2011 Year in Review
2011 was one heck of a season for this rookie quarterback Andy Dalton for the Cincinnati Bengals. With former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer gone, the Bengals got more than an adequate replacement, and Dalton provided the necessary intelligence and composure in his rookie season. Although he faltered during the 31-10 AFC Wildcard playoff loss to the Houston Texans, he has given the once soft Cincinnati Bengals team hope for the future.
In his 2011 regular season as a rookie, Dalton had 3,398 passing yards, 2o touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 3 fumbles and a solid 80.4 quarterback rating. He started off fairly strong in his first full start against the Denver Broncos with a quarterback rating of 107.0 with 332 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Against the tough defense of the San Francisco 49ers in the following game, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton had his worst game of the regular season. He had 157 yards passing, 2 interceptions and a dismal 40.8 quarterback rating. He got steadily better until week 6 against the Indianapolis Colts. Facing the porous defense of the Colts, he performed well with a 111.5 quarterback rating on 264 yards passing and a touchdown. Again, with the tougher defenses of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens in week 10 and 11, he didn’t perform quite as well with a 61.8 and 60.7 quarterback rating in those respective regular season games. In week 12 against the Cleveland Browns, he performed above-average with a quarterback rating of 105.6 on 270 passing yards and a touchdown. After that game, he faced tough defenses of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Houston Texans, and the Baltimore Ravens. With these defenses, his quarterback rating declined gradually, culminating in a 65.7 quarterback rating on 232 yards passing and no touchdowns. In the AFC Wildcard playoff against the Houston Texans, Dalton fell to a dismal 51.4 quarterback rating on 257 passing yards and 3 interceptions.
2012 Fantasy Football Outlook
Given this is his rookie season, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton still has a lot of growing pains ahead. Given his statistics during the regular season, he has performed QB3 to low-end QB2 numbers. With the Bengals getting into the playoffs, the schedule should be about the same next year with Andy Dalton facing some difficult defenses ahead. Although he has 12th-ranked running back Cedric Benson, he can’t continuously lean on him as Cleveland Browns Colt McCoy learned with their running back Peyton Hillis. Dalton should be able to produce low to mid-QB2 numbers next season and worth a seat on your bench. He’s worth a gamble as he does have an upside. However, he needs a couple of seasons more to mature, and in the 2012 regular season, he should be only played with favorable matchups or a bye-week replacement.