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Week 1 Flex Rankings for 2021 Fantasy Football

The 2021 NFL season is officially upon us and with it comes another glorious season of fantasy football! It is finally time for the months of planning and preparation to pay off. I will be here to offer my Flex rankings every single week. These are based on half-PPR scoring, and I have 250 players ranked to incorporate fantasy managers in larger fields and league sizes.

Fantasy football is very much a matchup-driven game at its core. However, in Week 1 I tend to use more of a “dance with the one who brought you” approach. Matchups still matter, of course. But most of the players on our rosters are as healthy now as they are going to be all season. We do not have bye weeks to worry about. And the crazy weather patterns that seem to wreak havoc on many of us will not have much of an impact on this weekend’s games. The game between the Packers and Saints will now be played in Jacksonville, of course. But other than a stray shower in the morning that game should go off without a hitch. Going forward, there will be more matchup-specific analysis regarding my Flex rankings. But we don’t need to reinvent the wheel in Week 1.

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Running Back Notes

There are no real surprises toward the top of my Flex rankings at the running back position. I ranked Ezekiel Elliott relatively low compared to where we are accustomed to seeing him every week. That is mostly based on his matchup with the vaunted Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive front. It may also be partially because every time I saw him on Hard Knocks, he was eating. I also have Saquon Barkley lower than normal, which is based on his recovery from last season’s torn ACL. Barkley appears ready to roll in Week 1, but I do not expect him to receive a full workload against the Denver Broncos. If you consider my ranking of Gus Edwards high, you haven’t been paying attention. I don’t think I’m high enough, to be honest.

There are some question marks in the RB3-RB4 range where I would rather use a wideout in my Flex spot this week if all else is equal. The running backs for the Buccaneers, Texans, and Jets appear to have good matchups on paper. However, we do not know how these teams will deploy their running backs. The decision on whether to start these backs is a matter of risk management. Again, since most teams are at close to full strength, Week 1 is probably not the ideal time to speculate. I would rather take a shot on a pass-catching back like Nyheim Hines or James White than anyone on the Texans or Jets. But I’d also probably rather start a wide receiver in my Flex spot than either pass-catching back.

Wide Receiver Notes

I expect there to be more passing than normal in Week 1. First, we all know that the 2021 regular season will feature a 17th game. I expect teams to focus more on managing the workloads of their running backs to try to keep them fresh later in the season. One way to do that would be to call a few more passes. I also expect defenses to be a bit behind the offenses early in the year. With all this week’s games being played in domes or warm weather, I expect teams to air it out a bit more than normal this week. The wide receivers that I have in the WR4 range are an interesting bunch. Several may be undervalued based on their previous production. Some of these players include Juju Smith-Schuster, Jarvis Landry, and Kenny Golladay.

Drops aside, I would be willing to start Ja’Marr Chase this week. I also like fellow rookie wideout DeVonta Smith as a potential Flex option, but it depends on your other options. Again, much of it boils down to us having a plethora of options this week. In a game filled with constantly changing variables, I would prefer to rely on more known quantities this week than in future weeks. Corey Davis and DeVante Parker may be boring, but they are steady hands and should be targeted pretty frequently by their young quarterbacks. As much as I love the long-term outlook for Elijah Moore and Jaylen Waddle, I lean more towards the veterans as preferred Week 1 Flex plays.

Tight End Notes

By and large, you should probably not be starting a tight end in your Flex spot unless you drafted a second tight end early with the specific intent of using him in that role. I have 40 running backs and 69 wide receivers ranked ahead of Rob Gronkowski, my TE13. In a 12-team league where you start two running backs, three receivers, and a Flex, we are well into the range of RB4s and WR6s before we get to the TE2s. Of course, several tight ends in this range will outperform their weekly expectations. But we don’t need to be throwing Hail Marys on first-and-10, and we don’t need to be starting tight ends in our Flex spots in traditional fantasy football formats.

Below are my top-250 Flex options for Week 1. Again, these are based on half-PPR scoring, so adjust as you see fit, and best of luck in Week 1!

