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Greetings, and welcome to the weekly column that puts my rankings on the projector 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 35th (out of 130) so far in ‘18. You deserve the best and I want to be among the sharpest out there -- anyone can have a good week, but I'm going on two strong seasons now. 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 and TE.

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.

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Week 9 Quarterbacks - Rankings Analysis

Up top, I have Drew Brees at No. 5 against a No. 7 ECR grade, while Matt Ryan (8 vs. 10) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (9 vs. 11) also sneak inside my top-10. To make things simple, Ryan and Fitzpatrick QB offenses that throw the ball nearly 65% of the time, making them top-eight passing teams capable of putting up QB1 numbers. I have to respect the ceilings.

It’s also worth mentioning that I have Dak Prescott, now with a legitimate No. 1 WR (sorry, Allen Hurns truthers), at No. 16 against a 20 ECR. I know the offense will still go through Ezekiel Elliott and Tennessee’s defense is strong, but Prescott appears to have remembered he can run and the mere presence of Cooper on the field could open the middle up for Cole Beasley and Geoff Swaim. He’s yet to throw for more than two passing TDs in a game, but 149 rushing yards and two ground TDs in his last three contests gives him a healthier floor.

I have Russell Wilson at 11 (ECR: 8) because he’s got a 2017 Deshaun Watson-esque TD rate buoying his stats. The man is barely having to throw anymore, and it’s not because he’s tucking it to run. Seattle is the only team in the NFL that’s throwing the ball less than 50% of the time in 2018 (47.76%), which gets more dramatic if you hone in on recent games. Their last three games have seen a 37.29% passing rate, which dropped to 31.15% against Detroit in Week 8. It’s hard to argue with their RB stable and defense combination, but I’m wary of relying on long TDs here -- especially with Doug Baldwin down a step.

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR
1 Cam Newton CAR QB 2 1
2 Aaron Rodgers GB QB 3 1
3 Patrick Mahomes KC QB 1 -2
4 Tom Brady NE QB 4 0
5 Drew Brees NO QB 7 2
6 Kirk Cousins MIN QB 6 0
7 Jared Goff LAR QB 5 -2
8 Matt Ryan ATL QB 10 2
9 Ryan Fitzpatrick TB QB 11 2
10 Deshaun Watson HOU QB 9 -1
11 Russell Wilson SEA QB 8 -3
12 Mitch Trubisky CHI QB 12 0
13 Philip Rivers LAC QB 13 0
14 Matthew Stafford DET QB 14 0
15 Alex Smith WAS QB 17 2
16 Dak Prescott DAL QB 19 3
17 Baker Mayfield CLE QB 15 -2
18 Ben Roethlisberger PIT QB 16 -2
19 Derek Carr OAK QB 18 -1
20 Joe Flacco BAL QB 20 0
21 C.J. Beathard SF QB 22 1
22 Case Keenum DEN QB 21 -1
23 Brock Osweiler MIA QB 23 0
24 Sam Darnold NYJ QB 25 1
25 Marcus Mariota TEN QB 24 -1
26 Nathan Peterman BUF QB 26 0
27 Nick Mullens SF QB 31 4
28 Lamar Jackson BAL QB 27 -1
29 Taysom Hill NO QB 28 -1

 

Week 9 Running Backs - Rankings Analysis

Look for Kenyan Drake (16 vs. 19) to dominate the Jets in Week 9, as Miami’s offensive line has an adjusted line yard tally of 4.62 (10th-best in NFL). The biggest hindrance to Drake is lack of big volume, but the last three weeks have been an improvement with touches despite Miami’s sad 29.47 seconds per play (30th in the NFL), which does jump a bit to 28.79 seconds with a lead of seven points or more (14th). While the Dolphins are favored by just three with Brock Osweiler at the helm, I have the Jets and their terrible offensive line, hurt skill-player pool and rookie QB losing handily on the road.

I have both Falcons RBs above the ECR, as Tevin Coleman (17 vs. 20) and Ito Smith (28 vs. 33) are set to work against a Washington defense that ranks 22nd in rush DVOA per FootballOutsiders. I know Atlanta’s offensive line is nothing special either, but Washington’s run defense is far worse than their secondary and I find it probable that the Falcons use their RB duo to control the game.

