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Cutler's fantasy value falls after trade that sends him to Chicago

The Chicago Bears have won the Jay Cutler sweepstakes, acquiring the quarterback from the Denver Broncos in a monumental deal.

The trade sends Cutler and a 2009 fifth-round selection to the Bears, who in turn will send their 2009 (18th overall) and 2010 first-round picks, a 2009 third-round selection (84th overall) and Kyle Orton to the Broncos. The move has enormous implications in fantasy land, and none of them are good for the value of Cutler next season.

Cutler put up 4,526 yards and 27 total touchdowns under former coach Mike Shanahan, who built his entire offense around the gunslinging quarterback. In Chicago, a team that has leaned on the run ever since the time of Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski, Cutler has no chance to throw the ball 616 times like he did in 2008.

Furthermore, the Bears don't have the same sort of talent at the wide receiver position as the Broncos.

Their top wide receiver, Devin Hester, is a converted defensive back. He had just 51 receptions for 665 yards and three touchdowns last season. Cutler's presence will increase Hester's value, but he'll be hard pressed to become a reliable fantasy starter.

Behind Hester on the depth chart is a miss-mash of wideouts that include Earl Bennett, Rashied Davis and Brandon Rideau.

Bennett has some sleeper value, especially when you consider that he and Cutler played one season together at Vanderbilt. Bennett had his best collegiate season with Cutler at the helm with 79 receptions for 876 yards and nine touchdowns. He will be worth a late-round selection.

The two players that figure to benefit the most from Cutler's presence are running back Matt Forte and tight end Greg Olsen.

Forte, who developed into a tremendous fantasy starter in his rookie season, will no longer face eight-man fronts and should see even more opportunities as a receiver out of the backfield. He'll be a bigger star in both standard and PPR (point-per-reception) fantasy drafts and is now the second-best runner behind Adrian Peterson.

I'd also rank him ahead of Michael Turner, Maurice Jones-Drew and DeAngelo Williams.

Olsen, who led all Bear receivers in catches and touchdowns last season, will become a popular target for Cutler in the pass attack. He's a serious threat to break out and should be listed on the second tier of tight ends with Kellen Winslow, Chris Cooley and Owen Daniels.

In Denver, Orton's value is on the rise, at least for now, as he becomes a solid No. 2 quarterback.

The Purdue product goes from a run-based offense to one that will lean on the pass under new coach Josh McDaniels. He also moves into an AFC West division that fielded two of the five worst pass defenses (Kansas City -- 28th, San Diego -- 31st) in the league last season. Orton also has far more weapons in Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Brandon Stokley, Jabar Gaffney and Tony Scheffler.

Of course, there's no guarantee that Orton will even open next season as the Broncos' No. 1 quarterback. The team could look to make a deal in the NFL Draft to move up and land a potential franchise quarterback like Mark Sanchez. McDaniels would no doubt love to have a quarterback of his own to groom, much like Matt Cassel.

Coincidentally, Cassel and Sanchez both attended the University of Southern California.

Marshall underwent surgery on Tuesday that will sideline him for the rest of the offseason. There's also a good chance that Marshall will be suspended for the start of next season. Back in March, he was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge. The charges were dropped, but Marshall had a number of previous off-field incidents that resulted in a one-game suspension in 2008.

If he is found to be in violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy after his latest run-in with the law, which appears imminent, Marshall could be facing a lengthier suspension. Even in the event that he somehow avoids further punishment, Marshall's value still takes a hit with Orton, not Cutler, under center. He's now more of a borderline No. 1 or No. 2 fantasy wideout.

In the event that a four-plus game suspension is handed down, Marshall will drop out of the top 25 at his position. Royal will also see a slight decrease in value but remains a viable No. 2 option.

Cutler, who is the first franchise quarterback in the Windy City since the days of Sid Luckman, will remain a No. 1 option at the position. However, he is also destined to see decreases in almost every statistical category and should no longer be seen as an elite quarterback in fantasy football.

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