Every summer leading into and throughout the NFL season, Sports Illustrated and SI.com Senior Fantasy Analyst Michael Fabiano joins Sports360AZ.com to share his insight on building and developing your fantasy team for success.
Here are some highlights from our most recent conversation (October 6th) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.
Who are a couple of players who have exceeded your expectations through the first quarter of the season? “Let’s start with Aaron Rodgers who I was dead wrong about. I thought he was going to be a QB1 or QB2 this year. He’s been an elite quarterback once again. He’s a QB5 averaging 26 points per game. Apparently what you need to motivate Aaron Rodgers is to draft his predecessor and that’s what the Packers did. He’s having success even with the Packers’ top two wide receivers missing time – both Davante Adams and Allen Lazard missed the Atlanta game. Another would be Cam Newton who’s dealing the the coronavirus. Before he missed the game against Kansas City, he was the QB7 averaging nearly 24 points per game. He was drafted late in most leagues as a QB2.”
How about some busts? “This one hurts. I’m a Cowboys’ fan and the Cowboys stink right now. Actually, the Cowboys are playing this quarterback in Week 5 and that’s Daniel Jones. I really liked Daniel Jones coming into the season and I’ll eat crow on that one all day long. He loses Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard’s hurt. The offensive line is not giving him any help at all. The defense is garbage. Although the matchup this week is very good, Daniel Jones is a guy that’s going to get dropped in a lot of leagues which is disappointing. I thought he was going to have a much better season. Mark Ingram was a stud last season. He’s RB47 right now. He’s averaging eight points a game in a backfield committee in Baltimore that is driving fantasy owners nuts. Kenyan Drake. Remember, when we loved ‘The Drake,’ Sande? We hate ‘The Drake’ right now. RB38 right now. He’s averaging fewer than 10 fantasy points a game. He’s had two sweetheart matchups in two-straight games and he couldn’t get it done. Now he’s got the Jets – another sweetheart matchup. I don’t know what to do with this guy.”
Who are some popular quarterback adds on the waiver wire this week? “Justin Herbert. Goodness gracious. Two games with over 20 fantasy points in his first three NFL games. Had three touchdowns against the Buccaneers last week. His schedule is bananas good. Saints this week. They stink. Jets. They stink. Dolphins defense is meh. Then Jacksonville and the Raiders after that! So Herbert needs to be owned across the board. Teddy Bridgewater is not a great fantasy quarterback. He’s always been a 15 or 16-point guy. Last week he had over 26 against Arizona. Next four games: Atlanta – did you watch their defense Monday night?! Then he’s got the Bears. That’s a bad matchup. Then at the Saints in a revenge game and Atlanta again. So Bridgewater is worth a look.”
How about at wide receiver? “Tim Patrick. He had a very nice game against the Jets on Thursday night with seven targets and six catches for over 23 fantasy points. The Broncos are already without Courtland Sutton. K.J. Hamler’s been banged up so Patrick is a worth a look. Tee Higgins. If you have A.J. Green and you can drop him and pick up Tee Higgins, that’s the move right now. 16 targets, nine catches and two touchdowns over the last two weeks. He’s basically playing the same number of snaps. He’s running more routes than A.J. Green – it’s very close. But Higgins has looked really good the last couple of weeks. Some other guys are Cole Beasley from the Bills and Hunter Renfroe from the Raiders, although the matchup is bad this week with those two teams playing one another.”
Let’s finish up the waiver wire questions at running back. “I’m assuming Joshua Kelley is owned in most leagues. He wasn’t available in any of my leagues – he was drafted in all of them. But I looked at ESPN’s ownership percentage and he’s still out there in like 40 percent of leagues which is crazy to me. So if you’re in a home league and he’s out there, Joshua Kelley is the top name off the wire this week. If he’s gone, which he likely is, Justin Jackson will be a worthwhile in probably 12-team leagues. He should now split the workload with Joshua Kelley now that Austin Ekeler is hurt. Damien Harris if Kelley is off the board will be the top waiver pickup among all running backs. 17 carries for 100 yards on Monday night. The Patriots put Sony Michael on injured reserve. Harris played 23 snaps against the Chiefs which was third behind Rex Burkhead and James White but he still had 17 carries which led the team.”
What is the impact on Cleveland’s backfield which Nick Chubb now out? “He’s got the knee [injury]. He’s going to miss the next three weeks – potentially more. So Kareem Hunt is now an RB1 because the dude is electric. But, D’Ernest Johnson actually had more touches than him last week. Maybe that’s because they were boat racing the Cowboys but Kareem Hunt has also been dealing with a groin injury so Johnson is worth a look off the waiver wire. I feel like Cleveland is still going to run the football. That offense is predicated on success on the ground and they luckily have two elite running backs. Nick Chubb now out, Kareem Hunt now in. Maybe they’ll throw the ball a little bit more to OBJ – that would be good news for him.”
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