When trying to decide who to play as your flex, there are two basic factors to consider: the candidate player's ability and his matchup. Late last season, I did a series of articles on who to start at RB, WR, and TE that looked at quantifying those factors. You might want to look over those articles first, but I'll try to make this one stand on its own.

I'm going to use PPR scoring and only compare RBs to WRs as flex choices. The data is based on the past ten seasons, 2006-2015 (updated from the articles linked above) and the Top 100 RBs and Top 100 WRs in those years. So that's a total of 1000 players at each position. “RB1s” were the top 100 overall, “RB2s” were ranked RB101-200, etc. On a seasonal basis, the would be the Top 10 RBs, RB11-20, etc. To further differentiate the “Studs” from the rest of the RB1s, I broke the top 10% in half, so “Stud RBs” are the top 5% or top 5 backs in a year, with the extra nuance that if a back in the Top 50 from the last 10 seasons was not in the Top 5 of his year group then he counted as an “Other RB1” and not a “Stud.” I did the same thing with WRs.

I then ranked all the defenses over the last ten seasons by fantasy points allowed (RB or WR as appropriate). I divided them by quarters – the top 80 in that time span, the next 80, etc. I separated out the top 5% as "stud" defenses from the top quarter (this would be the top one or two defenses in a given season). I looked at dividing the defenses up into smaller groups, but I felt this was putting too fine a point on my ability to estimate a defense’s category – and it really didn’t make any difference in the conclusions.

Then I calculated the average FP for each set of matchups, for example, Stud RBs against Stud Defenses.

Here’s the results, RBs first:

Average PPR Points of RBs vs. Defenses, 2006-2015

RB Category

Defense Rank

Top 5%

Other Top Qtr

Full access is limited to active subscribers only.
We have not raised our subscription rate in 23 years, so subscribe today!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

ACCOUNT LOGIN