Antonio Brown lit up his former team the Oakland Raiders this week, going off for 5 catches for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns as he fully delivered on his 2nd round fantasy-draft-price-tag. And just when his owners needed him most. He also chipped in 1 carry for 13 yards and he didn’t even fart in anyone’s face in the locker room after the win. Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound like the AB I know. *checks notes* Ahhhh this was A.J. Brown, not Antonio Brown! My bad, honest mistake. The Titans 2nd round rookie out of Mississippi, A.J. Brown, now has 6 touchdowns and three 100+ yard games on the season. Can I just draft the entire 2019 rookie receiver class on all of my teams next year? Anyway, here’s what else I saw during yesterday afternoons’ games for fantasy football: 

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Patrick Mahomes takes his offense into Foxborough searching for his first career win against the New England Patriots. Mahomes has thrown for 7 TDs / 2 INT / 647 yds in his two matchups against Belichick, last season. Pat posted 34.5 fantasy points during their regular season matchup (wk 6) and 27.9 points in an overtime loss during the conference championship. Andy Reid has faired well against New England in recent history, averaging 39.7 games over his previous 3 bouts against Bill (1 game with Alex Smith at QB).

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Congratulations everyone! You have passed the first grueling test. After thirteen weeks of non-stop ascent, we’ve reached a clearing where we can all exhale and stretch those weary bones. Grab a mug of tea and admire just how far we’ve come. We used to squabble over whether Chris Godwin and Mike Evans could both be top 10 WRs. Some of us thought it was wise to draft Antonio Brown. Some of us thought Josh Gordon was a league winner.

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We all remember the greatest passing tandems in the history of the NFL: Montana to Rice, Manning to Harrison, and AB to his doctor’s face. But make room legends, there’s a new connection in town: Lock to Sutton. It was a solid debut for the Broncos’ 2nd round pick out of Mizzou, as Drew Lock went 18/28 for 134 yards, adding 3 carries for 15 yards and throwing his first two career touchdown passes. But the real story was that both touchdowns were thrown to second year breakout Courtland Sutton who finished the game with 4 catches for 75 yards and now has 6 touchdowns on the season. Could the the 3rd time be the charm for John Elway drafted QBs? Brock Osweiler (2012 2nd rounder) and Paxton Lynch (2016 1st rounder) were worse investments than the Razzball coin I bought off Grey last year. Maybe, just maybe, this Lock/Sutton hook up could be something special for years to come. Anyway, here’s what else I saw during yesterday afternoon’s games for fantasy football:    

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I’m a fan of international games. I think it adds to the excitement to see the same 32 teams that we watch every year play in different environments. Plus, the more fans that there are from all over the globe means more fantasy football players. It’s just math (dark magic). That being said, this idea of playing at this underprepared Mexico City stadium needs to be shot into the sun. I was getting frustrated seeing divots fly up into the air and seeing players struggle to get their footing, so I can’t imagine how the actual players felt.

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I have been following a simple metric this season for running backs: weighted opportunities (WO) per game. This summer I found that WO/g correlated strongly with fantasy points (FP) per game with an R2 of 0.88 based off 2018 numbers. Granted, this was a small sample size of only 1 year but it’s all the data I had.

In a nutshell, the idea is that players should have a FP/WO ratio of about 1, and if they are above that they are either very efficient or lucky (probably via TDs). If they are below that number, the inverse is assumed. In that piece I identified 4 backs that looked like strong buys this offseason, so let’s see if FP/WO helped.

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Kerryon Johnson was ruled out during Sunday’s bout against the Minnesota Vikings with a reported knee injury. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Monday that Kerryon is expected to miss a couple of weeks. Ty Johnson led the backfield in snaps on Sunday and will be this weeks top RB waiver add. JD McKissic, who was slightly more efficient with his touches than Ty, is a speculative add in deeper formats and for RB needy owners in PPR leagues. If Kerryon’s injury is longer than 1-2 weeks, don’t be surprised to see the Lions make an acquisition at the running back position. Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount are names to watch, unless the Lions make a trade with another NFL team. Both Ajayi and Blount have had workouts for other NFL teams in recent weeks. Either would be worth a bench stash if acquired. Kerryon and the Lions running game has underwhelmed this season, tied for the 11th worst in the league in yards per rush attempts (3.8) and 14th worst in yards per game. Unless you own Kerryon or have huge holes at the RB position, I would not waste top waiver priority position OR blow my FAAB money. We know Ty Johnson is expected to take over the #1 spot, but there is too much uncertainty. The Lions could make an acquisition or decide to treat the backfield like a true RBBC with McKissic, until Kerryon returns.

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The biggest story line coming out of Thursday night will be Patrick Mahomes’ knee. From the sounds of it as I write this, there isn’t a fracture to go along with the dislocated kneecap so that is not the worst news in the world if you depend on Mahomes in fantasy football.

I’ve started writing this at the end of the 3rd quarter. At this point the Broncos are lifeless and Flacco has been sacked 7 times. Nevermind, now it’s 8. Flacco is a corpse out there with zero mobility and the offensive line is not doing him any favors.

I saw this game going quite a bit differently. I thought that Denver had all of the momentum coming into this game off of two straight wins and KC with two straight losses. These teams were playing on 4 days rest and Denver’s roster was a lot healthier coming into the game. Kansas City can’t stop the run and coming into the game, they only had 11 sacks on the season. It turns out that this Denver offense is completely lethargic and unprepared.

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You may think putting NFL players names next to a number 1-80 in an excel spreadsheet is easy but LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING!!!

It is.

Getting the right names… in the right order… slightly more difficult.

The toughest component I’ve found to establishing the rest of seasons rankings is deciphering current injury situations and how the reintegration of personnel will affect team’s offenses moving forward. With that in mind, this week I thought it would be more beneficial to detail some situations that are questionable, and some players in the top 30 with significant injury news.

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