Week 2 Fantasy Football Flex Rankings

Darren Sproles

The lights are dim. Too dim, at least for my optic spectrum. I’d like to blame the faux-kerosene lamps dangling from the restaurant, but I can’t. It’s the ostentatious owner that deserves a verbal lashing. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate kitsch value, but I’d exchange some vintage hipster aesthetic for enhanced luminescence. Brightness in general is underrated, never more so than the present moment. There are candles sitting on the table, however they too are present solely as decor, not visibility amplifiers. They certainly won’t be confused with solar flares any time soon.

On closer inspection, there’s a real chance they may be emitting negative kilowatts. I’m pretty sure that’s how black holes are formed. Terrific, I’m getting overcharged for substandard food and now there’s a chance I could be sucked into a vortex and have to live out my days in an eerie alternate dimension. While residing in the void does sound intriguing, I’ve seen enough movies to know any happiness will be short-lived. There’s a steadfast rule: Those who tamper with the space/time continuum inevitably start getting migraines, followed by nose bleeds – that begin as a lone trickle, evolving quickly into Stanley Hotel elevator level gushing – eventually leading to an untimely case of death.

None of these bizarre thoughts should be going through my head, though. I’m sitting – not even across, but romantically perpendicular – at a table with an incredibly attractive woman. Go me! She’s wearing a cute summer dress complete with matching heels and a gratuitously low-cut neckline. She has great teeth, a huge plus in my books, and accessorizes very fashionably, another triumph. She’s clearly had her hair done in the past 48 hours – something I’d compliment, but with me, that puts a power-ranking-every-Walter-Hill-movie wormhole in play with me. From experience, that rarely results with me showing off my bedroom’s panoramic view of the city skyline. Shocking, I know.

She then reveals she works in investment banking, one of those jobs that sounds simple to understand, but in reality I have no idea what they do, besides collect bigger paychecks than me, of course. So I get her explain, not so much because I care, but allowing her any avenue to talk about herself is a win: A) In general, people love talking about themselves. B) Her gabbing away means me keeping my trap shut, avoiding many of those “seedier” topics I enjoy discussing so much. So while she’s dropping jargon like bulge brackets, arbitrage and securitization; I do that thing where I lock eyes, smile and nod, and start thinking about something else.

This is when the issue of illumination popped into my head.

Well, actually, as she was yammering on it occurred to me, I wonder if she’s actually as great as she seems. She’s clearly adept at holding a sensible conversation, so she’s already chains ahead of the convoy, yet I know I’m holding back — I’ve gone almost an hour without a smoke break (NEW RECORD!!!) — what’s she hiding?

As I’m watching her lips move, I notice a concealed blemish on her left cheek. I wait for her to hit another one of her banking buzzwords so I can get a proper inspection squint going. But the room is too poorly lit to come to any conclusion. Her caked on, quarter-inch (0.635 cm) of makeup is proving to be more of a hindrance than a help as well. This is frustrating, and worse, it’s the only thing I can focus on. Is the lighting situation clouding my judgment? I can’t tell if a common pimple has leased out the space in her dainty dimple or if it’s a deal breaking birthmark staring back at me. What if she’s like Andy Garcia and it’s the last vestige of a conjoined twin that would lead to a horribly awkward chat if she noticed how transfixed I am on it. Maybe it’s early onset Skittle Pox. Delicious, delicious Skittle Pox.

I’m in a trance, but like a hypnotist uttering the magic keyword, she snaps me out of my inner monologue, asking, “So, what do you think?” This is bad. Fortunately, I had the wherewithal to close my mouth and stop showcasing my patented trout impression, and reply, “Actually, I don’t really think all that much, I hear it leads to skin failure.” She laughs, and fails to follow-up on her inquiry. There’s truly nothing a well-timed bit of wit can’t solve. It was that, or the waiter bailing me out a mere 15 seconds later, spewing out dinner specials like projectile vomit after a night of mixing wine and tequila. Cool dude. He said his name was Zane, but I’m 86-percent sure that’s a lie. Unless he is somehow named after Billy Zane, who, coincidentally, is also a cool dude.

Usually, I’m not nearly this neurotic – thank Christ – and the first the glass of white exorcised me from my own head. I just relaxed and let the evening play itself out. Which, as always, is the best course of action. It was a terrific time. We eventually got into that Walter Hill debate and she got to behold the majesty of the CN Tower from an elevated distance. Plus, I received some hot investment tips.

Now, if I only had a portfolio.

Chris Rock had it proper:

You can’t get nobody being you. You got to lie to get somebody. You can’t get nobody looking like you look, acting like you act, sounding like you sound. When you meet somebody for the first time, you’re not meeting them. You’re meeting their representative!”

First impressions mean a lot to us, as they trigger instant evaluation which usually become eternally embedding in our minds, but generally, they tend not to be indicative of what something is actually like. And outside of a first date, week one of the Fantasy Football season can steer your opinions down disastrous directions. All you’ve met are the players’ representatives, and there are some that could stand an agency switch.


David Wilson – We’re all outraged when television shows reuse plotlines, so why isn’t the public at large furious with TV’s most popular piece of programming, Sunday Night Football? At least when most shows recycle a story they tell it through different characters so, you know, hopefully no one will notice. Not the Giants. The David Wilson saga from last season’s premier was again the main theme in the opener this year, except they got him to dial back on the waterworks this time around. His crippling case of fumblitis is troublesome, granted, but what’s not is the dearth of running back talent surrounding him. Brandon Jacobs is useless. And the only positive thingDa’Rel Scott has going for him is that hilarious apostrophe.

If Andre Brown was still around, I would have genuine concern for Wilson’s prospects, but of course, he ain’t. There are no other capable options; Wilson is going to get the ball. If the Giants weren’t staring down 0-2, there would be a chance to sit him down, like last season, and let him gather himself. They no longer have that luxury. By using another back, they’re actively damaging their offense, so it’s not going to happen. Spilt carries at first? Maybe. Wilson will get his shot. They want him to succeed. They need him to succeed. He’s basically like the oldest son that is destined to take over the family business. He screws around in college, probably develops a drug problem, but by his late-20s he gets his act together and is ultimately successful. Wilson will be the same way. Look, I’ve done a complete 180, and it only took one game!

I hated Wilson entering the year, but you can’t think of Fantasy players as real people. Doesn’t matter if they play for your favorite team or they once gave you a quick hand slap while you were obnoxiously elbowing children out of the way leaning over the rail at the tunnel. They are commodities. Don’t get it twisted. And Wilson’s value has plummeted to the point where his upside’s now worth gambling on. I never shared the belief he could be a RB1 – like many others – he’s always been a low end RB2/FLEX for me, but I do concede there are few players you can pry away form panic stricken owners that can give your squad an injection of whatever Jim Cutler gave to everyone at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Cutler Gleason Chaough to finish the Chevy account, and turned poor Kenny Cosgrove into the 1968 version of Michael Flatley. Wilson can be that guy, minus the tap lessons.

This week, though, that’s slightly more complex. Fantasy success isn’t just talent, circumstance plays a serious role. Which sucks, because Tom Coughlin hates fumblers more than Mike Singletary wants winners. Gut call: Wilson gets his touches and piles up a passel of receptions when the game becomes a shootout. Start worthy.

Lamar Miller – I don’t share the same enthusiasm for Mr. Miller. You may it’s been curbed. That’s you though, not me. I’m far cleverer. (Editor Note: LIES!) I would have rather drafted Marshall Faulk in the hopes he would come out of retirement than have Miller on any of my teams. I didn’t doubt he could potentially be productive, but what had he proven? Nothing… NOTHING!!! Just like he did against the Browns. Actually, that’s not true, he proved that Miami trusts Daniel Thomas near the goalline more than him. That’s bad. If you paid for him to be to anything more than a reserve, I have a car with some speed holes that should be your next purchase. They make the car go faster. Although, I’m dubious the same applies to Miller.

Mike Wallace – More Dolphins! I was a big fan of this signing. It led to my love of Brian Hartline in the preseason. Wallace is going to draw hyper-attention from secondaries all season and it’s going to manifest itself into a horribly inconsistent stat line. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be Fantasy useful. He gets so much defensive scrutiny because he’s the only player on the team that can legitimately score from anywhere on the field. Basically, Wallace is a slightly better Torrey Smith. He’ll stretch the field and hit some home runs, but any time he draws a quality corner, like, oh… Joe Haden for example, he’s going to be useless. His overall numbers will end up looking like a top flight WR3, but charting them week-to-week will have you sketching a sinus curve.

