Advice

Jay Cutler: The MFL10 Hero We Deserve

Remember Batman fleeing into the night at the end of The Dark Knight, running from the city that didn’t need him? He was the hero Gotham deserved, but not the one it needed. So they hunted him. Because he could take it.

In My Fantasy League MFL10 drafts, Jay Cutler is your Batman. His ADP is at historic lows, because most drafters believe he isn’t the quarterback they need. Now that Brandon Marshall is gone to New York, many are ready to chase Cutler into the night. But you know what? He can take it.

Rather than grabbing your pitchfork and following the herd, let the numbers convince you that Jay Cutler is the quarterback your next MFL10 team deserves.

Last year’s MFL10 data indicates that waiting on quarterbacks wins leagues, and Cutler is certainly available late in most drafts. Over the last month, Cutler has an ADP of 150.6, putting him squarely in the middle of the 13th round in most MFL10 drafts. Cutler is currently being drafted as QB19.

Cutler finished as QB11 last season,1 yet he’s being drafted eight spots below that this year. This is a quarterback who had seven 20+ point games last year, finishing as a top-12 option in seven of his fourteen starts, but he is currently being drafted after eighteen other quarterbacks.

Losing Marshall Isn’t a Death Knell

Yes, Brandon Marshall was traded to the Jets, but Marshall wasn’t the sole bright spot of the Chicago offense. Of Cutler’s primary weapons, Marshall was actually the least efficient last year:

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History also suggests that Cutler’s success is not inextricably linked to Brandon Marshall. From 2009-2011 in Chicago, when Cutler didn’t have Marshall, he averaged 31.7 pass attempts per game, 225.5 yards, and 1.5 touchdowns. Those numbers, combined with his small rushing averages from the same stretch, would be good enough for 18.7 points per game, which would have been good enough for QB16 last season.

Since then, the team has added weapons, including Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, and Martellus Bennett, who are currently being drafted as WR10, WR30, and TE5. Those numbers make Jay Cutler a value play, if history is our guide.

Before the Bears added White in the draft, Justin Howe conservatively projected Jay Cutler to throw for 25-27 touchdowns in 2015, which would have been good for the 12th- to 14th-highest total last season. Even projecting slight regression from Cutler’s QB11 finish last year, an eight-spot downgrade to QB19 is sending Cutler out into the night too soon.

Cutler Presents a Unique Value

While past result do not guarantee future performance, most MFL10 drafters are acting like they do. This simple chart shows the strong correlation between 2014 points per game and 2015 ADP.

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There is a very strong relationship there. A quarterback’s 2014 points per game (y-axis) has a 0.755 correlation with 2015 ADP over the last month.2 Players over the trend line are being drafted later than expected, and Cutler stands out well above the line.

Conclusion

Your goal should be to selectively break from the crowd, particularly if you are playing a high volume of MFL10s. When the crowd is throwing a quarterback out into the cold, in the face of his 2014 numbers and his 2015 projections, you find your value.

Not only is Jay Cutler being drafted later than his 2014 points per game would suggest, but he also projects to finish better than his QB19 ADP this year. Next time you’re rolling into the 12th or 13th round of an MFL10 draft, remember, Jay Cutler might just be the quarterback your team deserves.

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  1. Points/game.  (back)
  2. Indicating that most drafters are just picking based on last year’s production.  (back)
By Joshua Lake | @LakeTwoQBs | Archive

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