Jay Cutler's 2013 Fantasy Football Outlook
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To whet your appetite, here's a free look at Jay Cutler's profile. Draft Sharks Insiders will have access to over 300 of these when we go "live" later this month. Not an Insider yet? Click right here to get going!
Cutler hasn't been the franchise signal-caller the Bears thought they were getting when they acquired him back in 2009. He's compiled a 34-22 record as a starter but has reached the playoffs just once in 4 years.
Statistically speaking, Cutler has been mediocre. He's completed 59.6% of his passes over the past 4 seasons. He hasn't topped 60.5% and has been under 59% each of the past 2 years.
Cutler tossed for 3,666 yards in his debut season with the Bears. He hasn't reached that height since, though, averaging just 2,875 yards over the last 3 seasons.
Similarly, Cutler set a career high with 27 TDs in that '09 campaign. He sunk to 23 the following year and has been under 20 each of the past 2 seasons.
Injuries have been an issue, too. Cutler played in all 16 games in 2009. But he missed 1 in 2010 with a concussion, 6 in 2011 with a fractured thumb and 1 more this past year with another concussion.
Cutler hasn't been much of an asset in fantasy football, either. His peak with the Bears has been an 11th-place finish in 2009. He's headed south since, ranking 14th, 26th and 23rd the last 3 years.
Cutler is no stranger to elite fantasy territory, though. He finished 3rd among QBs in 2008, his final season in Denver. Cutler teed off for 4,525 yards and 25 TDs that year.
2013 looks like his best chance yet to approach those numbers in Chicago. The Bears have coughed up beaucoup bucks to add to Cutler's supporting cast. The most vital addition was LT Jermon Bushrod. The former Saint has allowed just 10 sacks over the past 3 seasons in 1 of the pass-heaviest offenses in the league. He'll be a major upgrade over Cutler's 2012 blindside protector, J'Marcus Webb, who allowed 7 sacks.
The Bears also upgraded the interior of the O-line by adding free-agent G Matt Slauson and 1st-round rookie G Kyle Long. This might not be a stalwart unit in 2013, but it should be a heckuva lot better than the one that allowed 44 sacks and finished 28th in Pro Football Focus' pass-blocking rankings last year.
TE Martellus Bennett should also help in that area. The Bears signed him to a 4-year deal in free agency. Bennett graded out as PFF's 3rd best pass-blocking TE last year.
Bennett will help as a receiver, too. He broke out with 626 yards and 5 TDs last year and is the most talented TE Cutler has had since Greg Olsen departed after the 2010 season.
Of course, Brandon Marshall returns as Cutler's go-to guy. Last year, the pair instantly rekindled the rapport they had built in Denver in 2007 and 2008. Cutler targeted B-Marsh a whopping 192 times, connecting on 118 for 1,508 yards and 11 scores.
Behind Marshall on the depth chart is promising youngster Alshon Jeffery. In between hand and knee injuries, he averaged 15.3 yards per catch with 3 scores in his rookie year. The former 2nd-round pick seems capable of emerging as a legit threat opposite Marshall.
Matt Forte returns as Chicago's starting RB in 2013. He's one of the top pass-catching backs in the league, tallying 267 grabs and 2,325 yards over his first 5 pro seasons. Both marks rank 3rd among RBs over that span.
There's plenty of talent here for Cutler to work with. And new HC Marc Trestman is a good bet to get the most out of this group.
Trestman was a position coach or offensive coordinator for 8 different NFL teams over 19 years. He most recently served as HC of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes. In 5 seasons there, he won 2 titles and lost in the championship another year. Trestman was named the 2009 CFL Coach of the Year.
Trestman's Alouette squads were offensive powerhouses. They ranked top 2 in both scoring and total yards in 4 of 5 seasons. More importantly for Cutler, Trestman's offenses finished among the top 2 in passing all 5 years.
Trestman is highly regarded around the football community as a QB guru. Over the past few years, he's worked with guys like Jason Campbell, Brock Osweiler, Brandon Weeden and … Jay Cutler.
Trestman praised Cutler's natural ability shortly after getting hired. "It's not just that he's got a strong arm. He has the power basis to make all throws," Trestman said. "He's got an inventory of passes. He can do it all. He can drop it in. He can drive it in. He can slide it in. He can slow it down."
Trestman's offensive plans in Chicago are still mostly a mystery, although he has mentioned running some no-huddle and even some read-option. One thing's for sure: the addition of an offensive-minded HC is good news for Cutler.
The fact that Cutler is entering the final year of his contract also bodes well for his 2013 fantasy outlook. The team isn't expected to offer him a new deal this offseason, so Cutler will be playing for cash. That worked out well for Joe Flacco last year.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
Because of poor offensive line play, inconsistent pass-catchers and injuries, Cutler has been a big-time disappointment over the past 3 seasons. But his arrow is pointing up in 2013. The Bears added a few reinforcements along the O-line, brought in talented TE Martellus Bennett and hired passing guru Marc Trestman as HC. The pieces are in place for Cutler's numbers to take a significant leap forward. And he'll come cheaply in fantasy drafts this summer. Consider Cutler a value pick as a high-end QB2 or even as part of a QB-by-committee.
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