Fantasy Football

Week 1 fantasy football flex plays Luke Hoover
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Most fantasy football leagues incorporate a flex position these days. Each week we'll offer some flex play options to help you get the most out of your roster.

Injuries and bye weeks will create considerable confusion, as they do every year, and when they do, the weekly flex recommendations should help you sort through the mess. So watch the bouncing ball and stay on your toes. Offensive and defensive schemes will become more transparent from week to week, and this column will look for calculated risks and strong matchup plays that lead to playoff berths and championship bragging rights.

If you're in a tough spot to begin the year with an injured star (Adrian Peterson, Ryan Mathews, Miles Austin, etc.) or dealing with the backlash of an ugly holdout (thanks, MJD and Mike Wallace), here are some flex play options, followed by our flex rankings.


1. DeAngelo Williams at Tampa Bay - After doing nothing in the offseason to improve at the point of attack, a Bucs defense that finished dead last in rush yards and scores allowed in 2011 should struggle again this season versus the run. When the Panthers saw the Bucs last December they rolled them for 270 yards on the ground at nearly 9.0 per attempt, and D-Will post more than 80 total yards and two scores on less than 10 touches. With Jonathan Stewart nursing a sore ankle, expect Williams to see a heavier workload, possibly with similar results.

2. Peyton Hillis vs. Atlanta - The Chiefs defense is without elite pass rusher Tamba Hali (suspension) and could also be without top corner Brandon Flowers (foot) and starting free safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder). That means Kansas City is going to do anything it can to keep its beaten and depleted defense off the field and keep Matt Ryan and his high-flying pass attack at bay. Expect heavy doses of Hillis and Jamaal Charles as the Chiefs try to grind out long drives.

3. Michael Crabtree at Green Bay - By starting the team's No. 1 receiver against what was last year's worst passing defense we're not exactly spraining any muscles. But still it makes too much sense. The Packers figure to force San Fran to pass more than it's used to, and Crabtree figures to be heavily targeted.

4. Justin Blackmon at Minnesota - Blackmon looked like a seasoned vet during a highly impressive preseason despite coming to camp late after being the last first-rounder to sign his rookie deal. Given how miserable the Vikings secondary was in 2011 and the limited improvements they made at corner, it's hard to not picture Blackmon physically imposing his will on Minnesota secondary. Expect a big debut from this tough cover.

5. Braylon Edwards at Arizona - No Seahawk target displayed better chemistry with Russell Wilson during the preseason than Edwards. With Golden Tate sidelined by a knee injury, Edwards moves into the starting lineup opposite Sidney Rice, who likely will draw Patrick Peterson in coverage. Expect Edwards to expose the weaker Cardinals corners as he leads Seattle in receiving.

6. Michael Bush vs. Indianapolis - Last year, Marion Barber robbed six goal-line scores from Matt Forte. Now that job has fallen into the significantly more capable hands of Bush. With the Colts making the transition to a 3-4 defense without the adequate personnel to play that scheme, they may just be the league's worst defense out of the gate. That should spell a nice day for Bush who may have multiple opportunities from inside the 10.


*Check injury status.

1. LeSean McCoy PHI at Cle
2. Arian Foster HOU vs. Mia
3. Ray Rice BAL vs. Cin
4. Calvin Johnson DET vs. StL
5. Victor Cruz NYG vs. Dal
6. Matt Forte CHI vs. Ind
7. Julio Jones ATL at KC
8. Chris Johnson TEN vs. NE
9. Darren McFadden OAK vs. SD
10. Larry Fitzgerald ARZ vs. Sea
11. A.J. Green CIN at Bal
12. Jimmy Graham NO vs. Was
13. *DeMarco Murray DAL at NYG
14. *Jamaal Charles KC vs. Atl
15. *Doug Martin TB vs. Car
16. Rob Gronkowski NE at Ten
17. Antonio Brown PIT at Den
18. Wes Welker NE at Ten
19. Greg Jennings GB vs. SF
20. Brandon Marshall CHI vs. Ind
21. Percy Harvin MIN vs. Jac
22. Fred Jackson BUF at NYJ
23. Steven Jackson STL at Det
24. *Darren Sproles NO vs. Was
25. Reggie Bush MIA at Hou
26. *Hakeem Nicks NYG vs. Dal
27. Marques Colston NO vs. Was
28. Jeremy Maclin PHI at Cle
29. Antonio Gates SD at Oak
30. *Ahmad Bradshaw NYG vs. Dal
31. Frank Gore SF at GB
32. Donald Brown IND at Chi
33. Michael Turner ATL at KC
34. Roddy White ATL at KC
35. Torrey Smith BAL vs. Cin
36. Jordy Nelson GB vs. SF
37. Vincent Jackson TB vs. Car
38. *Marshawn Lynch SEA at Ari
39. *Kevin Smith DET vs. StL
40. *Rashad Jennings JAC at Min
41. *Aaron Hernandez NE at Ten
42. Fred Davis WAS at NO
43. *Dez Bryant DAL at NYG
44. *Mike Wallace PIT at Den
45. *Steve Smith CAR at TB
46. Demaryius Thomas DEN vs. Pit
47. Eric Decker DEN vs. Pit
48. Dwayne Bowe KC vs. Atl
49. *Stevan Ridley NE at Ten
50. DeAngelo Williams CAR at TB
51. C.J. Spiller BUF at NYJ
52. Shonn Greene NYJ vs. Buf
53. DeSean Jackson PHI at Cle
54. Reggie Wayne IND at Chi
55. Pierre Garcon WAS at NO
56. Nate Washington TEN vs. NE
57. Brandon Lloyd NE at Ten
58. Michael Crabtree SF at GB
59. Malcom Floyd SD at Oak
60. Vernon Davis SF at GB
61. *Toby Gerhart MIN vs. Jac
62. *Roy Helu WAS at NO
63. Willis McGahee DEN vs. Pit
64. *Beanie Wells ARZ vs. Sea
65. Ben Tate HOU vs. Mia
66. *Santonio Holmes NYJ vs. Buf
67. *Steve Johnson BUF at NYJ
68. Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK vs. SD
69. Robert Meachem SD at Oak
70. Brandon Pettigrew DET vs. StL
71. Lance Moore NO vs. Was
72. Anquan Boldin BAL vs. Cin
73. *Miles Austin DAL at NYG
74. Greg Little CLE vs. Phi
75. Justin Blackmon JAC at Min
76. *Austin Collie IND at Chi
77. Danny Amendola STL at Det
78. Brent Celek PHI at Cle
79. Jared Cook TEN vs. NE
80. *Cedric Benson GB vs. SF
81. *BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN at Bal
82. Michael Bush CHI vs. Ind
83. *Isaac Redman PIT at Den
84. Peyton Hillis KC vs. Atl
85. *Ronnie Brown SD at Oak
86. *Jonathan Stewart CAR at TB
87. *Denarius Moore OAK vs. SD
88. Randall Cobb GB vs. SF
89. *Doug Baldwin SEA at Ari
90. Tony Gonzalez ATL at KC
91. Owen Daniels HOU vs. Mia
92. *Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. Jac
93. Pierre Thomas NO vs. Was
94. David Wilson NYG vs. Dal
95. *Ryan Williams ARZ vs. Sea
96. *Alfred Morris WAS at NO
97. Jonathan Dwyer PIT at Den
98. Robert Turbin SEA at Ari
99. *Maurice Jones-Drew JAC at Min
100. Mike Williams TB vs. Car
101. Titus Young DET vs. StL
102. Mario Manningham SF at GB
103. Laurent Robinson JAC at Min
104. Greg Olsen CAR at TB

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