The Time to Trade for Jay Cutler in 2-QB Fantasy Football Leagues is Now

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler

Oct 6, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) throws against the New Orleans Saints during the second of their game at Soldier Field. Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Many 2-QB fantasy football teams are won or lost through trades. Any 2-QB owner who isn’t willing to explore the possibility of a trade to make their team better usually does so because they think their team is perfect. Such thinking could see their first place team knocked out of the first round of the playoffs, no matter how good their 2-QB team looks on paper.

All trades are different, and done for different reasons. Sometimes it’s a simple trade, like moving a WR2 for a bye week fill-in quarterback. Other times it’ a major shakeup, where you trade for a surging quarterback or trade away your QB1 that has been regressing throughout the year.

Coming up with fair trades that are deemed “win-win” can be difficult, because of how varied fantasy footballers value players. One owner might not think much of Keenan Allen, and believes him to be a flash in the plan, while another owner might view him as weekly WR2.

Right now, in 2-QB leagues, a decisive quarterback, in terms of value, is Jay Cutler. Going into the season there were plenty of fantasy football experts and meteorologists who were hyping up the Chicago Bears offense, and what they could do under new Head Coach Marc Trestman.

I wasn’t fully on board, but was still willing to draft Cutler as a QB2. If you were in the same boat, or thought Cutler could be more than a QB2, you’ve been rewarded with a QB1. All 2-QBers are looking for their QB2 to perform like a QB1, and that’s what has happened with Cutler.

Drafted routinely as a QB2, as his August 2-QB ADP had him at QB16, Cutler has exceeded his 2-QB draft day ADP. Before Russell Wilson did what he did to the Arizona Cardinals’ defense on Thursday Night Football this week, Cutler entered Week 7 as QB6 in standard scoring leagues. He’s now QB7, because of Wilson leapfrogging him.

Whether he’s QB6 or QB7, the bottom line is that Cutler is a QB1. In six games, Cutler has three QB1 performances, a near QB1 performance, a QB2 performance, and a QB3 performance.

Here are his weekly fantasy finishes at the quarterback position:
Week 1-QB17
Week 2-QB11
Week 3-QB25
Week 4-QB13
Week 5-QB3
Week 6-QB6

Rotoworld recently pointed just how well Cutler has been playing in Trestman’s system: 71.9 completion percentage, 8.53 yards per attempt, and an outstanding touchdown to interception ration of 6:0.

Cutler has also upped his passing volume numbers, going from 28.9 pass attempts per game in 2012, to 36.3 pass attempts per game this year.

It’s clear that Cutler has benefitted from Trestman’s new offense, and that it’s been working, but what will happen the rest of the season?

That’s the type of question 2-QBers are always asking, and in the case of Cutler, it doesn’t seem out of the question that Cutler can keep up his QB1 ways. The simple answer as to why Cutler could finish the year as a QB1 has to do with his schedule going forward.

Take a look at Cutler’s rest of season schedule:
Week 7 – Washington
Week 8 – Bye
Week 9 – Green Bay
Week 10 – Detroit
Week 11 – Baltimore
Week 12 – St. Louis
Week 13 – Minnesota
Week 14 – Dallas
Week 15 – Cleveland
Week 16 – Philadelphia
Week 17 – Green Bay

Out of the ten remaining games on the Bears’ schedule, six of them are against teams in the top ten of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. One of those games is against the Dallas Cowboys, who have given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year.

The Cleveland Browns match-up is the hardest one left on the season for Cutler, in terms of fantasy points allowed, and they’ve given up an average of 15.13 fantasy points on the season. If 15.13 points is the floor for a fantasy quarterback, that’s a safe floor.

Another reason Cutler is a quarterback to target, other than his soft schedule, is that not everybody views Cutler as a rest of season QB1. Names such as Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford are routinely discussed in the QB1 territory, which leaves out names such as Philip Rivers and Cutler.

Even thought fantasy football is a reactionary game, sometimes it takes a while for the reactions to meet up with the current landscape, and in the case of Cutler, that’s something you can use to your advantage. If you can find an owner who doesn’t think Cutler can continue to be a QB1 for rest of the season, now would be the time to swoop in, and offer him or her a better “brand name” quarterback.

In one 2-QB league I saw a trade involving Eli Manning and Cutler. If it was a straight up 1-1 trade, the side getting Cutler stole the trade. That’s just one example of who you can finagle Cutler onto your team.

On Twitter, I asked followers if they saw any 2-QB trades involving Matt Ryan after the Julio Jones injury. Joe Siniscalchi of TheFakeFootball, said he traded Ryan straight up for Cutler. Ryan is a quarterback on the slide, while Cutler is a quarterback on the rise, yet somebody like Ryan, and his name cache, can be used to your advantage to acquire Cutler.

If you can use your forward thinking ways to target Cutler in a trade you’ll be able to acquire a QB1, at potentially a QB2 price. That’s a win, no matter how you look it.

For those of you stuck on trade ideas, there are only nine quarterbacks I have ranked ahead of Cutler rest of season as of now: Peyton, Rodgers, Brees, Vick, Stafford, RG3, Romo, Newton and Brady.

The time to trade for Cutler is now, before your 2-QB league mates are fully on board the Cutler as a QB1 train.

Stats used in this article from FantasyData.com, Rotoworld, and Yahoo! Fantasy Sports

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Salvatore Stefanile is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and believes that 2-QB fantasy football leagues will be the future of fantasy football. You can read about his 2-QB fantasy football opinions and analysis at XNSports.com.
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