Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: Training Camp, Volume V

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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 (August 1st) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

With drafts coming up later this month, is there ever need to maybe put more emphasis on quarterbacks in the early rounds? “No, you’re focusing on running backs and wide receivers unless at the quarterback position you’re talking about Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. Quarterback is a position you can wait on. In fact Matt Ryan right now, according to NFL.com’s ADP, is going off the board in round five which to me is way too high. I understand this is the guy who is the MVP of the league last year and he was the second-best player in fantasy football. But, I always tell people to beware of the magical season and I think Ryan is coming off of a magical season.”

So where would be a good time to start looking for your starting quarterback? “I would rather wait until the eighth, ninth or 10th-round and get a Cam Newton or a Dak Prescott or a Kirk Cousins who can all be Top 10 fantasy quarterbacks and have been in the past, rather than take a fifth-round pick on a Matt Ryan or even a Russell Wilson.”

Where do you see Todd Gurley, a major fantasy bust in 2016, coming off draft boards this summer? “Second or third round. I would prefer the beginning of the third round. He could be a guy who is one of those ‘turn players’, where if you’re at the back of the second round or the beginning of the third round you could be looking at him. I feel like he’s not going to be nearly as bad as he was last year. I don’t know if he’ll be as effective as he was as a rookie but I’m still projecting him for around 1,000 yards and in the neighborhood of eight touchdowns. You would think Sean McVay is going to be able to utilize him as the centerpiece of that offense, better than Jeff Fisher did last year. I do believe that McVay will help Gurley succeed this season where he failed last year. Now, with that being said, the offensive line still has some question marks.”

Sticking with running backs, how about Jordan Howard out in Chicago? “I’m a fan of Jordan Howard. I say that he’s worth a first-round pick. He’ll probably go in the second round of most drafts. If you look at his numbers from last year, everyone raved about Ezekiel Elliott and rightfully so because he was amazing. Jordan Howard averaged more yards after contact and averaged more yards per carry. He was second in rushing behind ‘Zeke, despite the fact that he didn’t start until I believe the fourth week of the season. If you listen to Chicago Bears’ beat writers, they believe Howard is in better shape now than he was last year and that he left some yards on the field in 2016. Is there that sophomore slump potential? You could say that about anybody coming into their second season. If that offensive line can avoid injuries, that offensive line is not bad at all and it should suffice for Jordan Howard to be able to make plays and he will be the featured back in that offense. John Fox we know will run the football.” 

Here in Arizona, people are excited about Kurt Warner going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend. Was he a fantasy football hall-of-famer in your mind, as well? “To me he was. The numbers he put up when he was in St. Louis were pretty ridiculous and he was the leader of ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’ with some of the best offensive weapons we’ve ever seen compiled on the same team in Marshall Faulk and Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. It was unreal. When you think of where Kurt came from and what he became it’s quite an inspirational story. You guys know very well what he did with the Cardinals. He was a tremendous leader and statistically he was off the charts.”

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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.