27-Year-Old Linebacker – Houston Texans
2014 Fantasy Football Outlook
Cushing would likely be a candidate for the top-10 among IDP linebackers if his health could be guaranteed. Unfortunately, it cannot. He suffered a torn ACL in Week 5 of the 2012 season, and then suff...
Brian Cushing Contract Information:
Signed a six-year extension with the Texans in September of 2013.
Cushing (knee) was placed on the PUP list Monday, Fox 26 in Houston reports.
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|2014 Proj||27||HOU||Subscribe now to see our 2014 projections for Brian Cushing|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
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A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Brian Cushing: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)The last time Cushing suited up for the Texans was last October, but the linebacker continues to progress in his recovery and remains on track to reclaim his starting inside linebacker spot in advance of Week 1. Prior to suffering his injury in Week 7 of the 2013 season, Cushing racked up 48 tackles, a pick and 1.5 sacks.
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Cushing would perhaps rank higher were he not returning from an ACL tear that occurred in Week 5 last year. He's a Pro Bowl-caliber talent when healthy and makes an impact in the tackle, sack and interception categories, so there's definite upside here. Cushing averaged 124 tackles between the two full seasons he's played in Houston (2009 and 2011), and he also posted eight sacks and six interceptions between these two years. Cushing is expected to be healthy for training camp, but even if he's not at full strength to begin the season he could still approach 120 tackles by default because the Texans lack talent at inside linebacker.
Cushing is a better on-field player than IDP at this point, so donít expect his production to return to his rookie-year level, when he totaled 133 tackles (86 solo), four sacks and four interceptions. This is due to Houstonís clock-eating offense and that the Texans defense does a good job of getting off the field. That said, Cushingís playmaking abilities shine through, as he finished last year with 114 stops (76 solo), four sacks and two interceptions. The selection of outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus in the first round of the draft ensures Houston will keep Cushing exclusively on the inside, where most of the tackle opportunities are.
Cushing's 2010 season was badly compromised by his four-game suspension for alleged illegal PED use, but he should be back to posting big numbers in 2011. Houston is switching to a 3-4 defense despite a potential lack of the necessary personnel on the defensive line, meaning Cushing and his fellow linebackers could see more tackle opportunities than usual if runners are allowed to breeze past the line of scrimmage. His value is further aided by the fact that he's expected to work occasionally as a pass rusher, meaning he'll have a chance to add a decent sack total to what should be standout tackle production. Considering his size/speed/strength combination, Cushing should be able to thrive both on the inside and out, and he's a good IDP target at linebacker as a result.
Cushing would rank much higher on this list based on his rookie season alone ó he racked up 134 tackles, five sacks and four interceptions and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year by the AP. But this spring, we learned that Cushing failed a drug test during that campaign and will sit out the first four games of 2010 for violating the NFLís PED policy. Weíll leave the moralizing about his transgression to the Peter Kings of the world and skip to the numbers, which tell us that 12 games worth of Cushing ó plus four games of replacement-level production ó should still be a better IDP option than a full season of most linebackers out there.
Cushing will start at strongside linebacker, which is typically Mario Williams' side. With linemen focusing on Williams so much, there may be a few sack opportunities for Cushing.