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As a Fantasy Football owner, every week we are faced with the very difficult decision of deciding what to do with our flex position.
When I first played Fantasy Football, my guy friend informed me that you should always use a running back in your flex spot. I asked him why, as my observation was that my wide receivers were outperforming my running backs. He had no answer to my question other than to say, that’s just how it’s always been.
This over-evaluation of running backs was reinforced further by people telling me that I “should” draft a running back in the first round, as if doing anything else was a guarantee that your team would be worthless. As far as I could tell, points are points, so why should it matter what position they come from?
The old mentality was that you should always start a running back in your flex spot is quickly diminishing and for those of us who jumped on the fantasy bandwagon in recent years, the idea seems almost silly and old-fashioned.
In an effort to understand this idea, I conducted a 100% unscientific poll on Twitter to get some insight about what exactly influences people’s decision-making for the flex position week to week.
It goes without saying that most smart fantasy owners allow match-ups, opponents, roster and format dictate their decisions but that wasn’t really what I was interested in specifically. I wanted to know if fantasy players have an idea in the back of their minds if they “should” start one over the other, either because someone told them to or because they felt it was truly better. The answer was that most people believe you “should” start a running back over a wide receiver.
I am here to debunk this theory.
Here are some reasons why you might want to consider using a wide receiver over a running back in your flex position:
It might not 100% highlight my point, as these players will appear in most people’s lineups as #1 or #2 options at RB/WR. Instead, let’s refer to the scoring leaders for players that would appear in the weekly rankings outside of the top 20 at their respective position, as that is a more appropriate assessment of players you would consider using as a flex option. This will give us greater perspective of who performs better for your team. I’m using CBS Sports Flex Rankings for this argument and comparing it to the Week two scoring leaders:
Is this enough to convince you that the idea you “should” listen to some non-existent rule is silly?
Now, let me be clear: I am not suggesting you only use a wide receiver in your flex position. That would be bad advice and anyone that thinks you should use one position over the other is not managing their team in the best way possible. What I am simply saying is that times-they-are-a-changing and it’s time for you to manage your team differently.
Wide receiver production is largely dependent on opportunity and that makes it difficult to even rely upon them. I do, however, think it is a legitimate observation that the pass-first trend is here to stay and that more and more offenses are preserving players and spreading the ball around, making the Adrian Peterson types few and far between.
Fantasy Football is a variables game. Now more than ever you must study your match-ups, get to know these teams and these players and make informed decisions rather than doing something the way you have always done it.
This isn’t just advice for Fantasy Football, this is advice for life.