Those on my bad side are the Bears RBs, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, who have to deal a Buffalo defense that held Tom Brady’s offense to one touchdown in Week 8. I do believe the Bears easily win, but I’m legitimately concerned that the defense swipes a TD or two (like NE’s did) and that Chicago won’t have to press things in an ugly game with a 37.5 projected total from Vegas.

On the other side of that game stands LeSean McCoy (33 vs. 29), who I simply don’t want to be attached to my team. Those in PPR formats can pray for enough screen passes from Nathan Peterman as Buffalo looks to get the ball out of his hands quickly, but standard-leaguers will be lucky to approach 100 total yards.

Another RB getting knocked down four spots is Peyton Barber (34 vs. 30), who has a tough date with Carolina’s seventh-ranked defensive line at 3.89 adjusted line yards that only gets tougher considering he runs behind a Tampa Bay O-line with the fourth-worst 3.55 ALY. The Bucs are underdogs by 6.5 points and their 64.8% passing-play rate is the eighth-highest in the league, meaning I’ll be fading this Barber.

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR
1 Todd Gurley LAR RB 1 0
2 Kareem Hunt KC RB 2 0
3 Ezekiel Elliott DAL RB 3 0
4 Alvin Kamara NO RB 4 0
5 Melvin Gordon LAC RB 5 0
6 Christian McCaffrey CAR RB 6 0
7 James Conner PIT RB 7 0
8 Adrian Peterson WAS RB 8 0
9 James White NE RB 9 0
10 Nick Chubb CLE RB 11 1
11 Latavius Murray MIN RB 10 -1
12 Phillip Lindsay DEN RB 12 0
13 Mark Ingram NO RB 13 0
14 Chris Carson SEA RB 14 0
15 Lamar Miller HOU RB 15 0
16 Kenyan Drake MIA RB 19 3
17 Tevin Coleman ATL RB 20 3
18 Matt Breida SF RB 26 8
19 Jordan Howard CHI RB 16 -3
20 Tarik Cohen CHI RB 18 -2
21 Kerryon Johnson DET RB 17 -4
22 Alex Collins BAL RB 21 -1
23 Isaiah Crowell NYJ RB 25 2
24 Doug Martin OAK RB 24 0
25 Sony Michel NE RB 23 -2
26 Aaron Jones GB RB 22 -4
27 Dion Lewis TEN RB 27 0
28 Ito Smith ATL RB 33 5
29 Jalen Richard OAK RB 31 2
30 Chris Thompson WAS RB 30 0
31 Duke Johnson CLE RB 36 5
32 LeSean McCoy BUF RB 28 -4
33 Peyton Barber TB RB 29 -4
34 Austin Ekeler LAC RB 32 -2
35 Derrick Henry TEN RB 35 0
36 Frank Gore MIA RB 34 -2
37 Javorius Allen BAL RB 44 7
38 Trenton Cannon NYJ RB 41 3
39 Jamaal Williams GB RB 42 3
40 Chris Ivory BUF RB 43 3
41 LeGarrette Blount DET RB 37 -4
42 Raheem Mostert SF RB 40 -2
43 Devontae Booker DEN RB 38 -5
44 Mike Davis SEA RB 39 -5
45 Alfred Morris SF RB 45 0
46 Alfred Blue HOU RB 47 1
47 Ty Montgomery BAL RB 50 3
48 Spencer Ware KC RB 46 -2
49 Theo Riddick DET RB 53 4
50 Royce Freeman DEN RB 54 4
51 Rashaad Penny SEA RB 51 0
52 Kyle Juszczyk SF RB 49 -3
53 C.J. Anderson CAR RB 48 -5
54 Deandre Washington OAK RB 58 4
55 Kapri Bibbs WAS RB 55 0
56 Marcus Murphy BUF RB 59 3
57 Malcolm Brown LAR RB 57 0
58 Mike Boone MIN RB 60 2
59 D'Onta Foreman HOU RB 73 14
60 Kenjon Barner NE RB 56 -4
61 Jacquizz Rodgers TB RB 52 -9
62 Elijah McGuire NYJ RB 62 0
63 Tyler Ervin HOU RB 61 -2
64 Roc Thomas MIN RB 63 -1
65 Rod Smith DAL RB 64 -1
66 Gus Edwards BAL RB 66 0
67 Stevan Ridley PIT RB 65 -2
68 CJ Ham MIN RB 67 -1
69 Dontrell Hilliard CLE RB 72 3
70 Anthony Sherman KC RB 70 0
71 Kalen Ballage MIA RB 69 -2
72 Keith Smith OAK RB 71 -1
73 De'Angelo Henderson NYJ RB 75 2
74 James Develin NE RB 76 2
75 Ameer Abdullah DET RB 68 -7
76 Andy Janovich DEN RB 77 1
77 Benny Cunningham CHI RB 79 2
78 Patrick DiMarco BUF RB 74 -4

