- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
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Sure, one can blame it on the bye weeks giving players extra time off, or all the injuries disabling players, but the fact is that's not why most of us have tough decisions to make at the flex position. Good teams with proper depth should always have more than one reasonable choice for the flex spot. In one of my deep leagues, in which we are permitted only a few free-agent signings per season, I didn't have a decision to make. Free agency was bare in this league; I pretty much had to use Andre Hall, and he gave me two points when I needed six. It would have been nice to have a decision, someone worthy.
In another league, I had Kevin Smith of the Lions, nobody else close to viable, and couldn't waste a move this past weekend to get a decent flex option. I saw some names out there that made me growl as if I got a paper cut. I wasn't in real pain deciding on whether Warrick Dunn was about to join my team, but it wasn't a good feeling, either. So, with no good choices, I pretended there was no decision to make. I left the rookie in there, he scored a touchdown, I looked smart but I won by 20 anyway. No flex option would have cost me victory in that matchup, as my opponent struggled with Trent Edwards and Jonathan Stewart!
The point is, it's good to have choices. If you don't have choices, it might be a signal you don't have enough depth on your squad, because injuries and poor play will hamper most teams. If you don't have depth, maybe it hasn't bitten your team yet, but give it time. It will. Andre Hall and Kevin Smith really weren't good flex choices in Week 5, though they are a bit better in the upcoming slate of games. If you're choosing from any of the top 100 players to the right, however, you might have some tough decisions. Good, it is better to have a decision to make than just let someone with no foreseeable upside into your starting lineup.
Joseph Addai versus Roy Williams: You have to like what Addai did in Week 5, getting into the end zone for the third consecutive game, but have we lowered the bar on his expectations so much that 13 fantasy points makes us happy? This is a top-5 overall draft pick, and currently he's outside the top 60 overall in fantasy points. He still has time to redeem himself, of course, but I don't think a game against a very good Baltimore Ravens defense is the right time. Addai's problem isn't solely his play, but the offensive line, an inefficient Peyton Manning and a difficult schedule. All these things should get better, just not in Week 6. Still, knowing Addai will get 15-20 touches, even if it results in, say, 50 or 60 yards and no scores, should top Detroit's Williams, so what does that say? The Lions are a mess. This is a recording, but whether Jon Kitna plays or not, Williams hasn't been reliable even with a healthy quarterback and a forgiving defense. I ranked each player as a worthy flex in most leagues, but if I had to make the call, Addai is the choice.
Sammy Morris versus Wes Welker: Ah, we've got teammates here, but the similarities pretty much end there. Morris is the safest running back on the Patriots for fantasy purposes, though the return of Laurence Maroney is not a good sign long-term, even if the latter is struggling. The fact that Kevin Faulk scored two touchdowns last week doesn't help, either. I think Morris is the one who will get double-digit carries, which is the best sign for Week 6. I don't have a problem with Welker, really, but forget everything you know about the guy from 2007. None of it matters. It's like at this time in 2007, when we told you to disregard everything from Welker's Dolphins career. It was irrelevant. Welker is not going to rate as a top-20 wide receiver most weeks, because his quarterback is erratic. Welker does get targeted more than Randy Moss, but the possession receiver hasn't scored a touchdown yet, and there's no sign of one coming. Morris has the better shot to score than Welker, thus the better ranking.
Bobby Engram versus Darren McFadden: Maybe this isn't a fair duo, since I was on the Justin Fargas bandwagon all offseason and remain on it. I think the Raiders have a better chance to win this week with Fargas getting more carries than McFadden, who is dealing with a toe problem. What I really think the Raiders should do is let JaMarcus Russell air things out, but I don't think his wide receiver corps is terribly exciting, or strong. I mean, I was on TV this week labeling Ashley Lelie as a possible Hail Mary option in deep leagues. That says something. Regardless, I see McFadden getting single-digit carries. Maybe he can do something with them, like Felix Jones of the Cowboys, but I'll take the recovered wide receiver in this case. The Seahawks have many problems, but at least the return of Engram has partially solved one of them. Matt Hasselbeck has a legit weapon here, and he used him in the loss to the Giants. Engram faces what I'd consider a suspect Packers defense, after what we saw the Falcons do through the air.
Greg Camarillo versus Jonathan Stewart: Last week the Carolina rookie running back took a backseat to the older, wiser veteran DeAngelo Williams, even though the latter isn't exactly old or wise. Williams had a big game. This week neither Carolina running back, to me, is in line for a great game at all. Stewart remains a threat for goal-line touches, no doubt, but I don't see enough carries for him to reach more than seven or so fantasy points. Camarillo, on the other hand, should be good for about the same 70-75 yards, and has as good a shot as anyone in the Miami passing game to score a touchdown. He's clearly the top target for Chad Pennington, and this week the Dolphins will head to Houston, to face a secondary even Pennington can exploit. Whatever happened to Ted Ginn, Jr., anyway? Camarillo easily leads the team in targets and is underowned in fantasy.
Devin Hester versus Jerious Norwood: OK, does anyone realize just how good Kyle Orton is? I don't think so. Of course, Orton doesn't belong in this column, since he doesn't qualify at Flex, but Hester is starting to make a little noise, having scored in consecutive weeks. Rashied Davis had more catches in Week 5, and will probably start alongside Hester with Brandon Lloyd a question mark. You'll also see tight end Greg Olsen ranked even higher than Chad Johnson! As for Hester, he doesn't appear to be someone who will catch a lot of passes. He's not Wes Welker. I think he's closer to Robert Meachem or /Devery Henderson, a home run hitter who might get only a few targets per week, but can do something with them. Then again, Hester's Week 5 score was not on a long play, but a short slant inside the 20 that he made a move on. Hester is an OK flex option, but still better than Norwood, who has become a trash-time player. He's very good, but only when the Falcons seem to have a large enough lead to let Michael Turner sit some plays out. I don't think this is one of those weeks Norwood is a factor.
Eric Karabell is a senior writer for ESPN.com who covers fantasy baseball, football and basketball. He has twice been honored as fantasy sports writer of the year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. His new book, "Top 100 Philadelphia Sports Arguments," was published by Source Books and is available in bookstores. Contact Eric by e-mailing him here.
Eric Karabell ranks the 100 best flex options for Week 6.