Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: 2014 Pre-season Week 3, Volume II

The 2014 fantasy football season is here! Whether you’re a first timer or an experienced fantasy football veteran, NFL.com has the league for you. Set up your FREE and customizable league on NFL.com today!

Each week during the season NFL Network and NFL.com Senior Fantasy Analyst 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 (August 20) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

Who are a handful of players, maybe a little under-the-radar, to keep close tabs on in your drafts? “There are a few players whose value is certainly now on the rise. Brandin Cooks is the first guy who comes to mind. He has been all the rave in Saints’ camp. He’s looked good in pre-season games. Now I would tell people to temper their expectations because typically rookie wide receivers don’t put up huge numbers but the opportunity is going to be there. I’m not drafting him unless it’s a borderline three or a four [wide receiver]…watch this kid but don’t reach for him. Another player whose value is rising a little bit: Tony Romo. He’s a guy if you like to wait on quarterbacks like I do, he can be had between somewhere in the ninth to 11th round. He could end up being your number one quarterback for the season. Another guy whose value is rising in my opinion, Giovani Bernard. He has seen all first-team snaps for the Cincinnati Bengals so it looks like he’s the guy there. He will lose some looks to Jeremy Hill but overall Gio is going to be the guy who sees most of the backfield touches there.”

I have the eighth pick in a 12-team PPR league, who should I be targeting with my first two picks? “It’s going to be running back and wide receiver so depending on best player available. I don’t think Calvin Johnson is going to fall to there. Jimmy Graham is probably going to be gone, too. So in the first round you’re going to be looking at someone, for example, like Marshawn Lynch or DeMarco Murray. In the second round you’re going to want to target a wide receiver so…you’re looking at Dez Bryant, you’re looking at A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones. Guys like that. Running back or wide receiver in the first two rounds of course, unless Jimmy Graham is there at the end of that first round you can grab him, as well.”

What is your fantasy forecast for Doug Martin? “Well remember, the Buccaneers have now lost Charles Sims. It looks like he’s gone for most of, if not the entire season so that is going to free up some potential touches for Doug Martin. I don’t expect him to be the stud he was as a rookie but don’t expect to be the bust he was in his sophomore season. I see him as a second-round pick. A high-end RB2-type who, again, should see more touches with Charles Sims out of the mix. Remember, with Jeff Tedford, for all of the running back success that he’s had in college, he’d typically like to use one featured back but he ran the ball so much that often times two guys had a bunch of carries and a bunch of touches. I think Martin leads that group.”

I’m in a dynasty league with two starting QBs: Stafford is one, the other Flacco or Manziel? “Wow. Well, it’s a dynasty league I’m going Manziel because of the long-term potential, the long-term upside. Joe Flacco I really think has hit his statistical ceiling. In dynasties you gotta look long-term and long-term Manziel’s the play.”

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