Fabiano’s Fantasy Focus: 2021 Offseason, Volume II

Arizona Sports News online

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 the upcoming NFL Draft. Here are some highlights from our most recent conversation (March 9) with the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association Hall of Famer.

Based on mock drafts, who are some quarterbacks in the upcoming draft that fantasy owners should keep an eye on? 

“That’s the low hanging fruit. Trevor Lawrence is going to Jacksonville and he’s going to be the starter in 2021. What does Jacksonville do to solidify the offensive line and add offensive weapons? That’s what we have to see. They’ve got a lot of money to spend. You’ve got Chris Conley, you’ve got Dede Westbrook, and you’ve got Keelan Cole all heading into free agency. You’ve got D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault too, who I like a lot. He’s a guy (Shenault) that I think Urban Meyer is going to utilize a lot like he did at Ohio State where he’s that gadget type of player. Do they also bring back Allen Robinson, who was drafted by the Jaguars. Do they bring in a potential number one wide receiver? Then you also look at tight ends. They could go out and maybe try to sign Hunter Henry assuming he doesn’t get tagged by the Chargers. I don’t know that Lawrence will make a Justin Herbert type of impact, but he could be a top-15 quarterback if the Jaguars put enough talent around him.”

What are your thoughts on the other quarterbacks on the board?

“If the Jets decide they are going with a quarterback and they are going to trade Sam Darnold, I’d like to see Justin Fields go there because I like to see guys who can run with the football and Fields can run. He was pretty accurate this season at Ohio State, too. I’d like to see him go to a team where he’s going to have a chance to start right away. If he goes to Atlanta, assuming that the Falcons are going to take a quarterback of the future, whether it’s Fields or Zach Wilson, they aren’t going to have much value in redrafts because Matt Ryan is going to be the starter. Or you look at Carolina, they apparently aren’t happy with Teddy Bridgewater and they bring in Trey Lance. I don’t think Lance would be a guy who is under center in week one. I think he needs a little bit of time and he’s also coming from North Dakota State. Then Mac Jones, he’s more like a Ben Roethlisberger type. Big arm, big guy, pocket passer. Say he ends up with the Patriots, would he have any fantasy value? Maybe, but when you look back at the history of the NFL, rookie quarterbacks who thrive run with the ball. A lot of it has to do with where these guys get drafted.”

Who has the most fantasy potential out of this draft? 

“Kyle Pitts because they talk about this kid as a generational talent who could be the next Travis Kelce or Tony Gonzalez in terms of statistical success and tight ends are really hard to find both in fantasy and in real football. Where he lands doesn’t matter because he’s going to be featured in an offense regardless of where he goes. That guy is going to be very interesting.”

When it starts, who are some guys that you are looking at in free agency from a fantasy perspective?

“The biggest player to potentially move will be Aaron Jones but as we speak here right now, he hasn’t been tagged by the Packers. He’s at $8 million and because of COVID, that’s a very reasonable price to tag a guy who has been a top-five fantasy running back for the last two years. I know Green Bay doesn’t look at it that way but I do. If he hits the open market, Atlanta would be a great spot for him. That would also allow AJ Dillon to take over the starting role in Green Bay. I’d assume they would bring back Jamaal Williams and it’d be kind of a running back by committee scenario, but Dillon could be a nice sleeper. I look at Jones because of his domino effect. If he’s still in Green Bay, he’s still going to be a top-15 pick.”

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