Discussion

Flex ranks: Vikings' Rice climbs into the top 20

Updated: December 4, 2009, 2:18 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
[Editor's note: These rankings were slightly updated Friday after Jets-Bills.]

We here at ESPN Fantasy realize that for many of you, this is the last week you're going to be making lineup decisions. Maybe you were the owner who went Matt Forte-Brandon Jacobs in the first two rounds of your draft, then Willie Parker, Matt Ryan and Braylon Edwards later on, and now you're sitting at 2-10 heading into this, the final week of the fantasy regular season. It happens. It stinks. And there's little the flex rankings can do for you when you just don't have the horses.

For others, take the flex rankings for what they are: a guide. This is what I would call the logical order of the best 100 options for that spot on a fantasy football roster, and we'll keep it going right into that first weekend of January, when it officially ends. I'll be updating these after the Thursday night game, but I can't imagine there will be much news that will force me to adjust the rest of the players; I'll just be adding some new ones to replace Bills and Jets. Enjoy, and if this is the last week you need flex advice, thanks for tuning in.

1. Chris Johnson, RB, Texans: Still on pace for 2,000 yards. A meeting with the Colts' run defense used to be easier, but really, can any team stop this guy at this point?
2. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars: Coming home for three consecutive games!
3. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: Reader Frank Burke in Coronado, Colo., swears Peterson is a huge fantasy disappointment this season, saying "since Week 1 he's been a RB2 at best. Might be the worst top draft pick ever." Now that made me laugh.
4. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers: Routinely torches the Buccaneers, and this week should be no different.
5. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens: To me, he's a safe top-10 guy every week.
6. Ricky Williams, RB, Dolphins: The matchups do get tougher from now on.
7. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans: And you thought he'd struggle a bit when Owen Daniels got hurt. Tsk, tsk.
8. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers: Ran just fine against a very good Ravens defense even without Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. Now he gets the Raiders.
9. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
10. Randy Moss, WR, Patriots: Exploded on the Dolphins last time they played, and I expect this week will be no different.
11. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
12. Ryan Grant, RB, Packers
13. Chad Ochocinco, WR, Bengals: There's certainly the chance the Bengals don't need to throw, though, just like in Week 12.
14. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
15. Sidney Rice, WR, Vikings: Just be careful relying on him after this week because the schedule doesn't look easy.
16. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: No matter who the quarterback is, there's no good reason to sit Fitz.
17. Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals: I say he plays, gets more than 20 carries and is back to his old Bengals self.
18. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, Chargers: A touchdown a game keeps the Sproles away, apparently.
19. Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints
20. Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers
21. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos
22. Marques Colston, WR, Saints: Still a better fantasy play than the other Saints wide receivers.
23. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
24. Joseph Addai, RB, Colts
25. Brandon Marshall, WR, Broncos
26. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: I'd say with each week that passes, it becomes more and more likely we will not be seeing Brian Westbrook on a football field this season.
27. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: Even if he was your first-round pick, you don't have to activate him. I think it's a good idea this week, but you might have better choices.
28. Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars: Home game alert! This guy has 84 fantasy points in home games, 20 points on the road. Now that's a trend.
29. Marion Barber, RB, Cowboys: His best game of the season was against the Giants in Week 2, and don't think that was merely coincidence.
30. Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots: I can't believe I am ranking Maroney this high, but the numbers speak volumes.
31. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: If only the Chiefs had gone to Charles a month earlier, maybe they would have … nah, they'd still kind of stink.
