There are a few sure things in the NFL: Tom Brady’s fourth-quarter comebacks; Aaron Rodgers shredding defenses and the Cleveland Browns’ season imploding, normally by early October.
How does Andy Dalton measure on the spectrum of certainty?
Dalton has thrived when the best players around him have been healthy. Last season illustrated how good Dalton could be when A.J. Green was healthy:
Prior to AJ Green's Week 10 injury, Andy Dalton had PFF's seventh-best QB rating (93.13).
In Green's absence, Dalton's 86.73 ranked 18th. pic.twitter.com/ZntZFNh0Fp
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) May 16, 2017
The main obstacle to Dalton’s success has been the injuries around him. Still, it hasn’t deterred him from improving. Last season he threw for 4,206 yards and had a rating of 91.8, both of which are second highest outputs of his career.
Moving forward, Dalton could be a player to watch this season, as he has arguably the most talent around him since joining the Bengals. Along with a bevy of talented skill players, including Green returning to full strength and Giovani Bernard recovering, the team was aggressive in the draft, selecting John Ross and Joe Mixon. This duo provides the Bengals with more big play potential, and in the case of Ross, gives the team a deep threat option they can use to stretch defenses.
Having all this talent at Dalton’s disposal means he could be in for a big season. And if that’s the case, scooping him up in your fantasy draft might prove to be a wise move.
Before doing so, however; there’s one big if surrounding the Bengals’ offense: the offensive line. Pro Football Focus graded three projected starters on the offensive line as poor performers.
Inconsistent offensive line play affects quarterbacks because it throws them off their rhythm. In the case of Dalton, he’s struggled most when the pressure is on. Pro Football Focus stated:
Dalton is one of the worst-performing quarterbacks under pressure over the past few seasons.
With these things in mind, Dalton is a roll of the dice. He’s shown improvement and he has a crazy amount of talent around him. If the offensive line develops consistent play, the Bengals become one of the most potent offenses in the league. However, that’s a big if, as the players on the line haven’t demonstrated the ability to play consistently well.