Take Two: Ryan Tannehill vs Andy Dalton
September 21, 2013 | Joe Siniscalchi
Week 2 is under wraps, and it looks like yet again @AnthonyOlivetti is the winner. Jay Cutler had a great game vs the Vikings, throwing for 296 yards and three touchdowns (along with three turnovers), while Carson Palmer has a rather pedestrian statline of 248/1/1. Cutler was able to build off of a fast start and cap off a comeback with with his third TD pass. Palmer threw his obligatory pick-six, and the ineffectiveness of an ailing Larry Fitzgerald did not do him any favors.
JS: My Candidate for Week 3: Ryan Tannehill (vs ATL)
I really like Sam Bradford so far in the season, but I think this week’s particular matchup is more favorable for a less talked about quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. Did you know that through two weeks, Ryan Tannehill is 12th in the league in passing yards? Or that Atlanta is ranked 29th so far against the pass? After showing command of the offense in a week two win and getting his team to buy in, Tannehill is quietly on the track to becoming a very good quarterback. Even with a “dinged” shoulder, he is in position to have a good game. With the offense showing signs of life last week against the Colts.
Tannehill has hope if the game turns to a shootout. With an injury riddled offense, I expect the emphasis for the Falcons to be on Matt Ryan. This game can easily become an arms race, and expect the Dolphins to be aggressive against a battered and weak Falcons defense. Tannehill has shown the poise and ability to orchestrate an aerial attack, and with Joe Philbin trying to get speedster Mike Wallace the ball, the Dolphins can make this a game.
As I said, I think this will be a shootout. If Tannehill is forced to play catch up, 300 yards and a pair of TDs should be a gimme.
My Candidate for Week 3: Andy Dalton (vs GB)
AO: Once again it wasn’t pretty, but a win’s a win. Cutler had a good fantasy statline throwing for just under 300 yards to go along with three touchdowns, granted the turnovers hurt but his yardage and touchdowns helped cover them up. I’m now 2-0 against @Joe_Siniscalchi and I’m going for three this week with the help of my pick, Andy Dalton.
With only three touchdowns through the first two weeks of the season Dalton is certainly off to a slow start. But, facing off against the Green Bay Packers in Week 3 sets him up nicely for a solid day. For starters the Packers are going to score early, much like my pick from Week 1 (Joe Flacco vs. Denver), I expect Dalton to be playing from behind from the minute the game starts. This is a great scenario for any semi-competent, second-tier quarterback to be in (well, maybe not for him but it’s great for fantasy owners). The Cincinnati offense is going to have to throw it a ton to keep this game competitive.
Being forced to throw it 50-plus times is one thing but, doing it against a Packers defense that has already allowed over 700 passing yards and seven touchdowns through the air elevates Dalton’s prospects to a whole different level. Neither the Redskins nor the 49ers have a receiver half as talented as AJ Green, and both teams had guys go off (see Anquan Boldin and Pierre Garcon). This game will feature a heavy dose of AJ Green, and the continued emergence of Giovanni Bernard. Both will benefit their signal caller tremendously.
Even though his numbers haven’t been eye-popping to this point, Dalton has still managed respectable QB2 fantasy points in both weeks of the season. He’s completed 65.4 percent of his passes, and his yards per attempt are actually above his career average so far. It’s very likely that he doubles his touchdown total for the year this week, while throwing for over 300 yards.
I expect the Packers to win the game handily, but in the process I can honestly and confidently predict a statline of 350/4/1 for Dalton. I may be reaching for the stars here but, it’s completely within the realm of possibility given the situation. Using standard scoring that would put him at 29 fantasy points, a phenomenal week for any quarterback.
JS: I don’t think I can leave the outcome of my game in the hands of a ginger. Andy Dalton is one of the most maddening QBs to own in fantasy. Every time he puts together a solid string of games, he has one game that makes you question if he ever can be a franchise QB (last week, last year’s playoffs, the list goes on). While the Packers have been torched by Colin Kaepernick, they gave up about ninety five percent of their yardage to RG3 in garbage time after a 24-0 lead. With a strong defense, the Bengals should make this a much closer game. Unlike Tannehill, I don’t see Dalton as being able to win games with his arm just yet. There’s a lot to love about that offense, but Dalton makes or breaks it.
Simply put, when Dalton goes up against elite defenses or elite quarterbacks, he doesn’t have a great record of rising to the occasion. At the end of the day, a 265 yards, 2 TDs and 2 or 3 INTs are most likely what you’ll get from Dalton.
AO: Ryan Tannehill and Andy Dalton have had comparable starts to the season when you look at their fantasy statistics so far. Dalton has been a little better in terms of points, mostly because he has an extra touchdown, but the statline doesn’t tell the whole story here. What I’m getting at, and what worries me about him, is that he fumbled three times (losing one) against the Colts last week. I’m not saying that I expect him to go out and repeat that this week but, it still makes me very, very nervous.
It’s hard to argue that the Falcons defense have been pretty porous so far this season, and that Tannehill has – and will continue to – make strides throughout the season but, I just don’t see him outperforming Dalton this week. His weapons are nowhere near that of Dalton’s, AJ Green is one of the best wide receivers in the league, and Mike Wallace is not. He’s a Top 20 wide receiver but, not a Top 5. On top of that the Dolphins have no semblance of a running game, both Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas have averaged 3 yards per carry or less so far this year. With that aside, since they’ll be playing from behind, where their value would really come from is in the passing game, and neither of them are pass catching backs.
While I don’t think Tannehill will have a bad game, I simply think that Andy Dalton will have a better one. He has better weapons surrounding him which will lead to more points. I expect Tannehill to be somewhere around 250/2/1 to go along with a fumble lost, while respectable, when Dalton explodes, this will pale in comparison.