Winning The Flex: Week 4 Edition
Winning the flex focuses on difficult decisions across positions each week.
I’ll be keeping track of which flex plays were hits and which ones were busts. To do so, I’ll be following the formula Blair Andrews used a few years ago for his Flex Suspects series. Since most 12-team leagues have two starting RB spots, 3 starting WR spots, and 1 RB/WR flex position, a player who finishes in the top 72 RB/WR will be considered a hit (24+36+12=72).
Week 3 Recap
Devin Funchess: 4 Recs, 40 Yards – 78th RB/WR
Alvin Kamara: 5 Touches, 42 Yards, 1 TD – 53rd RB/WR
Cole Beasley: 1 Rec, 4 Yards – Unranked
Season To Date: 1/3, 33 percent
Oof…on to Week 4’s top options.
High Floor Play:
Duke Johnson, RB, Browns
Johnson is averaging under ten touches a game but leads his team in targets and is the only non-quarterback to score a rushing touchdown. With Isaiah Crowell struggling (2.9 yards per carry), Johnson has also seen his rush attempts slightly increase each game.
The matchup isn’t great for the ground game, so I’m expecting the Browns to once again struggle and be forced to feed Johnson in the passing game. Through three games he leads all RBs in air yards and has a top-10 WOPR (Weighted Opportunity Rating). His ceiling isn’t week-winning without an injury to Crowell, but his current usage and potential usage growth make him a good bet to sniff double digits.
High Ceiling Play:
Paul Richardson, WR, Seahawks
At first glance, Richardson’s ceiling may not jump off the page, but keep in mind that Doug Baldwin is hobbled and may not even play. Even if he does, Richardson has received at least five targets in every game and has scored a TD in two out of three. Also, there may be some positive regression coming his way, as he’s only catching around 43 percent of his targets.
Now, this is called a ceiling play because the floor is somewhat concerning. For one, the Seahawks are favored by almost two TDs, so they may not need to air it out much. Secondly, Tyler Lockett has started to emerge as a playmaker and has seen his snap share rise every week. That said, even with Lockett coming on over the last two games, Richardson has still accounted for 21 percent of the team’s air yards. The ceiling is great if you need a home run play, just keep in mind a strikeout is in the cards if Baldwin suits up.
Flex Of The Week:
Rishard Matthews, WR, Ten
Over his last 11 games, Rishard Matthews has averaged 27.7 percent of the Tennessee targets and 71.7 receiving yards per game.
In Week 1, the Texans only allowed 125 passing yards as they were blown out by Jacksonville 29-7. Since then, they’ve allowed 380 air yards per game with an 11.3 average depth of target. Using the data from AirYards.com, we can see this puts Matthews in a good spot, posting a 10.4 aDOT on 24 targets.
The Titans are only favored by 1.5, and while the projected total of 44 points isn’t massive, there’s plenty of room for fantasy points to be accumulated. Ben Gretch’s work on how teams have allowed points so far this season appears to be another positive for Matthews.
The Titans are a run-first team, but the Texans have allowed the fewest percentage of points on the ground. With a high floor and a high ceiling realistically reachable in is his range of outcomes, Matthews is this week’s must start flex.