Yet another Jay Cutler post

My vacation’s over, but while my wife is home (she flew), we’re still in the car, in North Carolina specifically (scratch that, just passed into VA). I’m doing some work while my 16-year old son drives for a couple of hours. This Verizon Wireless Broadband card kicks major ass.

Anyways, I was reading Matt Camp’s blog post about his NFL.com draft from last week and saw a few replies hating on Jay Cutler, so I felt like whipping up a post of my own. And I know I write about Cutler too much.

First of all, Cutler’s not overrated. Forget about his career W-L record. When his Bronco defense gave up 22 or fewer points, which isn’t too much to ask most of the time, Cutler’s record is 12-1.

So there goes that argument.

Sure, he’s a surly SOB and may not be likeable, and he may not have the two rings Ben Roethlisberger has. Maybe he doesn’t have that intangible quality that Big Ben seems to possess, that Brett Favre’s always had in terms of finding a way to win. But his best football is still in front of him and it’s totally unfair to say he doesn’t (have that intangible quality) right now, since he’s had to put the Bronco offense – and their whole team – on his back thus far. Roethlisberger would probably be a shell of the Big Ben we know on a team with a horrible defense and no running game like Cutler’s Broncos.

And anyone who questions Cutler’s sheer talent or moxie really needs to evaluate that position and start by actually watching him play more than a game or two here and there. He’s probably, overall, the most gifted QB in the NFL today. He’s got the best arm in the league and can make every throw, his delivery is lightening, his accuracy is good, his anticipation is excellent, he’s willing to make any throw, he’s tough, he’s mobile and athletic. Again, the only thing that worries me a little is his general attitude, which is far from genial. But has it really hurt him so far? Probably not. The Broncos were almost a playoff team last year – WITH A HORRIFIC DEFENSE. That’s because of Cutler. And that arrogance is also what makes him great on the football field, so I’m more than okay with it.

There was another point that stated the Bears were a running team, so Cutler’s stats will be disappointing.

That’s not exactly correct.

The point was made that Cutler and Matt Ryan both come from running teams, but the Bears were middle-of-the-pack in rushing attempts last year (Falcons were 2nd), so I wouldn’t call the Bears a run-heavy team like I was call the Giants, Vikings, Falcons, and Panthers run-heavy teams. And as I’ve written numerous times, you don’t give up the farm to acquire Jay Cutler and ask him to hand the ball off. RB Matt Forte is great and all, but he’s not really a 300+ carry guy, and he’s also a great receiver. I also always go back to 1995, which Eric Kramer of all people was a fantasy stud under current Bear offensive coordinator Ron Turner, throwing 29 TD passes (that was probably like 35 in today’s NFL). For a five-game stretch starting in Week Three when he got hot and through Week Seven when he got hurt, the very pedestrian Kyle Orton was 7th in fantasy scoring with 10 TDs, so I would not call Cutler’s situation prohibitive from a fantasy standpoint.

I do understand that Cutler’s receiving corps leaves a little to be desired, but if people keep drafting him in the 7th or 8th round (or later), I’m telling you right now he’s going to be a great value. The trade occurred so early in the offseason, which offsets some concerns with the new team. Cutler’s already a beloved Bear, and the guy even grew up a Chicago fan, so I don’t think the transition’s going to be too big of a concern. And collectively, I do like all of his weapons, plus they may still sign a veteran.

It’s true his upside it’s through the roof on the surface, but it’s going to be very interesting to see how he performs with a great back behind him. He could be better than ever. A consistent running game means longer drives, more plays, and possibly more TDs. He’s going to put up solid numbers almost every week, and since he’s proven to be very durable, you should be able to count on him every week.

I’m telling you, barring a serious injury to Forte or TE Greg Olsen (and WR Devin Hester), Cutler’s going to exceed the hater’s expectations in 2009. Considering some of the QBs we have ranked ahead of him (for now) have durability issues, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Cutler finished as about the 5th best fantasy QB this year.

Category: Fantasy Football

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26 Responses

  1. Jackson Carter says:

    You are “dead-on.” There is no substitute for good sense coupled with professional expertise … Hansen, you have no rivals.

  2. Burton says:

    John, thanks for the Cutler post, especially the specific points regarding the Bears offense and difference between Atlanta/Matt Ryan. Good points for targeting Cutler over Ryan. Keep the helpful thoughts coming.
    In general, could you also say that the Bears defense is aging and the Atlanta defense is getting juiced with youth? (my perception, maybe not reality?) If so, that’s another point to this position.

