WR Strength of Schedule

Mon May 22 10:15am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Related photo caption below

Olave is setup for big year two


Using our rules for our money leagues, we came up with a schedule strength ranking for the wide receiver position. We are using our fantasy defenses report to calculate the rankings. This report can be found in all of our leagues under the "reports" heading. We took the schedule for each team and entered the average number of fantasy points allowed to wide receivers last season from all of their opponents to get our fantasy points allowed number. This is a good indication of the wide receivers with the most favorable schedules for fantasy scoring for the coming season. Defenses obviously change from year to year, but knowing the wide receivers that might have the easiest schedule for fantasy is always a good idea when formulating your rankings and draft strategy. 

  WR SOS  
1. Titans 531.69
2. Browns 533.83
3. Rams 534.57
4. Patriots 537.21
5. Ravens 538.59
6. Steelers 540.75
7. Chiefs 541.80
8. Bills 542.51
9. 49ers 542.86
10. Cardinals 545.26
11. Commanders 546.16
12. Texans 549.24
13. Giants 549.94
14. Raiders 551.02
15. Cowboys 551.28
16. Jets 551.53
17. Bengals 554.94
18. Dolphins 557.63
19. Broncos 557.92
20. Colts 562.66
21. Jaguars 563.56
22. Vikings 563.61
23. Falcons 566.96
24. Panthers 569.11
25. Eagles 569.41
26. Lions 570.06
27. Seahawks 573.04
28. Chargers 574.34
29. Bears 574.66
30. Buccaneers 578.37
31. Packers 584.00
32. Saints 587.08

 

The Saints new passing attack, led by Derek Carr gets the easiest fantasy schedule for receivers. Chris Olave and Michael Thomas see a little bump in their fantasy value. Olave could really have a monster season in year two. He gets a favorable schedule and much better quarterback situation. Thomas is tough to trust with his injury issues of the last few seasons, but might be worth a flyer for fantasy owners in the middle round of drafts.

The Packers, Buccaneers, Bears and Chargers round out the top five most favorable schedules for receivers. Christian Watson is looking good these days. He gets to be the top option in the passing game from day one and has a chance to rack up the targets from new starter Jordan Love.

Tampa’s receivers are hard to trust because of an uncertain quarterback situation, but the talented receivers should not be forgotten come draft day. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin certainly have the potential to produce big. D.J. Moore also is looking good as the top target in the Bears passing game. And lastly, the Chargers trio of wide receivers could be really good in this high-powered passing attack with a favorable fantasy schedule for receivers. 

Teams with challenging fantasy receiver schedules include the Titans, Browns and Rams. Tennessee is really scary because of an uncertain passing attack to begin with. It might be hard to trust Treylon Burks come draft day.

Amari Cooper seems setup for a big season with Deshaun Watson as his starter from day one, but a tough fantasy schedule is a little concerning. It would not surprise to see the Browns be a run heavy team once again.

The Patriots and Ravens round out the top five most difficult fantasy receiver schedules. New England has a lot of receivers vying for playing time, making many question marks to begin with. JuJu Smith-Schuster is their top receiver, but could struggle some with his new team, especially if you consider this schedule. And the Ravens remain a run-first offense, which should continue if you look at this schedule. 

We also wanted to look at playoff schedules for fantasy wide receivers. So we crunched the numbers of all the schedules from Week 14-17, which is the fantasy playoffs for most leagues. We know you have to get to the playoffs first, but knowing the wide receivers with the easiest playoff schedules doesn’t hurt by any means, especially in the big money contests. 

  WR PLAYOFF SOS  
1. Titans 493.36
2. Browns 499.69
3. Chargers 512.25
4. Steelers 516.89
5. Jets 521.74
6. 49ers 526.83
7. Eagles 534.44
8. Giants 537.15
9. Patriots 542.03
10. Panthers 546.50
11. Buccaneers 546.50
12. Commanders 548.37
13. Colts 548.58
14. Chiefs 552.76
15. Bears 553.85
16. Rams 554.23
17. Cardinals 558.95
18. Vikings 563.03
19. Broncos 566.09
20. Jaguars 568.28
21. Cowboys 570.94
22. Texans 573.45
23. Falcons 574.21
24. Lions 580.08
25. Ravens 581.16
26. Dolphins 583.19
27. Raiders 584.08
28. Bills 585.20
29. Saints 588.60
30. Seahawks 588.93
31. Bengals 590.43
32. Packers 612.90

 

There are a lot of really good receivers that have favorable fantasy playoff schedules. The Bengals, Seahawks and Bills are in the top five most favorable fantasy playoff schedules. Ja’Marr Chase was already looking great this year, but could be a league winner based on this schedule. The Seahawks pair of top receivers are looking pretty good as well. Both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf could post big numbers during the fantasy playoffs. Lastly, you have to like seeing Stefon Diggs having a favorable fantasy playoffs. Diggs could really finish the fantasy season strong. 