 

Week 9 Wide Receivers - Rankings Analysis

I’m sure the +7 on Tyreek Hill is others baking in the potential injury who haven’t updated yet, right? We can’t be putting Hill outside of the top-10 just because the Chiefs are set to stomp on the Browns because they’re still good for 30+ points even if the opponent is out of it by the third quarter.

Anyway, others that sit higher are Calvin Ridley (28 vs. 33), Tre’Quan Smith (30 vs. 35) and I’m still in on Geronimo Allison (35 vs. 40). It’ll take more than one week for me to assume that Marquez Valdes-Scantling is Green Bay’s actual No. 2 WR.

Many will target Marquise Goodwin (41 vs. 30) against a reeling Raiders squad that has the perception of being “Cleveland lite”. The Raiders actually haven’t given up a 100-yard game to a receiver in 2018 and Goodwin is coming off of a one-catch game in Week 8. Admittedly, he took the one catch and stretched it into a 55-yard touchdown, but that’s not fun to lean on. At least C.J. Beathard is trending towards playing on TNF, but his range of outcomes

Someone I’m lower on that’s on the WR3/flex fringe is Tyrell Williams (43 vs. 38), as he’s riding a hyperefficient high on no more than five targets per game on a team whose pace of play is the slowest in the NFL (30.62 seconds per play, no other team is above 30 seconds). Same goes for Mike Williams (46 vs. 41). I’d reassess this if Melvin Gordon was confirmed out, but a limited practice on Wednesday for the star RB bodes well for his availability in Week 9.

