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 (November 10th) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.
Big news with Ben Roethlisberger being added to the COVID list. What does this mean for the Steelers? “It means that Roethlisberger is probably questionable this week against Cincinnati. It doesn’t take him out of the equation completely. This is a great matchup for Roethlisberger from a fantasy perspective. So something to keep an eye. Last week we saw Matthew Stafford come off the COVID list and play for Detroit so this doesn’t take Big Ben out of the equation.”
If Big Ben doesn’t play, how does that impact the Steelers’ pass-catchers? “It makes Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and JuJu all less attractive. So I’m not saying they’re all must-sits but when you go from a Hall of Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger to Mason Rudolph who’s probably best known for getting hit on the head with a helmet last season by Myles Garrett, it’s a downgrade.”
It appears Kenyan Drake may be back this week here in Arizona. How do you balance that with Chase Edmonds? “I go back to ‘The Drake.’ Edmonds was a popular start. He was in my Top Five for running backs last week and he did not do well. He scored 11 [points] and he played 66 snaps. He has almost 30 touches. So that’s good because he’s getting the volume. So if Drake doesn’t go this week, then Edmonds is at worst a flex starter because of the volume there but he did not make Kliff Kingsbury look and say, ‘Maybe I’m not going to make a change once Kenyan Drake is back.’ Right now that’s not the case. It’s still going to be ‘The Drake’ so if Drake is back, I’d start him. Edmonds would be more of a flex. If Edmonds is the guy and Drake is still out, Edmonds would probably be an RB2 this week.”
If you’re eyeing underperforming players to possibly pick up via trade for the second half of the season, who are some options? “Lamar Jackson! What’s happened to him? I drafted Lamar Jackson to be an elite fantasy quarterback and he’s been average. He’s averaging like 18 points a game. 18 points this year is sort of the low watermark of the, ‘OK, I’ll accept that performance from a quarterback.’ Joe Flacco had over 20 fantasy points Monday. Joe Flacco! Jake Luton making his first carer start last week – better than Lamar Jackson. Lamar Jackson has been a bust considered where you took him. I’d rather have Russell Wilson or Kyler Murray. Justin Herbert is a better quarterback right now in fantasy and he’s a rookie! Lamar Jackson is at the top of that list. The schedule is going to get better for him. Some other guys may be Jonathan Taylor, Leonard Fournette in Tampa Bay. There are a lot of players I can point out here.”
What are you hearing on Christian McCaffrey’s shoulder situation? “Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule is saying it’s day-to-day. The NFL Network is suggesting that McCaffrey is maybe unlikely to play this week. So, it’s sort of a situation where you’re going to be watching this on a daily basis right up until Friday. For me, if McCaffrey is a no-go, Mike Davis suddenly becomes an RB1 or an RB2 again. So hopefully you drop him in your fantasy league because he has done well in McCaffrey’s absence but right now it’s a legit “questionable” tag and it’s a shame, too because he’s played three games this year and he’s been awesome.”
Who are some quarterback options on the waiver wire this week? “Tua Tagovailoa. Cardinals’ fans should know that more than anybody because he looked great. I think a lot of people were sort of spooked by him in his first start because he only had 93 yards and the defense and special teams were just ridiculous. He didn’t need to do much and so, going up against the Cardinals’ defense, which has been pretty good, you’re thinking, ‘Tua’s not a good start this week.’ He was and he needs to be added. Teddy Bridgewater needs to be added. Derek Carr if you’re looking for a quarterback to stream. Drew Lock – who I told you about last week.”
How about at wide receiver? “Curtis Samuel has been the best Panthers’ wide receiver in fantasy in the last three games. Jakobi Meyers – 14 targets! I know it’s the Jets and they stink but he’s been getting exclusively targeted by Cam Newton. They have the Ravens this week. That’s a bad matchup. Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler in Denver. Both worth a look off the wire. Christian Kirk and John Brown are probably owned in most leagues but that doesn’t mean you can’t check their availability in some non-competitive leagues. Nelson Agholor has a touchdown in three of his last four games. Michael Pittman Jr. led the Colts’ wide receivers in targets last week. Jalen Reagor is probably out there for the Eagles.”
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