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Flexing the Weekly Data

Flexing the Weekly Data

Okay; you followed the great advice here at FakePigSkin to build your team in the draft. You also improved via pre-season trades. You now have a big problem going forward. But it is a nice problem to have too. Your roster is chock full of great talent! Since the most painful thing for any Fantasy Football team manager is to see their 25 point player sitting on their bench, you need some help picking your FLEX position player. Let’s flex our data to see whether it is better to start a running back or a wide receiver in the FLEX spot.

Play Your Studs

Too many Fantasy Football teams are doomed by their managers getting too cute with their selection of players. The elite players at each position will bring you an acceptable minimum of points every week. Yes, even in a match up against a strong defense. Game scripts and strength of schedule will come into play with weaker players. This doesn’t apply to your studs. DeAndre Hopkins has scored 10 or more points in PPR format in 96.8% of his games over the last 2 seasons. In 44% of his games last year, he scored 20 or more points. The average wide receiver only scores 10 or more points 55% of the time and 20 or more points in 23% of their games. Do you think all of Hopkins games came against weak defenses? Only 14 wide receivers over the last 2 seasons scored 10 or more points in 75% of their games. These players are your studs! Only 15 running backs were able to score 10 or more points in 75% of their games. If you have a 3rd running back or wide receiver that qualifies, then your decision on FLEX position is easy.

Strength of Defense Does Matter

If you do not have an extra running back or wide receiver to fill those FLEX positions, then you should factor in the strength of schedule. Last year, the top defense against the run (the Chicago Bears) gave up only 13.2 points per game to opposing running backs. The tenth best defense gave up 17.5 points. Additionally, the twentieth best gave up 19.8, and the worst defense gave up 25.3 points. In contrast, the best defense against the pass (the Baltimore Ravens) gave up only 15.9 points per game to opposing wide receivers. The tenth best defense gave up 22.5 points, while the twentieth best 23.7 points and the worst defense gave up 29.0 points. All of these point comparisons are in 0.5 point PPR format.

Consistency Matters

The higher the Consistency Rating for a player, the more he has proven his performances will help your team. Don’t worry, this is even when he has a tough match up. Would you like to have a player who scores 10 or more points 60% of the time? Or would you want a guy who has a big week 15% of the time, but fails to hit that 10 point minimum 60% of his games? You know the answer. We would all love to have that six sense that tells us when a guy is going to have a big week. BUT, even against the weakest defenses, those erratic players stub their toe quite often. My Best 10 Rating data also shows players who have a great upside potential on a consistent basis. Allowing one position on your roster to be a boom or bust candidate is fine. But remember that decreasing risk overall should be your goal every week.

Close Calls Go to the Runners

The average starting running back on a team is always a better choice than the average wide receiver. This is proven in the data, with running backs posting 10 or more points in 67.3% of their games. Conversely, wide receivers only hit this number 54.9% of the time. The average starting tight end only hits 10 or more points 45.2% of the time. That makes them too risky to FLEX. Early in the season strength of schedule is less reliable. The reason is the turnover from year to year with NFL defenses. Starting a third starting running back is always the best play for your FLEX spot when all other variables are equal.

Conclusion

If you have a third Top 25 player at either the running back or wide receiver position, then that is the clear cut choice for your FLEX position. Once you have confidence in strength of defense data, then you also have a reliable tool for picking your FLEX starter. When all else fails, the starting running back is the better choice. This is backed up by many years worth of flexing the weekly data to find a winning lineup.

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