C.J. Spiller – The Patriots made certain Spiller was not going to beat them, completely taking him out of the game. This is a strategy opposing defenses are going to lean heavily on throughout the season. The difference is, New England can get its players to properly execute a scheme, while most other defenses don’t have that coach-to-player cohesion. Don’t be distressed. Spiller will be elite, just as advertised.

Stevan Ridley – The Shane Vereen injury quelled most the fears surrounding Ridley’s lackluster outing against the Bills, but that doesn’t quite add up. There was always going to be a split between he and Ridley, based primarily around the fact Ridley can’t catch. Shockingly, that hasn’t changed since last week, leaving his weekly production in the hands of how the game is unfolding for the Patriots. If he continues to put the ball on the ground prepare for an influx of Brandon Bolden or LeGarrette Blount running between the tackles. Bill Belichick’s the M. Night Shyamalan of the coaching world: he enjoys a good swerve. I still do believe Ridley can be a credible RB2, and he’s a nice trade target since he possesses the most talent of the bunch, but you need to understand he’s going to get pulled from the game if he starts cold.

The real wildcard in all of this is Leon Washington. Ridley, Bolden and Blount all seemingly had their hands gazed upon my Medusa, that or they carpooled to Professor Michael Turner’s offseason catching class together – Alfred Morris chipped in some gas money on that roadie too – that’s Vereen’s corner in that backfield. We know Tom Brady likes dumping the ball off to his back; it’s how Kevin Faulk and Danny Woodhead ended up some of the last decade’s sneakiest PPR players. And that’s Ponce de Leon’s only skill. That, and being unbelievably fast. If he gets a shot, he’s a potential every week PPR FLEX until Vereen returns. One you can currently get for nothing too!

James Jones – Jones is an odd case. A lack of targets – and receptions – is something that happens to him periodically. And, I’m willing to admit I was wrong – first time ever, I swearagod – siding with Jones over Jordy Nelson coming into the year. A healthy Nelson is clearly in tighter with Aaron Rodgers. However, Jones remains the Packers best vertical receiver, something they’ll actually utilize against teams not based out of San Francisco. And it gets better. You can nab Jones on the cheap at the moment, maybe even scoop him up off free agency, and if anything unfortunate happens to Randall Cobb or Nelson – two guys that aren’t exactly coxswains of clean health – Jones immediately vaults into the Top 20 at the position.

Mark Ingram – Ingram’s worse than soccer. Drop him.

Kenbrell Thompkins – Kenbrell blasted up cheat sheets like Sputnik in the preseason, only to encounter issues upon reentry. Now (or if he stinks against the Jets Thursday night) is the time to go shopping. Even though he was dropping everything in sight and continuously running the wrong route, it didn’t deter Brady from chucking it his way 14 times. The trust has been established, and if Brady is going to pepper him with the ball, count on that huge season coming to fruition. More so if Danny Amendola decides to start spending the majority of his time in street clothes.

And if you’re buying into my rhetoric less than I am to Lamar Miller, I suggest you consult The Fox. He’s always got something interesting to say…




The Carolina Panthers


Jacksonville (+6)


Rankings set to PPR scoring format:

1 point for every 10 yards Rushing/Receiving
1 point per reception
6 points per Touchdown

Points per reception (PPR) scoring must be treated differently than standard leagues. Receivers and scat backs like Darren Sproles, Jacquizz Rodgers and Roy Helu have inflated value in PPR scoring. As do possession receivers – Wes Welker, Danny Amendola and others in their mold are safer options. Catches tend to be more consistent and predictive. Obviously, touchdowns and yards are still important, but when considering FLEX options exploit any advantage you can. For standard scoring, running backs with hands of stone like Alfred MorrisBenJarvis Green-Ellis and Daryl Richardson all see their stocks rise without catches in the mix.

