Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: Week One, Volume One

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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 (September 4th) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

Michael, I’m sure you’re getting this a lot — what do you do with Le’Veon Bell? “So, in one of my drafts Monday he fell to me at four and I took him. At some point it’s hard to pass on him so if you’re in a Top 5, I still think he’s a Top 5 pick. Maybe it goes in some order of Gurley, ‘Zeke, David Johnson, Antonio Brown and then maybe Bell falls to five. Maybe someone takes Alvin Kamara at five and Bell falls to six. I can’t see him going past six, though. We still don’t know what the issue is with him not reporting. Honestly, I don’t know…but ultimately it would be smart for Bell to get in there and report because he is in a contract year and if he wants to get a big deal in 2019, he needs to produce in 2018. So I would expect to see him sooner rather than later. With that being said, we saw a similar situation last year and what happened: he went into Cleveland and he struggled. He’s playing Cleveland this week. Assuming he’s back, I’d still play him unless I’m really deep at running back but I would expect another slow start from Le’Veon Bell.”    

What’s is your boldest fantasy prediction heading into the season? “It is very hard to predict this stuff but I say with confidence that I believe Royce Freeman will be this year’s Kareem Hunt and I’ve talking about it for a while now. We’ve seen the Broncos have already projected him to be their starting running back in Week One against Seattle and just based on volume, he’s the one I’m starting. You’re starting to see people draft him even higher and jump on that Royce Freeman bandwagon.”

How do you see Joe Mixon performing this fall? “I really like Joe Mixon this season. Whether he’s a second or third-round pick, he’s someone who I believe will take that next step. Maybe not become an elite fantasy running back but a pretty darn good one and a better one than he was last season during his rookie campaign.”

What do you make of Josh Gordon heading into the season? “The talent is ridiculously apparent. If you remember back to 2013, he missed two games and still led all wide receivers in fantasy points while catching passes from Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer and Brandon Weeden. Now he’s got Tyrod Taylor and a great offense around him. The big question mark, which no one can clearly answer is, can he keep his head on straight for an entire season? There is that risk there and it’s something need to remember [moving forward].”

How about Jameis Winston’s long-term pay-off in 2018? “Before Jameis was suspended he was on my list as a Top 10 fantasy quarterback, maybe towards the back-end of the Top 10. If you look at the numbers he put up at the end of last season, they were actually pretty good. Now you’ve Chris Godwin who’s got a year of experience under his belt. You still have Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. You add Ronald Jones, who’s been a bit of a disappointment…there’s talent there. Once that Week 2 hits I would go pick him up off the waiver wire because if you wait until that third week, people are going to start grabbing him in advance of him playing the fourth Buccaneers game. He is going to be added in nearly all leagues, I can promise you.”   

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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.