Andy Dalton Benching Downgrades Fantasy Outlook of Entire Bengals Offense With Ryan Finley Starting

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 13: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on after playing against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have decided to bench Andy Dalton. At 0-8 on the year, the decision certainly makes sense, but it's never easy for a franchise to send a nine-year starter at quarterback to the sidelines.

Andy Dalton Backup

That doesn't mean Cincinnati is getting an upgrade, though, as fourth-round rookie Ryan Finley will take the reins in the offense. For as much as Dalton has struggled, this is still likely a downgrade for the fantasy outlook of Cincy's skill-position players.

Dalton may not be efficient, and he's only thrown for nine touchdowns on the year, but he also leads the NFL in both pass attempts (338) and completions (204).

This heavy volume has helped elevate three wideouts to fantasy relevance with John Ross and A.J. Green on the shelf.

Tyler Boyd is the WR16 in PPR scoring through eight weeks, Auden Tate is averaging 11.4 fantasy points per game since moving into the starting lineup, and Alex Erickson has stepped up with 10.4, 21.5 and 15.7 across his last three games.

That trio was already at risk of losing some value with a return looming for Green, but this QB shift fast-tracks the decline. Boyd is still likely to be a fine PPR play on a weekly basis, but Tate and Erickson could lose their value entirely.

The other player that gets a big downgrade is running back Joe Mixon. He's already struggling mightily, ranking as RB36 in fantasy points per game, and his situation is even more dire now.

The Bengals are already tied for last in the NFL with an average of 3.2 yards per carry, and that's not going to get any better with the QB shift. Three receiving TDs have salvaged Mixon's fantasy value some, and that upside could disappear if Finley struggles.

Ryan Finley Draft

Of course, Finley is still an unknown at the NFL level. The rookie averaged 8.1 adjusted yards per attempt in his senior year at NC State, and the Bengals selected him as the sixth QB off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft.

They're not likely to have the rookie sling the ball around like Dalton did though, and seeing as volume was the only thing holding up the fantasy value of players in this offense, that's bad news.

Until we see otherwise, consider this a downgrade for Mixon, Boyd, Tate and Erickson.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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