-13 do not even compare to his stats from Weeks 6-8. In those three weeks he threw for an average of 110.22 more passing yards, 2.44 more touchdowns, and 0.89 fewer interceptions as compared to all the other weeks. His completion percentage in that short time period was 6.47% higher. The most significant statistic is that he scored an average of 16.33 more fantasy points in Weeks 6, 7, and 8. Why is there this discrepancy? There were no significant injuries to the Bengals receiver corps; the Bengals did not play against outrageously difficult passing defenses. It is true that the Bengals played weak passing defenses in that three-week period, so that may have influenced his ballooning stats. Perhaps he just really got in the zone for those three weeks. If anyone truly knows the answer, Dalton is the one that would. All I can say for certain is that, considering his fantasy ineptitude outside of those three weeks, Andy Dalton is best left on the bench.

-Zak Berliner