The first round of the playoffs is here. There are four games this weekend and some decent flex options. Let’s jump right into it and talk about some of the players that fit in the flex position and provide some nice upside.
UPDATE: Marshawn Lynch is OUT for Wild Card Weekend. Christine Michael and Bryce Brown should see the majority of the RB touches for Seattle
Marshawn Lynch ($6500) –Lynch is my favorite running back option of the slate. He has not played since week 10 as he was sidelined with an injury, but is expected to play this weekend. Prior to suffering the injury, Lynch scored a touchdown in three of his last four games played and averaged 4.1 yards per carry and 72.25 rushing yards per game during that span. Despite playing solid defense most of the season and holding backs to just five rushing touchdowns for the year, the Vikings surrendered 90+ rushing yards in six of their last seven games. So long as he plays, Lynch is a good bet for 18+ carries. The Seahawks are this week’s biggest favorites at -5.
Eddie Lacy ($4500) – Am I excited about Lacy? Not really. However, at this price, his upside and matchup can’t go overlooked. Opposing running backs are averaging 103.4 rushing yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry against the Redskins, while scoring nine touchdowns. In the last five games of the season, the Redskins gave up five rushing touchdowns. In weeks 11-14, Lacy rushed for over 100 yards in three games. He didn’t do so well in the last three games, but to his defense, he did not have the most favorable matchups. He’s nursing a rib injury and is listed as questionable for this week, but should play. Keep an eye on his status. This game has a 45.5 point over/under and the Packers have an implied point total of 22.25 points.
James Jones ($4100) – After a rough patch midseason, Jones closed out the season on a high note. In his last three games of the season, he averaged 16.3 fantasy points, five receptions, and 76.7 receiving yards per game. He also scored one touchdown in that span and averaged a team high 11 targets per game. In the last month of the season, he exceeded value 67 percent of the time by an average of 3.07 points, per Fantasy Labs. The Redskins struggled against opposing receivers as they allowed 176.1 receiving yards and 11.6 receptions per game, while yielding 23 touchdowns. The Redskins have allowed +1.3 points above expectation to opposing wide receivers, per Fantasy Labs. Jones is in a good spot this week and should easily payoff his salary.
Pierre Garcon ($4200) – Garcon scored a touchdown in each of his last three games of the season. In the last five games, he averaged 6.8 targets and 4.6 receptions per game. In the last month, he exceeded value 83 percent of the time by an average of 4.17 points, per Fantasy Labs. A lot of attention is on DeSean Jackson this week, and I think he too is a good play, but Garcon offers a safer floor if you ask me. I also like the fact that he will potentially be lower owned. Sam Shields remains in the concussion protocol and is unlikely to play this weekend. During the last three weeks of the season, in Shields’ absence, the Packers surrendered four touchdowns to receivers.
Heath Miller ($3300) – Miller has torched the Bengals this season. In two games against them, he caught 20 passes (10 in each game) for 171 yards. Since Week 10, Miller has seen been targeted at least five times in all but one game. The Bengals have allowed +1.3 points above expectation to opposing tight ends, per Fantasy Labs. They have not been able to contain Miller this year and I don’t anticipate they will start this week. With DeAngelo Williams ruled out for this game, I expect the Steelers to rely heavily on Big Ben’s arm. This should open the door for potentially more targets for Miller. At this price, it’ll be very difficult for Miller not to hit value. After all, he has topped 16 fantasy points in each game against the Bengals this season.
Jordan Reed ($6300) – Reed is going to be a popular pick this week and rightfully so. In his final four games, he averaged 7.25 receptions, 94.5 yards, and 25.7 Fantasy points per game. In that span, he scored five touchdowns. Those averages include the final game where he wasn’t asked to do much since the Redskins had already clinched their division, yet he still caught all four of his targets. He faces the Packers defense that has allowed seven touchdowns to tight ends this season and is yielding 50.6 yards and 4.7 receptions per game.