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Fantasy Football: Start or Sit Andy Dalton in Week 16?


December 21, 2016

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If you’re still alive in your fantasy football playoffs, congratulations! You’re either in the finals or you’re looking to make it there in week seventeen. One strategy that might have gotten you there is quarterback matchup streaming. There is a handful of QBs in the quarterback middle class that you have been able to rotate in and out of your lineups based on their matchups or their own hot hand. One such quarterback this year has been Andy Dalton, who takes on the Houston Texans and their newly minted quarterback Tom Savage this week. Is this a matchup where you should go towards or away from the Red Rifle?

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Andy Dalton on the year has been decent about half the time, and absolutely dreadful the other half, so he is a quarterback you definitely have to think deeply about if you are going to consider him in your fantasy finals. He is coming off three-of-four games where he did not post even seventeen fantasy points, and he was dreadful in his last two, going for just 337 yards combined in the last two games. Why those cherry-picked last four performances? Those are the game that Dalton was forced to play without A.J. Green, who has been out since week twelve with a hamstring injury. Green is expected back this weekend, which means that Andy will be getting his favorite target (and one of the best targets in the NFL) back. But will that make a difference? Without A.J. Green, Dalton posted an average of 15.8 fantasy points per game. With Green, he averaged 17.8, which is in the back-end QB1/high-end QB2 territory, a worthwhile spot play.

This week, however, Dalton does not have a good matchup to take advantage of A.J. Green’s return. The Texans have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, and have allowed just three all season to go over twenty fantasy points (Carr, Rivers, Luck). All props to Andy Dalton, but he is not in the same class as those three quarterbacks. Dalton is more in the Alex Smith tier, who didn’t even reach five fantasy points against the Texans. It’s entirely possible that Dalton makes a valiant effort and takes advantage of the matchup entirely and claws out… 19 points? Maybe 20? He presents and exceptionally desperate play this week if you are starting him, and if you are going for your playoff life, do you want to feel desperate, or bad, about the player you’re starting? Dalton shouldn’t be in your lineups this week because of the bad matchup against the Texans.

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