The regular season and fantasy playoff schedules for receivers is pretty similar when it comes to the toughness. The Titans and Browns top the list once again and are followed by the Chargers, Steelers and Jets. The Chargers are the only team on any of these strength of schedule lists to have a favorable regular season schedule and unfavorable fantasy playoff schedule. That will be a tough one for fantasy teams to figure out come draft day. 

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

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Player Notes
La'Mical Perine May 24 12:40am ET
La'Mical Perine

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed free agent running back La'Mical Perine to a one-year deal, they announced on Thursday. Perine had been cut loose by the Kansas City Chiefs roughly one week earlier. A fourth-round pick in 2020, Perine has never been a major contributor out of the backfield. His best season came as a rookie with the New York Jets when he totaled 295 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. He has just 33 touches over seven games since then, though he did log one start with the Chiefs in 2023 (21 rushes, 76 rushing yards, three receptions, 33 receiving yards). Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren have the top two running back spots occupied in Pittsburgh, so Perine is presumably competing for the third-string role with versatile veteran Cordarrelle Patterson, former Harvard standout Aaron Shampklin, and undrafted rookie Daijun Edwards. He remains off the fantasy radar.

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Blake Corum May 24 12:30am ET
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The Los Angeles Rams have asked running back Blake Corum to evolve into a three-down back, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic. Specifically, he's working to improve his route running, pass-catching, and pass-protection skills. This is an interesting note out of Los Angeles for a couple of reasons. First, Corum was viewed as a goal-line and change-of-pace option when drafted by the Rams just a few weeks ago. Expanding his role suggests Los Angeles has high expectations and optimism for the running back, and it could also lead to more snaps and touches (which equates to extra fantasy points). Second, the Rams' request for Corum to take on a larger role could have some connection to Kyren Williams (foot) being sidelined at OTAs. If the Rams think Williams could be delayed this offseason, it only makes sense that they look to get Corum involved as their No. 1 running back for the time being. Similarly, expanding Corum's skill set prepares him for the opportunity to jump into the starting role during the regular season should Williams suffer a different injury and miss time. The landing spot of the Rams wasn't immediately attractive for fantasy managers looking at drafting Corum. However, the latest signs out of Los Angeles suggest that the Michigan product could get his fair share of work right away in 2024. His fantasy value should climb as September draws nearer.

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Malik Cunningham May 24 12:20am ET
Malik Cunningham

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Malik Cunningham has officially transitioned to wide receiver, according to his listing on the team's website. The Louisville product even hauled in some passes during Thursday's OTAs. This move has been roughly a year in the making for Cunningham, who previously drew attention thanks to his athleticism and flashy playing style last preseason with the New England Patriots. The Patriots were reportedly interested in using him at both quarterback and wide receiver, but they ultimately made him active for just one game and deployed him under center. The Ravens poached him from the Patriots' practice squad in December, but he only appeared in one game with Baltimore, too. In theory, though, this official switch to wide receiver could allow Cunningham to carve out more opportunities, even if it's in a depth role. With most teams carrying around a half-dozen receivers on their 53-man rosters, there's a chance that Cunningham could be active in Week 1. Of course, that's dependent on him producing throughout training camp and the preseason. Even if he does make the team, he's unlikely to generate any fantasy appeal.

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Maxx Crosby May 24 12:10am ET
Maxx Crosby

The Las Vegas Raiders and star defensive end Maxx Crosby have agreed to a restructured contract that pays him an extra $6 million in 2024, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. The team also moved an additional $1.2 million into 2025. As Schefter notes, the Raiders wanted to reward Crosby for being a standout player and leader. This move accomplishes those goals while not altering the total length of his contract. He still has three more years left on his deal, tying him to Vegas through the 2026 season. That's bad news for AFC West quarterbacks, of course. Crosby tallied 90 tackles (23 for loss), 14.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles through 17 starts last year.

