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Week 8 Rankings Analysis - Nick Mariano vs. Industry ECR


Howdy, and welcome to the weekly column that puts my rankings under the microscope and compares them against the Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR). My hope is to help you understand why I’m significantly higher or lower on players than the expert crowd. Do note that the ECR will shift!

Who am I and why should you care? I was the ninth-most accurate in-season expert on FantasyPros (out of 125) last season and sit at 20th (out of 130) so far in ‘18. You deserve the best and I want to objectively be among the sharpest out there. I'll be examining my own ranks against the ECR on a position-by-position basis, as the overall and flex tabs can simply get insane. I focus on QB, RB, WR, TE and this week I'm bringing in a little kicker section.

Below you will find my rankings and analysis, separated by position. If anything strikes a chord, I’m always available for questions via Twitter: @NMariano53. But enough chit-chat, let’s get to it.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Week 8 Quarterbacks - Rankings Analysis

I don’t love any QBs at more than two slots beyond the ECR, but the three that do and nestle their way into my top-12 are worth mentioning. Kirk Cousins (No. 2 vs. 4), Tom Brady (5 vs. 7) and Mitch Trubisky (11 vs. 13).

The Saints pass defense has recovered from the brink of destruction but is still beatable with Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Kyle Rudolph. Meanwhile, no Dalvin Cook only enhances New Orleans’ advantage as the stingiest run defense against the Vikes. Minny is favored by a point at some Vegas books with a game total of 52.5, so I’ll take their QB over anyone not named Patrick Mahomes.

Brady could be missing a true run game if Sony Michel sits against Buffalo, which means a statline akin to Andrew Luck’s four-TD show in Week 7 is possible, which made Luck the QB4. If he gets Rob Gronkowski back then I may have to edge him up another slot.

Brady’s Week 7 opponent, Trubisky, has passed for at least 316 yards with a combined 11 pass TDs over his last three games. Not only that, but he delivered a 6-81-1 rushing line. The Bears are favored by seven over the Jets and I don’t expect Jordan Howard to suddenly wake up -- the Jets have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher in ‘18.

On the other side of the top-12 discussion are Cam Newton and Deshaun Watson. I know Cam can turn it on and become Superman at any point, but Baltimore’s defense is frightful and just held Drew Brees to a QB17 ranking. Frankly, I’m avoiding this BAL-CAR game on all fronts. The Ravens have allowed the second-lowest average fantasy score to QBs in ‘18 and there are simply better matchups to chase.

Watson and the Texans don’t have one of those said matchups on Thursday night. Not only is the second-year QB dealing with a bruised lung and rib, but he’ll be without slot man Keke Coutee. Houston is favored by 7.5 with a 44-point total and I see little reason for the Texans to put their star in harm’s way when Miami’s offense is in shambles. I expect a heavy dose of the run game and the defense to carry the Texans to victory, leaving those who started Watson out in the cold.

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR
1 Patrick Mahomes KC QB 1 0
2 Kirk Cousins MIN QB 4 2
3 Jared Goff LAR QB 3 0
4 Aaron Rodgers GB QB 2 -2
5 Tom Brady NE QB 7 2
6 Ben Roethlisberger PIT QB 5 -1
7 Andrew Luck IND QB 6 -1
8 Drew Brees NO QB 8 0
9 Jameis Winston TB QB 9 0
10 Andy Dalton CIN QB 10 0
11 Mitch Trubisky CHI QB 13 2
12 Russell Wilson SEA QB 14 2
13 Cam Newton CAR QB 12 -1
14 Matthew Stafford DET QB 15 1
15 Deshaun Watson HOU QB 11 -4
16 Carson Wentz PHI QB 16 0
17 Baker Mayfield CLE QB 17 0
18 Blake Bortles JAC QB 24 6
19 Case Keenum DEN QB 19 0
20 C.J. Beathard SF QB 22 2
21 Joe Flacco BAL QB 18 -3
22 Alex Smith WAS QB 21 -1
23 Derek Carr OAK QB 20 -3
24 Eli Manning NYG QB 23 -1
25 Josh Rosen ARI QB 26 1
26 Brock Osweiler MIA QB 25 -1
27 Sam Darnold NYJ QB 27 0
28 Derek Anderson BUF QB 28 0
29 Taysom Hill NO QB 30 1
30 Lamar Jackson BAL QB 29 -1
31 Nathan Peterman BUF QB 32 1
32 Brandon Weeden HOU QB 35 3

