By Adam Harris-
(CBS) It is time for people to understand that Jay Cutler is not a top 15 fantasy quarterback. Many times in fantasy football, there is little correlation between a good quarterback in the league, and a good fantasy quarterback. Jay Cutler is one of those examples. I would put Cutler in or very close to the top 10 of current quarterbacks in the NFL, but would rank him outside the top 15 for fantasy quarterbacks.
The Bears’ lack of team success when Cutler throws for 300 yards or more is easily seen in their 3-5 record since acquiring the Indiana native in 2009. In 37 games started with the Broncos, Cutler threw for 300 plus yards 10 times and was only victorious in five of those. Cutler has played 48 games with the Bears and has two less 300 yard games than his tenure with the Broncos, which was 11 less total games.
The point, you ask? The Bears benefit more as a team when Cutler takes less chances down field. This is a different quarterback than with the Broncos. Cutler is just as talented, but he is using his talents to help his team win, not pad his stats. While this is very nice for Chicago, fantasy owners do not get points for, dare I say, a GAME MANAGER.
The Bears are a different type of team than the Denver team Cutler threw 25 touchdowns and 4500 yards for in 2008. Chicago will win football games with defense and ball control, and can win with a quarterback who does what he needs to, not what he wants to. Jay Cutler averages 31.3 pass attempts per game, which is 25th in the NFL. He simply does not have as many opportunities to score fantasy points as 24 other quarterbacks in the league.
This year, things have opened up more on the offensive side, with the addition of wideout Brandon Marshall and running back Michael Bush, but Cutler’s ceiling still remains at about 17 points if he has a great week. The truth is, Jay Cutler has averaged just over 14 fantasy points per week, and that is not worth a consistent start on any fantasy team.
Cutler is projected to score 130 fantasy points in the remaining 10 games this year. For you math majors, that is 13 points per week on average. That ranks him 16th among fantasy quarterbacks for the remainder of the season, and 24 projected points behind the 15th quarterback, Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman.
After the next two cupcake matchups, against the Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans (worst against the pass in the NFL), Cutler faces Houston (5th vs PASS), San Francisco (1st vs PASS), Minnesota twice (11th vs PASS), Seattle (8th vs PASS), Green Bay (Cutler sucks vs GB), Arizona (4th vs PASS) and Detroit w/ Suh (6th vs PASS). That is a rough look for this Bear passing game.
The 5-1 Bears are at their best when the defense and running game is relied on. The offensive playbook is way more sexy than last year, but still answers to “Bears football.” Jay Cutler is an amazing talent, but his stats are handcuffed by the cover-2 defense and the bend don’t break philosophy it brings.
Simply put, opponents drive down on the Bears, using clock, and then turn the ball over. Cutler doesn’t have the ball in his hands enough to score, making it almost impossible for Cutler to blow up in any particular week. Cutler is subject to a system, and a successful system at that. Do not look for any changes to be made when the schedule gets rough the remaining eight games this year.
If you have Jay Cutler, find a Bear homer and trade him. The nice thing Cutler owners have going for him is the high perception Cutler continues to bring in the fantasy world. People are still blind to his Bronco days, and don’t realize that he is not a suitable option as a fantasy quarter back. Offer a trade to improve at quarterback and give the other team a minimal improvement at wide receiver.
For example, Tony Romo and Eric Decker for Jay Cutler and Percy Harvin is a nice deal for the team giving up Cutler. Romo is a big upgrade and Decker is a small downgrade, but the other owner will make the deal based on Cutler’s perception and Romo’s disappointing fantasy start.
Find options other than Cutler. Remember, fantasy is about potential, not what has already happened.
Follow Adam on Twitter @AHarris670 and ask fantasy questions. 60% of the time, he’s right every time.