NFL fantasy football: Jay Cutler undervalued

Bearing down: After missing the final five games of the 2011 season, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is primed for a breakout performance in 2012. As NFL Fantasy LIVE’s Elliot Harrison points out, “Chicago has as good a shot as any squad to come out on top in the NFC.” Not only will this be good news on the field, it will translate in fantasy land as well. The Vanderbilt product will be facing the sixth-easiest strength of schedule among all fantasy quarterbacks this season, and the addition of Brandon Marshall is sure to pay dividends. Cutler has yet to successfully reproduce the results of his 2008 season which saw him rack up 4,526-yards to go with 27 total touchdowns and only 18 interceptions. That was the last time he and Marshall were on the field together and it could be a glimpse of what to expect this year. With an ADP of 113.82, Cutler is still not getting any love. Fantasy owners should still target him as a No. 2 option, but it won’t be surprising if he breaks into the top-ten when all is said and done.

Immediate threat: Although he’s still not 100% after undergoing surgery to both his shoulders, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says wide receiver Sidney Rice is “ready to go.” With only Doug Baldwin and journeymen Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow as the top threats in the passing game, Rice should become rookie quarterback Russell Wilson’s immediate top-target. Still, fantasy football owners should consider Rice only as a reserve wideout in drafts. He comes with considerable injury risk, and it might take some time for him to get on the same page with Wilson.

In the Green: Green Bay Packers running back James Starks continues to have issues this season, and could find himself on the bubble of making the team. With Cedric Benson expected to be the likely Week 1 starter, fantasy football owners should consider Alex Green as his must-handcuff selection. But Green could turn out to be more than just a back-up plan. As NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal points out, the second-year back has “indicated that he’s likely to split carries.” Given Benson is entering his eighth season and is staring down the dreaded 30th birthday. Though he has been durable up to this point, the Packers are likely to want him fresh for the long-haul, so expect Green to see plenty of work. Consider him a reserve back with considerable upside, especially in keeper and dynasty formats.

-Follow Adrian Mojica on Twitter @FFFdaily

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