 

Week 8 Running Backs - Rankings Analysis

The most notable RB that I’m higher on is my outlier from that PHI-JAX tilt, as I have Wendell Smallwood at 23 compared to an ECR of 32. The Jaguars have given up rushing line of 22-87-1, 24-106-1 and 22-100-1 over the last three weeks. On the one hand, two of those were against Kareem Hunt and Ezekiel Elliott, but the third was Lamar Miller so it evens out to a league-average RB, right?

The Eagles are favored by three on the road and Smallwood looked better than Corey Clement in Week 7, posting 32 yards on nine carries compared to Clement’s six yards on eight totes according to the box score. What the stats don’t tell you is how a holding penalty took away a 50-yard screen pass. It is a platoon, but Smallwood has logged snap counts of 62% and 52% compared to Clement’s 37% in each of their last two games.

It looks like I’m attending the Player Hater’s Ball with Kerryon Johnson (18 vs. 12), Chris Carson (25 vs. 19) and Latavius Murray (26 vs. 20). Before you Kansas fans jump on me for going against Johnson after his fantastic Week 7, we need to accept Johnson’s lower ceiling due to limited touches and the presence of LeGarrette Blount at the goal line.

As far as Carson goes, his snap share reached a high of 72% in Week 3 before he missed Week 4. He was then in on 58% in Week 5 and 42% in Week 6, which is when Rashaad Penny touched the ball 11 times to Carson’s 14. Part of that may have been Seattle winning 27-3 over a toothless Raider squad, but Penny is a first-rounder and Mike Davis, who had seven touches in Week 6, isn’t going away either. I can’t put Carson in my top-20 with a realistic three-RB committee unfolding. Plus, the Lions just scooped DT Damon Harrison, perhaps the best run defender in the NFL, to shore up their ailing rush D.

And then there’s Murray, who will get Minnesota’s backfield to himself again with Dalvin Cook out. He’s been fantastic in Cook’s stead, but I’m fading him for the same reason I faded Collins in Week 6 -- the Saints run defense is terrifying. They haven’t yielded more than 50 yards to a rusher since Week 1 when Peyton Barber(!) tallied 69. Mix in that Minnesota’s offensive line ranks a paltry 28th per FootballOutsiders’ adjusted line yards metric with 3.67 and I’m out.

