Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: Free-Agent Frenzy, Volume I

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Each week during the season NFL Network and NFL.com Fantasy Football Editor Michael Fabiano joins Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat to share his insight on building and developing your fantasy team for success.

Here are some hi-lights from our most recent conversation (March 18th) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer as free-agency is off and running around the league.

How do you see new Steve Smith performing in new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s scheme in Baltimore? “I really see him as sort of a lesser Anquan Boldin when Boldin was there before he moved to San Francisco. He’s not going to recapture the form that made him a former Top 10 wide receiver in fantasy football earlier in his career. He’s in his mid-30’s and as a wide receiver, that’s getting a little long in the tooth. I wouldn’t draft as any more than a borderline three or four in fantasy. I’m definitely thinking he’s closer to a four. The Ravens aren’t going to be throwing the ball like the Broncos are…they’re going to want to establish the run game with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.”

What about Eric Decker with the Jets? “Not so good for Decker’s fantasy value. He’s a great fit for the Jets. They needed a wide receiver worse than any team in the league. They got a guy who finished in the Top 10 in fantasy points the past two seasons but he was catching passes from Peyton Manning. 675 pass attempts for the Broncos last year. Only 480 from the Jets in 2013. You’re going from Peyton Manning to Gino Smith. Nothing against Gino Smith, that’s a massive drop off and this running-based offense is not going to allow him as many targets as say, the Broncos did over the last few seasons. So now Eric Decker is going from a number one receiver to…a guy I’m not drafting as more than a three.”

From a fantasy standpoint, who do you see making the biggest impact on their new team? “Well, Ben Tate’s at the top of my list, going from the shadow of Arian Foster, now the top running back in Cleveland. He’s a young guy, he’s got RB2 upside. The one issue with him is durability. He’s definitely missed time at the NFL level but if this guy stays heathy he could be very, very good both on the field and in fantasy. I’m thinking he’s going to be coming off the board somewhere in the fifth round area depending how many teams are in your league.”

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