Mike Clay

Football Daily Dose

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Flex Appeal

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Something I’ve noticed over the last few years is that most fantasy owners don’t put much thought into the position they should be targeting for their flex slot.

Generally, running back seems like the logical way to go, but with the question marks at the position; and considering the depth at wide receiver and emergence of the tight end position, it’s a discussion worth having.

The issue is that it’s not as cut and dry at it seems. Considering how many teams are in your league, which positions are flex eligible, the number of starting slots for each position, and, of course, the league scoring is key.

Today, I’ll tell you the right positions – and players – you should be targeting in four popular formats.

Note: We’ll assume, for the purpose of this article, that only RB, WR, and TE are Flex eligible. I considered doubling the workload and showing charts for 16-team leagues, but the results are so similar to 12-teamers, that I didn’t bother. Those of you in 14 or 16-team leagues can apply the conclusions found below to your leagues with confidence.

12 teams – Non-PPR – 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex

Referring to the most-recent Rotoworld projections, we see the following:

Pos Pts Player   Pos Pts Player   Pos Pts Player
RB25 160 Spiller   WR25 143 S. Johnson   TE13 104 Cook
RB26 159 McGahee   WR26 142 Garcon   TE14 103 Olsen
RB27 155 Greene   WR27 142 A. Brown   TE15 102 Keller
RB28 152 Wells   WR28 141 D. Jackson   TE16 98 Celek
RB29 141 Ridley   WR29 137 T. Smith   TE17 91 Gresham
RB30 141 Ingram   WR30 135 Collie   TE18 88 Daniels
RB31 139 Redman   WR31 134 Meachem   TE19 88 Fleener
RB32 139 D. Williams   WR32 133 D. Moore   TE20 86 H. Miller
RB33 135 D. Brown   WR33 132 Wayne   TE21 85 Lewis
RB34 123 Tate   WR34 128 Holmes   TE22 83 Bennett
RB35 121 Green-Ellis   WR35 125 Britt   TE23 79 Moeaki
RB36 120 Helu   WR36 122 Heyward-Bey   TE24 77 Housler

What we’re looking for here is the top 12 point totals, as they will make for the best-case flex options. Heading into this draft, you should be leaning towards three running backs in your starting lineup, but it’s not a big deal if you go with what is essentially a WR3. Notice that, although eight running backs make up the top 12 point totals, wideout No. 36 is only 17 points behind RB32 – our lowest-scoring flex play. Backup tight ends are no threat to their counterparts at running back and wide receiver and should never be considered for the flex spot in this format.

Before I move on, it’s important to note that this process will assume that everyone drafting is relatively competent. On occasion, you might find yourself in a league where a top-20 running back or wideout falls to you when you’re selecting a flex. When that happens, compare where you have that player ranked to the projected points shown in the charts you’ll see here today. In our first example, top-20 backs and wideouts are obviously good flex plays, but, our No. 3 overall tight end (138 points) is on the fringe.

12 teams – Non-PPR – 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex

Pos

Pts

Player

 

Pos

Pts

Player

 

Pos

Pts

Player

RB25

160

Spiller

 

WR37

120

Little

 

TE13

104

Cook

RB26

159

McGahee

 

WR38

118

Crabtree

 

TE14

103

Olsen

RB27

155

Greene

 

WR39

117

Rice

 

TE15

102

Keller

RB28

152

Wells

 

WR40

113

S. Moss

 

TE16

98

Celek

RB29

141

Ridley

 

WR41

109

M. Williams

 

TE17

91

Gresham

RB30

141

Ingram

 

WR42

108

Boldin

 

TE18

88

Daniels

RB31

139

Redman

 

WR43

107

Ma. Floyd

 

TE19

88

Fleener

RB32

139

D. Williams

 

WR44

106

L. Moore

 

TE20

86

H. Miller

RB33

135

D. Brown

 

WR45

105

R. Moss

 

TE21

85

Lewis

RB34

123

Tate

 

WR46

105

LaFell

 

TE22

83

Bennett

RB35

121

Green-Ellis

 

WR47

104

Washington

 

TE23

79

Moeaki

RB36

120

Helu

 

WR48

103

Wright

 

TE24

77

Housler

The 2RB/3WR/1TE/1Flex format is quickly gaining popularity. As you see from our chart, deciding on where to go for your flex is very easy in this type of league. Because wide receivers ranked 25-through-36 are now forced into starting lineups, the third dozen set of running backs is now the easy choice for your flex position. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the impact of that third wide receiver slot. You’ll be playing at a major disadvantage with a wideout or tight end in the flex.