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR
1 Todd Gurley LAR RB 1 0
2 Kareem Hunt KC RB 2 0
3 Saquon Barkley NYG RB 3 0
4 James Conner PIT RB 4 0
5 Joe Mixon CIN RB 5 0
6 David Johnson ARI RB 7 1
7 James White NE RB 8 1
8 Alvin Kamara NO RB 6 -2
9 Phillip Lindsay DEN RB 11 2
10 Marlon Mack IND RB 9 -1
11 Christian McCaffrey CAR RB 10 -1
12 Nick Chubb CLE RB 14 2
13 Adrian Peterson WAS RB 13 0
14 Mark Ingram NO RB 18 4
15 Jordan Howard CHI RB 15 0
16 Tarik Cohen CHI RB 16 0
17 Lamar Miller HOU RB 17 0
18 Kerryon Johnson DET RB 12 -6
19 Isaiah Crowell NYJ RB 22 3
20 Kenyan Drake MIA RB 23 3
21 Alex Collins BAL RB 21 0
22 T.J. Yeldon JAC RB 24 2
23 Wendell Smallwood PHI RB 32 9
24 Kenjon Barner NE RB 40 16
25 Chris Carson SEA RB 19 -6
26 Latavius Murray MIN RB 20 -6
27 Matt Breida SF RB 48 21
28 Aaron Jones GB RB 30 2
29 Corey Clement PHI RB 31 2
30 Doug Martin OAK RB 25 -5
31 Ronald Jones II TB RB 35 4
32 Jalen Richard OAK RB 27 -5
33 Frank Gore MIA RB 36 3
34 Chris Ivory BUF RB 28 -6
35 Chris Thompson WAS RB 29 -6
36 Raheem Mostert SF RB 26 -10
37 Duke Johnson CLE RB 34 -3
38 Carlos Hyde JAC RB 33 -5
39 Peyton Barber TB RB 37 -2
40 Javorius Allen BAL RB 39 -1
41 Jamaal Williams GB RB 45 4
42 Royce Freeman DEN RB 38 -4
43 LeSean McCoy BUF RB 56 13
44 Rashaad Penny SEA RB 47 3
45 LeGarrette Blount DET RB 42 -3
46 Nyheim Hines IND RB 41 -5
47 Sony Michel NE RB 71 24
48 Ty Montgomery GB RB 46 -2
49 Mike Davis SEA RB 43 -6
50 Kyle Juszczyk SF RB 53 3
51 Deandre Washington OAK RB 64 13
52 Trenton Cannon NYJ RB 52 0
53 Alfred Blue HOU RB 50 -3
54 Devontae Booker DEN RB 54 0
55 Mark Walton CIN RB 60 5
56 Spencer Ware KC RB 51 -5
57 Theo Riddick DET RB 61 4
58 Malcolm Brown LAR RB 59 1
59 Chase Edmonds ARI RB 63 4
60 Wayne Gallman NYG RB 62 2
61 C.J. Anderson CAR RB 55 -6
62 Marcus Murphy BUF RB 49 -13
63 Josh Adams PHI RB 65 2
64 Alfred Morris SF RB 44 -20
65 Kapri Bibbs WAS RB 57 -8
66 Gus Edwards BAL RB 75 9
67 Tyler Ervin HOU RB 69 2
68 Jordan Wilkins IND RB 58 -10
69 Samaje Perine WAS RB 79 10
70 Anthony Sherman KC RB 74 4
71 James Develin NE RB 81 10
72 Alex Armah CAR RB 91 19
73 Andy Janovich DEN RB 84 11
74 Jacquizz Rodgers TB RB 66 -8
75 Ameer Abdullah DET RB 73 -2
76 Damien Williams KC RB 82 6
77 Roc Thomas MIN RB 70 -7
78 Mike Boone MIN RB 68 -10
79 Tommy Bohanon JAC RB 92 13
80 Benny Cunningham CHI RB 78 -2
81 CJ Ham MIN RB 72 -9
82 Patrick DiMarco BUF RB 87 5
83 Ryan Hewitt IND RB 97 14
84 Kalen Ballage MIA RB 83 -1
85 Zach Line NO RB 98 13

 

Week 8 Wide Receivers - Rankings Analysis

No WR stands out to me in the top-30, but I will say that I currently have Will Fuller at 19 against an ECR of 22. The only thing holding me back is the aforementioned worry about Watson’s passing volume, but I can’t ignore Fuller’s potential with Coutee out. DeAndre Hopkins is a monster and can rarely be pulled out of the weekly top-10 no matter what, but I’m sure most of you have seen Fuller’s splits with/without Coutee in the lineup by now.

In case you haven’t noticed, Fuller hasn’t eclipsed 70 yards with Coutee in versus two 100+ yard performances with a touchdown in two games without. Plus, Hopkins will draw Xavien Howard so that Fuller can routinely burn the slower Bobby McCain.

On the other side of the ball, most will be drawn to Danny Amendola’s safe floor on the inside against backup Houston fill-in Shareece Wright, but I’m most interested in Jakeem Grant (my WR38 against ECR WR57). Grant flashed on radars with a 2-70-2 line in Week 3 but had been pushed out by Albert Wilson in most three-wide sets. With Wilson (and Kenny Stills) out, it’ll be Grant, Amendola and Devante Parker for Miami. Grant turned in a 70% snap count last week and no Houston DB can keep up with his wheels.

It’s become popular to rag on Jacksonville’s defense and pick on star DB Jalen Ramsey after he was sonned by DeAndre Hopkins (that helmet-slap inside move, oy), but Hopkins, one of the best WRs in the game, still only posted a 3-50-1 line on eight targets. Anyway, the point here is that Alshon Jeffery is at 31 for me against an ECR of 25.

