Flex ranks: Getting the most out of your flex slot


[Editor's note: This list was updated after the Thursday games.]

One of the good things about the flex position in fantasy football is that owners can choose from a large pool of both running backs and wide receivers -- and in some cases tight ends -- so why not make the position work for you? For instance, none of your players on those six teams that play on Thanksgiving should be in your flex spot.

I'll explain. Cedric Benson might or might not play this weekend, and it's too early to tell right now which way he's leaning. Say Benson is in one of your running back slots, while Marion Barber is in your flex spot. Barber plays Thursday against the Oakland Raiders -- and he's going to play well! -- and you're not benching him, but if you leave Barber in that flex spot, and Benson in the running back slot, you have fewer options should Benson be deemed unable to dress for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns. It might be a small thing to some, but it can really matter. Put Benson in your flex spot, and if we find out Sunday morning he can't play, you can use a running back or wide receiver in that spot. Hey, every advantage matters. Use Barber in that spot, and there goes the versatility.

Happy Thanksgiving and good luck in Week 12!

1. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans: Why can't he run for 2,000 yards? He's still the best, even if he doesn't get the goal-line looks.

2. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: Just one yard short of 1,000 right now. Gee, think he'll get it?

3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars

4. Ricky Williams, RB, Dolphins: That was a fast rise, eh? Only reason I have him this high is the Bills are just awful against the run. And Ricky can run.

5. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers

6. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: Just imagine if he scored more touchdowns. I'm guessing his owners are doing just that.

7. Thomas Jones, RB, Jets

8. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers

9. Randy Moss, WR, Patriots: No Darrelle Revis this week, or the remainder of this season.

10. Ryan Grant, RB, Packers: A lot better than people realize.

11. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans: Still largely uncoverable, just like Moss.

12. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts

13. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens

14. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals

15. Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals: Indications are he'll be back, just in time to ravage the Browns.

16. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots: Amazing how great his season stats look despite missing two games.

17. Sidney Rice, WR, Vikings: Just like that, Rice is a top-10 wide receiver.

18. Chad Ochocinco, WR, Bengals: Probably not doing much talking after losing in Oakland.

19. Jason Snelling, RB, Falcons: Terrific first start, and he shouldn't have any problem running the ball this week. There is a slight possibility Michael Turner returns; if he does, he would rank just ahead of Benson for me.

20. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers: Still scoring touchdowns, so it really could be a lot worse.

21. Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers: Philip Rivers didn't need to throw in Week 11, but he will this week.

22. Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots: Mock me if you must, but Maroney is scoring touchdowns every week. I can't see how he loses significant touches unless the fumbles add up.

23. Joseph Addai, RB, Colts: Of all the Colts who might get rested, he would seem the most obvious, since he has a backup at about his level.

24. Anquan Boldin, WR, Cardinals: Has played very well the past two weeks, and I didn't even bother ranking Steve Breaston this week. There's no point.

25. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers: Tough matchup, but teams have run on the Ravens this season. Benson did.

26. Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints: Still worth RB2 status even without the touchdowns. And the schedule actually gets easier for him.

27. Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars

28. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: Eventual Offensive Rookie of the Year really ran with authority in Week 11.

29. Roddy White, WR, Falcons: Blame Matt Ryan.

30. Marques Colston, WR, Saints: Ceding touchdowns of late, but he's still the top target.

31. Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Blame the offensive line, but at least he catches the ball. Jay Cutler can't get picked off (as easily) on the screen passes.

32. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers

33. Nate Burleson, WR, Seahawks: Time for this passing offense to move on after the Vikings loss.

34. Hines Ward, WR, Steelers

35. Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals: Still think he's losing his job? He became the first Cardinals running back to top 100 rushing yards in a game this season.

36. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles

37. Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks: Should find it much easier to accrue rushing yards this week. It would be a shame if he wasn't the lead back. I suppose it's possible.

38. Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals

39. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers

40. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Seahawks

41. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: No worries so far.

42. Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers: Finally scored a touchdown, and I see another one coming this week.

43. Dallas Clark, TE, Colts

44. Cadillac Williams, RB, Buccaneers

45. Steve Smith, WR, Panthers

46. Steve Slaton, RB, Texans: Got five carries Monday night. Maybe more are coming, but there's little reason to trust him until we see more commitment to the ground game from the Texans.

47. Chris Chambers, WR, Chargers: Nearly scored again. How he's doing this when Dwayne Bowe couldn't? Now that's an interesting question.

48. Rock Cartwright, RB, Redskins: Yep, he's the starter. And he's ranked all the way down here. Hey, the Redskins might not even score this week. In fact, they might not score any week.

49. Derrick Mason, WR, Ravens

50. Mike Bell, RB, Saints

51. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles

52. Terrell Owens, WR, Bills: Amazing that he scored 25 fantasy points in Week 11, considering his top two games in Weeks 1-10 combined for just 23 points. Can you say fluke?

53. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills: No reason to get excited here, but maybe someone can explain how he looked so good in September.

54. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills: At least if he doesn't play, you'll know you can't play him.

55. Braylon Edwards, WR, Jets: Who would have guessed he'd leave a team with quarterback issues, and it wouldn't get much better.

56. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons

57. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers

58. Laveranues Coles, WR, Bengals

59. Robert Meachem, WR, Saints: Scoring touchdowns, but not getting enough catches to make up for it when he doesn't.

60. Santana Moss, WR, Redskins: One good game all season. He's just not worth much.

61. Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings

62. Lee Evans, WR, Bills

63. Kellen Winslow, TE, Buccaneers

64. Jamal Lewis, RB, Browns: Had an easy matchup with the Lions and didn't do much with it. Now he faces a run defense that has been very good. Look elsewhere.

65. Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets

66. Reggie Bush, RB, Saints

67. Devin Hester, WR, Bears: Doesn't get much blame for Cutler's problems, but let's just say he's not Brandon Marshall.

68. Donnie Avery, WR, Rams

69. Kevin Faulk, RB, Patriots

70. Bernard Scott, RB, Bengals: Impressive first start, but it sure looks like Benson will return.

71. Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts

72. Darren Sproles, RB, Chargers

73. Nate Washington, WR, Titans

74. Shonn Greene, RB, Jets

75. Visanthe Shiancoe, TE, Vikings

76. Davone Bess, WR, Dolphins

77. Julius Jones, RB, Seahawks

78. Chester Taylor, RB, Vikings

79. Sammy Morris, RB, Patriots

80. Chris Brown, RB, Texans: I'd call it a shame that he led the team in carries Monday, but who was going to do better?

81. Mohamed Massaquoi, WR, Browns: I think something might be there, but his quarterback is not going to have another 28-point fantasy game anytime soon.

82. Antonio Bryant, WR, Buccaneers

83. LenDale White, RB, Titans: Not in a timeshare with the top guy on this list, but he is back on the touchdown prowl.

84. Santonio Holmes, WR, Steelers

85. Donald Brown, RB, Colts

86. Lex Hilliard, RB, Dolphins

87. Ryan Moats, RB, Texans

88. Leonard Weaver, RB, Eagles

89. Devery Henderson, WR, Saints

90. Austin Collie, WR, Colts

91. Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens

92. Derrick Ward, RB, Buccaneers

93. Andre Caldwell, WR, Bengals

94. Torry Holt, WR, Jaguars

95. Jeremy Shockey, TE, Saints

96. Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons

97. Kenny Britt, WR, Titans

98. Greg Olsen, TE, Bears

99. Brandon Gibson, WR, Rams

100. Johnny Knox, WR, Bears