  3. Irish_Flyers (Neil) says:

    John,
    Love this blog, it kind of reassures me of who I am targeting to go after at QB this year, but can you do me a favor….go a little easy on pumping up Cutler.

    A couple guys in my league listen to you on Sirius/XM, but they don’t subscribe on here. So by all means spout about him on the site, but when you’re on the satellite radio show down play him a little, wouldcha.?.?
    Haha

    Have a safe drive the rest of the way home. That VA stretch on 95 stinks. (Takes so long compared to the other states).

  4. Old Blind and Deaf Dave says:

    John
    I hope your more on target with Cutler than you were with Zack Miller.

  5. markv says:

    Will Cutler be fine? Probably. But most of us are not ‘hating’, we are just looking at the numbers then trying to see what you see. This is what I see:

    Last year as a team, DEN had more passing AND rushing attempts than CHI with identical FG attempts. Forte and Special Teams did not take anything away from the passing game — CHI is just not that dynamic of an offense. Should this matter? I concede that maybe it should not.

    Last year Denver gave up only 12 sacks– the fewest in the NFL. Chicago gave up a very average 29. Now we got fewer chances and more sacks. If Cutler is on his butt more than twice as much, do you think that should influence our projections? How did you figure it in in yours?

    Statistically last year Orton threw 466 passes for a result of 18 TD/12 Int. Cutler had 616 pass attempts resulting in 25 TD/18 Int. But if you project out Orton’s numbers for last year, if he was given the same number of passing opportunities that Cutler got, the numbers become 23.7 TD/ 15.8 Int — Almost same number of TDs, less interceptions and yards, and this is with a horrible receiving crew! And if we go the opposite way, Cutler looks like Orton. To me that shows Cutler does not do any better with his chances than Orton does with his. How did you weigh this information when rating Cutler in this new system?

    Marshall alone was able to get 18 receptions in one game! Who is that good on CHI? If you expect Cutler will be that great, how come Hester did not make your list of 2009 Breakout Receivers? Do you not see him as the #1 CHI receiver or with 665 yds/3 TD, did you feel that he has already ‘broken out’?

    You mentioned DEN D as being horrible. I agree! But if it was even on the level of ‘just average,’ wouldn’t it have resulted greater ball control with more rushing attempts, less passing attempts?

    CHI offensive scheme is staying relatively the same; DEN got the NE brain behind their offense scheme. Is this a non-factor in how the QBs will perform in those systems?

    If you just “got a feeling,” that is fine. I got no problem with that. I have seen those pan out (E.Royal) and not (J.Morgan). Finishing 5th overall?? That would be one helluva prediction!

  6. Baller says:

    This makes sense since Cutler is going so darn low in mock drafts. You can probably get him in the 8th round. This seems like the opposite of the Ronnie Brown post. If you don’t love Ronnie Brown, you won’t be able to draft him since he’s going in the 3rd round. But if you don’t hate Jay Cutler, then you can easily draft him as he’ll be very available.

  7. MikeF says:

    I think Cutler will be ok but no go to receiver will hurt. Needs someone like MArshall. He throws many picks which will keep the coaching staff a bit more conservative in the red zone in my opnion. I would say he ends up about 10th.

  8. Carl from Buffalo says:

    Cutler will dominate this year!

  9. Bill Cervi/no problem says:

    Forget Cutler your analysis is right on IMO, how did your 16 year old son do driving on the highway… :)

  10. Scott B says:

    Everyone keeps harping on Cutlers receiving corp. However, it’s the QB that makes the WR’s, not the other way around. Otherwise everyone would have Kyle Orton (Marhsall/Royal) and Trent Edwards (Owens/Evans) as top 10 or even top 5 QB’s. We don’t though because while they both have outstanding WR’s, they just aren’t all that great of QB’s. If Wes Welker has Tavaris Jackson throwing to him, is he still a great WR? I remember Welker was a decent WR with Miami, but it wasn’t until he moved to New England (Tom Brady anyone?) that he became gold. Does Bernard Berrian’s stock go up if Brett Favre is the QB? How come? Because a decent reciever who has had medicore QB’s throwing to him all of the sudden has a good one, so he becomes better as a result. Again, the WR does not make the QB, the QB makes the WR.

