Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/14/12

I’ve written and re-written the intro for this week’s flex rankings at least twenty times now, and the best I can come up with is the very simple but truthful: week one did not disappoint.

Unless you were a Wes Welker owner.

Or Chris Johnson..

But, for the most part the NFL kickoff week provided us with plenty of breakout performances, confirmation of pre-draft fantasy speculation, and exciting finishes. Some of these performances were indicative of serious player concerns while others were nothing more than a blip on the radar, one of those “Remember when…” weeks, where you’ll soon forget the painful performance as the offending player carries your team to victory and laurels and so on and so forth.

Which is which? Let’s have a look at the rankings…

MY MISSION STATEMENT

What frustrates me above all else are so-called fantasy advice columns that fit into one of two categories:

1) They refuse to stray from conventional wisdom, often until it’s weeks too late to save or help your season or

2) They only offer rankings commentary on the “big-name” guys that everyone knows to play anyway. Gee, Adrian Peterson will have a bounce back week and I shouldn’t bench him for D. Woodhead? Thanks!

Each week I will examine what I consider to be the most pressing issues facing fantasy owners. I will try to focus only on issues that you may actually be concerned with, namely: marginal flex players, tough matchup decisions, and above all else, how to assimilate new information from the previous week. This is a column of the people, by the people, for the people. And as long as I’m offering oaths, I promise to always tackle the difficult questions as I see them, not be chained by conventional wisdom, and not allow traditional or draft-position bias to affect my weekly rankings.

Week 2 Top-75 Flex Plays

1. Arian Foster

2. Ray Rice

3. Darren McFadden

4. LeSean McCoy

5. Adrian Peterson

6. Matt Forte

7. DeMarco Murray

8. CJ SPiller

9. Jimmy Graham

10. Rob Gronkowski

11. Calvin Johnson

12. Jamaal Charles

13. Julio Jones

14. Brandon Marshall

15. Alfred Morris

The Big Boys

I’m moving McFadden ahead of McCoy for purely arbitrary reasons. Obviously, if you have them both you’re playing them both. I think the RB tiers at the moment are: 1) Foster/Rice 2) McFadden, McCoy, Peterson, Forte, Murray 3) Spiller, Charles 4) everyone else. I was really low on Marshawn Lynch coming into the season and he hasn’t done anything yet to show me otherwise. Spiller averaged over 100 total yards/game and scored in 5 of 6 games to end 2011. I’m not too worried about Calvin Johnson’s foot, but it does drop him out of the top-10. Murray looked like a beast last Wednesday and will find the endzone. I’m buying Alfred Morris for this week- love the matchup, and he should still get the majority of the touches. Ride Peterson while you can, and good job drafting him if you did.

16. Doug Martin

17. Frank Gore

18. Andre Johnson

19. Larry Fitzgerald

20. Marshawn Lynch

21. Percy Harvin

22. Stevan Ridley

23. Ahmad Bradshaw

24. Steven Jackson

25. Reggie Bush

26. AJ Green

27. Steve Smith

28. Chris Johnson

29. Demaryius Thomas

30. BenJarvus Green-Ellis

My Zone
This is where you “earn your salt”, so to speak. This year, 16-30 looks to me to be about as subjective as possible. Many of these guys could put up another dud week. I’m looking at you, Chris Johnson. If CJ0K doesn’t produce this week, I’m seriously concerned. Last week, it was pretty clear the Chargers game plan was to give Palmer/McFadden the underneath stuff literally all game long and contain them. If Johnson gets the same number and kind of looks and does nothing with them, I’m worried. Really worried. With Daniel Thomas Banged up, I like Reggie Bush a lot this week. Fitz gets a downgrade with Skelton out, and Harvin has a dream matchup. I think he’ll do well for you in week two. I really like Demaryius Thomas, and this game has shootout potential if Denver’s defense wasn’t so good. Even so, playing indoors against a fast Atlanta O? Could be fun.

31. Brandon Lloyd

32. Roddy White

33. Jordy Nelson

34. Wes Welker

35. Hakeem Nicks

36. Victor Cruz

37. Dez Bryant

38. Trent Richardson

39. Darren Sproles

40. Marques Colston

41. Mike Wallace

42. Reggie Wayne

43. Pierre Garcon

44. Steve Johnson

45. Miles Austin

Patriots and Cowboys and Giants, Oh My!

…and Saints. Garcon hasn’t practiced this week, but I am assuming he will play. Both Giants receivers should bounce back this week and I expect their offensive approach as a whole to be more aggressive. Colston was targeted 11 times, he’ll be fine. Reggie Wayne is the apple of Andrew Luck’s eye and looks much more like the Reggie Wayne of a few years ago than he does 2011’s version. Steve Johnson should benefit somewhat from David Nelson going down for the season, at least in number of targets. While I’m not too worried about Wes Welker, I’d still like to see him have one nice week before moving him back into the top-30.

46. Michael Turner

47. Willis McGahee

48. Antonio Brown

49. Donald Brown

50. Johnathan Dwyer

51. Shonn Greene

52. Vincent Jackson

53. Jermichael Finley

54. Eric Decker

55. Antonio Gates

56. Jeremy Maclin

57. Torrey Smith

58. Dwayne Bowe

59. Randall Cobb

60. Desean Jackson

I Believe…

…That Johnathan Dwyer and Donald Brown will score the most points of any running back on their respective teams- for this week and the rest of the season. …That Jermichael Finley will continue his dominance of the Chicago Bears, who still haven’t significantly upgraded their safety position. …That Antonio Gates’ ribs will be fine. …That Randall Cobb will see a lot of short, underneath stuff that the Bears love to give up. …That Shonn Greene will be serviceable for at least one more week. …in the new-look Ravens offense. …That Michael Turner will soon slip out of my top-50. …That Dwayne Bowe will soon creep into my top-50. …That this Eagles season might be pretty ugly.

61. Johnathan Stewart

62. Malcom Floyd

63. Vernon Davis

64. Vincent Jackson

65. Lance Moore

66. Aaron Hernandez

67. Kevin Smith

68. Michael Crabtree

69. Peyton Hillis

70. Nate Washington

71. Brandon Pettigrew

72. Anquan Boldin

73. Alshon Jeffery

74. Kevin Ogletree

75. James Jones

Upside, for the win!

Towards the end of my list I always tend to look for high-upside plays. If I’m using a guy at flex or WR-3 in deeper leagues, I don’t want a consistent 4-catch 50-yard performance: I want the chance for this guy to win me my week. Welcome to the spotlight, then, Alshon Jeffery, James Jones, Kevin Ogletree, and yes, to a lesser extent, Nate Washington. Tennessee is full of question marks, but Washington has been fairly consistent and at least will play (which we aren’t sure on for Kenny Britt). Obviously, with Greg Jennings unranked, I don’t think he plays, which bodes well for James Jones in what could be a Thursday night shootout. Again, I buy the Ravens. I like Anquan and Torrey a lot. You know who else looked surprisingly good last week? Malcom Floyd. That’s who.

Best of luck in week 2! I went 3-0 in week one, including a 157-153 shootout in our own Knuckleheads week against our very own Kurt Turner. As always you can follow me: @petethegreekff on twitter.

Fantasy Football

Be sure to check out other great articles at Fantasy Knuckleheads.

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