Week 1 Flex Rankings

Rank PlayerTeamPositionOpponent
1Christian McCaffreyCARRB1v. NYJ
2Dalvin CookMINRB2at CIN
3Davante AdamsGBWR1at NO
4Alvin KamaraNORB3v. GB
5Tyreek HillKCWR2v. CLE
6Derrick HenryTENRB4v. ARI
7Travis KelceKCTE1v. CLE
8Stefon DiggsBUFWR3v. PIT
9Calvin RidleyATLWR4v. PHI
10Joe MixonCINRB5v. MIN
11A.J. BrownTENWR5v. ARI
12DeAndre HopkinsARIWR6at TEN
13DK MetcalfSEAWR7at IND
14Aaron JonesGBRB6at NO
15Jonathan TaylorINDRB7v. SEA
16Justin JeffersonMINWR8at CIN
17James RobinsonJAXRB8at HOU
18Austin EkelerLACRB9at WAS
19Nick ChubbCLERB10at KC
20Najee HarrisPITRB11at BUF
21Darren WallerLVTE2v. BAL
22Antonio GibsonWASRB12v. LAC
23Terry McLaurinWASWR9v. LAC
24Clyde Edwards-HelaireKCRB13v. CLE
25David MontgomeryCHIRB14at LAR
26George KittleSFTE3at DET
27Gus EdwardsBALRB15at LV
28Robert WoodsLARWR10v. CHI
29Ezekiel ElliottDALRB16at TB
30Raheem MostertSFRB17at DET
31Mike DavisATLRB18v. PHI
32Tyler LockettSEAWR11at IND
33Julio JonesTENWR12v. ARI
34Saquon BarkleyNYGRB19v. DEN
35Chris GodwinTBWR13v. DAL
36Cooper KuppLARWR14v. CHI
37Keenan AllenLACWR15at WAS
38Adam ThielenMINWR16at CIN
39Mike EvansTBWR17v. DAL
40Chris CarsonSEARB20at IND
41D.J. MooreCARWR18v. NYJ
42Miles SandersPHIRB21at ATL
43CeeDee LambDALWR19at TB
44D'Andre SwiftDETRB22v. SF
45Brandon AiyukSFWR20at DET
46Mark AndrewsBALTE4at LV
47Allen RobinsonCHIWR21at LAR
48Tee HigginsCINWR22v. MIN
49Amari CooperDALWR23at TB
50Darrell HendersonLARRB23v. CHI
51Damien HarrisNERB24v. MIA
52Josh JacobsLVRB25v. BAL
53Deebo SamuelSFWR24at DET
54Antonio BrownTBWR25v. DAL
55Robby AndersonCARWR26v. NYJ
56Diontae JohnsonPITWR27at BUF
57Myles GaskinMIARB26at NE
58Tyler BoydCINWR28v. MIN
59Ja'Marr ChaseCINWR29v. MIN
60Brandin CooksHOUWR30v. JAX
61Chase EdmondsARIRB27at TEN
62Chase ClaypoolPITWR31at BUF
63Odell BeckhamCLEWR32at KC
64Kyle PittsATLTE5v. PHI
65Laviska ShenaultJAXWR33at HOU
66Jerry JeudyDENWR34at NYG
67Javonte WilliamsDENRB28at NYG
68Marvin JonesJAXWR35at HOU
69Kareem HuntCLERB29at KC
70Courtland SuttonDENWR36at NYG
71JuJu Smith-SchusterPITWR37at BUF
72D.J. CharkJAXWR38at HOU
73Corey DavisNYJWR39at CAR
74Jarvis LandryCLEWR40at KC
75DeVante ParkerMIAWR41at NE
76DeVonta SmithPHIWR42at ATL
77Michael PittmanINDWR43v. SEA
78Jaylen WaddleMIAWR44at NE
79Marquise BrownBALWR45at LV
80Kenny GolladayNYGWR46v. DEN
81Jakobi MeyersNEWR47v. MIA
82Ronald JonesTBRB30v. DAL
83Trey SermonSFRB31at DET
84Mike WilliamsLACWR48at WAS
85Michael GallupDALWR49at TB
86Sterling ShepardNYGWR50v. DEN
87Logan ThomasWASTE6v. LAC
88Marquez CallawayNOWR51v. GB
