Week Sixteen Analysis: Normally, I'd be warning everyone about this game, as Pittsburgh has a great pass defense, and they're at home. Plus, he managed just 105 yards in the earlier matchup this year. But, without Ike Taylor, this secondary is a shell of its normal self. Without him in the past two games, they've allowed five passing touchdowns. They had allowed five touchdowns in the previous eight (!) games. So, as long as Ike is out, Dalton's got a chance. He looked bad for most of last week's games, and he's thrown just one touchdown in each of the past three games, which is alarming. Fortunately, he's run in three scores in the past five games, which has dramatically augmented his fantasy points. If Taylor plays, Dalton is almost impossible to start, and his ranking is not as high as you see here. If Taylor is out, you can think about it.
Week Fifteen Analysis: Philadelphia has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in eight straight games, and 10 out of the past 11 games. Meanwhile, Andy Dalton has scored multiple touchdowns in eight games. Two touchdowns is a lock, if not more. After all, Dalton has scored three or more times in six games. And the Eagles have allowed three or more passing touchdowns in three out of the last four games. Nnamdi Asomugha appears to be making an effort to ensure his release in the offseason, and AJ Green will certainly do his part.
Week Fourteen Analysis: Who knew that through 12 games Andy Dalton would rank fifth in the league in touchdown passes? He's thrown only one fewer touchdown than Tom Brady. He's thrown the same amount of touchdown passes as Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill combined! Those stats are astounding considering that he only threw six touchdown passes in last season's final seven games. He has a matchup-proof wideout in A.J. Green and he's not afraid to air it out against any team, including the Cowboys. The Dallas secondary started out pretty solid, but has regressed to mediocrity over the last few weeks. In the last five games, four teams have thrown for more than 250 yards against the Cowboys and opponents have thrown nine touchdown passes to only two picks.
Week Thirteen Analysis: Last week I dared to put Andy Dalton way up at No. 3 for my quarterback rankings, and he came through like a champ with his fifth three-touchdown game of the year, and his ninth touchdown in three games. Dalton is pushing into elite starter territory, and I'm not dissuaded by a pedestrian Chargers secondary. The Chargers are a middling secondary, ranking 20th in in passing yardage allowed, and 26th in passing touchdowns allowed. Dalton is doing a great job of mixing in his role players. His success no longer rests only with AJ Green. He's now finding Jeremy Gresham and Mohammad Sanu and Andrew Hawkins. The Chargers have already allowed a three and four touchdown game at home this year, so Dalton could post another explosive day.
Week Twelve Analysis: Only two teams have allowed more passing touchdowns than Oakland, and if you add in the two quarterback rushing touchdowns they've allowed, no team has given up more to the position. And considering that Andy Dalton has run in two scores, why not include those? So, he's got massive upside this week, both because of the aforementioned awful Oakland secondary, and because he's posted six three-touchdown games already. This is the highest ranking he's ever had from me.
Week Eleven Analysis: The Bengals' Andy Dalton roared through the Giants secondary last week, posting his fifth game with three or more touchdowns. We were wrong about Dalton. We thought he'd be an efficient, caretaker type of quarterback. Instead, we've got an explosive one, who is single-handedly powering fantasy owners to victory. And he'll do it again on Sunday as he faces a Chiefs secondary that has allowed the fifth-most touchdown passes. Had Ben Roethlisberger not gotten hurt halfway through Monday's Chiefs game, and thrown just one more touchdown, the Chiefs would have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in six of the past seven games. So, technically, it's five of seven games, which still sucks.
Week Ten Analysis: The book on Andy Dalton is pretty well written. He's a good start against bad defenses, and a dangerous start against good ones. His best games have come against Washington, Jacksonville, and Cleveland (twice). He's been stymied by Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Denver. So with the Giants on the schedule this week, he's probably startable. After all, the Giants rank 30th in passing yardage allowed at 285 yards per game. And AJ Green single-handedly ensures at least one touchdown.
Week Seven Analysis: Andy Dalton is posting a very strong season, with four three-touchdown games. The only other quarterback with four three-touchdown games is Drew Brees. The fly in the ointment is that the Bengals have played exactly one good pass defense all year, Baltimore, and Dalton was held scoreless in that game. So, what happens against another good defense, this week, Pittsburgh? In his two games against the Steelers last year, he managed only 135 and 170 yards, while throwing 1 and 2 touchdowns. Pretty meager. The Steelers banged-up defense has given up good, not great, fantasy games to every quarterback but Mark Sanchez, so I think Dalton finishes with okay numbers, but not the explosive ones we've become accustomed to.
Week Six Analysis: After three straight three-touchdown games for Andy Dalton, last week's clunker against a bad Miami secondary was unexpected and frustrating. But I can't punish him for that game as I look at a rematch with a team he smoked just four games ago. When he faced Cleveland in week two, Dalton threw for three touchdowns and 318 yards. Importantly, Joe Haden didn't play in that game, and Haden returns from his suspension this week. But in the one game Haden played this year, Cleveland allowed 317 passing yards and two scores. The Browns were great with Haden last year, and I'm sure they'll be better this week with him, but it's still a favorable matchup for Dalton.
Week Five Analysis: Thanks in no small part to playing three straight defensive patsies, Andy Dalton is on a nice run, with eight touchdowns and 296 yards per game over those last three starts. And, here comes another easy matchup, Miami. It's very tough to run on Miami, so everyone is taking the path of least resistance, and passing. No team has been thrown on more than the Dolphins, an average of 43 per game. And, it's paying off, as Miami allows the third-most yardage. Miami has given up over 300 passing yards in three straight games, and I fully expect them to do it again this week.
Week Four Analysis: I'm a little nervous about starting Andy Dalton this week, because the Jaguars a really easy to run on, and usually pretty tough to pass against. Jacksonville hasn't allowed a passing touchdown until last week, when Andrew Luck threw a couple. Probably because Donald Brown is so awful, he couldn't be productive even with an easy matchup. BenJarvis Green-Ellis is better than Brown, and he'll get his carries. But Dalton's last two weeks make him difficult to bench, after throwing for over 300 yards and scoring three times in both games. The Bengals passing game is clicking so well, Dalton should find decent numbers.