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Three and Out: Is Andy Dalton a top-tier fantasy QB?

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TSN.ca Staff
10/31/2013 3:06:54 PM
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Each week, TSN.ca Fantasy Editor Scott Cullen and NFL Editors Ben Fisher and Mitch Ward discuss three hot fantasy football topics.

With three straight top-5 QB performances, is Andy Dalton a legitimate QB1?

Scott Cullen: I have to say yes. He's tied for fourth in touchdown passes, with 16, and is fourth in passing yardage (2249). Even if you don't believe that necessarily makes him the fourth-best quarterback in the game, he's easily productive enough to fit in the Top 10. He also has lots of weapons at his disposal. Wide receiver A.J. Green is one of the best, but second-year wideout Marvin Jones, rookie tight end Tyler Eifert and rookie running back Giovani Bernard have all upgraded the Bengals' offence.

Ben Fisher: I'm in favour of riding out a hot streak and think Dalton should be started every week until he comes back down to Earth, but I don't think the third-year Bengal will finish the year as a Top 10 scorer at QB. Dalton is currently just outside the Top 5 QBs in total scoring in most formats but hasn't yet had his bye week. In terms of average points per game Dalton is much closer to 10th with a number of higher ceiling QBs ranked lower that, should they find their stride, could pass Dalton by year's end.

Mitch Ward: Yes. I wouldn't say he is top-5 but definitely top-10 right now. He has three straight games with at least 325 yards and three touchdowns including a career-best five touchdown passes last week. The Bengals passing game is no longer AJ Green against the world. Dalton now has several nice options like Gio Bernard and Tyler Eifert to complement Green who is one of the top four or five receivers in the league. That's a recipe for success.

With Percy Harvin nearing a return, what are his fantasy prospects for the rest of the season?

Cullen: My guess is that, for the next three games, Harvin may not be anything special, due to a long layoff and still questions about how ready he might be to play. But, with Sidney Rice done for the season, the Seahawks could really use him and coming out of their bye week, in Week 13, when their first two games will be against New Orleans and San Francisco, Harvin ought to play a significant role, enough to be a WR1. Admittedly, that requires some projection since he has yet to play this season.

Fisher: As good as they were the last time he was healthy, maybe better. Harvin was a Top 10 receiver in 2011, the last year he put in a full season, and should return to that elite group again for the rest of this year. It's hard to know exactly how the Seahawks will use Harvin compared to his role with the Vikings the past three years, but one thing I do know is that Russell Wilson is better than Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, and an over-the-hill Donovan McNabb.

Ward: I love Percy Harvin and fully expect him to be the No. 1 receiver the Seahawks traded for. I just don't think it's fair to expect instant production given the injury he suffered and the amount of time he's been away. It's likely going to take a few weeks for harvin to get up to game speed and the Seahawks are clearly not going to try and force his recovery. I'd consider him more of a FLEX until he gets a few games under his belt, but come fantasy playoffs time I think he could be a major difference maker.

Coming off a four-TD performance is Marvin Jones a legitimate fantasy receiver?

Cullen: During the bye weeks, at the very least, Jones should be considered. It's hard to overlook 122 yards and four touchdowns, no matter who puts it up, but Jones has been trending in this direction. He benefits from defences focusing on A.J. Green and, in the previous two games, for example, Jones accumulated seven catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns and with the Bengals' offence heating up, Jones is at least viable as a FLEX play until the Bengals' passing game slows down.

Fisher: Even before Jones' breakout Week 8 he was seeing an uptick in targets. Now he will certainly have the confidence of QB Andy Dalton after catching all eight of his targets, four of which went for scores. I doubt he'll ever put up another stat line like he did last week but it's not out of question to expect 60-80 receiving yards minimum per week and a score every once and again – good enough WR2 numbers for me.

Ward: Jones is certainly on the FLEX radar and is a bona fide redzone target, but I'm not sold on him to provide week-in, week-out production yet. Yes he has scored in three straight weeks and had eight catches for 122 yards in his four-score game against the Jets. But he only played 19 snaps in that game and has only been on the field for roughly one third of the Bengals' offensive plays over the last three weeks. Until he starts to see more snaps I'd be wary of thinking Jones is much more than a FLEX or low-end, boom-or-bust WR3.

Andy Dalton (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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