Dec 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) along the sidelines prior to playing the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Bears 54-11. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football 2014: Could Your Feelings Toward Jay Cutler Cost You a Championship?

If you are like me, you don’t like Jay Cutler. If you are like me, one of your favorite websites is Smokin’ Jay Cutler. In fact, I’d be willing to bet the vast majority of football fans who don’t root for the Chicago Bears don’t even like saying the words ‘Jay’ and ‘Cutler’ back-to-back.

If you care about winning your fantasy league, you need to get over it.

Jay Cutler is currently being drafted 13th among all quarterbacks in ten-team traditional leagues and 99th overall. Guys like Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton are being drafted ahead of him, despite the fact that if you would have combined Cutler and Josh McCown’s stats in 2013, they were basically a top-five fantasy quarterback. Newton barely made it into the top ten in most leagues while Kaepernick hovered around the middle of the pack. Even with the upgrades to the Carolina and San Francisco receiving corps, it would be hard to argue that they have more weapons at their disposal than Cutler heading into 2014.

Year-two of the Marc Trestman era in Chicago is looking promising. Some consider the tandom of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery to be the best receiving duo in the NFL, while Trestman’s offense has proved to be a perfect fit for Matt Forte’s skillset. When you factor in that there isn’t really a dominant secondary in the NFC North, all signs point to Jay Cutler — if he can stay healthy — having a monster year.

This doesn’t even consider the offensive shootouts sure to take place in what used to be a defense-heavy division. Cutler will go head-to-head, as always, with Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. He’ll also have to match whatever numbers the Vikings are able to put up in new offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offense — regardless of who is under center in Minnesota.

Given the spotty or rather short bodies of work of some of the quarterbacks being drafted ahead of Cutler, I feel like landing him anywhere after No. 10 as far as quarterbacks go would be a steal. The only quarterbacks I’d be willing to bet put up better fantasy numbers in 2014 are Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford and Andrew Luck. There are simply too many other question marks to feel good about drafting anyone else before Cutler.

If you happen to be in an auction league, you should be able to use the negative public perception of Cutler to your advantage. Most of you are in what I’d call “casual-but-competitive” leagues, meaning many of the other owners you face are going to allow their hearts to get in the way of winning. There are going to be guys who, out of pure dislike, will go out of their way to make sure Cutler isn’t on their roster. Because he isn’t going to be one of the top five or six quarterbacks people are gunning for, he likely won’t spark a huge bidding war and you’ll be able to land him at near rock-bottom prices.

While the other owners in your league laugh and hate, you’ll have a solid starter at QB for likely half of what somebody will pay for Aaron Rodgers. You can then take that extra cash and build a contender.

Tags: Aaron Rodgers Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Colin Kaepernick Detroit Lions Fantasy Football Green Bay Packers Jay Cutler Matthew Stafford Minnesota Vikings Norv Turner San Francicso 49ers

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