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Analyzing No. 40-31 in NFL Fantasy LIVE's top 50


Did you know NFL Fantasy LIVE has returned to your television screen? No, well then you need to adjust your priorities, friend.

As you now know, NFL Fantasy LIVE is back for a five-part series this week called "NFL Fantasy LIVE: Top 50 Players of 2016," airing each night on NFL Network at 8:00 p.m. ET. So far the show has revealed players 50 through 31, with the latest 10 entrants on the list being discussed on Tuesday night. Oh, right, the list. The list was compiled using the aggregate ranking from our esteemed panel of anlaysts, so it's not just one person's rankings -- it's the best picture as to how our collective group of football diehards view the fantasy landscape in 2016. Good stuff, right?

Each night I'll provide a reaction and analysis piece on the latest 10 players who have been unvieled. Below, you'll find the list of players, followed by may analysis of each position. Let's get to it!

40. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
39. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
38. Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
37. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
36. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
35. Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
34. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
33. Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets
32. Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
31. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Jeremy Maclin is being severly underrated right now in recent mocks I've seen and participated in. I took him as the WR21 in the fifth round of our recent staff mock, and was thrilled to get him there. Last season, his first in Kansas City, he received 26 percent of the targets, and that number could rise this year with Justin Houston set to potentiall miss time for the defense. Kansas City could be in more shootouts or at least be required to pass more, and Maclin has little competition for the lion's share of the wide receiver targets. He missed one game last year and still finished as the WR17 last year. Maclin presents an extremely safe floor, with WR1 upside if everything falls into place for him.

Russell Wilson is looking like a great value as far as the truly elite fantasy quarterbacks go. People are fighting to take Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers early, while letting Wilson slide a few rounds later. Wilson offers nearly as much rushing upside as Cam (sadly not in the touchdown department, though), and is coming off an historical run to end the 2015 season. With the backfield unsettled after the departure of Marshawn Lynch, the team could be skewing a little more pass-heavy for the first time in Wilson's career. All of that stacks up for Wilson to at worst finish as a top-five fantasy quarterback again, and at best push to finish No. 1.

Jarvis Landry is more than just a PPR stud, as the he finished as the WR15 in standard scoring leagues last year (and the WR9 in PPR). Landry set the NFL record for the most catches in the first two years of a career last season, largely in part because he's Ryan Tannehill's most trusted target. While the Dolphins clearly want to get the ball to DeVante Parker this year, Landry should still see a healthy share of targets as the go-to chain mover. I'd expect Landry's market share of the targets to fall somewhere between the 28 percent he saw last year, and the 18.9 percent he saw as a rookie. That year, Tannehill was able to keep both Landry and Mike Wallace fantasy relevant, so any fears of Parker sinking Landry's value are overblown. He's a solid No. 2 wide receiver target in the fourth round.

Julian Edelman underwent two foot surgeries this offseason, but all signs point to him being ready to start Week 1 and even participate in training camp. This is good news for his fantasy prospects, as a fully-healthy Edelman is a dangerous weapon in the Patriots offense. He' averaged just shy of 10 targets per game over the last three seasons, providing his fantasy owners with excellent volume and a safe weekly floor. His touchdown upside is limited as usual, a little more so this year with Jimmy Garoppolo ticketed to start the first four games, but as a fourth-round pick he's a rock solid investment at this point in fantasy drafts.

It seems like I'm going to have to defend Jonathan Stewart again this season until my fingers fall off. People hating on JStew in 2016 often cite Cam Newton's involvement in the red zone as a human tank capable of leaping over 6-foot-5 offensive lineman. However, if you look at the red zone strategy of the team pre- and post-bye (Week 5), it paints a different picture. In Weeks 1 to 4, Stewart saw just 29.6 percent of the team's red zone carries, but from Week to Week 14 (when he injured his foot) his share of the most valuable rush attempts jumped to 59.4 percent. The team needs to protect Newton a little, and Stewart will be the primary beneficiary near the goal line. Case in point, last year he was second in the league in red zone carries (46), despite losing work to Cam. Lastly, the Panthers are a good football team that will win a lot of games next year, and that has a strong correlation to fantasy points scored for running backs (teams in the lead run more to run out the clock, it's that simple). All told, Stewart is looking like another solid value pick as a strong RB2, being overlooked for all the wrong reasons.

Keenan Allen is criminally low on this list. He was on pace for an absurd 134 catches and 1,450 yards in 2015 before being sidelined with a lacerated kidney. The Chargers welcome back offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who ran the offense during Allen's monster rookie season in 2013. Allen is going to get pummeled with targets, and while he won't reach those crazy statistical heights he was on pace for last year, there's reason to believe he'll end up as a top-10 fantasy wideout even in standard leagues this year.

Demaryius Thomas is a hard player to figure out in fantasy this season, just like his counterpart Emmanuel Sanders as I mentioned yesterday. Fortunately for Thomas, whomever is under center for Denver in Week 1 won't have too drastic of an impact on him, because he thrives off at accumulating yards after the catch from slants, bubble screens and other high-percentage routes that most quarterbacks can hit. Still, I feel there might be safer options that Thomas lower than him on this list.

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Matt Forte has long been one of the most consistent and underrated backs in fantasy. Now he's the main man in a Chan Gailey offense that has done great things for fantasy running backs (just ask Chris Ivory). Forte might be a bit high at this point in the offseason, as Bilal Powell could eat into his passing down work, and Khiry Robinson lurks as the goal-line back (Forte has historically been a poor goal-line back). Still, Forte has made a career of being hyper-efficient with his touches, so he should still be able to return RB2 or flex value.

Man, is Carlos Hyde a polarizing figure in the fantasy community right now. On the one side, he has little competition for touches in an Chip Kelly offense that has been great for fantasy running backs and suits Hyde's running style. On the other, Hyde might come out on third downs and could be pulled while the 49ers are playing catch up on the scoreboard -- something that could happen an awful lot this year. Where you rank and draft Hyde will ultimately depend on if you believe he can develop a three-down skillset and fend off Shaun Draughn for the pass-catching work. Personally, right now I feel we have him ranked a bit too high.

With Aaron Rodgers appearing on this list, that means Cam Newton is our consensus QB1, and that's not right. Cam's great, and should be the QB2, but Rodgers is the first quarterback worth taking. Why, you might ask, after Cam's historic season? Last year was the first year where Rodgers played in 15-plus games and didn't finish as either the QB1 or QB2. That level of consistency with the return of a health Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb makes Rodgers the no-brainer option as the first quarterback to be drafted.

So there you have it. That's my reaction and anslysis to the next crop 10 players from "NFL Fantasy LIVE: Top 50 Players of 2016." Check back tomorrow for my reaction to the next 10 players ... after you watch the show on NFL Network at 8:00 p.m. ET. You can find each night's piece at

Until next time ...

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar