Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: 2020 Week One, Volume I

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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 (September 8th) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

With Adrian Peterson in Detroit now, how are you handling the Lions’ backfield? “With kid gloves, honesty because you’ve got some big question marks right now. D’Andre Swift is also banged up, he’s got the leg. They put Bo Scarborough on injured reserve so, who’s going to get the majority of the touches this week against Chicago? It’s uncertain. If Swift plays, I’d say he’s probably limited. If he doesn’t play, it’s going to be Kerryon Johnson and Adrian Peterson. Peterson came in, mostly, because he knows the offense and he worked together with Darrell Bevell when they were both in Minnesota. I also know Peterson’s not a guy who’s going to come in and expect to sit on the sidelines. So, either way, it’s going to be a committee scenario. I’m not big on anybody in that backfield so, I would fade all of them if possible. If you have to start one, if Swift is out, it would be Kerryon Johnson but a lot of question marks there.”

Who is a Week One sit for you? “Don’t like Aaron Rodgers this week and I know that seems crazy because he’s been one of the elite quarterbacks in fantasy football but here’s the problem. Last year he was coming off a massive disappointment. Last year he scored fewer than 16 fantasy points in both games against Minnesota. This is a game that Vegas expects to be very close. The line is only 2.5 so you’re probably not going to see any garbage time situations or favorable game script from Rodgers. I think they’re going to run the football. So, he is a guy I would avoid this week.”

With Deebo Samuel being activated, how are you handling the 49ers wide receivers this weekend against the Cardinals? “I’m trying to listen to reports there because I don’t know if Deebo is going to be limited. If he is, I’d probably fade him this week. If he’s going to be a full go, I’m starting him against Arizona. That game could see some points put up on the board. So it really all depends. It’s only Tuesday so we’ll have to watch how it plays out. We’re not sure if it’s going to be a lot of Brandon Aiyuk. If it’s going to be a lot of Trent Taylor. It’s certainly going to be a lot of George Kittle but if Deebo can go out there and practice all week, then I’m going to feel pretty good about him in Week One.” 

What defenses are you looking at for the best matchups this weekend? “I like Buffalo this week against the Jets, without question. The Indianapolis Colts could be a good play, too against the Jacksonville Jaguars. You’re going to want to take a look at those two defenses specifically  as being one of two in top 10. I think Buffalo is probably the number one option at the position. The Patriots’ defense is a top 10 option this week, as well. Although I will say, with all the opt-outs they had, there is some question marks there but Miami and Ryan Fitzpatrick – there’s good Ryan Fitzpatrick and the there’s “Badtrick.” So, depending on which one you get this week, if it’s the guy who turns the ball over a ton – well, the Patriots’ defense could be a nice play. Philadelphia’s defense also is a nice play for defenses this week for Week One.”

Let’s stick with the Patriots. Please make sense of what’s going on in their backfield – who’s the guy?  “It’s certainly James Washington. He is a guy who is going to see a lot of opportunities as a pass-catcher. He’s basically a wide receiver in a running back’s body s0 I would certainly play him against the Dolphins who struggled against running backs last year. But also, Sony Michel is back in the mix so with Lamar Miller gone and Harris out, you’re looking at Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. Burkhead will see some touches, no doubt about that but Michel could lead that backfield, in terms of carries. As I mentioned, the Dolphins were not great against running backs last year. They gave up an average of about 26 (fantasy) points per game to that position. So, Michel goes from being a guy we’re avoiding to, suddenly, someone we’re maybe starting in the flex position. Welcome to the 2020 fantasy football season.”

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