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Fantasy football mailbag: The “starting a tight end in your flex” strategy

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Is it worth drafting two top-5 tight ends and playing one as your flex?

NFL: New England Patriots-Minicamp Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the very first installment of Fake Teams’ fantasy football mailbag. It’s been the day of firsts here at Fake Teams and Jonathan and I just launched our fantasy football podcast (check it out!) and now the first mailbag! As always, please feel free to ask your own questions. Here are the ways to join:

  • tweet me @petemrogers or @Faketeams using #FTFFmailbag
  • email me at petermcdrogers@gmail.com
  • leave your question in the comments!

Onto the mailbag:

Q: My leagues scoring. .5ppr, 1 point per 15 receiving yards, 1 point per 10 rushing yards. RB or WR more valuable?
@Cuban_Irish

In my mind, RBs are still more valuable because they’re going to also benefit from the .5 points per reception. Nothing is changing on the running back rules so there’s no difference in evaluating how a running back’s performance on the ground will translate to fantasy points.

This scoring is just making receptions have some importance and adding emphasis on volume receivers (both in terms of catches and yards). Plus, there’s a big difference in the number of pass catchers (wide receivers, tight ends and running backs) that averaged 15 yards per catch (or 1 point reception)—15 last year (minimum 30 receptions)—and averaged 10 YPC (108). Basically, these rules hurt wide receivers more than they hurt running backs.

Q: I’m in a 10 team full point PPR league where we start 2 RB and 2WR & 1TE. We also start a flex position that can be WR/RB/TE. Our bench is limited to 5. My question, is there any value or has anyone drafted to use that flex as a spot for another upper tier TE. Seems like maybe a Gronk/Reed combo would outscore a Gronk/WR3 combo. Thoughts?
— BucktheFroncos, presumably from not Denver

First off, as a Patriots fan, I have to commend you on your name. Well done.

Ultimately this comes down to value. Last year in PPR leagues the top five tight ends in terms of total points were Travis Kelce (223), Kyle Rudolph (209), Greg Olsen (207.3), Jimmy Graham (189.3) and Delanie Walker (188.1). For comparison’s sake, last year 20 running backs and 33 wide receivers scored more total points than Walker.

Walker’s ADP was the start of the sixth round last year. Willie Snead, who finished with 191.5 total points, went in the eighth round while Cole Beasley, who finished with 189.0 total points, went undrafted.

Since there are only so many starting tight ends, in order to draft two worthwhile guys to make this strategy work, you’d have to invest some early capital into the position. If we were to draft your example last year, Gronk and Jordan Reed, Gronk was a second round pick and Reed was a third. And once you’ve committed that third round pick on Reed, you’re kinda stuck starting him in your flex even if he struggles.

I do like including tight ends into your flex rotation. Sometimes people won’t draft a backup tight end or will just take someone randomly thinking that they’ll only need to play him the week their starter is on their bye. But drafting someone like O.J. Howard (13.03 ADP) or Jack Doyle (13.05 ADP) and including them in your flex rotation could turn out to be the best of both worlds: They could suddenly breakout and now you’ve got the 2TE roster you’ve always wanted or they could just be a nice piece to swap in and out.

Ultimately, I’m hesitant to invest too much draft capital into the flex position because that’s the spot I like to play the “hot hand”.

Q: Dynasty trade question: OBJ for Fournette/Kareem Hunt. Other WRs: AB/Julio/Tyreek/Thielen/Tyrell Williams. Need RBs
@Berserker1973

Yes.

That’s already a pretty loaded wide receiver corp you got there—and I LOVE Williams this season—and if you’re in need of running backs, those are two great guys to get.

Fournette is going to be the focal point of the Jaguars offense and despite playing behind a shoddy offensive line, if he can produce anywhere near the level he did in college, he’s going to be a fantasy darling for years to come. Hunt seems to be on the face track to the starting job in Kansas City and we know in their heyday, the Chiefs like to have a strong running game to limit Alex Smith throwing the ball, because, you know, he’s Alex Smith.

It might seem crazy to part with Odell Beckham but I don’t think you’ll need him especially with Tyreek becoming the feature receiver in KC. (Note: I’m not saying Hill will be OBJ, but he’ll be a great third option behind Julio and Antonio Brown.)


Have fantasy football questions? You can email them into petermcdrogers@gmail.com or tweet them at @petemrogers or @faketeams using the hashtag #FTFFmailbag.