Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: 2021 Offseason, Volume IV

Every week during the NFL season, Sports Illustrated Senior Fantasy Analyst Michael Fabiano joins Sports360AZ’s Brad Cesmat to share his insight on building and developing your fantasy team for success.

This time, Fabiano joined the Brad Cesmat Show to discuss offseason happenings around the league and the recent NFL Draft. Here are some highlights from our most recent conversation (May 6) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

The 2021 rookie class. What player should have a “buyer beware” tag labeled on them? 

“Travis Etienne because he was the first or second running back in this draft class. He goes to Jacksonville and that thing is potentially going to be a mess. You love the name and ADP data less than a week out has Etienne going two or three rounds ahead of James Robinson. I don’t know if that’s going to be the case. I don’t know what their roles are going to be but I did hear Urban Meyer say that Travis Etienne would be a good third down back. Really? You are going to draft him in the first round as third down back? I had Fred Taylor on my show earlier and he thinks James Robinson will be the early down back and Etienne will be the pass-catching option, complimentary back and maybe even more, but he’s not going to be a featured back. James Robinson was the RB7 last year in fantasy. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry. He’s a good player, and oh by the way Carlos Hyde is in that mix too. Be careful with Travis Etienne. I love the talent and versatility, but I hate the landing spot.”

Shifting to the quarterbacks, are there any rookie QB’s who are worth taking a shot on? 

“Trevor Lawrence is going to get drafted in every single seasonal league as a QB2 and he should be. I don’t know that he’s going to be Justin Herbert as a rookie, but he should be pretty good. Zach Wilson is not going to get drafted in seasonal leagues. He’s got the curse of the Jets quarterback. I don’t love him as a fantasy option. He will be a dynasty pick.”

How do you assess the rookie QB’s who haven’t yet been named starters and will have veterans in front of them (Lance, Jones, Fields)?

“You look at Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo is still there. I would suggest that Lance will probably start plenty of games for the Niners next season unless Garoppolo and the Niners are rolling. He’s a versatile player. There’s enough there to suggest that Lance will start games. Justin Fields, the Bears are saying Andy Dalton is our QB1. It’s May. They didn’t bring Justin Fields in to be a backup. Maybe Dalton starts week one, maybe he doesn’t start week two. Dalton’s not going to be picked in seasonal leagues, Fields will be. Then Mac Jones, he ended up in a good long-term spot with Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels. The offense would have to change if they brought Mac Jones in because right now Cam Newton is very mobile and a guy they are going to run a lot of RPO’s with. You aren’t going to do that with Jones, but long-term in that fit with what the Patriots did in the offseason bringing in some tight ends and some wide receivers, I don’t know if Cam Newton is going to lose that job unless he gets hurt or is playing really poorly and the Patriots fall out of postseason contention.”

Which rookie quarterback is the most valuable in redrafts?

“Overall if we’re just talking about redrafts, Lawrence is probably the only quarterback to be taken in the middle to late rounds, then I can see Fields and Lance coming off the board a little later on as QB2s but again, neither one is guaranteed to start in week one. Maybe neither of those guys is actually in a prominent role for their respective team until a quarter of the way through the season.”