Jay Cutler may be one of the biggest fantasy football surprises in 2014

      January 2, 2014 @ 16:07:14 PDT

It's easy to dislike Jay Cutler. It's easy to root against him, too. Believe me, I'm a Denver Broncos fan, so I have more reasons than most. You may dislike him even more after he re-signed with the Chicago Bears Thursday for seven years.

His contract will pay him more than the $17.6 million average the Detroit Lions gave to Matthew Stafford last summer. Most will argue that he doesn't deserve it, especially when Josh McCown stepped in for the injured Cutler and played lights out.

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler
Finally a reliable QB1 in 2014?

Forget the fact that Cutler played in only 11 games this year due to groin and ankle injuries. Forget the fact that he hasn't come up clutch in the big game in his career. Forget the fact that he doesn't come off as the most likeable guy in the NFL. Forget the fact that he's never consistently performed as a QB1 for fantasy football players.

What you're left with is a quarterback that is happy to avoid free agency and stay in the city that he's grown to love. More importantly, he's received a vote of confidence from a head coach that believes in him. With a guy like Cutler, this could go a long way.

Cutler's injuries in 2013 defined him. The surprise of McCown led many to ignore the fact that when Cutler was on the field, he wasn't too shabby. In fact, he had his highest completion percentage (63.1 percent) since joining the Bears in 2009. He also posted the best QB rating (89.2) of his career.

When you have arguably the best wide receiver tandem in the league in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, a big-bodied pass-catching tight end (Martellus Bennett) and one of the more reliable rushers (Matt Forte) at your disposal, it's hard not to thrive.

Cutler has the talent himself and around him to morph into a legitimate QB1 for fantasy squads in 2014. Head coach Marc Trestman's specialty is working with signal callers, too, and now both he and Cutler know they're in this thing for the long haul.

You may be in the majority when it comes to Cutler bashing, but don't let it completely cloud your judgment next fall during draft season. Like him or hate him, there's no denying that there's still some upside left in No. 6 because of the weapons around him, and you'll probably be in the majority if you decide to target him at what should be a very cheap price tag.

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About Keith Hernandez

Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.

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