Although Jay Cutler wouldn’t have won you a Fantasy Football championship last year, he did have one of his best seasons in his career.
He also did that with a team that was very banged up for most of the season. Just take a look at how many games his receivers and tight ends played in:
- Alshon Jeffery– Nine appearances
- Eddie Royal– Nine appearances
- Kevin White– Zero appearances
- Martellus Bennett– 11 appearances
This was also the first year Brandon Marshall wasn’t in the lineup since 2012, so Cutler didn’t have the easiest of transitions.
But now that Jeffery, White, and Royal should all start the season healthy, should you draft Jay Cutler in your 2016 Fantasy Football league?
Let’s take a bigger look at Cutler’s 2015 Fantasy Football performance before I address that question.
2015 Fantasy Football Review: Jay Cutler
Last season, Cutler posted his:
- Third-most passing yards per game average (243.9)
- Fourth-most completed passes (311)
- Second-best completion percentage (64.4%)
- Fewest interceptions (11) of career when completed 15 or more games in a season
But because of his 21 touchdown passes and 3,659 passing yards, he wasn’t even able to finish in the top 20 for Fantasy quarterbacks in 2015.
And when you look at Cutler’s career overall, his stat totals don’t suggest he’ll turn into a consistent starter for Fantasy leagues…
Cutler has never thrown more than 28 touchdown passes in a season. He also only has three seasons in which he has thrown 25 or more touchdown passes.
Aside from the limited touchdown passes, Cutler has always had issues with interceptions. When he threw 27 touchdowns in 2009, he also threw 26 interceptions. When he threw 28 touchdown passes in 2014, he threw 18 interceptions.
So, is there any reason to except anything different from the 33-year old quarterback this season?
Let’s look at his targets for 2016…
Jay Cutler 2016 Fantasy Football Weapons
Despite only appearing in nine games, Alshon Jeffery was able to average a ridiculous 89.7 receiving yards per game.
He also had four games with 100 or more yards, and Cutler’s favorite target caught four touchdown passes. And since Cutler only threw 21 touchdowns, that means Jeffery caught nearly 20% of Cutler’s touchdown passes for the season in just nine games.
There’s no denying Jeffery’s talents, but he’s currently being drafted near the end of Round 2 on FantasyFootballCalculator.com. Fantasy players are still skittish about drafting the 26-year old receiver, as he only appeared in 10 games in his rookie season because of knee issues and missed time last year because of a hamstring injury.
Drafting Jeffery all comes down to weighing your risks and the potential rewards.
But second-year receiver Kevin White should be able to take some pressure off of Jeffery from having to completely carry the team.
While Amari Cooper was hailed as the best receiver in the 2015 NFL Draft, White was a close second. White thoroughly impressed everyone at the 2015 NFL Combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.35 and 23 reps on the bench.
White will still have a learning curve ahead of him because he missed all of last season with a stress fracture in his shin, but Marshall and Jeffery were each productive Fantasy options when they played in a 16-game season in 2013.
Marshall finished 2013 with 1,295 receiving yards and 12 touchdown receptions, while Jeffery recorded 1,421 receiving yards and seven touchdown receptions. As a seventh-round pick, White is looking like a bargain right now, especially for MFL10 lineups.
Royal was only able to appear in nine games last season, but he did record five or more catches in five of his appearances. Royal won’t have the same type of upside as Jeffery or White, but he helps make the offense more diversified.
Before joining the Chicago Bears, Royal averaged 704.5 receiving yards and 7.5 touchdown receptions between 2013-2014.
Cutler won’t have Bennett this season, but he built a rapport with Zach Miller at the end of 2015. With Bennett out of the lineup, Miller was a reliable Fantasy option in PPR leagues.
- Week 14: 5 receptions, 85 receiving yards, one touchdown reception
- Week 15: 6 receptions, 57 receiving yards
- Week 16: 7 receptions, 69 receiving yards
Cutler will be without pass-catching back Matt Forte this year, but Jeremy Langford showed that he could be an effective option in a few starts last year. In Week 10, Langford hauled in 7 catches for 109 receiving yards.
Jay Cutler 2016 Fantasy Football Outlook
When I look at Cutler last season and look at his outlook for 2016 Fantasy Football leagues, I’m reminded of Andy Dalton.
Before the 2015 season, I told Fantasy players that Dalton was extremely undervalued. In 2013, Dalton finished the year with 33 touchdown passes and 4,296 passing yards. But because of injuries to his teammates in 2014, Dalton only recorded 19 touchdown passes.
With most of his teammates healthy in 2015, I knew he could be much more effective. And before a thumb injury derailed his season, Dalton was one of the top quarterbacks in Fantasy Football.
I can’t promise that Jeffery, White, and Royal are going to stay healthy for the whole year. But, Cutler is at least starting the 2016 Fantasy Football with three healthy receivers.
In a recent best-ball scoring draft, I drafted Cutler in Round 13. I wouldn’t want to have to rely on him as my starter, but he’s an absolute steal that late in a draft.
IF the receivers for the Bears are able to stay mostly healthy, there isn’t any reason Cutler couldn’t finish 2016 with 28-32 touchdown passes and 4,200-4,500 passing yards.
Matthew Stafford finished the 2015 Fantasy Football season with 4,262 passing yards and 32 touchdown passes, and he finished as the ninth-highest scoring quarterback.
So those totals I mentioned above for Cutler should place him as a top-10 Fantasy Football quarterback in 2016. But even if that doesn’t happen, drafting him in Round 12 or Round 13 means you aren’t missing out on anything if that doesn’t happen.