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Fantasy Football Week 1: Flex and PPR Rankings

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Fantasy Football Week 1: Flex and PPR Rankings
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Fantasy football owners have waited months for the return of the NFL regular season, and it’s imperative to start Week 1 with a victory.

Deciphering the latest flex and points-per-reception rankings is key to your success.

Most fantasy owners understand that they should start the best overall player at each position every week, but there is an art to finding the right flex player. Just as it takes time to understand who to start, breaking down the PPR rankings can be the difference between earning a win and taking a loss.

Here are the complete rankings for the top flex options and PPR players. Plus, I've provided a breakdown of the fantasy stars you need to know from each list in Week 1.

 

Flex Players

Week 1 Flex Rankings
Rank Player Week 1 Opponent
1 Jamaal Charles, KC, RB Tennessee
2 LeSean McCoy, Phi, RB Jacksonville
3 Adrian Peterson, Min, RB St. Louis
4 Matt Forte, Chi, RB Buffalo
5 Calvin Johnson, Det, WR New York Giants
6 Eddie Lacy, GB, RB Seattle
7 Jimmy Graham, NO, TE Atlanta
8 Demaryius Thomas, Den, WR Indianapolis
9 Marshawn Lynch, Sea, RB Green Bay
10 A.J. Green, Cin, WR Baltimore
11 Dez Bryant, Dal, WR San Francisco
12 Doug Martin, TB, RB Carolina
13 Brandon Marshall, Chi, WR Buffalo
14 DeMarco Murray, Dal, RB San Francisco
15 Julio Jones, Atl, WR New Orleans
16 Arian Foster, Hou, RB Washington
17 Antonio Brown, Pit, WR Cleveland
18 Andre Johnson, Hou, WR Washington
19 Julius Thomas, Den, TE Indianapolis
20 Zac Stacy, StL, RB Minnesota
21 Le'Veon Bell, Pit, RB Cleveland
22 Jordy Nelson, GB, WR Seattle
23 Montee Ball, Den, RB Indianapolis
24 Rob Gronkowski, NE, TE Miami
25 Victor Cruz, NYG, WR Detroit
26 Roddy White, Atl, WR New Orleans
27 Reggie Bush, Det, RB New York Giants
28 Alshon Jeffery, Chi, WR Buffalo
29 Ryan Mathews, SD, RB Arizona
30 Larry Fitzgerald, Ari, WR San Diego
31 Alfred Morris, Wsh, RB Houston
32 Keenan Allen, SD, WR Arizona
33 C.J. Spiller, Buf, RB Chicago
34 Giovani Bernard, Cin, RB Baltimore
35 Randall Cobb, GB, WR Seattle
36 Vincent Jackson, TB, WR Carolina
37 Rashad Jennings, NYG, RB Detroit
38 Andre Ellington, Ari, RB San Diego
39 Jason Witten, Dal, TE San Francisco
40 Frank Gore, SF, RB Dallas
41 Shane Vereen, NE, RB Miami
42 Toby Gerhart, Jax, RB Philadelphia
43 Percy Harvin, Sea, WR Green Bay
44 Pierre Garcon, Wsh, WR Houston
45 Trent Richardson, Ind, RB Denver
46 Jordan Cameron, Cle, TE Pittsburgh
47 Ben Tate, Cle, RB Pittsburgh
48 Cordarrelle Patterson, Min, WR St. Louis
49 Michael Crabtree, SF, WR Dallas
50 DeSean Jackson, Wsh, WR Houston

Donald Wood's Week 1 Flex rankings.

If there is a question of who deserves to begin Week 1 in the Flex spot on your fantasy team, simply reference the list above and start the higher-ranked player. We’ve taken the guesswork out of last-second decisions.

The biggest stud of the week for the Flex spot will be New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss (subscription required), Vereen is the lead back in New England and will be involved in every aspect of the team’s offensive game plan:

The Patriots are planning to use running back Shane Vereen more this season than they have in the past (24.7 percent of the offensive snaps last season; 12.7 percent in 2012; 1.9 percent in 2011). The Patriots are a game-plan offense, and will vary their attack on a weekly basis, but the sense I get from those around the team is Vereen is going to be the type of player who will have a significant role in almost every plan.

While injuries forced Vereen to miss half of the Patriots' games last season, he picked up 635 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns while splitting time with Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount. Now that Vereen is the No. 1 back, his numbers should flourish.

Another player who will surprise fans should be Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson.

Many fantasy owners are down on Richardson after a lackluster season that included a trade from the Cleveland Browns to the Colts.

