When it comes to the construction of a fantasy football team, the flex spot is as important as any other position to fill.
You should know the drill by now. A flex spot is anybody that qualifies as a running back, wide receiver or tight end. Most fantasy lineups consist of 1 QB, 2 RB’s, 2 WR’s, 1 TE, 1K , 1 TD/ST, and lastly, one flex spot.
With Week 1 kicking off in earnest on Sunday, here are seven players who you should strongly consider as flex-spot starters. While not universally started, the following players have good enough matchups and ample opportunity to make an indelible impression this weekend.
Shane Vereen: New England Patriots
The Bills are still a defense in rebuilding mode. In a game that figures to be lopsided affair in favor of the Pats, expect Vereen to chip away at the clock while gaining some valuable carries. Remember, Buffalo allowed 145.8 rushing yards per game last year while also giving up an NFL-best 23 touchdowns. So both Vereen and Stevan Ridley should do well in this contest.
Steve Johnson: Buffalo Bills
Piggybacking on the fact that I think the Bills-Patriots game could become a Patriots whitewashing, there is a good chance that the Bills will be playing some catch-up. And who better for Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel to connect with than veteran Steve Johnson. Also, the Pats did give up their fair share of receiving yards last year, allowing 271.4 receiving yards per game to go with 27 touchdowns allowed through the air.
Daryl Richardson: St. Louis Rams
Fresh off being named the Rams’ lead back, Richardson is primed to break out in his sophomore campaign. Richardson showed he was a great change-of-pace back last year spelling Steven Jackson. Richardson should get off to a good start, as he and his Rams’ teammates have a nice matchup at home against the Cardinals, and their so-so run defense. Last year, the Cardinals gave up 137 rushing yards per game (28th in the league) and Rams coach Jeff Fisher will likely want to establish the run game early.
Bryce Brown: Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles matchup with the Redskins in D.C. on Monday night has all the makings of a shootout. With new Eagles coach Chip Kelly implementing a new hurry-up offense, he’ll want to give all his weapons a chance at making their mark, and although LeSean McCoy is still the lead back in Philadelphia, Bryce Brown should still do enough in this game to matter in fantasy circles. The Redskins defense could wear down late and Kelly may want to run it down the Redskins’ throat. Brown could help in tiring out Washington.
Chris Givens: St. Louis Rams
Givens, a trendy sleeper prior to drafts, has a great opportunity in front of him this year, and it all starts with his Week 1 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Givens, who is a great deep threat, torched the Cardinals last year in two matchups. In those games, Givens racked up 166 receiving yards and two touchdowns. While the Cardinals do have a good pass defense, Givens’ speed will be put to good use in this game.
Vick Ballard: Indianapolis Colts
Although Ahmad Bradshaw is healthy and expected to play in the Colts opener against the Raiders, Vick Ballard could get a lot of playing time in this game too. If the game becomes a lopsided affair in the Colts favor, Ballard could be used to grind out the clock. Don’t forget how bad Oakland was against the run last season, as they allowed 118.6 rushing yards per game while allowing 18 touchdowns (tied for third-worst in the NFL) on the ground.
Golden Tate: Seattle Seahawks
Tate has become a forgotten man in Seattle. Between Marshawn Lynch carrying the offensive load and the acquisition of Percy Harvin (who is injured at the moment) creating a buzz in the offseason, Tate has been lost in the shuffle. With Harvin sidelined, Tate is clearly Russell Wilson’s best weapon in the passing game. Tate had himself a solid year in 2012, with 688 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He should only get better in 2013. Carolina (Seattle’s Week 1 opponent) can be exploited in the air and with Lynch’s running style setting up the pass, Tate can find some open spots in the defense.