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2014 Draft Prep: Jay Cutler will have a career season

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Here's a question for you. How would you feel about a quarterback who passed for 4,450 yards, 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions? My guess is you would like that a lot.

What if that quarterback had more than 360 Fantasy points? To put that in perspective, Andy Dalton was third in points last season with 353. You'd probably like that number in the majority of leagues, too.

Well, that's what Jay Cutler is capable of this season if he plays 16 games. And health is really the only knock on him. The prediction here is Cutler will have the best season of his career. He's a tremendous value pick based on his Average Draft Position at No. 82 overall as the No. 12 quarterback off the board.

Cutler and Josh McCown combined for those passing stats last year. When you factor in their rushing stats, the duo scored 366 Fantasy points in a standard league, which would have made them the No. 3 quarterback behind Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

Now, it's difficult to say Cutler will replicate those stats on his own, and he's been injury-prone the past three years. He played in just 10 games in 2011 because of a thumb issue, missed one game in 2012 with a concussion and was limited to 11 games last season because of groin and ankle problems.

But he's healthy now and the Bears are committed to him. He signed a seven-year, $127 million deal this offseason with $54 million guaranteed. On top of that, they let McCown sign as a free agent in Tampa Bay without bringing in a top backup since Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen are the other quarterbacks of note on the roster.

The Bears have faith in Cutler and so do we. The big reasons why are his receiving corps -- led by Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett -- and coach Marc Trestman.

Trestman's offense helped Forte finish as a top-three running back in standard leagues, and Marshall and Jeffery were top-10 receivers. Cutler and McCown combined for a standout campaign, but now we want to see Cutler stand on his own.

When he was healthy last season, Cutler was awesome with six of 10 games (he was hurt early in the Week 7 game at Washington) with at least 20 Fantasy points. He opened the year with 20 or more points in five of six games and he should continue to thrive this season.

Cutler has been a solid Fantasy quarterback in the past -- he has three top-12 finishes on his resume from 2007 to 2009 -- but this could be the best year of his career. His best season was 2008 in Denver when he passed for 4,526 yards, 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He finished with 312 Fantasy points as the No. 5 quarterback. He's been trying to reach that plateau again ever since.

With the Bears, Cutler's best season was 2009 when he passed for 3,666 yards, 27 touchdowns and 26 interceptions, but this year he should shatter those stats. He's going to be one of the best buys on Draft Day.

In my leagues, I like waiting for quarterbacks, and Cutler is usually my fallback option on Draft Day. I'll let other owners reach for their signal-callers early while I horde running backs and receivers, but I know a big reward is waiting for me when I snag Cutler later.

It might not work out how I hope, and Cutler's injury history speaks for itself, but if Cutler stays healthy and plays like we think he can, he could be the biggest difference-maker in all leagues.

His best year is going to happen in 2014.

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Player News
Rams wideout Damian Williams clears waivers
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:31 pm ET) Rams wideout Damian Williams cleared waivers on Wednesday.

Williams was released by the club on Tuesday, and was not picked up by a club on waivers. He's now free to sign with any team. 


Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch listed as probable
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:58 pm ET) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is listed as probable heading into Thursday's game against the 49ers.

Lynch has been dealing with a back injury. He was limited in practices on Monday and Tuesday, but was able to put in a full practice on Wednesday. He's been able to play through the injury all season. 


Colts' Vontae Davis spotted in a walking boot
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:52 pm ET) Colts corner Vontae Davis has been using a walking boot the past couple days, according to ESPN.

Davis injured his foot last Sunday, but is expected to play against Washington this week. Coach Chuck Pagano said, "[Davis is] too tough. It's a critical time [of the season that] he can't miss." Davis did not participate in practice on Wednesday. 


Raiders RB Latavius Murray has not been cleared to play yet
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:49 pm ET) Raiders running back Latavius Murray may have returned to practice on Wednesday, but he hasn't been cleared to play on Sunday just yet, according to CSN.

Murray is dealing with a concussion. While he appears to have made progress with the injury, he still has to pass medical tests before he's formally cleared to play. Murray was on his way to a huge game Week 12 before exiting with the injury. Murray was listed as a limited participant in practice on Wednesday.


Jimmy Staten rejoins Seahawks
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:42 pm ET) The Seahawks have re-signed defensive end Jimmy Staten to the practice squad, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Staten had been on the team's practice squad throughout most of the year, but was cut in late November to make room for another player. The team decided to bring Staten back just a few days later. 


Saints RB Khiry Robinson tweets he's 'back in action'
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:59 pm ET) Saints running back Khiry Robinson, who has been sidelined the last five games with a forearm injury, has indicated that he's on the brink of returning, per the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Robinson was listed as out of practice Wednesday, but he tweeted that he's "back in action." If he indeed can play Sunday in Pittsburgh, the team will have its full complement of running backs for the first time in more than a month.


RB Forsett: I want to stay with Ravens on long-term deal
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:53 pm ET) Blossoming Ravens running back Justin Forsett is seeking a long-term contract with the team.

"Definitely, this is a great place, a great organization," he told the Baltimore Sun. "It's hard not to want to be here. Definitely, I'm sure after the season sometime they'll get something done. I would love to sign here. I've been waiting my whole career to find a home somewhere, to not have to move every offseason. So, what would be nice."

Forsett is 97 yards short of 1,000 on the season and has scored seven touchdowns in emerging as the featured back in the wake of the Ray Rice suspension. Forsett exploded for 182 yards and two scores in the Monday night defeat of New Orleans.


Report: Herron likely to start ahead of Richardson again Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:39 pm ET) Colts running back Dan Herron will likely to continue starting over Trent Richardson when the team plays Washington on Sunday.

It had been reported that Herron started in Week 13 because Richardson was dealing with the flu, but it was in reality because he outperformed him in practice, according to ESPN. He then produced more on the field against Jacksonville, averaging 5.4 YPC on 12 attempts and adding five receptions while Richardson managed 42 yards and a touchdown in 13 tries.


Ravens LB Terrell Suggs out Wednesday with foot ailment
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:30 pm ET) Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs missed Wednesday practice with a foot injury. He had been limited in recent weeks with a neck issue, but he played in 84 percent of the snaps Monday night.

Suggs, who has missed just 10 games during his 12-year career, is unlikely to be sidelined Sunday against San Diego, according to ESPN.


49ers list Week 13 injury report
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:22 pm ET) The 49ers released their Week 13 injury report Wednesday, and they listed tight end Derek Carrier (foot), tackle Anthony Davis (concussion) and defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey  (forearm) as out for Thursday's game against the Seahawks.

Cornerback Tramaine Brock (hamstring), wide receiver Bruce Ellington (ankle) and tight Vance McDonald (back) were all listed as questionable, while running back Frank Gore (knee), wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (quadricep), defensive end Ray McDonald (knee), running back Bruce Miller(shoulder), safety Eric Reid (ankle), defensive end Justin Smith (back) and safety Raymond Ventrone (groin) were all listed as probable.


 
 
 
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