Every summer leading into and throughout the NFL season, Sports Illustrated and SI.com Senior Fantasy Analyst Michael Fabiano joins Sports360AZ.com to share his insight on building and developing your fantasy team for success.
Here are some highlights from our most recent conversation (September 15th) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.
Biggest takeaway from Cam Newton’s debut with the Patriots? “75 rushing yards on 15 carries! I mean, It was nice to see Josh McDaniels sort of alter his offense to suit Cam Newton. I don’t know if 15 carries a week is sustainable for a quarterback. He’s going to get beat up pretty bad but the fact that they ran RPO’s and they had designed runs in the offense for Cam are very promising signs for his fantasy future. Let’s put it that way.”
How about Adrian Peterson in Detroit? “I knew if he went somewhere they were going to play him. I didn’t realize he was going to have that many touches. It’s going to be a committee with him and D’Andre Swift and Peterson’s not going to be utilized in the passing game very much but he needs to be owned.”
What are you expecting for Jonathan Taylor who now takes over in Indianapolis? “If I drafted Jonathan Taylor in the second-to-fourth round, which is kind of like the range he was going in from when he was drafted in the spring until the end of the fantasy draft season, I’m dancin’ in the street. You hate to see Marlon Mack get hurt but Jonathan Taylor is going to be the starter. He’s going to share the workload with Nyheim Hines but he is going to get a lot of important carries and he was also targeted a bunch in the passing game. This guy is going to be catching three, four, five passes a game in addition to what he’s going to do on the ground. He is going to have a big season in Indianapolis.”
Are you buying the Saints’ defense after what you saw against Tampa Bay? “Well, I don’t know if it’s going to be that situation every single week or in the majority of weeks, even. But that defense looked extremely good. They are a good, young team. They have a lot of first-round picks. New Orleans had a very strong week in terms of defense. So did Baltimore. I know there are a lot of people out there who play in leagues with no defenses and no kickers but – especially at the defensive position – you play the right matchups every week. That’s really going to help.”
Is Russell Wilson’s fantasy value even higher after his performance in Atlanta? “He’s always been one of the top fantasy quarterbacks so I don’t know if it’s on the rise but it’s going to be interesting to see what he can do this week because this is going to be a fun matchup: Cam Newton against Russell Wilson. Patriots. Seahawks. That’s going to be great. The Patriots’ defense is going to be a lot more formidable, even with all the guys who opted out than what Russell Wilson faced last week in Atlanta. So, let’s see if he can do it again but it was fun to watch. He looked absolutely tremendous.”
What’s your fantasy read on O.J. Howard? “I hate to say it. I’m going to hate myself for saying it but he’s worth a look. He had a touchdown last week and, although he didn’t play as many snaps as Rob Gronkowski, Gronkowski didn’t get as many targets. Gronkowski to me was a bust coming into the season and no more than a tight end two. But O.J. Howard had the look of a guy that maybe is starting to get involved in that offense a little bit more.”
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