|Jay Cutler - Stuck in the Middle?||Tweet|
|Written by Steve Braun|
|Thursday, 20 December 2012 09:28|
For those of you in your fantasy league playoffs, congrats on making it this far and good luck in the finals. For those of you, especially in keeper and dynasty leagues, who didn’t make it or were eliminated, now’s as good a time as any to start looking to the future. It’s a good idea to compile information and form opinions based on what is happened this season while it’s still fresh in our minds. Too often the news becomes distorted over the off season as slow news cycles cause small tidbits of information, good or bad, to get overblown.
Overall Cutler’s rookie season must be considered a success even though he had a losing record as a starter and the Broncos failed to make the playoffs. In five games he threw for 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. In fact for the three seasons 2006-08 Cutler’s numbers were good, but Denver never made the playoffs and head coach Mike Shanahan was sent packing. When new man Josh McDaniels came on board, reports soon surfaced that the Broncos were looking to trade Cutler. While the rumors were denied by the front office and coaching staff, Cutler didn’t believe it and asked to be traded. He was sent to the Chicago Bears in April.
Cutler’s first year in Chicago was no better than his Denver career, the Bears finished 7-9 to miss the post season and Cutler led the league in interceptions. He and the Bears made the playoffs in 2010 and Cutler won his first ever post season game. In the next round Cutler sustained a knee injury early in the second half after being mostly ineffective in the first. He was surprisingly criticized in many circles for not playing through the injury and was labeled ‘soft’ and a coward which was ridiculous. Cutler had his team at 7-3 in 2011 despite running for his life in most games due to poor offensive line play and debatable play calling. He broke his thumb and was sidelined for the rest of the season. Chicago would only win one more game and missed the playoffs. Here are Cutler’s NFL stats:
So far in 2012 you could say the Tice factor has won the battle of the two impacts because Cutler is averaging about two fantasy points per game less than 2011. That may not sound like much but for a guy who was a borderline QB1 in fantasy last year it’s a fairly big deal. Cutler is signed through 2013 and almost assuredly will be back with the Bears, especially since they don’t have a legitimate replacement in the system. So can Cutler return to his 2008 Pro Bowl form?
Well in reality the Bears didn’t throw the ball as much as one would think during the Martz years. In his first year with Martz, Cutler averaged the lowest number of attempts per game since his rookie season. Of the top 15 fantasy QB’s in 2011 for example, none averaged less than 32 attempts per game. Cutler averaged less than 29 in 2010 and less than 32 in 2011. So far under Tice this year he’s averaging 29 attempts per game. So does Cutler need to throw it more to become a reliable fantasy starter? It sure seems like it, as the only top fantasy QB’s this year averaging less than 33 attempts per game are Cam Newton, RGIII and Russell Wilson, all of whom run the ball frequently and successfully. Now let’s take a look at the Bears receiving stats:
I don’t believe Jay Cutler will be a viable starting quarterback for fantasy in 2013 but that will depend on whether the Bears add any help at wide receiver or tight end. If Marshall, Knox and Jeffery are the top three WR and Davis returns as the primary TE I wouldn’t count on Cutler as anything more than a time share QB next year. Even then there will likely be more productive options in that role for your team. Most likely the Bears will also be looking to improve their offensive line which would also help Cutler. But the Bears are aging no defense and they can only improve so many areas in one draft and one free agency period. But if the Bears add two of the following: a quality pass catching tight end; a quality number two receiver; a significant upgrade on the offensive line; then Cutler’s fortunes look much better. If the Bears do two of those things then I see Cutler as an excellent buy low candidate, although a bit of a risk-reward scenario.
Cutler is only 29 years old so he should have several quality seasons left in him. He’s got the physical ability and while he’s no Peyton Manning or Tom Brady he thinks the game well enough that he’s been successful even while under pressure when he’s had receiving options. Right now teams can double Marshall and put everyone else tight to the box and be able to cover all the other receivers and keep Forte in check where the passing game is concerned. Of course it remains to be seen whether the Bears re-sign him after 2013 the probability of that goes up significantly if he has more weapons next year as I’m confident he would take advantage of them. If he again ends up as a middle of the pack NFL quarterback then I don’t see the Bears or any other team willing to pay him top dollar to be a starting QB. Cutler doesn’t seem to have the qualities you look for in a backup so the worst case could be he ends up out of football altogether.
Matt Schaub or Colin Kaepernick at QB (I had Mike Vick and Jay Cutler but got rid of them both when the concussions hit).
Matt Forte against Arizona is nice, but do I play my stud Marshawn Lynch vs. San Fran(probably) or go with Mikel Leshoure and his nice match up vs. Atlanta? I’m a firm believer of NOT simply going with your top guys, but Lynch put up 100 yards in Frisco earlier, and he’s averaging just over 100 per game with 6 TD’s at home. Leshoure has been scoring TD’s but his yardage is not that impressive and the chance he could lose the majority of carries to Joique Bell mid-game is too high I think.
Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez vs Jacksonville is really nice and Hakeem Nicks vs Baltimore is also pretty good. I think it’s time to bench Denarius Moore vs Carolina and go with TY Hilton and his great match up against KC. I also dropped Malcom Floyd when he went on IR and just picked up
Danario Alexander so maybe he’s the play against the Jets weak pass defense?
I had the Giants D most of the season but recently dropped them and played the match ups with some success. This week I’m going with San Diego, although surprisingly the match up got worse when they decided to bench Mark Sanchez. Still have to like they’ll be facing a rookie QB with little in the way of receiving help.
I have Matt Bryant as my kicker so no need to worry about switching him for anyone.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 22 December 2012 10:24|