I love what Jeffery’s done so far and am very happy with drafting him in season-long leagues, but Ramsey and A.J. Bouye are big bodies on the perimeter. Jeffery’s only poor game of ‘18 came against Minnesota when Xavier Rhodes held him to 2-39-0 on eight targets. Again, this isn’t a start/sit article and most of us don’t have three or four other top-30 WRs to plug in, but I don’t see a top-25 setup in Week 8.

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR
1 Antonio Brown PIT WR 2 1
2 Adam Thielen MIN WR 1 -1
3 Tyreek Hill KC WR 4 1
4 A.J. Green CIN WR 3 -1
5 DeAndre Hopkins HOU WR 5 0
6 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG WR 8 2
7 Davante Adams GB WR 6 -1
8 Michael Thomas NO WR 7 -1
9 Robert Woods LAR WR 9 0
10 Juju Smith-Schuster PIT WR 10 0
11 Brandin Cooks LAR WR 11 0
12 Mike Evans TB WR 13 1
13 Stefon Diggs MIN WR 12 -1
14 Jarvis Landry CLE WR 16 2
15 Tyler Boyd CIN WR 17 2
16 Emmanuel Sanders DEN WR 14 -2
17 Golden Tate DET WR 18 1
18 Kenny Golladay DET WR 19 1
19 Will Fuller HOU WR 22 3
20 T.Y. Hilton IND WR 15 -5
21 John Brown BAL WR 20 -1
22 Josh Gordon NE WR 21 -1
23 Doug Baldwin SEA WR 24 1
24 Julian Edelman NE WR 23 -1
25 Tyler Lockett SEA WR 26 1
26 Demaryius Thomas DEN WR 27 1
27 Marvin Jones DET WR 28 1
28 Allen Robinson CHI WR 31 3
29 Sammy Watkins KC WR 33 4
30 Michael Crabtree BAL WR 29 -1
31 Alshon Jeffery PHI WR 25 -6
32 Taylor Gabriel CHI WR 35 3
33 DeSean Jackson TB WR 30 -3
34 Sterling Shepard NYG WR 34 0
35 Jordy Nelson OAK WR 36 1
36 Devin Funchess CAR WR 32 -4
37 Donte Moncrief JAC WR 48 11
38 Jakeem Grant MIA WR 57 19
39 Christian Kirk ARI WR 40 1
40 Chris Godwin TB WR 38 -2
41 Geronimo Allison GB WR 37 -4
42 Marquise Goodwin SF WR 41 -1
43 Robby Anderson NYJ WR 39 -4
44 Tre'Quan Smith NO WR 42 -2
45 Nelson Agholor PHI WR 47 2
46 Larry Fitzgerald ARI WR 43 -3
47 Jermaine Kearse NYJ WR 53 6
48 Dede Westbrook JAC WR 46 -2
49 Danny Amendola MIA WR 45 -4
50 Courtland Sutton DEN WR 50 0
51 Keelan Cole JAC WR 44 -7
52 Devante Parker MIA WR 65 13
53 Martavis Bryant OAK WR 51 -2
54 Randall Cobb GB WR 52 -2
