Andy Dalton is a top-5 QB in our grades this season
The Cincinnati Bengals sit atop the AFC North with a perfect 4-0 record, in large part due to the play of quarterback Andy Dalton. He’s put up consistent numbers the first four weeks, possibly demonstrating that the Dalton-coaster is no longer open for business.
This is far and away his best four-game stretch of his career since being drafted out of TCU in 2011. Dalton currently has an overall +12.0 grade this year, fifth-highest behind Carson Palmer, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady.
His 10.2 yards-per-attempt (YPA) is tied with Big Ben for the highest mark. His league-leading YPA mark can be attributed to his third-ranked 60.0 percent deep passing accuracy. In only four weeks, Dalton has 10 completions on passes traveling 20 yards or more in the air after just 16 such completions all of last year.
Even though he’s throwing downfield more, Dalton is still getting rid of the ball quickly. His time to attempt of 2.18 seconds is fourth-fastest this season and is in good company — Brady, Phillip Rivers, and both Mannings round out the top five. Historically, Dalton has trended to throwing quickly — the last two years he’s been in the top two, but those were with around 7.0 YPA.
A good supporting cast could be part of the reason why Dalton looks so good. Along with a highly-rated offensive line, receiver A.J. Green is second among WRs with 3.50 yards-per-route-run (YPRR). The Bengals are also getting more out of the slot receiver and tight end positions—Mohamed Sanu’s YPRR is up from 1.04 to 1.89 and Tyler Eifert is up from 1.47 (2013 season) to 2.11. Still, they need someone to actually get them the ball and Dalton is executing those throws.
It’s extremely unlikely the Bengals run the table to finish 16-0, but if Dalton has truly quelled his variance, the franchise is poised for a deep run in the playoffs.