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lancemoore

Probably my favorite RotoViz article in terms of actionable info looked at the Flex Position. It’s my belief that the Flex Position Wins Championships and that having a calculated approach to the position is the single most important thing you can do with your roster.

So here are my Flex Rankings for Week 2. In order to create them, I used the Game Level Similarity Projection tools. For a few of the players I adjusted the expected touches or targets. Because leagues have many formats and drafters employ very diverse strategies, I included a very wide variety of players. (These are PPR rankings, and I may look at Standard formats as well in subsequent weeks.)

A few notes:

  •  You can see from this list that when someone refers to a player as a “RB2 or Flex” that means he should be your RB2 or on your bench. Weak RB2 candidates are not good enough to play in the Flex.
  • Cecil Shorts and Lance Moore were both featured on a variety of RotoViz preseason sleeper lists. They each got off to slow starts in Week 1 but are expected to bounce back in a big way. With Blaine Gabbert banished, Shorts should be in all lineups this week.
  • Brandon Pettigrew has the worst hands of any player in NFL history, but he’s got a great matchup with the Cardinals.
  • When you’re perusing fantasy title rosters after the season, expect Andre Roberts to be one of the most frequent names. In examining Chris Givens and T.Y. Hilton before the season, I suggested Roberts as a cheaper guy with identical talents. Aaron Messing followed up with a great piece detailing exactly why that would occur. Roberts makes an excellent WR2 this week, but most drafted him as a bench player so you’re probably looking at him for your Flex.
  • Darren McFadden is the first RB on the list, and he checks in at No. 5. Many probably drafted McFadden as a RB2, but he was falling into the fourth and fifth rounds by early September. He might be your third runner and a realistic Flex this week.
  • There are five tight ends ahead of Frank Gore. This helps illustrate a very crucial point. Even if you started RB-RB-RB, you must at least consider benching one of your “name” runners. You will need that third RB during the bye weeks and to fill in for inevitable injuries. If you started RB-WR-RB-RB, you probably own someone like Frank Gore who isn’t a strong weekly starter. You are not required to start your fourth round pick just because you picked him in the fourth round.
  • The Flex rankings help illustrate one of the reasons I’m not panicking this week about spending a lot of draft ammo on Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski despite the Great Tight End Explosion of 2013. I like to draft a lot of tight ends to my teams. Tight end scoring has been on the rise, and this trend was never more prominently on display than in Week 1. If I use an early pick on Graham or Gronk, it doesn’t preclude the selection of a TE2 and even a TE3. (In my 25 NFFC leagues, I have two teams with four tight ends and one with five.) The GLSP projections show very conclusively that playing even a mid-level tight end is the percentage play over many RB3 candidates.

Will these projections perfectly resemble what happens this weekend? Obviously not. Is there a chance Frank Gore blows up for three touchdowns and makes you feel like an idiot for starting Brandon Myers instead? Clearly.

It’s also important that you take ownership of your own teams and start the guys you want to start, regardless of projections. Just as an example, the computer is much higher on Davone Bess and Jermaine Gresham this week than I am (although they’re both criminally undervalued in general).

With that said, if you don’t understand where fantasy points really come from, you’ll cost yourself a huge chunk of points out of the Flex position this season.

 The Rankings

Player Projection
Cecil Shorts 14.7
Lance Moore 14.1
Brandon Pettigrew 13.8
Andre Roberts 13.3
Darren McFadden 12.9
Brian Hartline 12.6
Davone Bess 11.9
Brandon Myers 11.6
Jermaine Gresham 11.6
Malcom Floyd 11.5
Nate Burleson 11.2
Joique Bell 10.6
Martellus Bennett 10.4
Ahmad Bradshaw 10.3
Owen Daniels 10.3
Greg Little 10.2
Frank Gore 10.1
Brent Celek 9.9
Kyle Rudolph 9.9
Daryl Richardson 9.8
T.Y. Hilton 9.7
Ryan Mathews 9.5
Denarius Moore 9.5
Jared Cook 9.5
Fred Davis 9.2
Golden Tate 9
Dallas Clark 9
Scott Chandler 8.9
Alshon Jeffery 8.5
Rod Streater 8.5
Nate Washington 8.4
Darrius Heyward-Bey 8.1
Kendall Wright 8.1
Jordan Cameron 8
Pierre Thomas 7.7
Leonard Hankerson 7.6
BenJarvus Green-Ellis 7.5
Fred Jackson 7.5
Rashard Mendenhall 7.2
Ben Tate 7.1
Michael Floyd 7.1
Brandon Gibson 7
Emmanuel Sanders 6.9
Daniel Thomas 6.3
Chris Givens 6
Eddie Royal 6
Coby Fleener 6
Doug Baldwin 5.4
Zach Miller 5.2
Vincent Brown 5.1
Knowshon Moreno 5
Mohamed Sanu 5
Bryce Brown 4.9
Kenny Britt 4.7
DeAngelo Williams 4.5
Isaac Redman 4.1
Mark Ingram 3.4
Bernard Pierce 3.2
Ronnie Hillman 3.1
Kendall Hunter 3

