Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: 2020 Pre-Season, Volume XII

Arizona Sports News online

Every summer leading into and throughout the NFL season, Sports Illustrated and SI.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 18th) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

How many more training camp injuries do you expect this year without any OTA’s or pre-season games leading into the regular season? “You’ve already seen some injuries. Gerald McCoy had a freak injury with the Cowboys (he was cut Tuesday). Jalen Hurd also got hurt for the 49ers. I would suspect Brad, this is just the beginning because in this very strange COVID-19 era with no off-season workouts, no pre-season and camp starting late you’re going to see more injuries than usual, especially early on in the season.”

What are you hearing on Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay up in Denver? “Melvin Gordon had actually talked about how he’s having a little bit of trouble getting acclimated to the altitude there in Denver but I feel like that won’t be a problem over the course of the season. He, to me, is the top back. I don’t think there’s any question about that. I don’t think he’s going to be an RB1 like he was in San Diego/Los Angeles for so many years because he has Phillip Lindsay behind him on the depth chart. There’s a lot of talent there. I’m still not sure it’s going to live up to expectations with Drew Lock under center but I feel like Gordon’s a pretty good RB2 at this point. Lindsay’s more of an RB4.”

Buying or selling Todd Gurley? “Where I can get him, which is third round, I would buy him but I’m not expecting more than I got from him last year. But he was an RB2 last year and that’s what I’m drafting him to be this year. So, he’s 26 years-old. We understand the issues with the knee. You hear reports that when he walks he’s got a little bit of a limp but he’s got a sleeve on his knee and then when he’s out there on the gridiron, he looks really good. All we’re looking for from Gurley is 850 yards on the ground, 900 yards on the ground. I feel like the reception totals are kind of going to go up in Atlanta. Last year he was barely targeted which is a shame because he’s such a good pass-catcher. Atlanta’s offense is going to give him opportunity to be in the red zone and the green zone pretty often. So, if I can get 35-40 catches and 10-12 touchdowns from Todd Gurley I think that’s well within the realm of possibility. As a third-round pick, I’d take that all day long.”  

Where would you rank Kenyan Drake out here in Arizona? “When you look at his numbers when he got to Arizona, he was on pace to be one of the top running backs in fantasy football over an eight or nine-game stretch where he played for the Cards. Now, he was not reliable at times. He had two monster games. Huge games for Arizona! He’s a really good fit for the offense. I don’t feel like Chase Edmonds is going to put a huge dent into his touches. I don’t think Eno Benjamin is going to put a huge dent into his touches. But Drake has never been the featured guy for 16 games in the National Football League. We saw it last year in Miami. The Dolphins jettisoned him to Arizona and he was great. All I can say is he’s a great fit for the offense. He’s basically in a contract year. He’s going to be motivated to put up really big numbers so he could potentially cash in in 2021. I have him ranked as a late first-rounder and, at worst, he’s an early second-rounder in an offense that is going to score a boatload of points.” 

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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.