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Flex ranks: Victor Cruz back in top 20

11/29/2012

Welcome to the latest installment of the flex rankings, where we combine the top running backs, wide receivers and tight ends into one tidy list of 100 in an effort to help fantasy owners with their roster decisions. As we approach playoff time, we remind owners to make their own choices and use the advice given by members of the ESPN Fantasy staff only as a guide. They're still your teams, so win those championships with your decisions!

For more advice, check out the Week 13 staff rankings in the usual spots, or perhaps your question was answered in one of our chats this week or by me Wednesday afternoon.

Good luck in Week 13 and beyond, and remember there should be plenty of points scored on Thursday night when the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints square off, so get those lineups set.

1. Arian Foster, RB, Texans: Don't worry about him sitting in December. It's still premature to assume the Texans will clinch the top seed early.

2. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: Leads the league in rushing yards, by quite a bit. Who could have expected that after last season's knee injury?

3. Trent Richardson, RB, Browns: Already a top-10 running back.

4. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers: Another rookie, and this one has scored in double digits (ESPN standard scoring) seven consecutive weeks. Reminds me of the next guy, who also has the capability to put up numbers against good foes.

5. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens: If fourth-down statistics was its own category, he'd move to the top. As it is, he remains quite valuable, and not as disappointing as you'd think.

6. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: Pretty much unstoppable again, averaging better than 20 points per game over the past three weeks.

7. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: What, he didn't score a touchdown for the first time since Week 1? What's wrong with him? Time to cut him. (OK, don't do that.)

8. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers

9. C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills: While we'd all like to believe it, it's probably premature to presume he's a lock to get a ton of touches.

10. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans

11. Roddy White, WR, Falcons

12. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs

13. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos

14. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins: Doesn't seem to be hitting that rookie wall anymore.

15. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans: New offensive coordinator shouldn't affect the running game much. After all, it has been working fine.

16. Victor Cruz, WR, Giants: See, there was nothing to worry about here.

17. Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots: Schedule starts to get tougher, but perhaps he's so good that it won't matter.

18. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: Don't. Sit. Him. Ever.

19. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts

20. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants: In his case, getting a higher percentage of the touches -- backup Andre Brown's season is over -- might seem like a great thing, but perhaps not.

21. Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears

22. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys: Showing off his considerable ability of late; let's hope it continues. The Eagles' secondary shouldn't pose much opposition.

23. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks

24. Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers: Has had issues with Champ Bailey in the past from his Chargers days.

25. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals: Say it with me: un-der-rat-ed!

26. Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants: Looks healthy and reliable again.

27. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams

28. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints

29. Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions: Make sure he plays before trusting him as a second fantasy back.

30. Steve Johnson, WR, Bills

31. Cecil Shorts, WR, Jaguars: His rank might seem high, but seems to me most people aren't aware what he has been doing. It's double digits every week for this guy now.

32. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots

33. Bryce Brown, RB, Eagles: Terrific performance Monday, save for the fumbles, and we won't see LeSean McCoy this week, either.

34. Marques Colston, WR, Saints

35. Eric Decker, WR, Broncos: Quiet the past three weeks with only eight receptions, but that hardly means he's being phased out. He has a nice matchup this week.

36. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: My highest-ranking Packers option in these ranks, but he still has a lot of competition internally.

37. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons

38. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers: Nobody will laugh at you if you bench this guy, but his weekly seven or eight points is still better than nothing.

39. Steve Smith, WR, Panthers: Similar to Mathews, he doesn't score touchdowns and we've stopped expecting big numbers, but he gets you a little something each week.

40. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers

41. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys

42. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons: There's a long line of people trying to tell you Turner doesn't matter anymore, but he has scored touchdowns in three of his past four games. He's not going away.

43. Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders

44. Darren Sproles, RB, Saints: Not a great matchup for him, but he's going to catch passes for those of you in PPR formats. Don't worry about the lack of handoffs.

45. Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens

46. Danario Alexander, WR, Chargers: Quite the rise to relevancy for this fellow.

47. Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys: DeMarco Murray might play this week, but I'd use Jones even if that happened.

48. Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins: Still in a time-share for now.

49. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: Two months ago, would you have ever believed someone like Danario Alexander would be ranked above Fitz? Well, two months ago many of you didn't know who Alexander was.

50. Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger will return this week, which is why you'd prefer Wallace over Fitzgerald for the final month.

51. Shonn Greene, RB, Jets

52. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos: Can't say I'm surprised he's relevant, but it did come quickly. He could go away just as quickly.

53. Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins: Obviously a difference-maker, but we never know if he could be shut down early because of his foot injury.

54. Marcel Reece, RB, Raiders: Darren McFadden is not ranked here, but even if he was, Reece wouldn't drop much. How many touches would McFadden really get?

55. Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars: He's not Shorts, but his future, both immediate and down the road, is looking brighter each week.

56. Lance Moore, WR, Saints

57. Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals: I just have a hard time trusting this guy, but he does have a pretty decent matchup.

58. Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Steelers: Same here with Dwyer. Yes, he has been anointed the starter, but what does that really mean? Twenty touches? What if he fumbles again early? Be careful trusting any Steelers.

59. Owen Daniels, TE, Texans

60. Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers

61. Danny Amendola, WR, Rams

62. Michael Bush, RB, Bears: People seem to love him after his multi-touchdown outing in Week 12, but he averaged fewer than 3 yards per carry. He hadn't topped four fantasy points since Week 3. If Matt Forte sits, Bush likely will be overrated.

63. Aaron Hernandez, TE, Patriots: This is a big game for his fantasy value. It's fine if he's unproductive in his first game back, but in his second, too?

64. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills

65. Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys

66. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers: Perhaps he isn't any good anymore. Plus, don't expect 15 touches or action near the goal line, even if Jonathan Stewart sits.

67. Rashad Jennings, RB, Jaguars: Hmm, seems we're having quite a run of average running backs here.

68. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Falcons: And here's another one! Look, if Rodgers was playing well, he'd have a large piece of the job. But he's nothing special.

69. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs

70. Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins

71. Vick Ballard, RB, Colts

72. Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers

73. Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots

74. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: He's back! Problem is, he wasn't doing much when healthy, and the quarterback situation is an issue.

75. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: The T.Y. does not stand for thank you, not that we can't believe it.

76. Ryan Broyles, WR, Lions: Still no sign of Titus Young mattering.

77. Chris Ivory, RB, Saints

78. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders

79. Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers: On a cold streak of late, but he remains relevant.

80. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers: His relatively high ranking at tight end shouldn't be taken as newfound trust in him. There are just so few tight ends playing well on a consistent basis these days.

81. Donald Brown, RB, Colts

82. James Starks, RB, Packers: Watch him run and it's really not very exciting.

83. Greg Jennings, WR, Packers: Over/under on snaps for him this week should be around 25, which isn't much.

84. Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins: Would like to see what he could do with all the carries. Perhaps if the Dolphins get officially eliminated soon.

85. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles: The loss of DeSean Jackson doesn't affect Maclin. In fact, he probably wishes he could join him on the sidelines at this point.

86. James Jones, WR, Packers

87. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers: Not giving up on him, but it's no longer looking positive.

88. Isaac Redman, RB, Steelers

89. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers: For those who thought the quarterback change would save him, what do you think now? He's still a top-10 tight end, though, because there's nobody else who deserves to jump over him.

90. Jeremy Kerley, WR, Jets

91. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints

92. David Wilson, RB, Giants: Certainly worth owning in all formats because he's exactly the type of guy who could get mid-December opportunities and make good.

93. Davone Bess, WR, Dolphins: Playing better of late.

94. Jermaine Gresham, TE, Bengals

95. Brandon Lloyd, WR, Patriots: It's time for his fantasy fans to look closer at his numbers. Next step is for him to fall out of these rankings all together.

96. Joique Bell, RB, Lions: Would get sizable boost if Leshoure sits.

97. Brandon Stokley, WR, Broncos: His production might explain Decker's lack of production, really.

98. Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos: When coaches speak, fantasy owners shouldn't believe what they say.

99. Josh Gordon, WR, Browns

100. Brandon LaFell, WR, Panthers

Others: Bilal Powell, RB, Jets; Sidney Rice, WR, Seahawks; Kenny Britt, WR, Titans; Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Lions; Ben Tate, RB, Texans; Alex Green, RB, Packers; Brandon Jacobs, RB, 49ers; Danny Woodhead, RB, Patriots; Peyton Hillis, RB, Chiefs.