Winning the Flex focuses on difficult lineup decisions across positions each week.
Every week I will be taking the best questions from the weekly Winning The Flex thread on the forums and using our apps to give the best advice possible.
Watkins vs Smith-Schuster vs Lee
I’m assuming you have Allen, Funchess and Marvin Jones locked in to your lineup, so I’ll focus on the two remaining flex spots. Unfortunately, Zay Jones has already been ruled out due to injury.
Juju Smith-Schuster is coming off a huge 7-193-1 stat line and gets to play against a Colts defense allowing the most receiving yards in the league. Of course, prior to last week he had only topped 50 yards once and his targets have been inconsistent. Martavis Bryant should be returning to the fold, and there isn’t any CB on the team that can make it tough on Antonio Brown so it’s hard to make a good case for Smith-Schuster having a big day. Marqise Lee doesn’t have the matchup Smith-Schuster has on paper, but I’ll side with his 39 percent market share of Jacksonville air yards.1
The red hot Rams offense has the highest implied point total of the week, and Watkins has seen 35 percent of their air yards over the last month. His fantasy output has been disappointing but this is a good bounce back spot against a Texans defense allowing the second-highest depth of target on the season. Here’s what Evan Silva said about him this week:
I’ve been very hesitant on Watkins throughout the season, but I think this is his best chance at a blowup game. The Texans have been flamed by speedy perimeter wideouts T.Y. Hilton (5/175/2), Paul Richardson (6/105/2), and Tyler Lockett (6/121/0) since their Week 7 bye, and Watkins fits that archetype more so than any Rams pass catcher.
Watkins has had some brutal matchups this season against the very best CB’s in the league but has been a good option outside of those games. This is a week to fire him up as a strong play.
Hilton vs Allen vs Shepard
Coming off of a monster game against the Texans, it’s really tough to suggest sitting T.Y. Hilton, but he’s going from playing against a defense allowing the 11th-most points to WRs to a defense allowing the second fewest. Hilton is seventh in the league in air yards and market share of air yards, but this matchup doesn’t set up well for him.
Keenan Allen continues to have a solid floor based on volume but has only topped 70 receiving yards twice this season and hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1. This is not the week to expect that to change as he’ll likely see a lot of lock down CB Jalen Ramsey. Of the players who have defended 200 routes this season, Ramsey is allowing the fourth-fewest yards per target and the fourth-fewest fantasy points per target.
If we only look at the six games Shepard has played this year, he would rank 14th in yards after the catch. He gets a strong matchup this week against a 49ers defense allowing the fourth-most yards after the catch. Every CB on the 49ers roster is allowing a passer rating over 80 so whether Shepard is moved to the outside or plays in the slot, he’s set up to be productive.
Lewis vs Burkhead vs Mack
This projection is only based on usage over the last month, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable. Lewis’ touches have increased in every game over that time, and he’s averaging over five yards per carry. The matchup is admittedly rough as the Broncos are allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to RBs and the fifth-fewest rushing yards. However a bit of regression could be what makes or breaks Lewis’ upside here.
Over the last three games the Broncos are allowing a league-high 33 points per game and the third-most passing touchdowns (2.3) after averaging a league best 0.8 per game in 2016. Their 16 passing TDs allowed through the halfway point is already more than last seasons total, but they’ve only given up three scores on the ground and two of them happened last week. The potential for a serious swing towards rushing TDs allowed gives Lewis big time upside, assuming of course that Mike Gillislee’s playing time continues trending downward.
- That’s a top-10 market share among NFL receivers. (back)