Looking At The Fantasy Fallout From Jay Cutler’s Injury

According to nfl.com (click here for the article):

“Jay Cutler will have surgery for a fractured thumb sustained in Sunday’s win over the San Diego Chargers and will be ‘out for an extended period of time,’ Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith told reporters Monday.

The team has not announced a date for Cutler’s surgery. Smith said the plan is for Cutler to have surgery ‘as soon as possible’ with the expectation the quarterback will return before their season finale Jan. 1 against the Minnesota Vikings.”

If he were to return for the final regular season game, that would be too little too late for fantasy owners. Even if he returned a week earlier, would you trust him with your fantasy title on the line? This injury renders him virtually worthless for the rest of the season.

The Professor’s Thoughts:
While the injury ends Cutler’s fantasy campaign, it also has lasting effects on the rest of the Bears’ skill positions. Caleb Hanie will step in as the starting quarterback, but is he a potential replacement for those in two-quarterback formats? We can’t draw many conclusions off his regular season career, have gone just 8-for-14 for 66 yards, 0 TD and 1 INT since going undrafted out of Colorado State in 2008.

Kevin Seifert of espn.com posted the following scouting report (click here for the entire post):

“The best way to describe Hanie’s game is ‘wide open.’ He is quick to leave the pocket and fast enough to make plays when he does it. In parts of 13 career preseason games, Hanie has scrambled 17 times for 92 yards and a touchdown. That style has left him open to turnovers, however. He has committed eight turnovers in those preseason games, including six interceptions.”

There is a chance he could produce similarly to Tim Tebow, though I would not expect Lovie Smith to open things up like that. It’s enough to make him intriguing for the desperate, but I wouldn’t go out of my way at this point.

His presence under center should lead to a decline in value for all Bears’ receivers. Do you necessarily trust him to get the ball to Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox, Devin Hester and company? They all should be downgraded immediately. At best someone like Bennett could emerge as a low-end WR3, but for the most part they will be bench fodder in deeper formats.

Matt Forte, who already had been seeing plenty of touches, could easily see his workload increase slightly. Already a must use option there is no change in value. Marion Barber, who is the second-string running back, should also be used a little bit more. It’s not like Forte is going to get 40 carries per game so Barber, who has already scored five touchdowns, should be inline for a few extra looks per game. He could become a sneaky FLEX option depending on the matchup.

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