Can you name the five highest-scoring quarterbacks in standard fantasy leagues from 2013? Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are obvious. Cam Newton and Andrew Luck totally understandable. Would you believe that No. 5 is Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton . He is. Only Brees and Manning threw more touchdowns than Dalton's 33 last season. However, no quarterback in the top 15 in fantasy points tallied more interceptions than Dalton's 20. So, there's plenty of room for the TCU product to improve, and new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson thinks Dalton is ready to take a another step forward.
"He's on the cusp of something really good," Jackson said of Dalton during a Wednesday radio interview.
Jackson indicatted that for Dalton to reach greater heights this season, Jackson will need to break him down a little.
"The first thing I want to do with him is go back to the fundamentals that you used playing the game," Jackson said. "From how you get under center, how you take a snap to the sense of urgency and your drop [back] and where you're putting your eyes, how we're finishing our throws and our progressions. Andy's going to learn that there's a time in the National Football League when you just have to say 'Uncle' and just throw the ball away."
Yet, throwing the ball isn't Jackson's favorite type of offense. He believes in a run-first attack, something he said the Bengals will implement this year to take some pressure off of Dalton.
"You have to have the threat of running the ball and the threat of being a physical unit in order to last for the duration of the season," Jackson said.
The point is, Jackson can spout whatever he wants about Dalton's potential, and how he is close to becoming an upper-echelon quarterback in the NFL (he's gonna have to win a playoff game first). But Jackson's offense is centered on a strong run game. And in Cincinnati, such a game is centered on Giovani Bernard, who should be high on everyone's "to-draft" list this summer. It also means that we shouldn't expect Dalton to throw the ball nearly 600 times again. His stats should fall back down to 2012 levels, when he threw 27 touchdowns and had about 600 fewer yards than last season. Those are still nice totals, but Dalton is outside of the QB1 range. Don't select him based on the yards and touchdowns he put up last year; a repeat isn't coming in 2014.