NFL fantasy football: Think receivers, not running backs
BY JEFF AGREST Staff Reporter October 8, 2013 6:57PM
Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams had 151 yards Sunday against the Broncos. | AP
WEEK 6 OUTLOOK
Bye weeks: Falcons, Dolphins.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Redskins at Cowboys: Two top-10 passing games figure to light it up. Anyone with hands is worth considering.
GAME OF THE MEEK
Bengals at Bills: The best plays might be receiver A.J. Green and the Bengals’ defense, which could feast on
quarterback Thaddeus Lewis.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
QB Andrew Luck, Colts: The Chargers have allowed the fourth-most touchdown passes (tied at 10) and the fourth-most passing yards in the league.
RB Alfred Morris, Redskins: In two games against the Cowboys last season, he rushed for 313 yards and four touchdowns.
WR Steve Smith, Panthers: In six career games against the Vikings, he has averaged 104 receiving yards with four touchdowns.
PLAYERS OF THE MEEK
RB Le’Veon Bell, Steelers: Don’t expect a repeat of his NFL debut against the Jets, who rank second in the league in run defense.
WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals: The new offense hasn’t clicked, and the 49ers’ pass defense ranks second in the league.
QB Colin Kaepernick, 49ers: In the last four games, he has thrown for 167 yards or fewer with three touchdown passes. He’s not running much, either.
WEEK 5 PICKS
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
WR Josh Gordon: 4 catches,
86 yards, TD
RB Maurice Jones-Drew:
17 carries, 70 yards
QB Michael Vick: 79 rushing
yards, 105 passing (injured)
PLAYERS OF THE MEEK
Dolphins wide receivers: Mike Wallace, 7-105; Brian Hartline, 4-60
QB Matt Schaub: 173 passing yards, 3 INTs
RB DeAngelo Williams: 12-39
Updated: October 9, 2013 12:26PM
You’ve heard countless announcers and analysts say, ‘‘The NFL has become a passing league.’’ As though there was another league that wasn’t.
So while defenses try to keep up with the flying football, fantasy owners have to rethink how they draft and set their lineups.
There’s nothing you can do about that running-back draft board that hasn’t quite played out as predicted. But you can alter your lineup to adjust to the times. It starts with your flex spot.
Since leagues began using a flex spot — generally for a running back or wide receiver, though some leagues allow a tight end — starting a running back there has been almost automatic. Fantasy football is about opportunity, and that position regularly has the most touches per game.
But more running backs are sharing those touches, and the numbers show they’re not doing enough with them to justify a flex spot. On average, there have been 3.8 100-yard rushing games and 18.2 touchdown runs by running backs (22.8 total touchdowns)
per week this season. Wide
receivers have averaged 13
100-yard receiving games and 29.6 touchdown catches.
Play-calling has become so skewed that tight ends aren’t far behind running backs in production. They’ve averaged 2.6 100-yard receiving games and 15.2 touchdown catches.
Your chances appear to be better with a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver as a flex play than a running back in a time share or a specialized runner, especially in point-per-reception leagues. That means adjusting your bench to give you options. Dump those lottery-ticket running backs and replace them with pass catchers.
Your flex might become a guessing game, so pay careful attention to matchups. But at least you’ll be guessing with point-producers. Here are some options:
Keenan Allen, Chargers: Eddie Royal’s fast start is a fading memory, and Allen is taking advantage. In the last two games, he has 11 catches for 195 yards and a touchdown.
Marlon Brown, Ravens: He sat out Sunday with a hamstring injury, but it doesn’t seem serious. He has three touchdowns in four games, outscoring big-play teammate Torrey Smith 3-1.
Jerome Simpson, Vikings: He has broken 100 yards twice in four games, and the Vikings have a passing-friendly schedule after facing the Panthers on Sunday.
Terrance Williams, Cowboys: In the last two games, with Miles Austin nursing another hamstring injury, Williams has 11 catches for 222 yards and a touchdown.