September 08, 2010

Each week I'll attempt to bring some clarity to your questions about the pigskin and the men who throw, catch, run and kick it. To reach me with questions, drop me a note anytime.For more fantasy analysis, check out

Jay Cutler is my starting quarterback. I'm starting to get really nervous that I made the wrong decision in counting on him to be my QB. Should I be nervous or am I in good shape?-- Josh, Battle Creek, Mich.

Why is everyone panicking with Cutler? Because he popped off in the media? Because he was sacked a bunch of times in the preseason? Because he's likely to throw a lot of interceptions in a Mike Martz offense?

Here is what I think -- stop your worrying, Cutler will be fine.

Is he going to trash his teammates in the press? Likely. Is he going to end up at the bottom of a bunch of pile-ups? That seems probable, as well, but the dude is tough and never misses a game. As for the interceptions, well, yeah, they will be there. At the same time, though, he did toss 26 INTs last year, his three-year average is 19 a season, which is only three more than Peyton Manning tossed last year. Two years ago Cutler threw 616 passes that went for 4,526 yards and 25 scores in his last year in Denver. With the way they are likely to chuck the pigskin this year in Chi-town Cutler could reach those levels again this year. Cutler should be a top-10 QB option this season, so holster those concerns -- he'll be fine.

Which of these out-of-nowhere running backs should I be looking to pick up when waivers run for the first time this week: Kareem Huggins or Isaac Redman?-- Leo, Syracuse

Do you trust Cadillac Williams to stay healthy? In five NFL seasons only once has he appeared in 16 games, and only one time has he carried the ball more than 230 times (290 carries as a rookie in 2005). Is he the lead back for the Bucs? Certainly, and he is really the only player in that backfield who has a legit shot at 20 touches a week, but still, do I trust him?

Huggins made Derrick Ward expendable with his burst and shiftiness in the preseason, but the guy is 5-foot-9 and weighs less than 200 pounds, so there is a real question if he is anything more than a change-of-pace type back, meaning that even if/when Caddy is hurt, Huggins likely won't be turned to as a true lead back (the team recently signed LeGarrette Blount and Kregg Lumpkin for some more running back depth). Huggins should be on someone's roster in all leagues of at least 12 teams, but he may never rise to the level of more than a weekly flex play option.

All Rashard Mendenhall owners can be seen holding their breaths after Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Redman would get a shot to be the club's short yardage back. "We are going to give him the opportunity to see if he can excel," said Tomlin. Now you see why Mendenhall owners are panicking. Don't lose hope, though. Even though Redman will get a shot to be the short-yardage back, this doesn't figure to be a scenario where Mendenhall never touches the ball at the goal-line. Plus, Mendenhall is, and will be, the third-down back for the Steelers, so when you think of Redman think of a guy like T.J. Duckett -- little overall production other than the potential goal-line work.

There aren't many leagues where both of these guys shouldn't be owned. If I had to choose one over the other I would roll the dice and take a shot with Huggins since I have little confidence Williams will be able to stay healthy all year long.

In a standard league of 12 teams, does a guy like Greg Olsen deserve to be on my roster?-- Hector, Cleveland

It depends if you want to hold on to two tight ends. Olsen clearly has no business being a starter in a 12-team league, but there would seem to be a chance that he will outperform his ADP of 17. At the same time, his name continues to be in the rumor mill as a potential trade option, though GM Jerry Angelo denied that rumor this week. Also, there is the completely valid concern about the effectiveness of any tight end in a Martz offense since the guy seems to think that tight end is another name for blocking dummy. I can't get the notion out of my head that Olsen is still likely the best pass-receiving option on the Bears with the exception of Johnny Knox.Olsen has averaged 57 receptions the past two years (to be fair, John Carlson has averaged 53). and has a lot to prove in that offense in Chicago, but he is a worthy TE2 if you have room on your bench.

I'm a new fantasy football player and I have a really basic question for you. How important are bye weeks? Should I have passed on the best players just to make sure none of my guys had the same bye week?-- Matt, Charleston, Ill.

Matt, hopefully you didn't worry about it too much on draft day. If I took Ray Rice, who has a Week 8 bye, in Round 1, does that mean I should have passed on taking Roddy White (Week 8 bye) if he was available when it was time to make my second pick solely because they shared the same bye week? The answer is no. At the same time, would I have taken White over Marques Colston (Week 10 bye) if he was there? Probably not.

Here's my deal. I want to draft the best players that I can on draft day with an eye toward bye weeks. I would not pass on the best player available merely because of a bye week conflict. At the same time, if there was another player that I could turn to, a player who was in the same tier at that position as the player with the conflict, I would go in the other direction (hence my example of taking Colston over White). You can't ignore the bye week issue, but I wouldn't let it be the sole factor in determining which players to choose for my roster on draft day.

Ray Flowers is Managing Editor for Owners Edge and His work can be found weekly, exclusively at the home of fantasy football: To e-mail Ray a question for next week's piece, drop him a line at You can also hear Ray's thoughts at the Sirius XM Homepage. (Ray is the co-host of a daily radio show on XM 147 and Sirius 211 satellite radio).

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