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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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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You see the struggles of the Cleveland Browns. You see the incompetence of Freddie Kitchens. You see the public turning on Baker Mayfield.

I beg of you. Please don’t sell Odell Beckham Jr.

The list of wide receivers in the last 2 years who finished top 10 in targets and top 5 in overall air yards that didn’t finish in the top 10 of fantasy football wide receivers is blank. Beckham is currently tied for 9th in targets per game among wide receivers. He is 5th in overall air yards. He is currently the 22nd rated WR in PPR. It is incredibly unlikely with the usage he is receiving, even factoring in a poor schedule, that OBJ doesn’t end the year as a WR1. Do not bail! In the interest of full disclosure I predicted Beckham as my fantasy MVP in the pre-season so I’m going down with this ship, but I’ve provided a really compelling argument to go along with my bias!

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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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QB10 in fantasy scoring and QB2 in NFL passing yards through 4 weeks, Matt Ryan visits the Lone Star State in matchup carrying the tied-for-2nd highest point total in week 5. The 13th toughest fantasy defense against quarterbacks, the Houston D/ST unit look a lot tougher on paper than what I believe will be on display this Sunday. Two of Houston’s best defensive outings were against quarterbacks that entered the season as backups on their respective depth chart. Including 6th round rookie QB Gardner Minshew (JAC) in his first NFL start and 2nd year backup Kyle Allen (CAR) getting the 2nd start of his career. In Houston’s two matchups against top 10 NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, the defense surrendered an average of 327.5 passing yards per game, QB12 (Brees) and QB13 (Rivers) fantasy finishes, and 4 total passing touchdowns. After nearly topping 400 yards passing (397) last week, Matt Ryan failed to pass for a TD against TEN. This is a prime bounce back spot for Matt Ryan to find the endzone through the air in a game where ATL are -4.5 underdogs and an implied score that includes 3 TDs for the Falcons. Rudy projects Ryan as the QB8 this weekend. 

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I’ll be honest… I haven’t paid much attention to rest of season rankings in my fantasy football playing time. So when MB asked me to rank the top 80 flex players the rest of the way it was a new adventure for me. Often times when you do something new it brings an entirely new perspective to the entire process. With that in mind when I finished my list the first thing I did was check to compare to the industry. The differences I found most significant are listed below and I will continue to call those major differences out with an explanation and blurb on a weekly basis. Hopefully you find these rest of season rankings useful and it can stir up some discussion. These rankings are without QBs and based on half PPR setting in a standard 1 QB/2 RB/2-3 WR/1 Flex league. The rankings shouldn’t necessarily be used for a trade value chart, they are a combination of past success and current situation to quantify a future value in my eyes. Use that mindset and apply that value to your team’s current context in terms of league standings and roster construction before making any transactions.

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The real question, who do we not start in this AFC playoff preview? BAL @ KC carries the highest line heading into week 3. Both teams making their second appearance in the weekly Shootout vs Blowout preview, and now fans get the pleasure of viewing both teams on the same field. If you like money, please put a couple of cash DFS lineups together with BAL/KC players sprinkled throughout.

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This AFC Divisional bout is slated as the highest point total in week 2. Initially opening on Monday morning as the 2nd highest point total. But following Oaklands offensive display on prime-time Monday Night Football against a loaded defensive Denver team, Vegas bumped the line on the KC/OAK matchup to the top dog. Passing up the 2017 NFC championship re-match, NO @ LAR.

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The pronounced offseason ‘champs’ lose 43-13, the quarterback that ‘can’t pass’ tosses 5 touchdowns for over 300yds passing, the defending NFC champs win 30-27 without a starting skill player scoring a touchdown, and former 1st round ‘bust’ WR goes for 158 yds and 2 TDs. Can we get an Allelujah? The NFL is back.

Unfortunately, along with all of the excitement that was brought in week 1, plenty of angst was brought upon starting fantasy rosters. Each week, the handcuff report will highlight key running back waiver acquisitions or necessary watch list candidates. Bench spots are fluid and managing who to add each week is critical in any quest to fantasy football glory. Let’s get started with the bad boyz of week 1….

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