If there was ever a time for a breakout moment, though, it would be in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos. Richardson was running strong in his last preseason action and must carry that momentum and confidence against a stout Denver defense.

If you drafted Richardson or traded for him, starting him in Week 1 as your flex will pay major dividends. As long as second-string running back Ahmad Bradshaw doesn’t get the goal-line carries, this will be a wise decision.

 

PPR Players

Week 1 PPR Rankings
Rank Player Week 1 Opponent
1 Jamaal Charles, KC, RB Tennessee
2 LeSean McCoy, Phi, RB Jacksonville
3 Adrian Peterson, Min, RB St. Louis
4 Matt Forte, Chi, RB Buffalo
5 Calvin Johnson, Det, WR New York Giants
6 Jimmy Graham, NO, TE Atlanta
7 Peyton Manning, Den, QB Indianapolis
8 Demaryius Thomas, Den, WR Indianapolis
9 Eddie Lacy, GB, RB Seattle
10 Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB Seattle
11 Marshawn Lynch, Sea, RB Green Bay
12 Dez Bryant, Dal, WR San Francisco
13 DeMarco Murray, Dal, RB San Francisco
14 Brandon Marshall, Chi, WR Buffalo
15 A.J. Green, Cin, WR Baltimore
16 Doug Martin, TB, RB Carolina
17 Antonio Brown, Pit, WR Cleveland
18 Julio Jones, Atl, WR New Orleans
19 Drew Brees, NO, QB Atlanta
20 Alshon Jeffery, Chi, WR Buffalo
21 Julius Thomas, Den, TE Indianapolis
22 Andre Johnson, Hou, WR Washington
23 Reggie Bush, Det, RB New York Giants
24 Le'Veon Bell, Pit, RB Cleveland
25 Arian Foster, Hou, RB Washington
26 Montee Ball, Den, RB Indianapolis
27 Matthew Stafford, Det, QB New York Giants
28 Jordy Nelson, GB, WR Seattle
29 Andre Ellington, Ari, RB San Diego
30 Keenan Allen, SD, WR Arizona
31 Zac Stacy, StL, RB Minnesota
32 Victor Cruz, NYG, WR Detroit
33 Rob Gronkowski, NE, TE Miami
34 Roddy White, Atl, WR New Orleans
35 Andrew Luck, Ind, QB Denver
36 Alfred Morris, Was, RB Houston
37 Larry Fitzgerald, Ari, WR San Diego
38 Matt Ryan, Atl, QB New Orleans
39 Shane Vereen, NE, RB Miami
40 C.J. Spiller, Buf, RB Chicago
41 Julian Edelman, NE, WR Miami
42 Nick Foles, Phi, QB Jacksonville
43 Rashad Jennings, NYG, RB Detroit
44 Ryan Mathews, SD, RB Arizona
45 Vincent Jackson, TB, WR Carolina
46 Frank Gore, SF, RB Dallas
47 Jason Witten, Dal, TE San Francisco
48 Giovani Bernard, Cin, RB Baltimore
49 Trent Richardson, Ind, RB Denver
50 Jordan Cameron, Cle, TE Pittsburgh

Donald Wood's Week 1 PPR Rankings.

The fantasy stars who are a big part of their respective team’s passing attack are even more valuable in PPR leagues than in standard leagues, and running backs who catch the ball are the Holy Grail of the format.

Week 1’s biggest stud is Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.

Charles was an absolute force last season in both the running game and the passing attack. While his 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing would have been nice on their own, his 70 receptions, 693 yards and seven touchdowns through the air put him on his own level in PPR circles.

Even Washington Redskins cornerback Ryan Clark understands Charles' fantasy greatness:

Kansas City locked up quarterback Alex Smith to a four-year contract, according to Adam Teicher of ESPN.com, and fantasy owners with Charles rejoiced. With Smith favoring short passes in the West Coast offense, the team’s workhorse running back should remain Smith’s top target.

Fantasy owners are talking about how Charles will dominate, but there is another player not getting the respect he deserves. If you are looking for a Week 1 Flex option in PPR leagues, ride with San Diego running back Ryan Mathews.

There is concern among fans about how many carries and catches Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown will steal from Mathews, but he was the clear top back in Week 3 of the preseason. He racked up four carries and two receptions for 48 yards in his limited time and is the team’s goal-line back.

There is a risk associated with starting Mathews, but with a first week opponent in Arizona, the injuries along the Cardinals’ defensive line and in the linebacker group could open up the holes needed for the running back to dominate.

 

*Stats via NFL.com.

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