Fantasy 5: Jay Cutler accepts broadcasting deal for 2017
Jeff Ratcliffe looks at the fantasy career of former Bears QB Jay Cutler, as well as the Ravens' backfield questions.
Fantasy 5: Jay Cutler accepts broadcasting deal for 2017
(The Fantasy 5 is a quick-hit wrap-up of some of the biggest news topics of the day for fantasy football players, giving you advice you need to improve your team.)
Today got off to a boring start with relatively light news around the NFL. But then, Jay Cutler swooped in to save the day. Here’s today’s Fantasy 5:
1. Jay Cutler is taking his talents to the broadcast booth.
Former Cowboys QB Tony Romo appears to have started a trend, as it was announced on Friday morning that Cutler will join FOX, where he’ll work in the booth along with Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis. Cutler hangs up his cleats after 11 years in the NFL, the first three coming and Denver and his final eight in Chicago.
While he isn’t likely to be enshrined in Canton, Cutler was a capable starting quarterback in an era where several teams are lacking at the position. His best statistical season came in 2008 when he put up 4,526 yards and 25 scores through the air, which ranked him fourth among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring. He was never able to recapture that fantasy prowess again, though, as he finished as a mid-pack or back-end QB2 in the rest of his full seasons as a starter.
2. Big DeShone?
Okay, so that nickname isn’t likely to stick for DeShone Kizer, but Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson recently compared the Browns’ second-round pick to Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. Before the collective imagination runs wild, it’s important to note that Jackson specifically meant that Kizer has similarities to Roethlisberger from a skill-set standpoint. He is not saying Kizer will step in and immediately perform like Roethlisberger.
Kizer was the fourth quarterback selected in this year’s draft, but he shouldn’t be the fourth signal-caller taken in rookie drafts. He enters the NFL as a developmental player with ideal raw tools, but his long-term ceiling is quite appealing from a dynasty standpoint. Houston’s Deshaun Watson will likely be the first quarterback selected in rookie drafts in the middle of the second round, but Kizer offers more value at nearly a full round later.
3. Eric Ebron “pretty beat up” last year.
In an interview with MLive, the Lions tight end said he dealt with more than just the knee and ankle injuries that sidelined him for three games last year. “My whole life was bothering me … from the things you might know of, to the things you don’t,” he said. The quote was prompted by a critique from Terry Bradshaw regarding Ebron’s seven drops last year.
The popular narrative was that Ebron was disappointing last year, but his play warrants closer attention. He averaged 6.5 targets per game. Only six tight ends averaged more. Yes, he dropped seven passes, but players with lower catch percentages than Ebron’s 72 percent included Jimmy Graham (70), Rob Gronkowski (69), Delanie Walker (68), Greg Olsen (66), and Antonio Gates (62). If you look at just the 13 weeks Ebron played, he ranks eighth among tight ends in fantasy points scored. Maybe I’m missing something, but those don’t sound like “disappointing” numbers.
Detroit spent a fourth-round pick on Michael Roberts out of Toledo. Roberts is an intriguing prospect with ability as a receiver that he flashed at the Senior Bowl. That said, Ebron is still the fantasy option to own in Detroit. The veteran is currently a nice upside value at his current ADP in the late-13th round as the 19th tight end being taken.
4. The Baltimore Ravens running back to own is … ?
This is going to be a question we’ll ask throughout the offseason, and the answer could certainly change. For now, though, it appears that Terrance West is in a good position to be the lead back in Baltimore following a draft where the Ravens did not add a running back. Baltimore did sign veteran Danny Woodhead during free agency and have second-year man Kenneth Dixon, who will serve a four-game suspension to open the season.
Despite the seemingly rosy position for West, fantasy owners should proceed with caution here. Yes, he’s likely to open the season with a healthy workload on early downs, but Dixon’s return shouldn’t be underestimated. Over the last month of the 2016 season, Dixon out-touched West 54-45 and was more effective in terms of both yards per carry and yards after contact. Despite the suspension, Dixon is a sneaky candidate to lead the Baltimore backfield in touches.
5. Concussion issues reported for 49ers LB Reuben Foster.
Foster’s slide to the very tail end of the first round came as a surprise to most, but perhaps it shouldn’t have been. Foster reportedly suffered concussions in college, and his recovery time is a concern. We’ve seen concussions recently impact the linebacker position in the NFL, with Panthers all-world LB Luke Kuechly missing nine games over the last two years due to concussions.
Of course, it’s not just concussions that impacted Foster’s draft stock. Reports surfaced on Wednesday that some teams medically rejected him due to his shoulder issues. There was also the diluted urine sample at the combine, which constitutes a failed drug test. Oh, and he was also sent home from the combine.
The 49ers are taking on a lot of risk with Foster, but the reward could be equally as high. He’s a foundational talent at off-ball linebacker who has the ability to thump as a tackler and the skills to excel in coverage. If Foster is able to earn a clean bill of health, he has the potential to be a long-term, elite IDP option. However, having to compete with NaVorro Bowman for tackles will cap his upside in the short-term.
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.