12 teams – PPR – 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex

Pos

Pts

Player

 

Pos

Pts

Player

 

Pos

Pts

Player

RB25

179

Greene

 

WR25

214

A. Brown

 

TE13

163

Cook

RB26

176

McGahee

 

WR26

211

Collie

 

TE14

161

Keller

RB27

175

Turner

 

WR27

210

Garcon

 

TE15

159

Celek

RB28

169

D. Brown

 

WR28

208

V. Jackson

 

TE16

159

Olsen

RB29

165

Wells

 

WR29

205

D. Jackson

 

TE17

149

Gresham

RB30

164

Ingram

 

WR30

202

Wayne

 

TE18

145

Daniels

RB31

160

Redman

 

WR31

194

Meachem

 

TE19

143

H. Miller

RB32

154

D. Williams

 

WR32

191

T. Smith

 

TE20

139

Fleener

RB33

153

Ridley

 

WR33

190

Little

 

TE21

136

Lewis

RB34

148

Helu

 

WR34

189

Holmes

 

TE22

131

Bennett

RB35

146

P. Thomas

 

WR35

184

D. Moore

 

TE23

124

Moeaki

RB36

146

Hillman

 

WR36

182

Crabtree

 

TE24

119

Pitta

Next up, we make the switch to PPR leagues. This chart shows the massive boost wide receivers and tight ends see when one point is awarded for each reception. In this format, running backs have a lot less value. In fact, once you get your top two backs (preferably in the first two or three rounds), you don’t have to worry about adding depth for a while. Opposite of what we talked about in our previous example, not going with a wide receiver in your flex in this format puts you at a disadvantage. Notice that tight ends begin to enter the flex conversation when the move is made to PPR.

12 teams – PPR – 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex

Pos Pts Player   Pos Pts Player   Pos Pts Player
RB25 179 Greene   WR37 181 Britt   TE13 163 Cook
RB26 176 McGahee   WR38 178 Heyward-Bey   TE14 161 Keller
RB27 175 Turner   WR39 177 S. Moss   TE15 159 Celek
RB28 169 D. Brown   WR40 172 Rice   TE16 159 Olsen
RB29 165 Wells   WR41 168 Boldin   TE17 149 Gresham
RB30 164 Ingram   WR42 163 M. Williams   TE18 145 Daniels
RB31 160 Redman   WR43 160 L. Moore   TE19 143 H. Miller
RB32 154 D. Williams   WR44 159 Wright   TE20 139 Fleener
RB33 153 Ridley   WR45 157 LaFell   TE21 136 Lewis
RB34 148 Helu   WR46 156 Bess   TE22 131 Bennett
RB35 146 P. Thomas   WR47 155 Washington   TE23 124 Moeaki
RB36 146 Hillman   WR48 153 Blackmon   TE24 119 Pitta

Moving to PPR leagues that use three wide receivers, we see – like earlier – that running back depth becomes more important. Our chart shows six running backs and six wide receivers as the ideal flex contributors. This is the only format we’ve talked about where you can’t go wrong with a back or wideout in the flex. In fact, this is the tight end position’s best shot at flex consideration, as well. Note that four tight ends outside the top 12 are within four total points of our last flex player. Considering some margin of error, no one could fault you for plugging a player from any of these three positions into your flex in this format.



Mike Clay is a football writer for Rotoworld.com and the Founder/Managing Editor of Pro Football Focus Fantasy. He can be found on Twitter @MikeClayNFL.
Email :Mike Clay



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