*** Roddy White, Danny Amendola & Jermichael Finley not ranked because of injury***

  1. LeSean McCoy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. Reggie Bush
  4. Calvin Johnson
  5. Brandon Marshall
  6. Matt Forte
  7. Demaryius Thomas
  8. Larry Fitzgerald
  9. Victor Cruz
  10. A.J. Green
  11. Wes Welker
  12. Randall Cobb
  13. Ray Rice
  14. Doug Martin
  15. Jimmy Graham
  16. Trent Richardson
  17. Andre Johnson
  18. Reggie Wayne
  19. Maurice Jones-Drew
  20. Darren McFadden
  21. Darren Sproles
  22. Dez Bryant
  23. Julio Jones
  24. Pierre Garcon
  25. Jamaal Charles
  26. DeMarco Murray
  27. C.J. Spiller
  28. Steven Jackson
  29. DeSean Jackson
  30. Hakeem Nicks
  31. Vincent Jackson
  32. Julian Edleman
  33. David Wilson
  34. Jason Witten
  35. Stevan Ridley
  36. Chris Johnson
  37. Steve Smith
  38. Marshawn Lynch
  39. Frank Gore
  40. Arian Foster
  41. Jordy Nelson
  42. Antonio Brown
  43. Cecil Shorts
  44. Dwayne Bowe
  45. Miles Austin
  46. DeAngelo Williams
  47. Mike Wallace
  48. Stevie Johnson
  49. Eddie Lacy
  50. Brian Hartline
  51. Anquan Boldin
  52. Marques Colston
  53. Daryl Richardson
  54. Mike Williams
  55. Tony Gonzalez
  56. Alfred Morris
  57. Ryan Mathews
  58. Kenbrell Thomkins
  59. Eric Decker
  60. Golden Tate
  61. Vernon Davis
  62. Jordon Cameron
  63. Knowshon Moreno
  64. Vick Ballard
  65. Julian Thomas
  66. Brandon Myers
  67. Lamar Miller
  68. Lance Moore
  69. Marlon Brown
  70. Ben Tate
  71. Rashard Mendenhall
  72. Chris Givens
  73. Emmanuel Sanders
  74. Ahmad Bradshaw
  75. James Jones
  76. Tavon Austin
  77. T.Y. Hilton
  78. Jared Cook
  79. Joique Bell
  80. Torrey Smith
  81. Rod Streater
  82. Davone Bess
  83. Fred Jackson
  84. Brandon Gibson
  85. Roy Helu
  86. Harry Douglas
  87. Dwayne Allen
  88. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
  89. Pierre Thomas
  90. Denarius Moore
  91. Vincent Brown
  92. Dallas Clark
  93. Tyler Eifert
  94. Darrius Heyward-Bey
  95. Doug Baldwin
  96. Andre Roberts
  97. Owen Daniels
  98. Greg Olsen
  99. Reuben Randle
  100. Bryce Brown
  101. Santana Moss
  102. Antonio Gates
  103. Giovanni Bernard
  104. Mohamed Sanu
  105. Riley Cooper
  106. Sidney Rice
  107. Danny Woodhead
  108. Martellus Bennett
  109. Kenny Stills
  110. Brandon Pettigrew
  111. Kyle Rudolph
  112. Alshon Jeffery
  113. Fred Davis
  114. Kenny Britt
  115. Greg Jennings
  116. Kellen Winslow
  117. Isaac Redman
  118. Chris Ivory
  119. Michael Bush
  120. Zach Sudfeld
  121. Bilal Powell
  122. Michael Floyd
  123. Robert Woods
  124. Quinton Patton
  125. DeAndre Hopkins
  126. Brandon LaFell
  127. Bernard Pierce
  128. Leonard Hankerson
  129. Montee Ball
  130. Brandon Boldin
  131. Jason Avant
  132. Jerome Simpson
  133. Jacquizz Rodgers
  134. Knile Davis
  135. Leon Washington
  136. Delanie Walker
  137. Kendall Wright
  138. Greg Little
  139. Kendall Hunter
  140. Daniel Thomas
  141. Scott Chandler
  142. Brent Celek
  143. Nate Burleson
  144. Terrance Williams
  145. Eddie Royal
  146. Jeremy Kerley
  147. Nate Washington
  148. Malcom Floyd
  149. Mike Tolbert
  150. Jackie Battle
  151. Coby Fleener
  152. Terrence Williams
  153. Ronnie Hillman
  154. Tandon Doss
  155. Cordarrelle Patterson
  156. Mark Ingram
  157. Ace Sanders
  158. Da’Rel Scott
  159. Zac Stacy
  160. Jonathan Dwyer
  161. Ronnie Brown
  162. Keenan Allen
  163. Jermaine Gresham
  164. Jason Snelling
  165. Felix Jones

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