89Curtis SamuelWASWR52v. LAC
90Darnell MooneyCHIWR53at LAR
91Elijah MooreNYJWR54at CAR
92T.J. HockensonDETTE7v. SF
93Mecole HardmanKCWR55v. CLE
94Emmanuel SandersBUFWR56v. PIT
95Melvin GordonDENRB32at NYG
96Leonard FournetteTBRB33v. DAL
97Bryan EdwardsLVWR57v. BAL
98Jamaal WilliamsDETRB34at SF
99Sammy WatkinsBALWR58at LV
100Cole BeasleyBUFWR59v. PIT
101Nyheim HinesINDRB35v. SEA
102Henry RuggsLVWR60v. BAL
103Rondale MooreARIWR61at TEN
104Noah FantDENTE8at NYG
105Darius SlaytonNYGWR62v. DEN
106Tyler HigbeeLARTE9v. CHI
107Zack MossBUFRB36v. PIT
108Tyrell WilliamsDETWR63v. SF
109Tre'Quan SmithNOWR64v. GB
110Russell GageATLWR65v. PHI
111James WhiteNERB37v. MIA
112Robert TonyanGBTE10at NO
113Terrace MarshallCARWR66v. NYJ
114Dallas GoedertPHITE11at ATL
115Mike GesickiMIATE12at NE
116Devin SingletaryBUFRB38v. PIT
117Nelson AgholorNEWR67v. MIA
118Hunter RenfrowLVWR68v. BAL
119A.J. DillonGBRB39at NO
120Marquez Valdes-ScantlingGBWR69at NO
121David JohnsonHOURB40v. JAX
122Rob GronkowskiTBTE13v. DAL
123James ConnerARIRB41at TEN
124Austin HooperCLETE14at KC
125Parris CampbellINDWR70v. SEA
126Sony MichelLARRB42v. CHI
127Tevin ColemanNYJRB43at CAR
128Kenyan DrakeLVRB44v. BAL
129Michael CarterNYJRB45at CAR
130A.J. GreenARIWR71at TEN
131Jonnu SmithNETE15v. MIA
132Ty'Son WilliamsBALRB46at LV
133Zach PascalINDWR72v. SEA
134Gabriel DavisBUFWR73v. PIT
135Nico CollinsHOUWR74v. JAX
136Jalen ReagorPHIWR75at ATL
137Anthony FirkserTENTE16v. ARI
138Jamison CrowderNYJWR76at CAR
139Chris ConleyHOUWR77v. JAX
140Gerald EverettSEATE17at IND
141Quintez CephusDETWR78v. SF
142Hunter HenryNETE18v. MIA
143Randall CobbGBWR79at NO
144D'Wayne EskridgeSEAWR80at IND
145Christian KirkARIWR81at TEN
146Carlos HydeJAXRB47at HOU
147Mark IngramHOURB48v. JAX
148Jared CookLACTE19at WAS
149K.J. HamlerDENWR82at NYG
150Josh ReynoldsTENWR83v. ARI
151Zach ErtzPHITE20at ATL
152DeSean JacksonLARWR84v. CHI
153Alexander MattisonMINRB49at CIN
154Kendrick BourneNEWR85v. MIA
155Quez WatkinsPHIWR86at ATL
156Cole KmetCHITE21at LAR
157Tony PollardDALRB50at TB
158Blake JarwinDALTE22at TB
159Devontae BookerNYGRB51v. DEN
160Phillip LindsayHOURB52v. JAX
161Demarcus RobinsonKCWR87v. CLE
162Tyler ConklinMINTE23at CIN
163Giovani BernardTBRB53v. DAL
164Ty JohnsonNYJRB54at CAR
165Dawson KnoxBUFTE24v. KC
166J.D. McKissicWASRB55v. LAC
167Kyle RudolphNYGTE25v. DEN
168Eric EbronPITTE26at BUF
169Adam TrautmanNOTE27v. GB
170Jordan AkinsHOUTE28v. JAX
171Amon-Ra St. BrownDETWR88v. SF
172Rashaad PennySEARB56at IND
173Deonte HarrisNOWR89v. GB
