During NFL training camps and the regular season, FantasyKnuckleheads.com will be giving you our weekly Great Fantasy Football Debate for the 2012 season. Every week, Greg Brosh and myself will choose two players from the same position and give reasons why you, as an owner, should draft them in your fantasy football leagues. Now we aren't going to take the easy way out and debate Tom Brady against Alex Smith. But we will randomly pick players who are so close in terms of their Average Draft Position, that you could lean either way when one of these guys becomes available at your turn in your fantasy draft.
First Up: Bears QB Jay Cutler vs. Texans QB Matt Schaub
A sleeping giant waiting to awake.
These is no denying that both quarterbacks come with a bevy of mad skills, but when you begin to look at these two gentlemen, there are a few separating factors that convince me I would certainly pick Jay Cutler over Matt Schaub in this year's 2012 fantasy football draft.
What I've done below is given a quick snapshot of both players. This snap shot includes the cumulative statistical information for each player's time at their respective team ON AVERAGE* and what their current ADP info is.
*The statistical information is being presented as a cumulative average for the purpose of this debate. At the bottom of this debate will be another quick overview of each player's career numbers.
Yrs w/ Tm
Basically, when you first glance at the statistical information, each quarterback seems very close in skill and overall potential value. But numbers alone are not enough of a selling point for me because they only tell half the story.
Jay Cutler has not had a lot to work with since coming to Chicago in 2009. Yes he's had a collection of receivers we are all familiar with, but none of the them were ever among the elite. As if that isn't enough, Cutler had to work under Mike Martz who was not only a selfish coordinator, but a bad one at that.Expect to see a lot of this in 2012.
Now, in 2012, Cutler's developing receiver corp. is vastly different. He finally has a marquee weapon in Brandon Marshall—who as a tandem lit things up in Denver—but also a viable sleeper candidate in TE Kellen Davis who was underutilized the past three years.The Bears are expected to hit fast, hit hard and use the ground assault more—three things that benefit a fantasy quarterback.
The new offensive strategy in Chicago is more QB friendly and the first 8 games of the 2012 NFL season are very fantasy friendly—two more aspects that benefit a fantasy quarterback.
Sure, you can wait until the 8th round and grab Schaub, but is it worth wasting the draft pick on a 31 year old QB who still has to show he is healthy enough to compete for 16 games, or is it a better use of a pick to grab a rising 29 year old superstar who has always been consistent?
My money is on Jay Cutler as a sixth rounder. If I want something from Houston in the 8th, I'll take their defense.
Ray called Matt Schaub's health into question, which is always a concern. But what he failed to discuss is how good he can be when he IS healthy. In the five years Schaub has been a Texan, he's only played a full sixteen-game schedule twice. But in those two years ('09 & '10) we did see a glimpse of just how much of a fantasy asset he could be.
Here is what Schaub was able to do in the two healthy seasons he DID play the entire season:
Now coming off a Lisfranc surgery, many owners might be a bit too scittish at giving Schaub one more chance.
But here are the some positives that will give Schaub owners, or potential owners, hope.
Passing Yards DESPITE the Running Game
I know the Texans have never been known to be a power-house when it comes to the passing game. Not with the running game and Arian Foster hogging up a lot of the yards. But considering Schaub was still able to put up over 4300 yards, despite Foster, imagine what he could do if the running game was just average? In the one year both players were healthy, Foster racked up 1616 yards on the ground. Since this is also Schaub's best year as a Texan, he should reach 4500 yards and flirt with 30 touchdowns, even with Foster carrying the ball over 300 times.
When everyone on this offense is healthy, there is no doubt it can put up yards through the air and on the ground. Going into 2012, Schaub still has an arsenal of weapons at his disposal. With players like Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, and yes, Arian Foster, who is one of the better pass-catching running backs in the league, Schaub could repeat his "healthy-year" numbers. Hell you can even include Kevin Walter in the group. He's not great, but he does everything just good enough to make him someone Schaub can utilize. When this offense clicks on all cylinders, watch out. Johnson's and Daniels' health will also go a long way in Schaub's fantasy numbers. Both HAVE to stay healthy this year.
One thing that I take into account, which many owners don't, is the status of a player's contract. And of all the reasons why I think Schaub can squeak out one more big season: His contract set to expire at the end of 2012. Schaub is listed as my No. 1 contract player who could play over his head if he isn't signed before Week One. And last I checked, both sides are still talking. If I was the Texans, I wouldn't blame them for making Schaub prove he can be durable again. And Schaub can't afford to let small nagging injuries come in the way of one more payday.
And one more thing I can add to give Schaub his due is the offensive line play. In 2011, the Bears gave up 49 sacks, which tied for 5th overall with the Vikings. The Texans? 33. Cutler has even expressed his own concern with the line, a line that has given up the most sacks (100) in the NFL over the last two years. So while Mike Martz's "chuck it up and hope for the best" mentality is gone, the team will still have their offensive line woes if they can't shore it up with the guys they have.
According to My Fantasy League's ADP list, Schaub and Cutler are just as neck-and-neck as they were when Ray and I decided to come up with this series a few weeks ago. So it looks like owners might have the same feeling I do about Schaub. Since I am a gambler, I will gladly draft Schaub as my QB1 and make sure I lock up a bounce-back prospect like Rams QB Sam Bradford as my QB2 later in the draft.