Fantasy football success can hinge on many decisions, but the toughest one may be who to start in the flex spot.
Welcome to the first, and hopefully not only, RuyterDie (RYE-TER) fantasy football flex analysis of the week. I use the term RuyterDie because I, in fact, will be “riding or dying” based on my choices here.
Each week I will be picking the game(s) with the most intriguing NFL standings implications, the game(s) that could provide the most fantasy points or, just maybe, game(s) that I personally look forward to watching the most. Based on how I see them playing out, I will highlight players I might be looking to play in the flex as a last-minute option, as well as some who I’m likely to avoid.
The first question you might be asking yourself is probably, “why I am reading this article?”. Well, it’s Week 15 in the NFL and that means the fantasy playoffs have started. You are looking to soak up any information that might give you an edge. At least I am. I am moving on to the championship in both of my leagues this season and I need a flex option, bad. With that said, let’s see what lies ahead in Week 15.
Dion Lewis (TEN)
Tennessee Titans at New York Giants, 1:00 PM EST
Somehow, I lucked out and grabbed Dion Lewis, the versatile receiving back playing on a playoff hungry team and who is more trusted in his time share than someone built like a Mack truck, off of waivers this week. Just because Derrick Henry had a record-setting performance in Week 14 doesn’t change the entire dynamic of this offense.
The Tennessee Titans play the 5-7 Giants and are making a push towards the playoffs. The Titans have a very Patriot-esque (it’s close enough) feel to them. By this I mean they, like any good team in the NFL, have a diverse offensive attack, except instead of having a QB limited to the pocket (who is the greatest of all time…by the way), they have a highly mobile missile thrower in Marcus Mariota. They can attack multiple levels of the defense through the air and also have a potent rushing attack.
The Giants may say they’re trying to win out this season. But the O-line is still paper-thin, at best, and the lack of Landon Collins makes a huge difference in this defensive unit’s confidence. I see the Titans winning by staying true to themselves with a balanced rushing and passing attack. They’ll grind away at a team with a “defeated” defense but still has a big-play offense.
Verdict: My bet is that Lewis will get enough targets and touches to have an opportunity to score because the game should remain close, especially with Jonnu Smith now on I.R. Speaking of the Patriots…
James White (NE)
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25 PM EST
James White was an early season staple for many fantasy owners, as he was the only healthy back in New England for a long stretch of the season. Now with Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead back from injury, White is an afterthought in a Patriots offense that has star players at all levels of the offense.
The Patriots play the Steelers this week in Pittsburgh. Both teams are looking to solidify themselves as their respective division leaders. The Patriots will be looking to regain their momentum after a bizarre series of events led to putting Rob Gronkowski out at safety for a series of defense plays. That’s right, multiple plays on defense for Gronk. They will be pulling out all the stops to do their best to humiliate the Steelers in true Patriots fashion, which is possible since the Steelers boast a great defensive line and a leaky secondary led by former shut-down corner Joe Haden. The aging Steelers (minus JuJu) will run out of gas trying to go toe for toe against a pissed off Bill Belichick.
Verdict: White will have some catches in this game, but there are far too many mouths to feed in this backfield and on this offense to make him a viable flex option this week.