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Jaleel McLaughlin May 24 12:10am ET
Jaleel McLaughlin

Denver Broncos running backs Samaje Perine and Jaleel McLaughlin "will face a challenging battle to maintain their roles this offseason," according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic. He notes that the same is true for Javonte Williams. It appears as though all three holdover running backs in Denver have reduced job security after the team drafted Audric Estime and signed Blake Watson. There will be plenty of competition throughout the offseason as the Broncos work to determine which running backs are worthy of key volume in 2024. However, as of now, it appears there's at least some favor for Estime and Watson while the three returners may need to do a little extra to prove themselves. From a fantasy perspective, Williams and Estime seem like the most intriguing names, but Perine and Watson (and even McLaughlin) benefit from their pass-catching skills.

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Javonte Williams May 24 12:10am ET
Javonte Williams

Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams "will face a challenging battle" to maintain his role heading into the 2024 season, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic. He notes that the same is true for Samaje Perine and Jaleel McLaughlin. It appears as though all three holdover running backs in Denver have reduced job security after the team drafted Audric Estime and signed Blake Watson. There will be plenty of competition throughout the offseason as the Broncos work to determine which running backs are worthy of key volume in 2024. However, as of now, it appears there's at least some favor for Estime and Watson while the three returners may need to do a little extra to prove themselves. From a fantasy perspective, Williams and Estime seem like the most intriguing names, but Perine and Watson (and even McLaughlin) benefit from their pass-catching skills.

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Jerome Baker May 23 7:30pm ET
Jerome Baker

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Jerome Baker (wrist) didn't take part in organized team activities on Wednesday. Baker injured his right wrist in the Week 18 regular-season finale last year while playing for the Miami Marlins and required offseason surgery. The 27-year-old is still recovering from his surgery, and it remains to be seen what his availability will be like for mandatory minicamp next month and training camp this summer. When healthy, Baker should help make up for the offseason losses of both Jordyn Brooks and Bobby Wagner at the linebacker position in Seattle. The former third-round pick of the Dolphins in 2018 out of Ohio State has 22.5 sacks, 382 solo tackles, 31 tackles for loss, 46 QB hits, five interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), 21 passes defended and six forced fumbles in his six years in the league.

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Uchenna Nwosu May 23 7:20pm ET
Uchenna Nwosu

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Uchenna Nwosu (pectoral) said last month that he "absolutely" plans to be ready for training camp this summer after having surgery last October to fix a torn pectoral. Nwosu was seen at organized team activities on Wednesday working in a positional drill and he later took part in team periods and didn't look to be at all limited. OTAs are non-contact practices, but it's still good progress for the 27-year-old former second-round pick by the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018 out of USC. He tore his pectoral muscle back in Week 7 in 2023 and missed the rest of the season, but barring a setback, Nwosu should be ready for Week 1 of the 2024 regular season this fall. The Seahawks signed Nwosu to a three-year, $45 million extension after he had a career-best 9.5 sacks in 2022.

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Zac Taylor May 23 7:10pm ET
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Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has decided to hand over the direction of the offense to new offensive coordinator Dan Pitcher this year. "I'll take a step back this spring," Taylor said, "And let [Pitcher] take ownership in the direction of the offense." Tight end Drew Sample said that Pitcher has "added new wrinkles." The Cincinnati Enquirer's Charlie Goldsmith wrote that the Bengals' playbook has changed more this offseason than it has in any offseason since quarterback Joe Burrow's rookie year. The Bengals are more interested in lining up under center this year, using the play-action passing game more and marrying their run game, their screens and their drop-back passing. It remains to be seen if Taylor will turn the play-calling over to Pitcher, too, but in general, it should be good news for Burrow and the rest of the offense in 2024.

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Dalvin Cook May 23 7:00pm ET
Dalvin Cook

Free-agent running back Dalvin Cook said he's "ready to roll" and would like to find a new team before training camp this summer to avoid his struggles in 2023. Cook, the former Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl RB, signed with the New York Jets in mid-August last year and never got off the ground. He had just 67 carries for 214 yards in 15 games with the Jets before ultimately landing on the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad before taking part in the Divisional Round win over the Houston Texans. The 28-year-old was coming off surgery last year and looked sluggish, averaging a career-worst 3.2 yards per carry. "I feel great, man," Cook said. He should be able to latch on with a team for some veteran depth at the position in the next month or two, but at this point in his career, he's facing an uphill battle to regain any kind of fantasy relevance.

