Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: 2017 Draft & Free-Agency

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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 (March 27th) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

What rookie are you looking at to make a fantasy splash with the draft just around the corner? “You can never say that unless you know where a player is going. Leonard Fournette has a great shot to be a really good back. If he ends up in Carolina for example, it may be delayed a little bit, because they’ve got Jonathan Stewart there and I don’t see a situation where Fournette completely takes over that job. If he lands in Jacksonville, you’ve got Chris Ivory there, you’ve got T.J. Yeldon there. If he lands with the Jets, you’ve got Matt Forte there.” 

What are you seeing, big picture, from this class of running backs? “There are a lot of good running backs. If they end up in the right spots, say the Raiders don’t get Marshawn Lynch and they draft a running back who could potentially be their starter. That’s going to have an impact from a fantasy standpoint. Say Dalvin Cook lands with the Redskins. He’s got a shot to knock Rob Kelley right out of that starting job, which I believe he could. Dalvin could have more fantasy value than Fournette. We’ll see what happens. Fantasy is all about talent, plus opportunity. This class has a lot of potential. It could end up being more in the long-term from a fantasy standpoint.” 

Now that most of the dust has settled in free agency, who were your big winners and losers? “I was a bit harsh. There were more losers than winners to me. Martellus Bennett’s a winner. You go from Tom Brady to Aaron Rodgers. That’s not bad. Lateral move. Bennett’s right there in the Top 10 at tight end. Eddie Lacy…there’s reports that this guy’s close to 270! That’s not fantasy points, that’s pounds. You’ve also got Thomas Rawls in Seattle. You’ve also got C.J. Prosise in Seattle. I refuse to believe both of these guys are going away completely. I say Eddie Lacy’s a loser in this because I don’t think he can reclaim his RB1 form. I have him ranked as an RB2, probably as a fourth of fifth-round pick. To me the biggest winner is Terrelle Pryor. Pryor goes from the Browns, where I believe he had six quarterbacks last year including himself. The Browns were one of the worst teams in the league in terms of pass offense. You go to Washington where the team lost 36% of their targets in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, so there’s a lot of opportunities. Jay Gruden loves to throw the football.”

How about Brandon Marshall moving from the Jets to the Giants? “I have him as a winner for one reason: he’s not catching passes from Jets’ quarterbacks anymore, so that’s a good thing. He’s never going to be the 2015 version. That was a great season but it won’t happen again. Of course, Odell Beckham, Jr. is the featured wide receiver and has been since he’s come into the league for the G-men so Marshall will play a secondary role. With that being said, Marshall is a very good red-zone threat.”

Let’s stick to wide receivers, thoughts on Brandin Cooks being dealt to the Pats? “To be quite honest with you, from a fantasy standpoint, I think this is a lateral move at best. You’re in New Orleans in a dome. You’re biggest physical asset is your speed. He was in a perfect situation. It’s a small sample size but he’s averaging just nine fantasy points a game with four touchdowns in 10 career outdoor games, compared to over 11 fantasy points a game and 13 touchdowns inside a dome. Now most of his games have been inside a dome because he played in New Orleans. Also keep in mind he hasn’t played a lot of football, as the pro level, in cold conditions. He’s going to New England so great news for Tom Brady, but he has a lot of options…a lot of mouths to feed in that offense.”

Best landing spot for Adrian Peterson? “In terms of storyline, it would be great to see him go to the Green Bay Packers. Do a reverse Brett Favre and try to stick it to the Vikings. But I don’t know anyone who’s going to pay him what he wants and this is a very deep running back class coming in so teams are not going to go out and pay Adrian Peterson a lot of money when they could potentially fill a void in their backfield with a rookie. The Raiders would be a spot, although I’d love to see Marshawn Lynch come back. That would be great. The Oakland guy goes to the Raiders. I’d rather have Marshawn Lynch on my fantasy team than Adrian Peterson. There aren’t a lot of landing spots where Peterson can come in and make an impact.”  

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