What Does Jay Cutler Concussion Mean for Bears, Fantasy Owners?

Jeremy SickelContributor IIINovember 12, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 11: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears is hit by Kareem Jackson #25 of the Houston Texans at Soldier Field on November 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Texans defeated the Bears 13-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler did not start the second half of Sunday night's 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans after suffering a concussion prior to halftime.

With the NFL all-in on player safety—particularly as it relates to quarterbacks and head injuries—it would appear that Cutler's situation will be monitored very closely over the next few days in advance of Chicago's Monday Night Football game in San Francisco against the 49ers next week.

How this affects the Bears is simple: Whether Cutler is available or not, Chicago's offense will more than likely lean on a running game that features Matt Forte and Michael Bush even more so than it already does.

Whether it is to mitigate Cutler's exposure to a fierce 49ers defense or to prevent backup Jason Campbell from having to do too much, look for Forte and Bush to get plenty of touches going forward.

Brandon Marshall has been Chicago's only reliable receiving threat this season and that will not change, regardless of who is under center for the Bears. Focusing on establishing the run should allow Marshall to work in more space.

While the Bears offense might not skip a beat whether Cutler is available or not, it will be interesting to see how it affects Chicago's viable fantasy football assets—namely, Marshall and Forte.

Though Cutler's fantasy relevance is unpredictable, Marshall and Forte are must-starts in all formats. The fact that the Bears offense has leaned on these two all season long will not change going forward.

Marshall is still their top receiving threat and will continue to get plenty of targets. And Forte may even see an increase in touches as the Bears figure out where its quarterback situation stands. Bush may even be viable in matchups with soft rushing defenses.

While Cutler's injury may only cause a minor tweak to the Bears offense, this team might find that relying more on the running game—coupled with a stout defense—could be the best formula in navigating through a tough NFC conference.


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