A quick look into a few players that may be teetering on the fence in your mind come draft day.
Jay Cutler - Since being traded to the Chicago Bears from Denver in 2009 Cutler has been waiting for the weapons he has needed to create a successful offense. This off season it seems that the Bears have finally addressed those needs by reuniting Cutler with Brandon Marshall with whom he played several seasons with in Denver and drafting Alshon Jeffrey to start opposite of Marshall. Both receivers are big, strong, and fast and should create all types of mismatches for opposing defenses while opening up big holes for the running game. This will also allow a player like Devin Hester to move into a more natural slot position creating a bigger comfort zone for Cutler.
The move to go out and get Marshall was one the Bear’s absolutely had to make with the way every other team in the NFC North is progressing. With Detroit and Green Bay both having elite passing attacks it would have been hard for Cutler to keep pace in 2012 with the likes of Earl Campbell and Roy Williams starting at the 1 and 2 receiver spots again. I believe that this is the year that the Bears will get the kind of production out of Cutler that they imagined when they went out and got him a few years ago. If his offensive line can keep his head attached to his body by slowing down the high powered d lines that he will face all year from NFC North squads, Cutler should have a very solid year in Chicago. With his season ending early last year with an injury and his past inconsistency Cutler should be a steal in this year’s draft. As of this writing, He is a low end number 1 fantasy football quarterback with a very high ceiling. Looks like a BOOM on the horizon.
(Sliding scale 7 out of 10)
Michael Turner - Turner has been the definition of a workhorse fantasy football running back over his last 4 seasons in the NFL averaging just under 300 carries per year. He has literally carried the Atlanta Falcons on his back with his hard nose, physical running style. Turner has hit the dreaded 30 year old mark in which running backs tend to lose a step and with the amount of wear and tear on Turner it is undeniable that he is facing that now. That coupled with the transition of the NFL to a more passer friendly game will make it much harder for Turner to be successful in the years ahead. Turner has never been a viable option in the passing game and with backs like Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers providing a major upgrade in the passing attack, Turner’s value will take an even further hit.
Turner will still be a major factor in the Atlanta Falcon’s success this year, but I believe he is going to be a bit more limited in his role. Turner’s age coupled with the passing attack that the Falcon’s possess will keep him off the field a lot more than many people think. I would look for Turner to be more heavily involved in short yardage and goal line situations while giving up snaps to Snelling and Rodgers while the Falcons move the ball down the field. This limits his role in the offense, but also will help preserve him over the season possibly making him a more consistent contributor throughout. His name still demands a high pick on draft day so look for him to go early, but I view him as a number 2 running back / flex play on a weekly basis for fantasy football purposes. Buyer beware, as a BUST is right around the corner for this workhorse.
(Sliding Scale 5 out of 10)
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