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Bo Nix May 23 6:40pm ET
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Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton said that rookie quarterback Bo Nix is "farther along than most" rookies during organized team activities. "We're talking about a player who has played 61 games. He's extremely smart. He's picked it up very quickly." Nix was the QB working with the first-team offense on Thursday, but Payton said that Jarrett Stidham was the No. 1 QB on Tuesday and Zach Wilson was the No. 1 QB for the second day of OTAs on Wednesday. The Broncos are rotating all three of their signal-callers so far during voluntary offseason workouts, but it could be telling that Nix is already getting some work with the top offense. Nix will have his opportunities to win the starting job in training camp and the preseason, but it won't be given to him. And if he wins the job, the 24-year-old will still probably be no better than a low-end QB2 in superflex leagues in 2024.

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Courtland Sutton May 23 6:40pm ET
Courtland Sutton

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton is not present for voluntary organized team activities this week as he seeks a new contract. "There isn't any concern. Here's why," head coach Sean Payton said. "That will sort itself out." General manager George Paton previously said the team wasn't worried about Sutton's absence from voluntary workouts. The 28-year-old has two years and around $27.6 million remaining on his current deal, with just $2 million guaranteed. The former second-rounder in 2018 out of SMU will be the clear No. 1 wideout in Denver in 2024 after catching 59 passes for 772 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns in 16 games in 2023. The competition for targets won't be a problem, especially with Jerry Jeudy now gone, but Denver's QB situation and Sutton's likely touchdown regression are what fantasy managers will be worried about.

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Travis Etienne May 23 6:30pm ET
Travis Etienne

For the second straight season, the Jacksonville Jaguars plan to ease running back Travis Etienne Jr.'s workload in 2024. Despite similar plans last year, Etienne actually had a bigger workload in 2023 than he did in 2022, and head coach Doug Pederson doesn't want to repeat that. "We talked about this as a staff and myself, making sure Tank Bigsby gets opportunities to get out there and take some of the pounding off of Travis," head coach Doug Pederson said. Etienne took over as the top back in 2022 by mid-October and accounted for 61% of the RB carries and 60% of the RB touches. Last year, he had 75% of the RB carries and 76% of the RB touches. Bigsby never quite earned the trust of the coaches for a bigger role in 2023, but that figures to change this year. Etienne missed his rookie year with a Lisfranc foot injury but has since established himself as a top back in the NFL. However, his ceiling as an RB1 in fantasy in 2024 could be tough to come by.

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Rashod Bateman May 23 5:00pm ET
Rashod Bateman

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman has struggled and battled injuries since being selected with the No. 27 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Minnesota. Through his first 35 games, he's hauled in 93 receptions for 1,167 yards and four touchdowns. However, Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken expects him to take a Year 4 leap in 2024. "You know, last year was interesting in the fact that we had Odell [Beckham Jr.] and Bate had missed the offseason and some of Fall camp," Monken said. "But as the year went on, Rashod really came on. I expect a tremendous year out of him." Although this is a positive sign, it's tough to find a path toward consistent fantasy production for the 24-year-old. Second-year wide receiver Zay Flowers and veteran tight end Mark Andrews are the clear No. 1 and No. 2 options in the passing game, and Baltimore will likely remain a low-volume passing offense like in previous years under Lamar Jackson -- especially after the addition of star running back Derrick Henry. Bateman might be worth a late-round flyer in fantasy football drafts, but his weekly upside figures to be limited.

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Derrick Henry May 23 4:50pm ET
Derrick Henry

Baltimore Ravens running back Derrick Henry has been one of the busiest ball-carriers in the NFL since earning the clear RB1 role with the Tennessee Titans in 2019. Since Week 1 of the 2019 campaign, he's tallied 1,645 total touches, 7,209 rushing yards, 1,086 receiving yards, and 68 touchdowns. He led the league in carries in four of the last five seasons and is entering his age-30 campaign. However, Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken declined to put a cap on his workload in his first season with the Ravens in 2024. "Well, if he carries it 300 times, we're having a helluva year. I can tell you that. It means we're running it a lot; it means we're up in games," Monken said. "We want him to finish. We want him to be the closer." He mentioned that the team wants to ensure he stays healthy through 17 games and will use other running backs in the offense, but it sounds like he'll continue to be a high-volume rusher. Although Henry seems to have lost a step in his long speed and efficiency, he should have plenty of goal-line opportunities on a team that has scored the sixth-most touchdowns (249) over the last five years, and he continues to possess RB1 upside thanks to volume.