 

One final note: Just because the season has started doesn’t mean you can’t craft your team to be more efficient on a positional basis. Making astute trades and picking players up off the waiver wire isn’t just about acquiring the most talent, it’s about creating a roster where you can get the most points in the starting lineup every week. If your leaguemates are undervaluing the Flex position, you ought to be able to take advantage with shrewd in-season moves.

Also be sure to read Jacob Myers’ Flex Suspects: Week 2.

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11 comments
joshyjosh49
joshyjosh49

So, I went RB/RB/RB in a PPR.  T-Rich/R. Bush and Rotoviz fave Alf Morris.  Alf not catching passes is making it awfully difficult to not put in a Cecil Shorts type at Flex over Morris occasionally (Skins play Packers this week...if they get behind, Helu time).  Am I insane, or is this the sort of decision you referred to in your opening to the article?  Thanks, I really enjoy this site a lot!

chillermonster
chillermonster

I want to say that I really enjoy the content here, and that I totally agree with never blindly following a list, but I could not imagine starting Pettigrew over Cook or Lance Moore over DRich. Thi

Irish12
Irish12

would a MIke Wallace for Andre Roberts trade be something beneficial for me in a .5 ppr league?  Id be getting Roberts.  


thanks

Hoosierpop
Hoosierpop

Shawn, love your articles and the way you explain your reasoning behind things. What's your take on the Denver RB situation? Any of them that you would like to have stashed on your bench? For example, the McCoy owner just offered me Ball for Bryce Brown since he has McCoy. My first instinct was to take it. But I don't know. Brown is an injury away from being a studlier RB. Ball? who knows. Do you stay away from RB situations like this or grab one and hope?

evo34
evo34

I feel like this site has too much of a PPR slant to it in general, and obviously in this article in particular.  Clearly both scoring systems are important, and I hope all future articles will show both.

Shawn Siegele
Shawn Siegele

@joshyjosh49 

That's the kind of decision, but I would probably still go with Morris. He's well above the RBs on the Flex list here. That said, I love Shorts for this week.

Shawn Siegele
Shawn Siegele

@chillermonster 

I can see where you're coming from on that, but we still have a lot to learn about Cook in St. Louis. Chris Givens looked tremendous in the preseason and was taken out of the game by the Cardinals. He could explode at the expense of Cook this week.

As far as Moore versus DRich. I think that's possibly an example of overrating RBs versus WRs. Moore finished with 13.7 ppg last year which would be approximately equivalent to RB12. I doubt DRich finishes as a Top 15 runner this season, although I hope he does since I own him on a few teams.

I completely understand if you prefer to start Richardson, but I don't think it's the percentage play.

Shawn Siegele
Shawn Siegele

@Irish12 

I think there's at least a 50-50 chance that Roberts ends up with more points than Wallace, but I think you ought to be able to get a sweetener in the trade since Wallace has the much bigger name.

Shawn Siegele
Shawn Siegele

@Hoosierpop 

I like Brown quite a bit. I think he'll end up with decent stand alone value and would be a Top 10, possibly Top 5, runner if McCoy were injured. 

Ball is tricky. He looked awfully slow in Week 1, but those were his first NFL touches. We know Moreno can't play - Denver is probably the only team that would roster him, much less start him - and HIllman is in the doghouse. Ball still seems like the best bet to emerge as the Denver starter over the season's second half, although he looks like a poor fit for the offense. 

I'd probably stay with Brown, but I could see either way.

Shawn Siegele
Shawn Siegele

@evo34 

Most competitive leagues are moving to PPR, but I definitely understand as the two home leagues I run are standard scoring. I'm going to have some articles geared toward standard formats in upcoming weeks. I apologize for not including both here.

Shawn Siegele
Shawn Siegele

@joshyjosh49 

I should note that while Morris would be higher on my personal rankings. Shorts actually has the significantly higher GLSP median projection, so starting him over Morris is completely justifiable if you want to go that route.