[Editor’s note: fantasy guru Nicholas Ferris is back for his third guest post on the top-50 flex players, tackling your Week 6 options. Last week, Mr. Ferris wasn’t sold on the Falcons and their two-headed backfield. This week, he’s finally ready to take up residence in the Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman duplex. Let’s see where else he’s stopping over on the way to fantasy glory. Take it away, other Nick!]
Welcome back to my ranking of the top-50 flex plays in standard scoring leagues for the week (Week 6).
Once again, I have broken our assets into tiers to help differentiate fantasy prowess, singling out players who have moved up or down significantly since last week.
With only the Vikings and Bucs on bye this week, the talent pool is loaded. Tough matchups for most of the top fantasy WRs devalues the position at the top, but the depth the position offers is clearly evident.
Last week, I discussed how overreactions can be harmful. This week it’s the opposite. There comes a time when even the most stubborn owners (i.e. me) have to give in to reality. As Kenny Rogers crooned, you got to know when to fold’em. On that note, I may be willing to admit that it’s possible for a team to sustain two RB1 players on a weekly basis. The offensive juggernaut that is the Atlanta Falcons – who have the highest output passing offense through five weeks and are averaging 35 points per game – are doing their best to prove that. Tevin Coleman (RB7) and Devonta Freeman (RB8) were both among the top-ten scoring RBs in Week 5. This week, you’ll see both names a little higher in the rankings.
But make no mistake, whether overreacting or underreacting, both can be harmful to your fantasy team. You just have to know when to jump on the train and when to make a quick exit at the next station. And that’s where I come in (in theory). But enough with the metaphors; on with the show!
Top 50 Flex Players for Week 6
1. L. Bell RB(1) @MIA
2. A. Brown WR(1) @MIA
3. E. Elliott RB(2) @GB
4. D. Johnson RB(3) vs NYJ
5. D. Murray RB(4) vs CLE
6. R. Gronkowski TE(1) vs CIN
It took all of two weeks and a total of 332 yards for Le’Veon Bell to stake his claim at the top of the fantasy world. When all factors are weighed in, there is no other asset I would rather roster this week. Although he has yet to hit paydirt, it is coming (maybe two or three times this Sunday when he faces Miami’s league-worst run defense (150.8 YPG) and league-worst scoring defense (36 PPG)).
Through five games, DeMarco Murray is tied for second with Ezekiel Elliott in RB fantasy scoring, trailing only David Johnson. His 633 yards and five TDs have him looking like his former rushing champion self. He will continue his dominance this week against a hopeless Cleveland Browns squad that’s ranked 29th in defense and trotting out … someone at quarterback.
So Tom Brady is in fact angry and now we all know. With what I saw from Rob Gronkowski last week, I feel good about ranking him among the elite. He didn’t have a TD in Brady’s return, but he does have 23 touchdowns in the last 33 games. Expect Gronk to start dancing in the end zone this week. It’s been one game with angry Brady back, yet he’s already overdue.
7. L. McCoy RB(5) vs SF
8. T. Gurley RB(6) @DET
9. J. Jones WR(2) @SEA
10. D. Hopkins WR(3) vs IND
11. O. Beckham WR(4) vs BAL
12. A. Robinson WR(5) vs CHI
13. J. Nelson WR(6) vs DAL
LeSean McCoy, fresh off an 18-carry, 150-yard beat down of the Rams, will continue his success against a much less talented defense this week. The 49ers are giving up 28 PPG and attempt to provide some comic relief to NFL fans this week by starting Sideshow Bob at quarterback. (Sorry I mistyped Colin Kaepernick.)
In DeAndre Hopkins, I believe! In Brock Osweiler, I do not. However, this week they draw the Indianapolis Colts’ 28th-ranked pass defense. Even “Os” is capable enough to get the ball in Hops hands in that matchup. Look for Nuk to break out this week and give his owners a much needed sigh of relief.
Well Odell Beckham did indeed hit pay dirt and was very well behaved in Week 5, just as I predicted. (He even made up with the kicking net!) I still had to drop him overall, though, with the Giants’ offense continuing to sputter, averaging a meager 17.8 PPG. Considering the limitations the situation puts on his talent and the fact he’s going up against a stingy Raven defense (190 passing yards per game), Beckham’s upside is limited this week. If Eli doesn’t figure something out quickly, it could be limited going forward.
14. M. Gordon RB(7) vs DEN
15. J. Howard RB(8) vs JAX
16. C. Hyde RB(9) @BUF
17. J. Charles RB(10) @OAK
18. C. Michael RB(11) vs ATL
19. T.Y. Hilton WR(7) @HOU
20. B. Cooks WR(8) vs CAR
21. M. Jones WR(9) vs LA
22. B. Marshall WR(10) @ARI
23. A.J. Green WR(11) @NE
The earlier train metaphor can be applied to break-out rookie Jordan Howard. In his two starts, he has accumulated 295 yards of offense and a touchdown. If you happened to draft him late or picked him up on the wire, good for you. Ride him while you can!