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR
1 Michael Thomas NO WR 2 1
2 Adam Thielen MIN WR 1 -1
3 DeAndre Hopkins HOU WR 3 0
4 Tyreek Hill KC WR 7 3
5 Antonio Brown PIT WR 4 -1
6 Julio Jones ATL WR 6 0
7 Davante Adams GB WR 5 -2
8 Robert Woods LAR WR 9 1
9 Mike Evans TB WR 8 -1
10 Stefon Diggs MIN WR 10 0
11 Keenan Allen LAC WR 12 1
12 Brandin Cooks LAR WR 11 -1
13 Jarvis Landry CLE WR 15 2
14 JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT WR 14 0
15 Kenny Golladay DET WR 17 2
16 Emmanuel Sanders DEN WR 13 -3
17 Julian Edelman NE WR 16 -1
18 Marvin Jones DET WR 18 0
19 Josh Gordon NE WR 21 2
20 Devin Funchess CAR WR 20 0
21 Tyler Lockett SEA WR 24 3
22 John Brown BAL WR 19 -3
23 Doug Baldwin SEA WR 25 2
24 DeSean Jackson TB WR 22 -2
25 Sammy Watkins KC WR 23 -2
26 Michael Crabtree BAL WR 27 1
27 Cooper Kupp LAR WR 30 3
28 Calvin Ridley ATL WR 34 6
29 D.J. Moore CAR WR 26 -3
30 Tre'Quan Smith NO WR 35 5
31 Corey Davis TEN WR 31 0
32 Taylor Gabriel CHI WR 36 4
33 Devante Parker MIA WR 37 4
34 Allen Robinson CHI WR 51 17
35 Geronimo Allison GB WR 40 5
36 Randall Cobb GB WR 39 3
37 Jordy Nelson OAK WR 33 -4
38 Chris Godwin TB WR 32 -6
39 Keke Coutee HOU WR 42 3
40 Courtland Sutton DEN WR 28 -12
41 Marquise Goodwin SF WR 29 -12
42 Demaryius Thomas HOU WR 44 2
43 Tyrell Williams LAC WR 38 -5
44 Kenny Stills MIA WR 66 22
45 Mike Williams LAC WR 41 -4
46 Mohamed Sanu ATL WR 43 -3
47 Willie Snead BAL WR 49 2
48 Anthony Miller CHI WR 50 2
49 Chris Hogan NE WR 47 -2
50 Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB WR 46 -4
51 Jakeem Grant MIA WR 59 8
52 Robby Anderson NYJ WR 72 20
53 Antonio Callaway CLE WR 52 -1
54 Danny Amendola MIA WR 54 0
55 Amari Cooper DAL WR 45 -10
56 Kelvin Benjamin BUF WR 57 1
57 Jermaine Kearse NYJ WR 55 -2
58 David Moore SEA WR 48 -10
59 Tajae Sharpe TEN WR 65 6
60 Cole Beasley DAL WR 58 -2
61 Josh Doctson WAS WR 56 -5
62 Jamison Crowder WAS WR 76 14
63 Martavis Bryant OAK WR 64 1
64 Paul Richardson WAS WR 53 -11
65 Zay Jones BUF WR 62 -3
66 Cameron Meredith NO WR 67 1
67 Seth Roberts OAK WR 60 -7
68 Taywan Taylor TEN WR 63 -5
69 Adam Humphries TB WR 71 2
70 Michael Gallup DAL WR 61 -9
71 Curtis Samuel CAR WR 70 -1
72 Brandon LaFell OAK WR 75 3
73 Allen Hurns DAL WR 82 9
74 Pierre Garcon SF WR 81 7
75 Deontay Burnett NYJ WR 89 14
76 Chris Conley KC WR 69 -7
77 Laquon Treadwell MIN WR 77 0
78 Cordarrelle Patterson NE WR 74 -4
79 Damion Ratley CLE WR 73 -6
80 Torrey Smith CAR WR 93 13
81 Trent Taylor SF WR 87 6
82 Travis Benjamin LAC WR 92 10
83 Jarius Wright CAR WR 85 2
84 Andre Roberts NYJ WR 88 4
85 Aldrick Robinson MIN WR 83 -2
86 Maurice Harris WAS WR 86 0
87 Dante Pettis SF WR 90 3
88 James Washington PIT WR 94 6
89 Breshad Perriman CLE WR 104 15
90 Rishard Matthews NYJ WR 84 -6
91 Justin Hardy ATL WR 101 10
92 Jaron Brown SEA WR 97 5
93 Kendrick Bourne SF WR 78 -15
94 Josh Reynolds LAR WR 68 -26
95 Justin Hunter PIT WR 100 5
96 Andre Holmes BUF WR 91 -5
97 Chris Moore BAL WR 99 2
98 Josh Bellamy CHI WR 98 0
99 Sammie Coates HOU WR 111 12
100 Equanimeous St. Brown GB WR 109 9
101 Phillip Dorsett NE WR 80 -21
102 Austin Carr NO WR 103 1
103 Charone Peake NYJ WR 112 9
104 Brandon Marshall FA WR 114 10
105 Vyncint Smith HOU WR 107 2
106 Demarcus Robinson KC WR 95 -11
107 Kevin White CHI WR 105 -2
108 TJ Jones DET WR 79 -29
109 Tim Patrick DEN WR 96 -13
110 Ryan Switzer PIT WR 106 -4
111 Michael Floyd WAS WR 110 -1
112 Marvin Hall ATL WR 108 -4
113 Deonte Thompson DAL WR 116 3

 

