Charles Sims is primarily the third down back in Tampa Bay, operating as the change-of-pace back to Doug Martin. Sims figures to receive more carries than a typical third down back, as he’ll occasionally spell Martin on first downs. While he is a talented receiver, Sims does tend to get lost in the game flow at times. Thus Sims is dependent on utilizing his limited touches, in which he is excellent. In 2015, he had a reception or rush greater than 15 yards in 9 out of 16 games. Sims possesses big play ability and can reach the second level of the secondary quickly. All of these things add up to make the perfect flex play candidate.
Consensus Ranking and Projected Stats
For week 1, Sims is ranked as the 92nd Flex PPR player overall, and the 37th running back. His projections for the week:
Rushing: 6.5 carries, 27.5 yards, 0.1 TDs
Receiving: 3.1 catches, 30.7 yards, 0.1 TDs
Total Points: 10.3 PPR points
Current Week Match-up
This is primarily why I’m recommending Sims as a flex play this week. Atlanta gave up the most receptions (112) and third most receiving yards (896) to opposing running backs in 2015, getting peppered by 133 targets, also the third most in the NFL last season. Atlanta has quite a strong defense, allowing the second fewest points to wide receivers in 2015. Led by Desmond Trufant, the Falcons do a decent job of handling wide receivers. This is why the Bucs may choose to funnel quite a few touches through Sims.
Sims, operating as the third down back, will likely get plenty of touches. The total Vegas over/under is set at 47.5, one of the highest totals of the week. This match-up, like many NFC South games, has the potential to be a shoot-out. With Atlanta favored to win, the Bucs may be in catch-up mode for a large portion of the game. Tampa will be forced to throw to keep up with the high powered Atlanta offense, which bodes well for Sims this week.
Comparable Flex Starters
I’ve analyzed some comparable flex starters, along with a brief description of why I like them more or less than Sims this week:
RB Matt Jones, Washington Redskins: Projected PPR points – 9.7 points
Coming back from a sprained AC joint in preseason week 2, Matt Jones is the starter in Washington. However, undrafted free agent Rob Kelly has been impressive during his preseason stint, albeit against backups. Chris Thompson is also present as the third down back, which gives Washington a very crowded backfield group. Matt Jones has been back at practices with a non-contact jersey, and stating that his shoulder “feels awesome”. Against the Steelers, who were the 3rd toughest matchup for running backs in 2015, Matt Jones figures to not do well on his limited carries. In addition, he stands to lose all third down work, which is valuable in PPR leagues.
Conclusion: Start Charles Sims over Matt Jones
WR Travis Benjamin, San Diego Chargers: Projected PPR points – 9.7 points
Travis Benjamin is expected to be the new WR2 in San Diego, after a strong season in Cleveland. Look for him to stretch the field as Keenan Allen plays more of a possession role. However, with the stretch role, Benjamin relies heavily on the long receptions. Against a stout Kansas City defense, Benjamin may erupt for one or two long catches, but could easily be bottled up. In a PPR league, the yardage is nice from Benjamin, but the probability of 3-4 catches is not. Benjamin may be a fine WR2 as the season progresses, but this week does not bode well for a successful game.
Conclusion: Start Charles Sims over Travis Benjamin