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Rome Odunze May 23 4:40pm ET
Rome Odunze

Chicago Bears rookie wide receiver Rome Odunze (hamstring) is on track to practice next week after sitting out rookie mini-camp and the start of OTAs. Odunze has been dealing with hamstring tightness, but the injury isn't concerning at this point in the offseason. The No. 9 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft is viewed as at least a high-end wide receiver prospect after racking up 167 receptions for 2,785 yards and 20 touchdowns over his last two collegiate seasons at Washington. He'll get a chance to grow as a pro alongside quarterback Caleb Williams, but he'll face stiff target competition as a rookie. DJ Moore and Keenan Allen have a combined ten seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards and both were effective players last year. Meanwhile, running back D'Andre Swift and tight ends Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett have all had big games as receivers, so Odunze could be more of a 2025-and-beyond asset for fantasy football.

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Tim Patrick May 23 4:30pm ET
Tim Patrick

Denver Broncos veteran wide receiver Tim Patrick (Achilles) is taking part in OTAs this week, according to NFL.com. The 30-year-old suffered a torn ACL during training camp in 2022 and a torn Achilles in 2023's training camp. It's been an unfortunate run of bad luck for the 2017 undrafted free agent, but hopefully, he'll make it to the start of the season in 2024. Patrick caught 164 passes for 1,476 yards and 11 touchdowns in his last 31 games, but considering he hasn't taken the field in two years, it's tough to get excited about his fantasy football outlook. Assuming Patrick's agility and speed haven't been completely zapped by major injuries, he's likely to start the season behind Courtland Sutton, Josh Reynolds, and Marvin Mims Jr. Troy Franklin and Lil'Jordan Humphrey could also pass him up on the depth chart, depending on how he's moving at this point in his career. The Broncos are likely to have a bottom-ten offense under rookie quarterback Bo Nix.

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John Ross May 23 4:20pm ET
John Ross

Veteran free-agent wide receiver John Ross signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, according to NFL insider Ari Meirov. Ross announced his retirement from football last July, but he is attempting a return to action for the 2024 season. The former No. 9 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals out of Washington famously broke Chris Johnson's 40-yard dash time at the 2017 NFL Combine with a 4.22 official run. That stood until the 2024 NFL Combine which saw Xavier Worthy post a 4.21 40-time. Despite his speed, Ross failed to make a significant impact in four years with the Bengals and one season with the New York Giants. Overall, he hauled in 62 passes for 957 yards and 11 touchdowns in 37 career games. Ross is likely a longshot to make the Eagles' 53-man roster, but he'll compete with veteran Parris Campbell and rookies Johnny Wilson and Ainias Smith to work behind star wideouts A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

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Greg Dulcich May 23 4:20pm ET
Greg Dulcich

Denver Broncos tight end Greg Dulcich (foot) is working off the field at OTAs as he works his way back from a foot injury, but head coach Sean Payton said he expects him to be ready for training camp later this summer. After a decent showing as a rookie in 2022, Dulcich was limited to just two games in 2023 and hauled in just three passes for 25 yards. He will likely compete with veteran tight end Adam Trautman for the lead tight end duties this offseason, but neither player figures to have much upside with rookie quarterback Bo Nix under center. That said, Dulcich remains an intriguing dynasty-league stash based on his strong prospect profile and small glimpse of upside in his debut season.

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Marvin Harrison Jr. May 23 4:10pm ET
Marvin Harrison Jr.

The Arizona Cardinals signed wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. to his rookie deal on Thursday, the team announced on X. The deal includes $35.37 million over four years and a $22.5 million signing bonus. All money is guaranteed. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft is viewed as one of the best wide receiver prospects of all time, and he's expected to be a true No. 1 wide receiver for Kyler Murray from the jump. Harrison Jr. caught 144 passes for 2,474 yards and 28 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Ohio State and took home the 2023 Fred Biletnikoff Award, which is given to college football's most outstanding receiver each season. Despite having yet to play an NFL snap, Harrison Jr. is being selected as a top-ten fantasy wide receiver in high-stakes FFPC drafts.

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