We’re committed to our users here and endeavor to answer every question that comes in via email, twitter, or other formats. Today’s mailbag yields a particularly challenging question that I’d like to share broadly.
Via twitter @nathanavery23 asks: D. Rich from STL or K. Thompkins? Flex PPR.
The question is a bit loaded – and limited by a character cap… many questions need to be answered i.e. are you already taking a gamble at WR/RB, or are your non-flex starters reasonably consistent producers? Is making a boom or bust pick here going to throw off the rest of your week?
Still, with that said, I’m a bit of a traditionalist when assessing RB vs. WR flex questions. All things being equal, I’d like to follow the volume and Daryl Richardson should see plenty of it. I won’t pretend that he blew me away in the preseason, but he did prove to be a competent runner and receiver out of the back field. It’s more than rookie Zac Stacy did, and with Isaiah Pead held out of this week’s action Richardson should be in line for a lot of carries. St. Louis is expected to employ a spread attack this year and in particular some carries will likely be converted to Tavon Austin catches. It isn’t great news for the backs considering that St. Louis already ran the ball the 10th fewest times in the NFL last year.
The team handed out 25 carries a game last year, though, and in Week 1 Richardson is in for an unbalanced share of that number. Throw in some catches out of the backfield and a touch count in the range of 17-20 is not unreasonable. The Cardinals D presents a daunting challenge in the season’s first week, but with a possible 20 touches the floor on Richardson is quite low. Richardson is ranked as our 26th best RB this week.
Meanwhile, Kenbrell Thompkins is in line to start for the Patriots. He’s been a draft day darling since his name began picking up steam mid-training camp and was a favorite target of Tom Brady in the pre-season. In their dress rehearsal (game three of the preseason against the Lions) Thompkins had 8 catches for 116 yards on 11 targets. He has the talent and the trust to excel as part of the Patriots offense. The caveat though is that we don’t know how he’ll truly be deployed until we see it happens. He’ll start at X receiver, but the reality is that the specific run/pass distribution is unknown heading into week one.
For me, I’ll follow my nose to the guaranteed volume and hope that Richardson finds a score. PPR helps even things out for the receiver, but I’d expect Richardson to see 3 or 4 receptions out of the backfield as well.