Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: 2019 Pre-Season, Volume II

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Every week during the season NFL Network and NFL.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 5th) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

If you had to pick one: Baker Mayfield or Patrick Mahomes? “It’s Mahomes. I love Mayfield and there’s no reason not to, especially with the addition of OBJ-that offense is going to be a lot of fun but Mahomes is coming off the best fantasy season in history. Is regression possible for Mahomes? Sure. The dude had 50 touchdowns last season. But even if he goes for 4800 yards and 45 touchdowns that’s still a hell of a season for fantasy owners.” 

Where are you at with Melvin Gordon and his holdout? “That one’s tricky. This isn’t the same situation as Le’Veon Bell. I wouldn’t expect Melvin Gordon to miss the entire season. I would not be shocked if he missed regular season games. At some point he needs to return to keep his free-agency status in check for the upcoming season but, at this point, he’s coming off the board late second round. I’ve actually seen him go off the board in the third round in some drafts because he seems dug in, the Chargers seem dug in and they do have Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson who both performed admirably when Gordon was out of action last season so he’s going to be drafted. He’s not going to be a top five pick which he was before the holdout had started. But, if you get him, it’s all about insuring yourself. Try and get Ekeler or at least have backfield depth.”

How about Ezekiel Elliott over in Dallas? “The deeper we get into camp and he’s still not there, you do get a little worried. But I haven’t moved him. I really feel like where the Chargers are with Gordon, they seem to be on different pages because of the money. I feel like the Cowboys know Ezekiel Elliott is the centerpiece of that offense and a very valuable asset. Jerry Jones has even said so much that he’s not concerned about the impending contracts that he’ll have to be dealing with in terms of Amari Cooper, Zeke and Dak Prescott so I haven’t moved Zeke yet. Now if we get into the middle of August and he hasn’t come to camp then maybe I move down past a Christian McCaffery or Alvin Kamara or Le’Veon Bell but I still see him being a first-round pick. I just feel like he’s in a different situation that Gordon. I have less concerns about Zeke.”

Do you believe Aaron Rodgers is in line for a bounce back season? “I still think Rodgers has plenty left and he was the QB6 last season and I get it, he wasn’t what we were all hoping he’d be but he was still the QB6. Remember, he had a lot of young wide receivers like Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. These guys now have a year of experience under their belt and playing in an offense with Aaron Rodgers is going to do nothing but benefit them so I still have Rodgers as the second quarterback to come off the board, although it’s close with him and Andrew Luck and DeShaun Watson.”

Are you fairly certain Todd Gurley’s knee is ready to go through the grind of the season? “I know people who know Todd. His knee is good to go right now. Now, is there a chance he could miss time during the regular season which would allow Darrell Henderson a bigger opportunity as a rookie? Absolutely. But football is a tough game and there isn’t a player out there who isn’t at risk of some sort of injury. Maybe Gurley’s past issues move him up a little bit in terms of likelihood to re-injure but he’s been the elite running back in fantasy football for two-straight seasons and as a late second-round pick I feel like he’s worth the risk. Now, if you draft Gurley, you do want to try to target Henderson but he’s going in the sixth or seventh-round believe it or not. So Henderson is either going to be boom or bust. He’s either going to be well worth that pick or not worth it at all.”

Will the fantasy value of Tom Brady continue to slide? “He’s 42 years. He just had a birthday and got an extension so life is good for Tom Brady but he’s a regressing fantasy player. His fantasy points per game average has dropped in three-straight seasons. His touchdown passes, his passing yards…on average, all worse in games without Rob Gronkowski since Gronkowski came into the league. He’s averaging around three fantasy points less per game in his career without Rob Gronkowski. He is a guy now I would draft maybe in the last three or four rounds and I wouldn’t expect him to become that elite fantasy quarterback that he once was, especially with the weapons he has now. The names just don’t jump out at you.”

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