You've figured out most of your starting lineup. Quarterback? Check. Running backs? Check. Receivers, tight ends, kicker and defense? Check, check, check and check. But there's still that pesky flex spot. Do you go with that mid-round running back you drafted for this exact purpose? What about that wide receiver that has a favorable matchup this week? Then there are you masochists who play in superflex leagues. Godspeed to all of you.
If you're looking for help, you've come to the right place. Every week in this space I'll do my best to help you #FixMyFlex. Well, actually I'll try to fix YOUR flex. But that's not how the hashtag goes. I guess it just wasn't quite as catchy. Anyway, you've got problems, I've got answers. Here we go.
If you were one of the unfortunate souls who drafted Le'Veon Bell and now find yourself slamming the Week 1 panic button, then it makes sense to slide James Conner into your lineup. Let's keep it 100 ... no matter who you grabbed to replace Bell in your lineup, you're never going to completely replace his production. We're talking about arguably the best running back in football. But Conner will absorb a lot of the opportunities Bell left behind. If the game goes as anticipated and the Steelers take a lead into the fourth quarter, it could mean more touches for the running back as Pittsburgh tries to run out the clock.
As much as I enjoy the #RexInTheFlex hashtag, I'm going to go with Landry. Especially in a PPR league. And not just because he inspired my offseason Hard Knocks spoof. There are plenty of things we still don't know about the Browns' passing game -- namely how much Josh Gordon will play. But one thing we know is that Landry will get plenty of targets. The Patriots will spread the ball around to plenty of options but Cleveland still remains a fairly concentrated offense. Wait a minute ... Jarvis "Juice" Landry. Concentrated. Juice from concentrate. Don't mind me. I'm just riffing here. On to the next.
I know that I went away from Rex in the last question but in this situation I think it's time to roll with #RexInTheFlex. Golden Tate should get plenty of opportunity but his value is diminished outside of PPR leagues. Chris Hogan looks like the top Patriots target (non-Gronkowski division) but it's Burkhead who has the biggest touchdown upside of the group. In what should be a high-scoring contest against the Texans in Week 1, the Pats primary running back should inspire confidence.
I've made no secret of my fantasy fear surrounding LeSean McCoy this season. That fear is crystallized in Week 1 in the form of a Ravens defense that was one of the league's best last year and will likely key on Shady in the opener. But so often, volume is king in fantasy football and McCoy will have far more opportunity than Williams. Sometimes you have to hold your nose, set your lineup and hope for the best. This is one of those times.
I only want good things for Alfred Morris. Were it not for Robert Griffin III, he would have been the Rookie of the Year in 2012. He's a good running back who just can't seem to get a fair shake. This could be his year to get some of the opportunities I wished for him back in his Washington days. Speaking of Washington, it appears that Jay Gruden is enamored with Adrian Peterson which means Thompson might take a backseat in the backfield. It's time to give Alfie Mo some love.
It's a toss-up for me between Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Crabtree. I would go with Sanders because Denver's matchup with Seattle figures to be fairly close, meaning the game script could be a wide receiver-friendly most of the day. Crabtree could also put in work but if things get lopsided, it may turn into the Alex Collins show. If you believe in the power of Garbage Time, Amari Cooper could find himself in that situation late against the Rams. But I'd prefer not to live that way.
I fully understand your concern. I was a big Baldwin proponent during training camp until he started missing time nursing his injury. Nonetheless, I'd still take my chances with Baldwin at 85 percent over Henry behind a mediocre run blocking line with Dion Lewis lurking to take opportunities -- especially on third down. Baldwin is still going to be Russell Wilson's favorite target and if they can find creative ways to get him open should still see a healthy number of targets.
I haven't wanted anything to do with the Raiders' offense this season. That includes Lynch, who has to face a stout Rams defense that added Ndamukong Suh to a run-stopping unit that was surprisingly soft last year. Add to it that the script for this one doesn't favor a lot of the Raiders' ground game and Lynch is out for me. Fuller might not get a lot of catches but we learned last season that he's a big play waiting to happen and is worth a start in what could be a track meet.
This is quite the NFC North combo platter here but I'm going to Detroit and Marvin Jones. He was on fire early in the season last year and tailed off. Yet he plays in an offense with a higher expected passing volume than Chicago and should get more targets than Randall Cobb. Roll with the Honolulu Blue this weekend.
I would normally say that Williams is the pick because he's the volume play. But Larry Fitzgerald should seen plenty of volume in the passing game in a contest that could feature a lot of points. I haven't been completely sold on Williams so my advice would be to fade the Packers running back in Week 1.