#FLEX League Week 1 Recap
By Jake Ciely
It always feels good to start with a win. While that is a guarantee when you play in 28 leagues as I do, it feels better when it comes in one of your favorite leagues. In Week 1 of the #FLEX League, I took out Jamey Eisenberg of CBS Sports (@JameyEisenberg) with a score of 121.22 to 93.92. Not the best score on my part, but thankfully, Eisenberg watched as Zach Sudfeld put up a fat zero. That helped offset my -0.10 output from David Wilson… sigh. In fact, small totals from Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Givens and T.Y. Hilton for Jamey, coupled with a big game from Demaryius Thomas for me, locked in the win. We actually combined for the least amount of points, but hey, that’s why fantasy football is part luck – sometimes the matchups are everything.
Eric Mack (@EricMackFantasy) led all teams with a score of 170.28, thanks to Peyton Manning, Victor Cruz and Wes Welker. Mack even had a goose egg from James Jones and still scored the most. Nando Di Fino suffered the tough-luck loss with a 160.20 to 155.42 defeat to Jeff Mans. Big games from Michael Vick, Reggie Bush, DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson and Vernon Davis weren’t enough to topple Mans who should be sending Anquan Boldin a thank you card.
As I will each week this year, I brought in two experts for some comments. I’ll be highlighting my opponent (hopefully in defeat) and one other team with interesting performances. As you know, this week I faced Eisenberg, and here are his “parting” thoughts:
We each had a letdown. David Wilson, as we know, fumbled his way on to the bench. As for you, Zach Sudfeld is now on milk cartons everywhere. Thoughts on each?
-David Wilson will obviously rebound. He's too talented, and the Giants need him. Zach Sudfeld appears to have fooled us all. I'll be dropping him as soon as possible.
Ahmad Bradshaw saw a lesser share than Vick Ballard did in Week 1. Do you expect that to change, and what do you expect for his long-term value?
-Ahmad Bradshaw will be fine. The Colts are gradually going to increase his workload, and when he's 100 percent healthy, he should dominate carries.
Staying with Indy, are you less confident in T.Y. Hilton, even in PPR leagues after Week 1?
-I still have plenty of confidence in T.Y. Hilton. He'll start to play at a high level sooner rather than later.
I agree with most of Jamey’s thoughts, although I’m a little less bullish on Hilton. Even in a PPR league, Hilton managed just 5.00 points. He has more upside than Darrius Heyward-Bey, we all know that, but until he passes DHB on the depth chart, high-end production won’t be a commonality. Mack, being the highest-scoring team and enjoying the fruits of Manning’s seven-TD game is up next (and a bit chattier… maybe because he didn’t lose):
Obviously, Peyton Manning carried you to (the highest scoring/a big week). What is your outlook for the season though? We certainly can't expect another seven-TD game, but could we see another record-like year where he challenges Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers for top honors?
-Well, I will quote my Sports Illustrated cover story from this August: "Could the 37-year-old have his best season yet? Yes." Manning has one of the best set of weapons fantasy has ever seen and, coupling that with a shaky running game, you can see him throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns every week. Barring injury, this could be legendary.
Another big name for you was Victor Cruz. The talk was that a healthy Hakeem Nicks was still the team's No. 1 option. So, do you think it's actually Cruz or that a healthy Nicks will help Cruz see more games like this?
-No one was picking Nicks before Cruz in drafts. Cruz is still Manning's No. 1 target, even if Nicks can emerge as a Top 10 receiver in his own right. As long as they both stay healthy -- a big IF -- they are going to be must-start fantasy wideouts every week. Cruz is still the one to have, especially because that heel issue is a non-factor.
James Jones put up a goose egg. That is why I said I'd never own a Packers WR outside of Randall Cobb in a PPR league. I half joked, saying, "One week you'll get 20, the next zero." Well, the zero came first, so will you still start him with confidence week to week?
-Well, he was a bad play against a 49ers defense that was probably going to keep him out of the end zone, even if Aaron Rodgers did move the ball against them. I started him as a matter of form. The Packers are going to go back to Jones, and more favorable matchups will make him productive. There are other receivers that had bad weeks, so I am not real worried about Jones.
As with Jamey, I agree with most everything, except the last receiver again. Yes, the Packers/Rodgers will go back to Jones, but “when” is the question no one can answer. After Randall Cobb, I didn’t feel comfortable drafting the other Packers receivers. See my quote in the question. Consistency isn’t the only factor in a winning team, but it’s rather important, and you’ll never find that with Jordy Nelson and Jones.
Lastly, it’s time to see how the league hit the waiver wire. The big names of Julius Thomas, Julian Edelman and Terrelle Pryor were all free (well, FAAB dollars were involved) game just as with most 12-team leagues. How did we react?
The highest bid of the week went to Scott Pianowski (@scott_pianowski) for Edelman at $55. That seems a bit extreme for a $100 budget, and Scott wasn’t exactly hurting for WRs. Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Eric Decker and Cecil Shorts are on his squad as well. Scott also followed up the Edelman bid with the highest amount spent on Marlon Brown at $33. I would have spent about half on both, unless I was thin at receiver. Then, I would have neared his Brown bid on Edelman, but still not the $55 amount. That leaves Pianowski with just $12 for the rest of the year. These two had better pan out for him.
Eisenberg quickly found his replacement for Sudfeld with Julius Thomas at $31. I went after Thomas too, but for about half that. I already have Greg Olsen and Brandon Myers, so there was no need for my team. However, if like Jamey, you need a TE and even own Sudfeld too, the low 30s is a good area for a bid amount.
Elsewhere, I snagged Pryor for $9, and I’m happy with that. I can afford to take the gamble with Aaron Rodgers at QB. Rod Streater and Brandon Bolden both went to Tim Heaney (@Tim_Heaney) for $7 and $6, respectively, and I like both moves. Streater looks to be Pryor’s favorite target, and I fully expect Bolden to fill the Shane Vereen role once he returns (possibly next week). I had a bid on Bolden, but it came second to Pryor. Jamey also snagged Da’Rel Scott for $3, which is a worthwhile claim with Wilson’s fumblitis, and David Gonos (@davidgonos) nabbed EJ Manuel for a buck. Another nice “let’s see what happens” flier. All of these prices are what I would expect to pay in most leagues… well, outside of Scott’s aggressive nature.