Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: Regular Season Vol. I – Who To Start Week One

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.

In our most recent conversation with Michael (Sep. 7) we went over which players fantasy managers should absolutely play in the first week of the regular season, and which ones are best kept on the bench. Here are the most salient moments from that discussion:

Quarterbacks To Play:

Arizona Sports News online


“I’m digging on Jalen Hurts this week against Atlanta. I think that’s going to be a high-scoring game. I like him against that bad [Falcons] defense. Ryan Tannehill, sorry Cardinals fans, your defensive backfield has some question marks going into week one. I think Tannehill is a good play. I’m interested to see what that offense looks like with Julio Jones.”

Quarterbacks To Avoid:

Arizona Sports News online


“Ben Roethlisberger against the Bills. He’s failed to score more than 13.5 fantasy points in five career games against Buffalo. Jameis Winston, if you’re in a two quarterback league, I get it. It could be a high-scoring game, but it’s a home game for the Saints where they’re playing in Jacksonville because of Hurricane Ida. I know Marquez Callaway has been great but does that translate into the regular season? Time will tell. If I’m in a traditional league, I’m probably keeping Jameis on the bench.”  

Running Backs To Play:

“James Robinson, Raheem Mostert, I like them this week. Gus Edwards as well. All the Ravens running backs are hurt except for Edwards. They’ve got Tyson Williams behind him on the depth chart and that’s it.”

Running Backs To Avoid:

“If you don’t have better running backs than Josh Jacobs, you’ve probably got to play him. The matchup against Baltimore is not great. Same thing with D’andre Swift. You’ve probably got to play him assuming he’s active but he missed a lot of the summer with injuries and I just don’t know that he’s going to get a full workload after coming off of a camp and a preseason where he didn’t do that much because he was banged up. Jamaal Williams could be pretty prominent.”

Wide Receivers To Play:

“Tee Higgins in what could be a high-scoring game against Minnesota. [The Vikings] defensive backfield still has question marks. Brandon Aiyuk, keep in mind he’s dealing with a hamstring problem, but it looks like he’s going to be good to go. Deebo Samuel in that same game is a good play as well, especially if Aiyuk is a late inactive. I also like Devonta Smith this week as a flex starter in a good matchup.”

Wide Receivers To Avoid:

Arizona Sports News online


“Odell Beckham, Jr. Don’t love the matchup [against the Chiefs] and remember – OBJ in Cleveland has averaged 12 fantasy points per game. Kenny Golladay, if active, don’t touch him against Denver. He did nothing in the preseason, he’s hurt, and I just don’t trust that Giants offense. I think they’re going to struggle.”

Tight Ends To Play:

Arizona Sports News online


“I like Dallas Goedert and Logan Thomas based on the matchups.” 

Tight Ends To Avoid:

“Tight ends are tough. I write about so many players, and I can’t mention (Travis) Kelce, I can’t mention (George) Kittle, I can’t mention (Darren) Waller, I can’t mention (Mark) Andrews, I can’t mention (Kyle) Pitts and I can’t mention (T.J.) Hockenson because they’re all must-starts. So that shrinks my pool of players that I can talk about, but Jared Cook is a guy I’d bench this week, Gerald Everett is a guy I’d bench this week.”