Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: Summer Edition Week V, Volume II

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Every Wednesday 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 (July 22nd) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

What’s your favorite drafting spot in a 12-team, standard league? “Right in the middle but you have to be able to draft successfully no matter where you are. But if you’re in the middle…five, six, seven somewhere around there you don’t have a terribly long to wait in-between picks and I feel like you’re on a good plane in terms of where you’re going to be drafting. If you’re number one, you’re first pick is going to be phenomenal, at least hopefully…but then you have to wait all those picks to make your second selection…I’d rather be in the middle.” 

Are you expecting a bounce back season from Keenan Allen in San Diego? “I like Allen to bounce back. A lot of good reports, positive reports about him taking things a lot more seriously after what was a very disappointing sophomore season. There’s talk about him being utilized in the slot. You also have to remember the Chargers will not have Antonio Gates for the first four games which means potentially using Allen a little bit more. If you look, since 2010, when Antonio Gates is not in the lineup for the Chargers Philip Rivers sees an increase in his explosive plays and his yards-per-completion so that shows you that he’s not going intermediate as much because his big tight end is no there. He’ll go a little deeper, a little bit more downfield. Keenan Allen could be the beneficiary there.”

Who are some solid WR2’s heading into 2015? “You’re looking at guys like Allen, like Kelvin Benjamin. Amari Cooper is in there, as well. Maybe a Sammy Watkins, too. All those guys are two’s and if you’re focusing on wide receivers early in your draft you could get them as early as three’s.”

What do you make of the Cardinals’ wide receivers starting with Larry Fitzgerald? “Right now he’s a three or a four depending on the size of your league…the player I keep hearing about and the player who really intrigues me is John Brown. I would not be shocked if Brown led all Cardinals wide receivers in fantasy points. Michael Floyd had a down year. Fitzgerald’s had a few down years but Brown is that guy people are talking about and he’s not going to cost you more than a late-round pick. I would probably draft John Brown ahead of Floyd. I have Fitzgerald just ahead of Brown at this point. Maybe that’s going to change as we get a little closer to the pre-season. But right now if I had to target one wide receiver in Arizona, because of his upside and where you can get him, it would be John Brown.” 

Does Jaelen Strong have a chance to make an impact as a rookie in Houston? “You would think that he’s got a pretty good shot to start because there’s not a lot of competition at that position once you get past Nuke Hopkins. You’re looking at Cecil Shorts, Nate Washington so I don’t know if Strong is someone I’m drafting in a re-draft or a 10-team league but at least that situation is worth monitoring because anytime there’s potential for a starting job because it’s going to be competed for, there’s a chance for opportunities to produce points for fantasy football owners…the one sidebar is that quarterback position is a little bit questionable right now so I don’t expect Jaelen Strong to be this year’s Kelvin Benjamin.”

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A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.