Jamaal Charles returns for real this week and adds a new asset to the top of the running back ranks. Yes, he’s coming off a second ACL surgery and he’s one year away from the dreaded age of 30, but don’t tell me he forgot how to run the ball. This man has never averaged under five yards a carry in his career. That’s right, not once in eight years. That’s Hall of Fame stuff! Until I see for myself that he is ready for the pasture, he will be a fixture among the top fantasy players, Spencer Ware or no Spencer Ware.
A source of underreaction I am contemplating is Brandin Cooks. I am high on his talent, high on his offense (4th in scoring, 2nd in passing), but low on his actual fantasy output (WR34). His talent suggests he can and should be used more, but with Drew Brees’ propensity for spreading the ball, Cooks is becoming a high-upside/high-risk WR2 play, as opposed to the high-floor/huge upside WR1 I believed he would be.
A.J. Green slides down the ranks this week from WR(5) to WR(11). Up against Billitricks and Angry Tom’s home coming, it will not be a fun day for the 2-3 Bengals. New England’s ability to take away what you do best is well known and, unfortunately for Green, he’s the only thing the Bengals do well right now.
24. A. Cooper WR(12) vs KC
25. A. Jeffery WR(13) vs JAX
26. L. Miller RB(12) vs INDY
27. M. Forte RB(13) @ARI
28. D. Freeman RB(14) @SEA
29. E. Sanders WR(14) @SD
30. D. Thomas WR(15) @SD
31. L. Fitzgerald WR(16) vs NYJ
32. D. Baldwin WR(17) vs ATL
33. J. Edelman WR(18) vs CIN
34. K. Benjamin WR(19) @NO
I have a hard time with Amari Cooper. I’m never quite sure where to rank him. The current WR12 is amazing, a few drops excluded. But teammate Michael Crabtree happens to be one of the 11 wideouts who currently have more fantasy points. While I believe talent wins out, it’s tough to rank Cooper any higher as it seems the Raiders have a 1A (Cooper, 47 targets) and 1B (Crabtree, 44 targets) situation.
Okay, I have swallowed my pride and moved Devonta Freeman up. I still like teammate Tevin Coleman better in the long run. But, for now, I am more comfortable with Freeman’s usage. Freeman has out touched Coleman 92 to 63 and has been the primary ball carrier. Give me the lead back in the NFL’s highest scoring offense, even against the Seahawks.
My feelings about the Broncos’ wide receivers have not changed. I’m just glad Trevor Siemian will be back throwing them the ball. Larry Fitzgerald with six catches, 81 yards, and two TDs, helped backup QB Drew Stanton look serviceable last week. Now, hopefully, he can pull the same trick for starter Carson Palmer.
Speaking of starters coming back, Cam Newton is on track to play for the Panthers versus a Saints team ranked 31st in total defense. Off to a 1-4 start, the defending NFC champs have their backs against the wall and will show no mercy against an undermanned defense.
35. L. Blount RB(15) vs CIN
36. I. Crowell RB(16) @TEN
37. T. Coleman RB(17) @SEA
38. F. Gore RB(18) @HOU
39. J. Matthews WR(20) @WAS
40. M. Crabtree WR(21) vs KC
41. J. Landry WR(22) vs PIT
42. J. Maclin WR(23) @OAK
43. R. Cobb WR(24) vs DAL
44. M. Ingram RB(19) vs CAR
45. C. Anderson RB(20) @SD
46. T. Riddick RB(21) vs LA
47. T. West RB(22) @NYG
48. R. Mathews RB(23) @WAS
49. G. Olsen TE(2) @NO
50. J. Reed TE(3) vs PHI
It’s always dangerous to try to predict game flow, but I will go out on a limb and say LeGarrette Blount will get some work this week in garbage time as the Patriots ice the game away late in the fourth. The Bengals 19th-ranked run defense will be gassed late, so play Blount with confidence.
Usage equals opportunity, opportunity leads to points (usually). Frank Gore has a low of 15 touches in a game this year. The vet still has some juice and it’s showing, averaging 4.2 YPC with two TDs. Gore is the current RB15 and plays in an offense that scores 27.4 PPG. He’s a safe high-floor asset in any line up.
Jarvis Landry also provides safety in usage with 47 targets and 403 yards through five games. The third-year wideout is one of the few bright spots on a dismal Dolphins squad.
The Saints started feeding Mark Ingram the rock in their last two games, and he has 43 touches for 212 yards and two TDs to show for it. I love it! Keep it up! Another week or two and I will start believing in you, Sean Payton.
Theo Riddick may be a better receiver than rusher (3.4 yards per carry on 50 rush attempts versus 7.3 yards per reception on 26 catches) but the bottom line is, he’s getting used! He has at least 15 touches a game for the last four weeks. He’s a good low-end RB2 play with upside.
The lead back in the Ravens offense, Terrance West, has run the ball well the last two weeks, but heads into a tough matchup with a Giants team that ranks 12th against the run and surrenders just 3.5 yards per attempt. This week could be the beginning of the end for West’s nice run.
Greg Olsen gets the nod over Jordan Reed this week as the TE(2) as Cam is back and Carolina heads to New Orleans in a cupcake matchup with the Saints.
Thanks for reading and, until next week, good luck and may the injury bug miss us all!