32. Roddy White, WR, Falcons: No concerns about the change at quarterback hurting him. In fact, it might even help him.
33. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers: Two great games and a whole lotta nothing this season, but really, at the tight end position, what can you do?
34. Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks: I won't be outwardly angry if he's not the starter, but it wouldn't make very much sense if he's not.
35. Donald Driver, WR, Packers
36. Matt Forte, RB, Bears: A good matchup for those still relying on him … and on their way to a five-win fantasy season.
37. Greg Jennings, WR, Packers
38. Dallas Clark, TE, Colts
39. Cadillac Williams, RB, Buccaneers
40. Hines Ward, WR, Steelers
41. Anquan Boldin, WR, Cardinals
42. Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants: I no longer expect he will rush for 100 yards in a game. That's incredible.
43. Steve Smith, WR, Giants
44. Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals: With quarterback issues and the Vikings' run-stopping wall licking its collective chops, this is pretty much the worst matchup for Cardinals running backs. At least Hightower can catch the ball.
45. Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys: Kind of time to trust him again.
46. Kevin Smith, RB, Lions
47. Derrick Mason, WR, Ravens
48. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
49. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Seahawks
50. Mike Bell, RB, Saints
51. Nate Burleson, WR, Seahawks
52. Steve Smith, WR, Panthers
53. Jason Snelling, RB, Falcons: Sure looks like the team is not committing to him, so be wary.
54. Chris Chambers, WR, Chiefs: Some things are just unexplainable. Like his resurrection.
55. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles: Don't simply presume he does what DeSean Jackson normally does. The Eagles have depth here.
56. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
57. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
58. Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers: The Seahawks have been abused by opposing wide receivers lately.
59. Kevin Walter, WR, Texans
60. Rock Cartwright, RB, Redskins: Maroney did rush for a pair of scores on the Saints, so anything is possible for Rock.
61. Steve Slaton, RB, Texans: Still ownable, but I've given up hope that we will see the guy from 2008.
62. Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings
63. Correll Buckhalter, RB, Broncos
64. Robert Meachem, WR, Saints: Touchdown machine!
65. Jerious Norwood, RB, Falcons: The reason I have doubts he'll push Snelling aside is that he just hasn't played very much. All this presumes Michael Turner is unavailable, too.
66. Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals
67. Santonio Holmes, WR, Steelers
68. Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants
69. Laveranues Coles, WR, Bengals
70. Heath Miller, TE, Steelers
71. Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys: I hope we're not still waiting for his breakout a year from now. Honestly, this guy could be a fantasy monster right now if the Cowboys would let him.
72. Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts: A lot better than most people realize.
73. Chris Jennings, RB, Browns: My low rank of him has nothing to do with his ability, or the opportunity he's getting. I just don't think he can thrive without a true quarterback threat.
74. Jason Avant, WR, Eagles: Some people really, really like him this week. I'm more cautious.
75. Santana Moss, WR, Redskins
76. Reggie Bush, RB, Saints
77. Chris Brown, RB, Texans: Don't blame him for the Slaton mess. Slaton made that mess himself. Brown has more value in sheer touchdown leagues.
78. Devin Hester, WR, Bears
79. Derrick Ward, RB, Buccaneers: I still get angry thinking about this disappointment.
80. Greg Olsen, TE, Bears
81. Willis McGahee, RB, Ravens
82. Antonio Bryant, WR, Buccaneers: Was a fantasy monster last December. New quarterback now, but still something to keep in mind.
83. Darren Sproles, RB, Chargers
84. Steve Breaston, WR, Cardinals
85. Kenny Britt, WR, Titans: Terrific Week 12 game, but I'm not ready to proclaim the Titans a passing team.
86. Chester Taylor, RB, Vikings
87. Donnie Avery, WR, Rams
88. Justin Fargas, RB, Raiders
89. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
90. Johnny Knox, WR, Bears
91. Devery Henderson, WR, Saints
92. Larry Johnson, RB, Bengals
93. Mario Manningham, WR, Giants
94. Julius Jones, RB, Seahawks
95. Torry Holt, WR, Jaguars
96. Derrick Ward, RB, Buccaneers
97. Willie Parker, RB, Steelers
98. Bernard Berrian, WR, Vikings
99. Sammy Morris, RB, Patriots
100. Patrick Crayton, WR, Cowboys

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