With Seattle, Jacksonville, New Orleans, and Kansas City all on bye, we’re all having to do some rearranging. The question we all ask ourselves right up until the last minute Sunday morning, who to start to start at flex. Who’s likely to outscore who. The toughest part about picking a flex is having the confidence that guy you choose will be the guy you need him to be. I find the best way to make that decision is to write my options names down on paper, put them in a hat, then throw the hat away, and get on my laptop to revise stats. Sure there’s some luck involved, but a good flex is out there if you look at the numbers and weigh their matchups. I’ll stop dragging this out and get to it, here are a few players I really like for flex starts this weekend.
Theo Riddick RB DET (DET vs PHI)
This Sunday the Lions matchup against one of the toughest defenses in the league, the Eagles. The Eagles are coming fresh off their bye week, an impressive win that held back a powerful Steelers offense. This being said I think Theo Riddick makes for an interesting flex play. Riddick has struggled in the rushing game with only 3.1 YPC per ProFootballFocus, but his potential lies in the passing game. He is currently leading the league with 20 receptions. This makes him an interesting option for PPR formats as well.
The Lions weapons are a little banged up as well. With Eric Ebron expected to sit out Sunday (ankle), Marvin Jones listed as questionable and Golden Tate underperforming, the Lions will rely on Riddick in the backfield. Surprisingly they’ve already been relying on him a lot this season. Over the past 4 games, he has seen a substantial uptick in attempts each game. More importantly, Riddick was on the field for 51 of the 63 snaps (81%). Despite the tough matchup, Riddick should be viewed as a decent RB3 in PPR formats because of his involvement in the passing game and his uptick in carries.
Terrance West RB BAL (BAL vs WAS)
Baltimore has an offensive friendly matchup against Washington this week. The Redskins defense is one of the worst in the league as a unit. They struggle to stop the pass and run. They have allowed 8 rushing touchdowns which is the most in the league and 133 yards per game for a 4.9 per attempt average, All things considered, and you should target any running back facing the Redskins on a weekly basis. That is why I endorse the play of Terrance West as an RB3 this week.
Though the Baltimore rushing attack has stumbled posting an underwhelming 3.7 yards per attempt, they have had 213 of their total 377 rushing yards while playing at home this season. Your confidence in West should remain high with Forsett being released this week and Dixon still recovering from a knee sprain. Even if Dixon is cleared to play this week he will see a very light workload to safely ease him back in. West saw 44% of Baltimore’s total snaps in week 4. Now, he isn’t involved in the passing game, but he is an in-between-the-tackles back who should see some red zone action. Despite his limitations in the passing game, he will see a large workload and his volume should produce healthy flex numbers in standard leagues.
Fozzy Whittaker RB CAR (CAR vs TB)
The Panthers head into week 5 with a divisional showdown between two teams who are both 1-3. Now this should be a shootout, Vegas has a projected O/U of 46 and an implied point total of 26 for the Panthers. With Cam Newton out this week, Derek Anderson is going a decent streaming option for those who are searching for QB help this week. After a rough week 4, the Panthers head home and will take on a Buccaneers defense that has struggled to defend the pass. Here is where you’ll find Whittaker’s starting flex value.
Whittaker outperformed what was expected last week in having 9 receptions for 86 yards. Though his rushing yards weren’t anything to write home about, he showed versatility in garbage time catch up and received 44% of Carolina’s snaps. With the friendlier match-up and his outperforming Artis-Payne, you can expect Whitaker to receive even more targets. Whitaker already comes in 12th among running backs in PPR formats, with a .47 point-per-opportunity. His limitations in the red zone make him a risk for standard, but he’s a worthy flex start in PPR.
Jerick McKinnon RB MIN (MIN vs HOU)
The Vikings are undefeated. That’s weird to say when I remember Sports Center saying it was laughable to consider them as Super Bowl contenders. Though that is still a ways off, it’s no longer crazy to me to think they’ll be in the playoffs. This aside, Minnesota is looking good right now. Home again this week they take on a beaten up Houston defense. In last week’s matchup against the Titans, they allowed two touchdowns and 95 yards to DeMarco Murray.
Jerick McKinnon is a diverse back that is used in both phases of the offense. He is coming off his best game of the season and put to rest any question who is the Minnesota running back to own. He has out-touched Matt Asiata, 38 to 15 the last two weeks. Then on MNF, he turned 18 carries into 85 yards and a touchdown against a Giants defense that had played well against the run in weeks prior.
The combination of opportunity and a great matchup are too good to ignore. McKinnon is a must start flex play that you can have confidence in.
There’s solid flex value out there this week. When in doubt look at your matchups and stats. If you’re still unsure tweet at us #askTFA for more of our favorite flex starts, and to weigh in on the 2 players you just can’t pick between. We may just give you the kick in the pants you need to click submit on your roster changes.