Writing this season is certainly off to an interesting start. I began writing my Week 1 flex article while at the airport in Orlando, on my way home from my destination draft in the Bahamas. Really any excuse to rub that story in. Destination draft on a cruise to the Bahamas! I still have the tan, and I have no shame. Now I find myself polishing off my week 2 fantasy football flex plays article while at the airport yet again, this time off to a weekend in San Francisco. Yeah I’m super cool, at least my cat seems to think so.
Anyways, in an effort to try new things and maintain some accountability, I’ll be mixing it up this season. This year I’ll be breaking down my successful picks versus picks that missed the mark. Why? How do we learn if we don’t begin to understand why we fail? Rain delays, injuries or not. So here we go into Week 2!
Week 1 Success Calls
This feels like cheating. We knew, based on the pre-season, that Conner would be effective should Bell hold out. His best game in preseason was at Green Bay. He had 5 rushing attempts for 57 yards and a touchdown. His most receptions came in the third game against Tennessee, with 6 catches for 52 yards. As a Steelers fan, I was maybe more hopeful than others. However he’s shot out of the cannon and right up the rankings with that performance. Thirty-one rushing attempts for 135 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns were enough. Tack on the 5 receptions for 57 yards just to sweeten the day. So long as Bell holds out, Conner is RB1/RB2. Going forward when Bell returns, I could see him maintaining value at flex with the receiving upside. Tomlin may also limit Bell when he comes back as well. It may seem odd, but he’s done it before with Martavis Bryant.
Going into this season it was thought Lewis would be playing second fiddle to Derrick Henry. Well his 8 targets in the air for 5 receptions, 35 yards, and 75 rushing yards, plus touchdown say otherwise. Henry had a single target in the air and only managed 26 rushing yards on his 10 attempts. Lewis is known for being a multi-faceted back from his time with the Patriots, but he was always hit or miss in fantasy being in the Belichick system. Perhaps Tennessee is the perfect fit for him. Week 1 is early to get your hopes up, but he is a sure fire flex play in standard and PPR formats against an exploitable Houston secondary that allowed 10 receptions for 73 yards to New England’s backs last week, and a total of 26 receptions to receivers.
Kenny Golladay (Week 2 PPR Flex)
Last week I called this game “Monday Night Football magic.” It was magical but most certainly not for the Lions. An abysmal loss to say the least, against the youngest rookie quarterback to start in the league. One of the only Lions who yielded any success was Golladay. Making his 12 targets count, he had 7 receptions for 114 yards. Tate took the single touchdown, but as the third receiver on a team that throws a lot, he’ll maintain flex value moving into Week 2 against a weak San Francisco defense.
James White (Week 2 PPR Flex)
Really don’t want this to come across as an “I told you so”, but I did say I liked White in PPR formats for Week 1. So I’m just gonna put that in the win column. White dominated targets from Brady with 9, and caught four receptions and a touchdown. He looks to be the pass-catching back we hoped to rely on in New England. Meanwhile, Rex Burkhead will be grinding it out on the ground (evident by his 18 rushing attempts for 64 yards). Should I really be doubling down on White against the Jaguars? In the postseason last year, Dion Lewis managed 7 receptions for the Pats against the Jags, with his longest reception being 20 yards. So it can be done. I say if you’re shy on options, White could be a good play.
Way Off Target
Ok I know I wasn’t the only one high on Goodwin. That speed, the 17.2 average yards per catch, and the connection with the dashing Jimmy G. Sure, Minnesota is one of the toughest defenses in the league, but Jimmy had success against Jacksonville last season so why not? Goodwin went down early, walked back on then back out again. *Sigh*. I don’t take any comfort in the fact they’re calling it a deep thigh bruise either. We all know soft tissue injuries can have a lingering effect, and that’s not what you want to hear. Goodwin is already ruled out this week. When he does return, I’ll be playing it safe and watching his performance before I put him in my lineups.
More disappointed in myself than you are in me, guaranteed. Four sad receptions for just 18 yards? Insert *You’re killing me smalls* GIF here. I’ve seen people call for a bounce back on Sanu this week against Carolina, but they held Prescott to just 19 for 29 passing attempts and Matt Ryan had an ugly interception last week. I’m benching Sanu and looking elsewhere for hope and meaning.
Week 1 Calls Gone Wrong, With A Bounce Back
Being critical of myself here. He wasn’t a terrible pick for Week 1. He managed a touchdown which balanced out the limited receptions (1) and rushing yards (19). Why is he under the bounce back? Unless you’ve turned off your fantasy notifications, you know by now that Devonta Freeman has been ruled out this week. On Sunday, Freeman took a hit to the same knee he injured last year and has already been ruled out for Week 2 (and possibly more). With a decent match up against Carolina this weekend and the starting role, Coleman is a healthy flex play.
Underwhelming would be the opportune word here. Just 3 receptions for 37 yards and a single rush for 6 yards isn’t what you hope for at your flex position. He had several missed opportunities which, had they gone the other way, would’ve added at least a touchdown to those stats. As Goff’s favorite target last year, you’ve gotta hope better days are ahead. What should give you confidence, however, is that Cooks, Kupp & Woods were neck and neck in targets. So Goff is evenly distributing the ball. Going forward I will continue to start Woods at flex in PPR.
Duke Johnson Jr
Missed the mark here for sure, with a sad 3.5 points in PPR formats. Carlos Hyde took the lead role and seems to be running with it, pun intended, as he had 22 attempts for 62 yards and a touchdown. I’m not giving up on Johnson yet though. His targets were there (6 while Hyde only saw 2) and game script this week versus the Saints could mean more involvement through the air.
Fresh Picks for Week 2
Austin Ekeler & Mike Williams
The Chargers travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills Sunday. Now, with all due respect to the Bills, they’re weak, wounded and I’ll be making picks and calls against them all season. Or until they begin to show signs of life. Two players I’ll take in this match have to be Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Ekeler’s success. Not that he doesn’t have game, it’s just purely unexpected. I hope someone was brave enough to capitalize on him in daily. With 5 receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown, perhaps he’ll be the new vulture to steal Gordon’s touchdowns. Obviously we don’t want that, but hey it happens.
Admittedly, I said no on Mike Williams last week. He had a better showing than I thought he would with 81 receiving yards. He’s healthy which also great to see and has connected well with Rivers with 5 receptions on 6 targets. Definitely in flex play consideration this week against the Bills.
As always be sure to check your match ups when debating flex options and check out the other fantastic reads by the writers here, like this week’s Start/Sits by Sam Lane and Buy or Sell by Travis Finkel. Don’t forget to hashtag #askTFA on twitter and @ us for your last minute lineup questions.