  11. Thor says:

    we agree on a couple things. 1. Cutler’s an a-hole and 2. he will be a good value in the 7th or 8th. Since I live in Denver and witnessed his arrogance first hand on more than one occassion, I will draft him, but I don’t have to like him. :O)

  12. John Hansen says:

    Burton: The Bear defense is a little shaky and can really go either way. They do have some players, but they have some injury issues. Atlanta’s defense will almost certainly be worse, since they are very young.

    Irish: VA is the worst drive through.

    Old blind: That’s an occupational hazard. Guy was great on film, much improved from 2007, was his team’s top receiver, 7th in catches at TE, 8th in pass targets, and 6th at TE in yards, yet he’s a disappointment. He was far from a bum. I would say we were on the right track; if the Raiders were anything less than a train wreck, he might have been a top-5 guy in a PPR league (he was 10th).

    Mark: Couple of points.

    1. The QB can make the OL. Last summer, Denver’s OL was a major issue, Cutler helped them big time and made them look better, tho Clady was a surprise. Chicago’s OL is shaping up rather well, and he should make them look good.

    2. I feel good saying that if Cutler’s not playing from behind so much and with a consistent running game, his picks will go down. Of course, the gunslinger in him will always cause picks.

    3. Hester didn’t make the list of breakout WRs because that article is specifically for 2nd and 3rd year receivers. Hester’s in his 4th year. I’ve been clear that he’s my favorite breakout wideout this year.

    4. I’m not comparing Orton and Cutler; I’m on record as liking Orton as a backup with upside in the scheme, tho the Marshall issue is a monkey wrench.

    5. Cutler was 3rd overall last year, so it’s not much of a leap of faith. Keep in mind he’s very durable. If 2-3 top guys miss time, it’s easier for him to finish in the top-5.

    6. I try not to guess or put too much on ‘feelings’ Morgan, for example, was very impressive last year and was poised to start before his health problem in late August. In fact, he’s been very impressive again this year so far and might still start despite Bruce coming back and the #1 pick being drafted. They love him. My job is to isolate potential breakout guys, and Morgan was definitely that last summer. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

    Mike F: Great point, he does need someone like Marshall, a bigger physical guy to catch those tough, contested, inside passes. Olsen just happens to run like a wideout and has great size and talent. Shhh..we’ll keep that between just us here.

    Bill: We made it home unscathed, so pretty good for a 16-year old with only a permit on I-95.

  13. JK says:

    Thanks for the great analysis, John. I agree that Chicago aren’t paying Cutler major $$$ just to hand off the ball. Hell, even Grossman coul hand off the ball. So, if Cutler falls to me in the 7th or later rounds (depending on how individual leagues are going), I’ll grab him.

    My experience has been that when I wait until later rounds to pick a starting QB, I’ll pick up the backup QB early afterwards, and then another one or possibly a 4th in the very late rounds.

  14. John Hansen says:

    Glad you brought up Grossman: Even Rex Grossman was 13th in fantasy points at QB in 2006 in Turner’s system. Throw out 2 games in which he attempted fewer than 20 passes, and he’s likely a top-10 guy. And we know where his career is now.

  15. Burton says:

    Maybe it is this simple — Cutler is special, and 7th round is a value for a special QB.

  16. MGG says:

    The Bears QBs had over 520 attempts last year, they finished middle of the pack. Cutler can only improve on those numbers. The guy is nails, and is fun to watch. He will make those WRs better.

    Drink the juice. I just traded for Cutler and am very excited. Cutler is special as previously stated.

  17. pura vida says:

    ho hum…. we waited for a qb for so long in Denver. Then coach McDumbass is hired and he runs our qb out of town. Now we have Kyle Orton.

    Oh F’N boy!

  18. Mike P says:

    First, let me start by saying I agree that Cutler is an elite talent in the NFL. That said, Cutler is not a consistent or reliable fantasy QB. He was not a consistent fantasy QB last year when he had Marshall (arguably a top 3 WR in football) and Royal. Yes, he also had no running game and no defense, which we all know helps a QB fantasy-wise.

    So why all the Cutler loving, and what makes anyone think he will be consistent this year? I don’t get it? Below is his actual week to week scoring in my league last year. Notice week 5-9, 11, 12 and 15:

    Cutler’s week to week results 2008: 30, 42, 19, 21, 12, 14, 5, B, 16, 58, 9, -1, 34, 21, 4,

    Can’t argue with numbers, they are what they are. So, if you don’t mind getting 58 pts one week and -1 two weeks later, then draft Cutler. Cutler is erratic and inconsistent, and you cannot rely on him week to week.

