Fantasy Football 2017: Miami Dolphins' Jay Cutler, DeVante Parker have sleeper value

By Alex Butler  |  Aug. 18, 2017 at 10:36 AM
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Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Fans saw the potential of Jay Cutler and DeVante Parker Thursday in Miami. Cutler said the wide receiver reminds him of Alshon Jeffery.

Parker had no struggle in getting open during the 31-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at Hard Rock Stadium. Cutler used his strong arm to get him the ball quickly.

Though it was limited action, spectators awed the connection. Parker finished up with a stat line of just one catch for 16 yards. That reception came early in the first quarter, when Cutler fired to his left, between a cornerback, safety and linebacker, finding the streaking Parker. Cutler also found Parker on a deeper connection, but the play was negated by a penalty.

After the game, Parker said that he wasn't surprised by any of Cutler's throws but he is eager to learn more about the veteran. Cutler came out of retirement on August 6 to sign with the Dolphins after the team lost Ryan Tannehill for the season from a knee injury.

"It felt really good," Parker said. "Him coming out there in his first preseason game with us. It felt pretty good."

"You still can always learn something from him even if you haven't played with him that long. We are still going to probably learn more about each other and I'm just looking forward to it."

Parker is entering his third season. He is expected to have a big year after looking like a more professional player this offseason, showing up to meetings on time and running routes consistently in workouts. Parker said he thinks Cutler's ability to 'throw you open' is a "great thing to have in your arsenal."

Cutler compared Parker to Jeffery, his teammate for five seasons with the Chicago Bears.

"I think he's kind of a faster Alshon a little bit," Cutler said. "He has got a lot of range, back shoulder, over the top. He has got great hands, but then he can burn you up if you get a little flat-footed."

Cutler didn't escape his Dolphins debut unscathed. He took a big hit from Ravens defense end Za'Darius Smith in the first quarter. He received the thumping on his surgically repaired right shoulder. Cutler appeared to be in good health after the contest.

Obviously this connection will need time to gel, but Cutler already likes what he sees from the young talent.

"Really good player, really good player," Cutler said. "I think the sky is the limit for him. He's big, he's fast. He can do a lot of different things, gets in and out of things, deep threat, knows everything we're doing. I think that's the fun part with these guys - with Jarvis [Landry] and Kenny [Stills] and DeVante - is they know everything. You just whisper to them something, and they're good to go."

Parker will be a WR3 at some point this season in fantasy football. The biggest threat to his value on a consistent basis is the overall talent of the Dolphins' pass catching corps. Parker could find it hard to rise to the top because of the Dolphins' wealth of talent at the position. But Cutler should be finding Parker a ton as he draws single coverage and overpowers less athletic defenders. Parker can be had late in your draft and should still be drafted as a WR4 or WR5. He is a very exciting depth piece for your squad and a terrific bye week fill in. He could also be that piece that allows you to trade away a bigger name wide receiver later on and possibly move into an every week role for your team.

Cutler could approach top 15 status early on and is a great bye week or streaming play in good matchups.

"I've got a pretty good feel of how to call plays for [Cutler]," Gase said. He's really honest with me as far as what he's feeling and how he's seeing things. I feel really good with where we're at right now. This next week will be really good for us because going against another team and playing that third preseason game. We'll just keep trying to improve and get in that game flow. I liked what I saw tonight. I'm ready to get this going next week."

"I think Jay's had a lot of experience playing with a lot of different guys. He's able to adjust. He comes in nine days ago, figures out what these guys do, and gets them the ball."

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