You may have heard by now but Jay Cutler is currently a Chicago Bear. They are discussing the wisdom of the trade and what Denver received all over the place so here I'm going to discuss only the fantasy implications.
Cutler receives a slight downgrade. Not too much too worry about, he remains in that second tier if perhaps sliding to the bottom, below Rivers and Rodgers. The Bears have weaker weapons to throw to, but the defense is significantly better. Cutler will consistently get better field position to start drives, likely making up the yards that his receivers cost him. He also has a more consistent option at running back. So while he won't be at the helm of the second best offense in the league, there are factors that mitigate the decline. If you are totally risk averse, it might be wise to change your strategy and look at a first tier qb, but I'm holding fast and targeting the three second tier guys. The risk is why they are second tier to begin with, as their ceilings are just as high as anyone else's.
Forte gets a more significant boost. This hardly matters , as I already had him ranked second overall. The addition of Cutler means the Bears will be in the red zone more. He may actually get less receptions, since Cutler will be connecting with receivers instead of dumping off, but rbs get points from touchdowns. Cutler will more consitently be putting Forte in scoring position. The second year back is clearly the number two guy now.
Cutler also has the tendency to connect with his tight end. Even with great wrs in Denver, Cutler repeatedly looked for Scheffler. In Chicago, without Marshall and Royal, he will likely depend more on his TE's to make catches. Olsen was the primary target last year and I think his numbers will improve this year, but the real sleeper is Dez Clark. Clark is more likely to hit those deep middle routes that Scheffler excelled at. There should be enough receptions to go around, and keep both tight ends in fantasy relevance.
Orton gains some draftability. Behind that offense he should put up some solid points and could be a useful backup, or a starter in a man's league. I'm not targeting him, but he is much more relevant than he was yesterday. None of the Broncos backs have value. Scheffler suddenly has question marks and I'd be adverse to drafting him at all.
Receivers on both sides of the ball have been greatly affected. That will be covered in a future post. The non-existant audience for this blog may have wondered why I never covered a second tier of receivers. The Cutler situation is so vital to receivers in 2009 that I waited until it was settled to write anything. Coming up, I'll cover Royal, Hester and the bunch along with everyone else in an upcoming post.