As a Lions fan, I have personally loved mocking Jay Cutler throughout his career.
I even eagerly mark Bears’ week on my calendar as Jay Cutler week.
All jokes aside, I actually like this signing of Jay Cutler, not only for the Miami Dolphins but for their positional players in Fantasy.
Fantasy Impact Of Jay Cutler Signing With The Dolphins
Even though we all love making fun of Cutler, he is an obvious upgrade over Matt Moore. Ryan Tannehill is so consistently mediocre for Miami, that I think Cutler provides more upside.
Jay Cutler also played under Dolphins coach Adam Gase in 2015, so he is very familiar with this system. Here are Cutler’s stats under Gase in 2015:
- 64.6 % Completion Percentage (second best of his career)
- 21 TDs to 11 INTs (Carrer best)
- 92.3% Passer Rating (Career best)
- Four 4th quarter comebacks (Tied for most in career)
- In 2016 after Gase left, Cutler’s Completion Percentage dropped 5.3 points
- In 2016, Cutler averaged 32.1 fewer passing yards per game
*Stats are according to NFL.com
On top of all that, Cutler put up these numbers in his first year in Chicago without Brandon Marshall, with only nine games of Alshon Jeffery, and 13 games of Matt Forte. In Miami, Cutler will without a doubt have better weapons than he did in 2015. Jarvis Landry is an elite slot receiver, DeVante Parker is a big bodied receiver who can go deep, and Kenny Stills is a solid deep threat.
Jay Ajayi has proven to be a good workhorse back and can shoulder the load for Cutler. Below will be my Fantasy expectations for this offense, and how they might’ve changed by this signing.
Jay Cutler, QB
Even if Ryan Tannehill was healthy, I still wouldn’t be drafting a Dolphins quarterback in Fantasy. Cutler doesn’t change this at all, as he would really only be a target in very deep leagues or 2-QB leagues. When I update my rankings, Cutler will be somewhere between QB20-QB25, making him un-draftable in standard formats. This article is more for the other position players.
Jay Ajayi, RB
A lot of the Fantasy community has been freaking out about Ajayi since Tannehill went down, but I’m holding fast on him. Let’s face it, Ajayi was going to face a loaded box quite often anyway. With Cutler starting, this will certainly force less eight man fronts than Matt Moore would’ve faced.
Adam Gase will still rely heavily on Ajayi to take the pressure off Cutler, who will be able to take plenty of shots down field to help Ajayi as well. Treat Ajayi the same in your rankings as if Tannehill was behind center.
Jarvis Landry, WR
Even though I feel that Cutler presents more upside for Miami’s receivers than Tannehill, this upside is reserved more for DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills. Cutler had a great rapport with running back Matt Forte in Chicago, who like Landry, also does a lot of his receiving damage at the line of scrimmage.
The only difference is that Forte did this primarily out of the backfield, while Landry will line up in the slot. However, I feel that Cutler can make the adjustment, and Gase will ensure Landry is still used in a similar fashion.
DeVante Parker/Kenny Stills, WR
As I mentioned above, Parker and Stills will be the primary beneficiary of the Cutler signing. Cutler has a much better deep ball and Tannehill’s lack of an arm has limited this offense. In 2015 on throws over 15 yards, Cutler threw for 2,713 yards, 15 TDs to eight INTs and a 95.7 passer rating. Gase will want Cutler to throw the ball deep, and with a big framed Parker and a speedy deep threat in Stills, he’ll be able to do so. This actually helps both receivers’ value, and makes Parker a much more suitable sleeper in my opinion.
Julius Thomas, TE
Thomas is a tricky case here for Fantasy given that Gase did not really use his TE in 2016 (Dion Sims). Even though Thomas can absolutely have upside here, his only good years were with Denver and HOF Peyton Manning and he did have 24 total TDs during 2013 and 2014. Since he went to Jacksonville, Thomas has been an injury prone disappointment, which has made him pretty irrelevant in Fantasy. It’s hard to expect much Fantasy value from Thomas after recent years, but here’s the upside argument.
Thomas will be a great red zone threat and when healthy and he’ll be a mismatch over the middle. I trust Adam Gase to find good ways to use Thomas. I still have him ranked between TE20-TE25, but he can suffice as a bye-week fill-in or a waiver add if he catches fire. Don’t forget that the TE due of Zach Miller and Martellus Bennett managed a total of 878 yards and eight TDs with Cutler and Gase in 2015.
I hope this helps when it comes to evaluating your Fantasy options in Miami. Overall, I don’t expect any position to take a hit. Cutler still isn’t draftable, Ajayi can still be a RB1, and Jarvis Landry should still push for 90 receptions. DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills is where there will added Fantasy value.
Cutler has proven his ability to throw downfield under Adam Gase, and he will be asked to do so frequently. As funny as Jay Cutler’s career is, I believe he will help this Dolphins’ roster from a Fantasy perspective.
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