In the wake of a potential, or now likely, season-ending knee injury for Ryan Tannehill, the Miami Dolphins have signed Jay Cutler to a one-year deal. So a brief retirement for Cutler, and a move to the broadcast booth, will have to wait at least a year. I was looking forward to Cutler doing games for FOX, with an expectation he would not be afraid to criticize when it was warranted.
Cutler had one of his best seasons in 2015, with the highest passer rating (92.3), the best touchdown-to-interception ratio (1.9) and second-best completion percentage (66.4 percent) of his career. That was also the year Dolphins’ head coach Adam Gase was the Bears’ offensive coordinator, but you probably know that by now.
But the more specific analysis regarding Cutler is what he can do as a fantasy quarterback with the Dolphins. First, let’s look at his history of fantasy rankings (data via Pro Football Reference).
2006- 5 games, QB38
2007-16 games, QB11
2008-16 games, QB4
2009-16 games, QB13
2010-15 games, QB15
2011-10 games, QB25
2012-15 games, QB23
2013-11 games, QB23
2014-15 games, QB14
2015-15 games, QB21
2016-5 games, QB39
Passed on a pretty common scoring system, one point for every 25 passing yards, four points for a passing touchdown and minus-two points for an interception, Cutler has been at or somewhere close a fantasy starter five times. His 2006 rookie season and last year can be set aside, or thrown out all together. I’ve highlighted 2015 with Gase as his offensive coordinator, and Cutler was barely a QB2 in 12-team leagues. Better efficiency is nice, and Cutler averaged 7.6 yards per attempt (ninth in the league) in 2015. But quarterback rating and completion percentage aren’t fantasy stats, and Cutler did not deliver weekly starter numbers regularly.
Cutler will have three capable wide receivers in Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills, a capable if healthy tight end in Julius Thomas and Jay Ajayi to provide a good rushing attack. Landry is under investigation for an off-field incident now, and could face league discipline at some point, but Cutler will have a solid supporting cast no matter what.
Assuming Tannehill is eventually declared out for the season, Cutler can be drafted as a QB2 in 12 and 14-team leagues. His immediate ADP on Fantasy Football Calculator has him in that range (QB21), and there will be appeal to Cutler as a streaming option when a favorable matchup is on the slate.