By Jared Clifton
After taking a week off last week from The Hurry Up Offense and The Point After Report, we’re back like John Cleese this week with something completely different.
We’re going to take a crystal ball look at the FLEX options for this week and try to determine who will finish where. It’s important to note that these aren’t rankings, but rather premonitions on where the players will actually finish from your FLEX spot in ½ PPR leagues, based on trends, situations and good old fashioned witch doctoring. The top 20 ranked RB’s, Top 20 ranked WR’s and Top 10 ranked TE’s are all out for this exercise. These are just players that could conceivably be in your FLEX spots.
Tune in and turn those ringers to vibrate, as we try our hand at Predictive Flexing.
- WR Darius Slayton NYG: 7 catches/129 yards/ 2 TD (28.4 points)
I mean, has anyone else watched the Cowboys play this season? They weren’t torched by the passing game last week, but only because the Browns were so proficient at running the ball. Slayton has run the 5th most routes this year and the Cowboys have allowed 2.32 PPR points per target. This is a smash game for Slayton, as the Giants move into the first of a nice stretch of favorable matchups. Not only could he be the top FLEX play this week, he could very easily be the #1 overall WR for the week.
- Jamison Crowder: 10 catches/107 yards/1 TD (21.7 points)
- Diontae Johnson: 9 catches/98 yards/1 TD (20.3 points)
- Jerry Jeudy: 5 catches/118 yards/1 TD (20.3 points)
- RB Raheem Mostert SF: 78 yards rushing/3 catches/42 yards receiving/1 TD (19.5 points)
Assuming there are no setbacks for Mostert, after practicing most of the week, he is in a prime spot to regain his lead role in the 49ers backfield and supply plenty of big play ability back into an offense that is starting to get healthy at the right time. His touch share won’t necessarily be the same as it was prior to his MCL sprain, but with Mostert, the quality of touches he provides more than makes up for that.
- Justin Jefferson: 6 catches/101 yards/1 TD (19.1 points)
- Brandin Cooks: 8 catches/139 yards (17.9 points)
There’s a significant level of speculation in all of these, but these aren’t rankings based solely on comfort, so treat this one as highly speculative. It just feels like it’s time for Cooks to have one of his few huge games and everyone seems to be all in on Will Fuller after his 2nd 100+ yard effort against Minnesota. The Jaguars have given up 350+ yards to lesser QB’s (Rivers and Minshew) than Deshaun Watson and this seems like a statement game after the turmoil surrounding the dismissal of Bill O’Brien this past week. Cooks isn’t without risk, but you know what they say about the biscuit.
- JK Dobbins: 36 yards rushing/1 catch/12 yards/2 TD (17.3 points)
- Antonio Gibson: 72 yards rushing/2 catches/29 yards receiving/1 TD (17.1 points)
- Curtis Samuel: 28 yards rushing/4 catches/62 yards receiving/1 TD (17 points)
- Marquise Brown: 3 catches/89 yards/1 TD (16.4 points)
- Mecole Hardman: 4 catches/84 yards/1 TD (16.4 points)
- Joshua Kelley: 63 yards rushing/2 catches/31 yards receiving/1 TD (16.4 points)
With Ekeler now sidelined for an extended period of time, we will see how Kelley does as the lead back in Los Angeles. He was already receiving a significant 1B portion of the workload at points in the early going, but two fumbles put him at arm’s length from being the sole guy for the Chargers. The Saints have been very good against the run, so he’ll need some plays off the pass to keep him FLEX relevant, but he’s shown that capability and Herbert has involved his running backs enough to give Kelley a chance to be the back that gobbles up some of those Ekeler targets.
- Tim Patrick: 5 catches/70 yards/1 TD (15.5 points)
- Julian Edelman: 6 catches/64 yards/1 TD (15.4 points)
- Larry Fitzgerald: 5 catches/112 yards (13.7 points)
- Tre’quan Smith: 2 catches/67 yards/1 TD (13.6 points)
- DeVonta Freeman: 68 yards rushing/4 catches/41 yards receiving (12.9 points)
After the ground bludgeoning that the Browns put on the Cowboys last week, it should be no secret that Joe Judge will try to establish the ground game to set up a favorable game plan for Daniel Jones and the passing game. Freeman has now been with the team for three weeks and if nothing else, he is in for a good volume day. The passing numbers for RB’s against the Cowboys haven’t been great, but mainly due to most teams playing from ahead. Look for Freeman to get a similar passing workload as he did in week 4 and for Jason Garrett to be ultra-motivated to get as many points on the board against his long time team and that always bodes well for the lead back.
- Greg Olsen: 4 catches/41 yards/1 TD (12.4 points)
- CeeDee Lamb: 3 catches/49 yards/1 TD (12.4 points)
- Juju Smith-Schuster: 6 catches/ 82 yards (11.2)
- Eric Ebron: 3 catches/ 29 yards/1 TD (10.4 points)
- Michael Gallup: 4 catches/81 yards (10.1 points)
- Zach Pascal: 6 catches/68 yards (9.8 points)
- Mo Alie-Cox: 2 catches/28 yards/1 TD (9.8 points)
Trey Burton and Jack Doyle complicate the tight end situation in Indy, but Alie-Cox is averaging the most Yards Per Target among tight ends and against a team that has allowed the 3rd most point to TE’s through four weeks, he’s a TD dependent play this week, but the Brown have allowed 5 TD’s to tight ends this year and Alie-Cox makes his minimal targets count as Rivers favorite target up the seam.
- Brandon Aiyuk: 28 rushing yards/3 catches/49 receiving yards (9.2 points)
- James White: 11 yards rushing/6 catches/44 yards receiving (8.5 points)
Even with Cam Newton sidelined another week, Bill Belichick gets the chance to madden us all with his RB usage this week. With White back from his very unfortunate family tragedy, he is still the one Pat’s RB that gives me some comfort in his usage. I don’t trust Harris to be involved enough, even after a strong showing Monday and Burkhead likely loses touches to White, so White has a good spot to be a safe, if unspectacular FLEX play.
- Tyler Boyd: 4 catches/59 yards (7.9 points)
- Keelan Cole Jr: 4 catches/58 yards (7.8 points)
- Jerrick McKinnon: 48 rushing yards/2 catches/19 receiving yards (7.7 points)
Just Missed: T.Y Hilton, Myles Gaskin, Mark Ingram II, Darrell Henderson, Tee Higgins
Again, this is equal parts research and hunch, so use it as a tool to break ties or confirm your own hunches. The projections are largely based on trends of the opponent, their own team and fluidity of their fantasy situation. A good number of us get laser focused on rankings, so hopefully this helps give a spin with a hybrid approach of legitimate rankings vs. a healthy dose of clairvoyance. That’s a good basis for choosing those tough lineup spots, right?
Jared Clifton – Host of Cover 3 Podcast, Editor, Writer
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