Choose Your Fantasy QB: Dalton vs. Freeman

Today’s installment of Choose Your Quarterback pits Andy Dalton vs. Josh Freeman, the Nos. 12 and 13 assets in my latest rankings of the 32 presumed starting quarterbacks.

Here’s a week-by-week fantasy breakdown of Dalton vs. Freeman, just in case you’re torn on which quarterback offers better value in Rounds 4 or 5:

Week 1 — Freeman (@ N.Y. Jets) over Dalton (@ Chicago)
Week 2 — Freeman (vs. New Orleans) over Dalton (vs. Pittsburgh)
Week 3 — Dalton (vs. Green Bay) over Freeman (@ New England)
Week 4 — Dalton (@ Cleveland) over Freeman (vs. Arizona)
Week 5 — Dalton (vs. New England) over Freeman (BYE)
Week 6 — Freeman (vs. Philadelphia) over Dalton (@ Buffalo)
Week 7 — Dalton (@ Detroit) over Freeman (@ Atlanta)
Week 8 — Dalton (vs. N.Y. Jets) over Freeman (vs. Carolina)
Week 9 — Dalton (@ Miami) over Freeman (@ Seattle)
Week 10 — Freeman (vs. Miami) over Dalton (@ Baltimore)
Week 11 — Freeman (vs. Atlanta) over Dalton (vs. Cleveland)
Week 12 — Freeman (@ Detroit) over Dalton (BYE)
Week 13 — Dalton (@ San Diego) over Freeman (@ Carolina)
Week 14 — Freeman (vs. Buffalo) over Dalton (vs. Indianapolis)
Week 15 — Freeman (vs. San Francisco) over Dalton (@ Pittsburgh)
Week 16 — Dalton (vs. Minnesota) over Freeman (@ St. Louis)
Week 17 — Freeman (@ New Orleans) over Dalton (vs. Baltimore)

Final Tally

Freeman pulls off the mild upset, 9-8


1. We’re splitting hairs with the matchups from Weeks 3, 6, 8, 13, 15 and 16, reiterating just how close Dalton (3,669 yards passing, 31 total TDs last year) and Freeman (4,065 yards passing, 27 TDs) should be during the August drafts.

2. From my vantage point, Freeman’s Buccaneers are the only NFL team likely to have 16 ideal-weather games in 2013 — a product of three home games, three dome roadies (Detroit, New Orleans, St. Louis) and one southern outdoor outing (Charlotte) in the final seven weeks.

Fantasy owners should NOT forget this nugget on draft day.

3. Dalton was a markedly more efficient passer than Freeman last year, topping him by nearly eight percentage points. However, Freeman averaged 34.9 passes per game, with Dalton averaging 33 per contest. Plus, the interceptions differential was a single pick (advantage Dalton).

4. In 2013, Dalton has seven common opponents from last year’s regular-season slate (the Week 17 cameo against Baltimore doesn’t count). Of those games, he averaged 250 yards passing and 1.42 touchdowns. Freeman, in turn, has eight carryover opponents from last year’s schedule — averaging 266 yards passing and 1.38 TDs in 2012.

5. Here’s another even-steven stat with both quarterbacks: Neither one has averaged 200 yards passing in their last two season openers.

For the playoff period of Weeks 13-16, Freeman and Dalton both get the nod twice; and yet, when the preseason fantasy magazines come out next month, be on the lookout for Dalton owning a three-, four- or even five-slot advantage over Freeman … who has Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and Doug Martin — a top-3 tailback with 55-catch potential — at his primary disposal.

From a platoon standpoint, with Dalton getting the edge six times from Weeks 3 through 9, he would be the perfect sell-high asset after that … with Freeman carrying fantasy GMs home in the season’s latter half.

Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @FOX_JayClemons.