Week 9 Tight Ends - Rankings Analysis

The most notable booster is Jordan Reed (8 vs. 10), who has become quite polarizing in 2018. He caught 7-of-12 targets for 38 yards and no touchdowns in an odd Week 8 line and now has a 29-306-1 line in ‘18. While Washington is getting healthier around him, Reed remains their best red zone option in the passing game and they’re going to need to keep up with a potent Atlanta offense. I don’t think Alex Smith will be able to manage his way to win in this one. Oh, and I’m all aboard the Ed Dickson train (15 vs. 21), as we’ve seen Nick Vannett already get outshined by Will Dissly and now Dickson. Just because I have Wilson lower doesn’t mean I think he stinks and won’t produce!

On the other side of things, I have Austin Hooper outside of my top-12 (14 vs. 12), Chris Herndon down to 20 (ECR: 15) and Charles Clay in unplayable territory (25 vs. 16). Clay hasn’t topped four receptions, 40 yards or found the endzone yet. And now you want me to suddenly think that’s changing with Nathan Peterman and/or Matt Barkley at the helm? Nah. Herndon falls into a similar vein with my fading the Jets offense, but he also combines the fear of leaning on low-target TD games from the WR section. Hooper probably isn’t getting benched by you, but Washington adds HaHa Clinton-Dix to go alongside the third-best coverage safety per PFF in D.J. Swearinger Sr.

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR
1 Travis Kelce KC TE 1 0
2 Rob Gronkowski NE TE 3 1
3 George Kittle SF TE 2 -1
4 Jared Cook OAK TE 4 0
5 David Njoku CLE TE 5 0
6 O.J. Howard TB TE 6 0
7 Trey Burton CHI TE 9 2
8 Jordan Reed WAS TE 10 2
9 Jimmy Graham GB TE 8 -1
10 Greg Olsen CAR TE 7 -3
11 Kyle Rudolph MIN TE 11 0
12 Vance McDonald PIT TE 13 1
13 Benjamin Watson NO TE 14 1
14 Austin Hooper ATL TE 12 -2
15 Ed Dickson SEA TE 20 5
16 Geoff Swaim DAL TE 16 0
17 Jeff Heuerman DEN TE 21 4
18 Cameron Brate TB TE 18 0
19 Mark Andrews BAL TE 26 7
20 Chris Herndon IV NYJ TE 15 -5
21 Antonio Gates LAC TE 22 1
22 Mike Gesicki MIA TE 25 3
23 Vernon Davis WAS TE 27 4
24 Jordan Thomas HOU TE 30 6
25 Charles Clay BUF TE 17 -8
26 Hayden Hurst BAL TE 19 -7
27 Jesse James PIT TE 24 -3
28 Nick Vannett SEA TE 23 -5
29 Luke Willson DET TE 32 3
30 Michael Roberts DET TE 29 -1
31 Gerald Everett LAR TE 28 -3
32 Jonnu Smith TEN TE 31 -1
33 Ryan Griffin HOU TE 47 14
34 Ian Thomas CAR TE 36 2
35 Luke Stocker TEN TE 41 6
36 Demetrius Harris KC TE 33 -3
37 Matt LaCosse DEN TE 42 5
38 Nick Boyle BAL TE 39 1
39 Jason Croom BUF TE 37 -2
40 Tyler Higbee LAR TE 34 -6
41 Nick O'Leary MIA TE 38 -3
42 Virgil Green LAC TE 43 1
43 Josh Hill NO TE 40 -3
44 Blake Jarwin DAL TE 48 4
45 Jordan Akins HOU TE 35 -10
46 Lance Kendricks GB TE 46 0
47 Darren Fells CLE TE 44 -3
48 Neal Sterling NYJ TE 45 -3
49 Seth DeValve CLE TE 49 0
50 Jordan Leggett NYJ TE 51 1
51 Rico Gathers DAL TE 55 4
52 Garrett Celek SF TE 50 -2
53 Levine Toilolo DET TE 57 4
54 Eric Tomlinson NYJ TE 52 -2
55 David Morgan MIN TE 54 -1
56 Logan Thomas BUF TE 53 -3
57 Eric Saubert ATL TE 59 2

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