Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: Pre-Season Week I, Volume I

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Every 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 12th) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

How does Geno Smith’s injury impact the Jets’ skill players from a fantasy perspective? “I don’t know if there’s a huge shift in value with Brandon Marshall or Chris Ivory or Eric Decker to be quite honest with you. Now [Ryan] Fitzpatrick may be an upgrade over Geno Smith from a fantasy perspective. Smith did have a pretty decent end to last year and was having a good camp by all accounts. But remember, Fitzpatrick played in this offense under Chan Gailey when he was in Buffalo. In fact, in 2011 Fitzpatrick was a top 12 fantasy quarterback. Now that was a few years ago but this is a guy who can exploit match-ups. He can run with the ball, too. Last year he had a six-touchdown game against Tennessee. That skewed his numbers and he’s not a draft-able asset but if you’re in daily fantasy he could be a good bargain. As far as Brandon Marshall goes, I still say he’s a three. I have him as a seventh-rounder. Eric Decker ninth or 10th-round. Chris Ivory is probably the player whose value is increasing the most in New York because there’s very little competition for carries. Stevan Ridley’s not ready coming off the ACL.”

Is Le’Veon Bell not just a first-round pick but a number one overall pick option this year? “I still see him as a first-round pick to be honest with you and I would draft him number one overall. I know losing two games is tough but he’s so good. He’s youthful. He’s versatile. He’s going to catch 80 passes…he’s going to give you over 1,000 rushing yards. He’s in a great offense which could be one of the most explosive offenses in the National Football League…you’ve got Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Bell. I would take him number one. If you’re saying, ‘I’m not going to draft a guy number one who’s going to miss two games,’ Adrian Peterson is certainly worth a look but this is a year where there isn’t a consensus number one.”

Which players make the most sense to retain in keeper leagues for this season and next? “Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck at the quarterback position because of their youth. To be quite honest with you in my keeper league I’m not keeping any quarterbacks. I don’t have Rodgers, I don’t have Luck. Maybe I would keep Russell Wilson. Brees and [Peyton] Manning are getting a little long in the tooth. It depends again on how many players you can retain…running backs you’re looking for that youth. Le’Veon Bell is a no-brainer. Eddie Lacy is a no-brainer. You’re also probably keeping Peterson, [Jamaal] Charles, [Marshawn] Lynch, [Matt] Forte, C.J. Anderson, Jeremy Hill…Mike Evans is a really good keeper this year. Randall Cobb.”

Since the tight end position is thin this season is best to grab a good one early? “No, I don’t believe in that philosophy. I know a lot of people say, ‘well [Rob] Gronkowski is so much better than every other tight end and he’s like drafting a number one wide receiver,’ totally true. But I’d rather wait and draft running backs and wide receivers early and let someone else grab Gronkowski. If mean, if [Jimmy] Graham lasts to the fifth round I might try to grab him.”

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