Jay Cutler will start Sunday; fantasy value middling

Jonathan Daniel

The Bears quarterback is returning from injury earlier than expected. We break down the fantasy implications.

Only three weeks after suffering what was described as a four-week-minimum injury, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been cleared to start Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Cutler returns having missed only one start.

Cutler has thrown for 1,658 passing yards, with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions, this season in six-plus games (he left after only eight passing attempts in Week 7). In his absence, backup Josh McCown led the Bears to a 27-20 victory over the division rival Green Bay Packers Monday night.

Fantasy impact: Cutler has a full stable of offensive weapons for his first time in Chicago, with wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, running back Matt Forte, and tight end Martellus Bennett all upper-echelon at their respective positions. Going against a Lions defense that is very middle-of-the-road against opposing quarterbacks, a healthy Cutler would be fairly valuable.

That said, it was expected to be at least a four-week injury for Cutler -- with the possibility of longer -- and Sunday marks the three-week mark. While he's been cleared to return to action, it wouldn't be a huge shock if Cutler played Sunday at less than 100 percent. He's still probably a viable low-end QB1 or high-end QB2, but there's risk there.

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