Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus Playoff Edition, 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 (January 11th) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

Would you start any Packers this week against the Cardinals in daily fantasy? “Probably not. While the Packers offense looked pretty good in the Wild Card Round, the Redskins don’t have what you would call an intimidating defense. I’m also having images of what the Cardinals did to Green Bay just a few weeks ago still floating around in my head. It’s tough to trust anyone in green and white this weekend.”

Any confidence in Peyton Manning this week and his targets? “The matchup is actually pretty favorable for Manning this week, but lest we forget how bad he was even against the poorest of defenses earlier this season? On the flip side, Manning should still be able to do enough to make both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders startable in postseason leagues. Sanders beat the heck out of his old team back in Week 15.”

Do you see aging and/or injured backs like Marshawn Lynch and Arian Foster ever coming close to returning to their once-dominant self? “No. Age and massive workloads are going to turn Lynch and Foster into big-time risks next season. I don’t even know where they’ll be playing. The problem is that the running back position is thin, so I wouldn’t be surprised if both were drafted as No. 2 fantasy backs and regular starters. But regardless, their best days are in the rearview mirror.”

You predicted before the season Carson Palmer would be a great “value pick.” Who else in 2015 gave you the most bang for your fantasy buck? “How much time do we have? The list is extensive, from Palmer to Newton to Doug Martin to Larry Fitzgerald. Tyler Eifert was a massive bargain too, so was Baldwin. I could go on for awhile, but you get the point.”

Of all the years you’ve been covering fantasy football, was last season the most difficult to predict due to the rash of big injuries at key positions? Do things like that work in cycles from year-to-year or was last season simply an exception to the rule? “It was ridiculously tough. All the injuries to running backs caused a bunch of backfield committees that were sometimes impossible to predict. You can’t be in the locker room, at practices and in coach’s meetings, so you have to take your best guess based on what you’ve seen, depth charts, etc. Tim Hightower was a perfect example. Who would have thought a player who hasn’t been in the league since 2011 could put up such massive numbers? And what about Andrew Luck? No one thought he had a chance to be a bust this year, but look what happened. I need a crystal ball!”

This fantasy season we saw several young quarterbacks like Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, even Tyrod Taylor post good numbers. You’ve always waited on drafting QB’s. Is this going to become even more of a popular trend next season with so much depth at the position? “Oh yes indeed. I might not even draft a quarterback next season (kidding). There’s no way you will see me draft a quarterback until at least Round 5, and that’s only if Cam Newton is still on the board. Otherwise, I will follow the advice of that old 80’s hair bad White Lion … Wait. (I just dated myself there, didn’t I?).”