174Josh PalmerLACWR90at WAS
175Cordarrelle PattersonATLWR91v. PHI
176C.J. UzomahCINTE29v. MIN
177Rashard HigginsCLEWR92at KC
178Keelan ColeNYJWR93at CAR
179Van JeffersonLARWR94v. CHI
180Salvon AhmedMIARB57at NE
181Hayden HurstATLTE30v. PHI
182Damien WilliamsCHIRB58at LAR
183Allen LazardGBWR95at NO
184Mo Alie-CoxINDTE31v. SEA
185Albert WilsonMIAWR96at NE
186Adam HumphriesWASWR97v. LAC
187Dalton SchultzDALTE32at TB
188Boston ScottPHIRB59at ATL
189Byron PringleKCWR98v. CLE
190Donovan Peoples-JonesCLEWR99at KC
191Malcolm BrownMIARB60at NE
192Jimmy GrahamCHITE33at LAR
193James WashingtonPITWR100at BUF
194Olamide ZaccheausATLWR101v. PHI
195Rhamondre StevensonNERB61v. MIA
196Dan ArnoldCARTE34v. NYJ
197Darrel WilliamsKCRB62v. CLE
198Tyler KroftNYJTE35at CAR
199Tim PatrickDENWR102at NYG
200Juwan JohnsonNOTE36v. GB
201Albert OkwuegbunamDENTE37at NYG
202Tony JonesNORB63v. GB
203Wayne GallmanATLRB64v. PHI
204O.J. HowardTBTE38v. DAL
205Jack DoyleINDTE39v. SEA
206James O'ShaughnessyJAXTE40at HOU
207Donald ParhamLACTE41at WAS
208Mohamed SanuSFWR103at DET
209Auden TateCINWR104v. MIN
210Joshua KelleyLACRB65at WAS
211Anthony MillerHOUWR105v. JAX
212Jerick McKinnonKCRB66v. CLE
213Dyami BrownWASWR106v. LAC
214Damiere ByrdCHIWR107at LAR
215Samaje PerineCINRB67v. MIN
216Chuba HubbardCARRB68v. NYJ
217Christopher HerndonMINTE42at CIN
218Kalif RaymondDETWR108v. SF
219David NjokuCLETE43at KC
220Marlon MackINDRB69v. SEA
221Justin JacksonLACRB70at WAS
222Scott MillerTBWR109v. DAL
223Kaden SmithNYGTE44v. NYG
224Will DisslySEATE45at IND
225Isaiah McKenzieBUFWR110v. PIT
226Maxx WilliamsARITE46at TEN
227Preston WilliamsMIAWR111at NE
228Marquise GoodwinCHIWR112at LAR
229Nick BoyleBALTE47at LV
230Geoff SwaimTENTE48v. ARI
231Benny SnellPITRB71at BUF
232K.J. OsbornMINWR113at CIN
233Breshad PerrimanCHIWR114at LAR
234Kyle JuszczykSFRB72at DET
235Greg WardPHIWR115at ATL
236Willie SneadLVWR116v. BAL
237Jalen GuytonLACWR117at WAS
238Harrison BryantCLETE49at KC
239Jeremy McNicholsTENRB73v. ARI
240Jake FunkLARRB74v. CHI
241Freddie SwainSEAWR118at IND
242Drew SampleCINTE50v. MIN
243Pat FreiermuthGBTE51at NO
244Lil'Jordan HumphreyNOWR119v. GB
245KhaDarel HodgeDETWR120v. SF
246Ian ThomasCARTE52v. NYJ
247Alex CollinsSEARB75at IND
248Miles BoykinBALWR121at LV
249Kadarius ToneyNYGWR122v. DEN
250Jamal AgnewJAXWR123at HOU

If you liked Mick’s Week 1 Flex Rankings, be sure to check out the rest of our Week 1 Rankings and Analysis for season-long fantasy football!

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