55 Willie Snead BAL WR 56 1
56 Chris Hogan NE WR 49 -7
57 Kelvin Benjamin BUF WR 55 -2
58 Antonio Callaway CLE WR 58 0
59 Chester Rogers IND WR 54 -5
60 Cameron Meredith NO WR 62 2
61 Damion Ratley CLE WR 69 8
62 Anthony Miller CHI WR 60 -2
63 Pierre Garcon SF WR 66 3
64 David Moore SEA WR 64 0
65 Seth Roberts OAK WR 68 3
66 Ryan Grant IND WR 72 6
67 Josh Doctson WAS WR 59 -8
68 Zay Jones BUF WR 67 -1
69 Josh Reynolds LAR WR 70 1
70 Paul Richardson WAS WR 75 5
71 Adam Humphries TB WR 74 3
72 Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB WR 63 -9
73 Maurice Harris WAS WR 73 0
74 D.J. Moore CAR WR 61 -13
75 Laquon Treadwell MIN WR 88 13
76 Torrey Smith CAR WR 80 4
77 Chris Conley KC WR 76 -1
78 Andre Holmes BUF WR 91 13
79 Chad Williams ARI WR 81 2
80 Andre Roberts NYJ WR 84 4
81 Jordan Matthews PHI WR 83 2
82 Zach Pascal IND WR 95 13
83 Jarius Wright CAR WR 87 4
84 Sammie Coates HOU WR 109 25
85 Brian Quick WAS WR 103 18
86 Demarcus Robinson KC WR 90 4
87 D.J. Chark JAC WR 93 6
88 Trent Taylor SF WR 78 -10
89 Jamison Crowder WAS WR 79 -10
90 Alex Erickson CIN WR 98 8
91 Equanimeous St. Brown GB WR 102 11
92 Aldrick Robinson MIN WR 92 0
93 Brandon Marshall SEA WR 89 -4
94 Cordarrelle Patterson NE WR 71 -23
95 Michael Floyd WAS WR 97 2
96 Phillip Dorsett NE WR 77 -19
97 TJ Jones DET WR 99 2
98 Breshad Perriman CLE WR 101 3
99 J.J. Nelson ARI WR 107 8
100 Curtis Samuel CAR WR 85 -15
101 Khadarel Hodge LAR WR 120 19
102 Austin Carr NO WR 100 -2
103 Brandon LaFell OAK WR 116 13
104 Daesean Hamilton DEN WR 114 10
105 Kendrick Bourne SF WR 108 3
106 Charone Peake NYJ WR 104 -2
107 Russell Shepard NYG WR 122 15
108 Chris Moore BAL WR 105 -3
109 Dontrelle Inman IND WR 118 9
110 Josh Bellamy CHI WR 115 5
111 Nick Williams LAR WR 126 15
112 Victor Bolden Jr. SF WR 134 22
113 Kevin White CHI WR 112 -1
114 Richie James SF WR 129 15
115 Josh Malone CIN WR 135 20
116 Tim Patrick DEN WR 119 3
117 Kamar Aiken PHI WR 139 22
118 Shelton Gibson PHI WR 130 12
119 Deandre Carter PHI WR 132 13
120 Cody Core CIN WR 125 5
121 Bennie Fowler NYG WR 124 3

