Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus Week XVI, 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 (December 2nd) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

What do you make of the thinning running back crop heading into Week 16? “It’s been a mess, hasn’t it? This season has been ridiculous with the injuries. I wish the best for these guys. Hope they come back healthy. It’s left fantasy owners to scramble. The real issue’s been featured backs are going down and in their place you’re getting committees. So like in Buffalo, Karlos Williams would probably be the first guy I go after but Mike Gillislee has looked good, too. So that could be a committee. In Carolina we saw Cameron Artis-Payne lead the league in backfield carries. He didn’t do much from a fantasy standpoint but it looks like he’s the guy to go after if you’re looking for a Carolina back. The match up is pretty good this week against Atlanta. There are a lot of “ifs” out there right now. I mean, Steven Jackson: could the Patriots have waited one more week to sign another running back? At least we know it’s probably going to be James White, although Brandon Bolden was supposed to be one of the touch leaders on that team last week and he was replaced by a practice squad player whose name I can’t pronounce and will not try to pronounce.”

What is the best way to process who will give you the greatest opportunity for success when sifting through all these waiver wire-type running backs? “You are really looking at volume and predicting who is going to see volume. For me in Carolina it’s Artis-Payne. In Seattle it’s Christine Michael but you’re putting these guys in and crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.”

Who’s been a bigger late-season surprise: Tyrod Taylor or Kirk Cousins and who should I start between the two? “Kirk Cousins for sure because Tyrod is a guy that I liked because he could run with the football on top of what he could do with his arm and he’s been and if you look at the Cowboys, listen they’ve been awful offensively but defensively they’ve been pretty good. I’m not as big on Tyrod [this week]. I would prefer Cousins because one, he’s got 21+ fantasy points in three of his last four games…the only team to stop him lately has been the Cowboys but the Eagles’ defense is terrible. Their pass defense is awful…I like Kirk Cousins more than I like Tyrod this week.”

Who else is a good play in Redskins-Eagles? “The x-factor here is DeSean Jackson. He’s going to want revenge. We’ve seen a lot of guys play against their old team and put up pretty good numbers: Emmanuel Sanders, Torrey Smith, Charles Clay. Jackson, you know he’s going to be motivated to put up a good number against the Eagles.”

What do you make of Eli Manning’s match-up against the Vikings? “[The Vikings] are banged up. That’s been a problem. Well, Odell Beckham…suspended for one game. I don’t know how you play Eli Manning. There are better options out there. Blake Bortles. Boy, you want to talk about an unsung hero from a fantasy perspective. That kid’s been slinging it. In a season where quarterbacks have been putting up huge numbers, I tend to think there are 10 quarterbacks better than Eli this week.”