    If I miss one of the top QBs, I find myself taking a guys like Palmer or Schaub over Cutler.

  19. John Hansen says:

    Not sure what you’re scoring is, but he was 3rd in points per game in a standard yardage/TD league. He had only 1 game out of 16 without a TD, and passed for 225+ yards 11 times. Marshall helped for sure, but he also dropped a few TD passes. I like Palmer and Schaub as well, but I think Cutler’s safer, even on his new team. Schaub can’t stay on the field and Palmer hasn’t been a top fantasy guy for quite some time.

  20. Edward says:

    Put me in the Cutler hater category. Here are my reasons:

    1. First off, I’m going to speak about an uncomfortable issue. He has Type I diabetes. They check his blood sugar eight times a game. This is not a distraction ?

    2. 18 interceptions last year. I’m a little concerned about his accuracy throwing.

    3. Chicago Bear history. They play outdoors, like Denver, but not a mile high.
    Chicago’s WR’s are not exactly Marshall/Royal calibur.

    4. The Lions pass rush is going to make him wish he was a girl…this is a joke :) ha !

    So, to sum up, Scott Mitchell threw for 4000 yards one year, but did not make the Hall of Fame. I’m thinking of Cutler as a good QB, but not elite. I guess I need to see it to believe it. Good luck, Bear fans, because he already has got his big $, before game one for the Bears. The Tigers did that with Dontrell Willis last year…

  21. Mike P says:

    I hear you Schaub and Palmer…both have concerns. I am in a yardage/TD/distance league. The difference with our scoring is we do not award distance pts. unless they pass/run over 250/75 respectively. Why should a QB get 4 pts. for passing for 200 yards? That’s the logic anyway. Needless to say, QBs are very valuable in our league because they score 6 pts…something I would like to see reduced.

    So, historically, I always draft a QB late – try to get a gem in rounds 6-9. We been doing this league for 15 years and I remember when we had to pull stats out of USA today and you had Keith Jackson on your website!

    Competitive league, and the only way to get the advantage is to get this year’s Rodgers, Warner, etc. without investing an early pick in doing so.

  22. michael picarelli says:

    GREAT ARTICLE! huge bears fan and THATS what ive been telling people. Question, im keeping greg olsen in a 1/2 point per reception league, compensation is a 10th round pick. My buddy can keep jay cutler for an 8th round pick, and told me he’d trade me cutler for a 7th. 10 man league, whatta think…? (I pick 5 overall, so my 7th round pick will be mid to late 60′s overall) thanks and i appreciate your help….GO BEARS

  23. Tyler Patch says:

    John,

    Just wanted to let you know, great job with the site! I love fantasy football and your information is top notch, much better then those geeks from ESPN! I also wanted to let you know I thought Jeff Brazil’s recent article was great, especially when he gets into which players he’ll be targeting and avoiding. Quick question, have you ever played in WCOFF league? I am in one and wondered if you could offer any ideas?

  24. chris donoghue says:

    I disagree with the top 5 prediction. I think he is in line for about 100 less passing attempts. I think he has alot less talent to throw to, which is going to make a huge difference. Hester, Iglesias, Knox, bennett? rubbish. Olson and Forte are studs though, which keep Cutler in the top 12. I think Cutler will finish around tenth overall and is a solid bet to do so. I dont see the downside due to Cutlers ability and the safety options of his RB and TE. I dont see the upside due to the lack of talent catching the ball downfield.

  25. John Hansen says:

    Michael, definitely keep Olsen for that. Cutler’s very decent but you might get a little more juice using a 5th rounder on Rivers or Rodgers.

    Tyler, Caplan and I did wcoff a few years, the last year we won our league but crapped out after that. This year I’m doing another high-stakes in addition to rotobowl: http://www.myFFPC.com

  26. BritPat says:

    Hi John. I have Jay in one of my keeper leagues, and currently have him set as a keeper – is this the right strategy do you think? Or would you risk setting him loose and maybe take a 4th/5th round flyer on him? I have a good set of backs and WR’s, and could maybe use his keeper on Steve Smith instead.

    I’d appreciate the advice – keep up the good work fella.

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