 

Week 8 Tight Ends - Rankings Analysis

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is quickly becoming a flowchart team, which means if the answer to “Is this player going against Tampa Bay?” is “Yes!” then you play them. Uzomah has played on at least 92% of Cincinnati’s snaps since Tyler Eifert went down in Week 4 with at least 40 yards or a touchdown in each of those. Mix that with how the Bucs have given up the most fantasy points to TEs in ‘18 -- “good” for a collective 40-538-4 across six games -- and now they’ve lost middle linebacker Kwon Alexander to a torn ACL

The biggest TE fade for me is Jordan Reed, who I have at 13 against an ECR of 10. This takes him out of starting territory in 12-teamers, though I recognize most won’t want to sit him. I’d rather play Vance McDonald over him, for what it’s worth. Washington had Chris Thompson, Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson out in Week 7, yet Reed saw just four targets in a tight game against the Cowboys. He hasn’t topped 50 yards since Week 1 and I’m trying to unhinge from those amazing top-three TE days from 2015.

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR
1 Travis Kelce KC TE 1 0
2 Rob Gronkowski NE TE 11 9
3 Zach Ertz PHI TE 2 -1
4 George Kittle SF TE 3 -1
5 Jared Cook OAK TE 6 1
6 David Njoku CLE TE 5 -1
7 Eric Ebron IND TE 4 -3
8 Jimmy Graham GB TE 7 -1
9 Trey Burton CHI TE 8 -1
10 O.J. Howard TB TE 9 -1
11 C.J. Uzomah CIN TE 15 4
12 Vance McDonald PIT TE 13 1
13 Jordan Reed WAS TE 10 -3
14 Kyle Rudolph MIN TE 12 -2
15 Evan Engram NYG TE 14 -1
16 Greg Olsen CAR TE 16 0
17 Benjamin Watson NO TE 17 0
18 Ricky Seals-Jones ARI TE 18 0
19 Charles Clay BUF TE 20 1
20 Mike Gesicki MIA TE 28 8
21 Jack Doyle IND TE 31 10
22 Chris Herndon IV NYJ TE 22 0
23 Dallas Goedert PHI TE 21 -2
24 Cameron Brate TB TE 19 -5
25 Jeff Heuerman DEN TE 23 -2
26 Nick Vannett SEA TE 27 1
27 Nick O'Leary MIA TE 32 5
28 Jesse James PIT TE 24 -4
29 Jordan Akins HOU TE 38 9
30 Vernon Davis WAS TE 25 -5
31 Demetrius Harris KC TE 34 3
32 Mark Andrews BAL TE 26 -6
33 Gerald Everett LAR TE 29 -4
34 Michael Roberts DET TE 35 1
35 Luke Willson DET TE 39 4
36 Hayden Hurst BAL TE 33 -3
37 David Grinnage JAC TE 36 -1
38 Neal Sterling NYJ TE 42 4
39 Blake Bell JAC TE 65 26
40 Erik Swoope IND TE 30 -10
41 Jordan Thomas HOU TE 43 2
42 Tyler Higbee LAR TE 41 -1
43 Jermaine Gresham ARI TE 46 3
44 Matt LaCosse DEN TE 49 5
45 Jason Croom BUF TE 44 -1
46 Nick Boyle BAL TE 40 -6
47 Josh Hill NO TE 37 -10
48 Maxx Williams BAL TE 45 -3
49 Eric Tomlinson NYJ TE 51 2
50 Dwayne Allen NE TE 57 7
51 Levine Toilolo DET TE 59 8
52 Jordan Leggett NYJ TE 47 -5
53 Logan Thomas BUF TE 50 -3
54 Antony Auclair TB TE 68 14
55 Mo Alie-Cox IND TE 56 1
56 David Morgan MIN TE 58 2
57 Dion Sims CHI TE 64 7
58 Scott Simonson NYG TE 70 12
59 Joshua Perkins PHI TE 77 18
60 Durham Smythe MIA TE 75 15
61 Chris Manhertz CAR TE 78 17
62 Brian Parker DEN TE 76 14

 

Week 8 Kickers - Rankings Analysis

I’m testing this out to see if anyone cares, but those of you who utilize kickers might enjoy my being ranked fourth in K rankings per FantasyPros. I do believe it’s an art form and that streaming both kickers and defenses are extremely important (where applicable).

I wish FP counted kickers and defense into the overall accuracy ratings, but oh well. Anyway, I just want to point out that I’m three slots higher on Randy Bullock (5 vs. 8), seven on Adam Vinatieri (6 vs. 13) and two on Chris Boswell (7 vs. 9). The only real sinkers are Justin Tucker (8 vs. 4) and Wil Lutz (10 vs. 6).

If this proves at all interesting to anyone then let me know and we can expand this section, or maybe kickers are just kickers and no one’s here to read about it. You tell me!

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR
1 Harrison Butker KC K 2 1
2 Greg Zuerlein LAR K 1 -1
3 Stephen Gostkowski NE K 3 0
4 Dan Bailey MIN K 5 1
5 Randy Bullock CIN K 8 3
6 Adam Vinatieri IND K 13 7
7 Chris Boswell PIT K 9 2
8 Justin Tucker BAL K 4 -4
9 Matt Prater DET K 7 -2
10 Wil Lutz NO K 6 -4
11 Ka'imi Fairbairn HOU K 10 -1
12 Mason Crosby GB K 11 -1
13 Cody Parkey CHI K 12 -1
14 Dustin Hopkins WAS K 17 3
15 Sebastian Janikowski SEA K 20 5
16 Daniel Carlson OAK K 25 9
17 Robbie Gould SF K 15 -2
18 Chandler Catanzaro TB K 16 -2
19 Jake Elliott PHI K 14 -5
20 Brandon McManus DEN K 18 -2
21 Phil Dawson ARI K 22 1
22 Graham Gano CAR K 19 -3
23 Josh Lambo JAC K 23 0
24 Aldrick Rosas NYG K 21 -3
25 Greg Joseph CLE K 26 1
26 Jason Sanders MIA K 27 1
27 Jason Myers NYJ K 24 -3
28 Steven Hauschka BUF K 29 1

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