2020 Season: Week 7 Start/Flex/Bench


Charles Herrmann (@HermsNFL)
The Lateral Chief Editor

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer

Start/Flex/Bench is basically The Lateral's version of rock, paper, scissors. No... that doesn't seem right. It was some other three word game. Not sure why the name is escaping me, but I think the youths these days refer to it as FMK on the interwebz.

Regardless of what the name of that silly other game is, the point of the exercise is simple; for every match-up in a given week, Charles and Malcolm will give their picks for who you should start in your lineup, throw into your FLEX spot/stream if we're talking QB or TE, and who to leave on the bench. Charles will pick for all the AFC teams, and Malcolm will pick for all the NFC teams. 

Other things to keep in mind are this exercise is done with a 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 K roster playing PPR format in a 12-man league in mind, but ultimately the picks should be applicable to most fantasy rosters.

Week 7 Start/Flex/Bench

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (Thursday 8:20 pm)

NYG: Start TE Evan Engram and WR Darius Slayton, flex RB Devonta Freeman, stream the DST, and bench QB Daniel Jones.
PHI: Start WR Travis Fulgham and QB Carson Wentz (despite this being a poor match-up for Wentz), flex WR DeSean Jackson and RB Boston Scott (despite this being a good match-up for Scott), stream TE Richard Rogers (almost the only TE on the roster at this point), and bench WR Greg Ward.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: See what happens if former WR/now converted TE Hakeem Butler is active. He's an interesting deep league/dynasty guy to watch.]
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (Sunday 1 pm)

CAR: Start RB Mike Davis, flex WR Robby Anderson, stream QB Teddy Bridgewater, and bench WR D.J. Moore, the DST, and new COVID-19 reserve list member K Joey Slye.

NO: Start RB Alvin Kamara and WR Michael Thomas (if healthy [Thomas tweaked his hamstring in practice today]), flex RB Latavius Murray if you are desparate since Carolina is so weak against the run, and you can probably flex WR Emmanuel Sanders regularly at this point, and bench the DST along with WR Tre'Quan Smith. TE Jared Cook is a boom/bust play, and if you have him you probably start him given the lack of depth at TE and the bye week blues, but I would rather take a shot on someone like Eagles TE Richard Rodgers.

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (Sunday 1 pm)

BUF: Start QB Josh Allen/RB Devin Singletary/WRs Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley, flex WR Gabriel Davis if WR John Brown is out. Track Brown's health headed into this. And if you don't play the Bills DST you're a dingus. 

NYJ: WR Jameson Crowder is the only play, but track RB La'Mical Perine. 


Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday 1 pm)

CLE: 
Start RB Kareem Hunt/WR Odell Beckham Jr./TE Austin Hooper, stream QB Baker Mayfield if need be and flex WR Jarvis Landry, bench the DST. 
CIN: Start QB Joe Burrow/WR Tyler Boyd, flex WR Tee Higgins, bench the rest. Obviously if RB Joe Mixon is healthy he's a start, but if he isn't then RB Giovani Bernard is a flex. WR A.J. Green may be tempting but see if he can do well again before you trust him. 

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team (Sunday 1 pm)


DAL: Start RB Ezekiel Elliott, flex all the WRs (Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup) if you can, but if you cannot, I would start Cooper, flex Lamb, and bench Gallup  except as a desperation flex. Stream TE Dalton Schultz, who is now more available than he had been, and bench QB Andy Dalton and the DST unless you are absolutely desperate.

WAS: DISCLAIMER: These picks are based on what I would suggest normally, but this team is playing like crap, so take everything with a grain of salt. Luckily, they are playing Dallas, who is also crap. This disclaimer frankly applies to the entire NFC East, but Washington's QB situation has made them especially tricky.

Start WR Terry McLaurin, flex RBs J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson, stream TE Logan Thomas and the DST, and you can even desperation stream QB Kyle Allen, who looked good until he got hurt last week, but bench the other WRs despite the good match-up.
Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans (Sunday 1 pm)

GB: Start QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones, WR Davante Adams, and TE Robert Tonyan, and flex RB Jamaal Williams and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling if you like the match-up, but personally I am leaving them on the bench along with the DST.

HOU: Start QB Deshaun Watson/RB David Johnson/WR Will Fuller V, flex WR Brandin Cooks, stream TE Darren Fells if Jordan Akins is out, bench the DST. 

Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday 1 pm)

DET: Start QB Matthew Stafford, WR Kenny Golladay, and TE T.J. Hockenson, flex RB D'Andre Swift, who should be a start, but I just do not trust Matt Patricia. However, you can leave RB Adrian Peterson on the bench along with the other Lions WRs.
ATL: Start WRs Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones, QB Matt Ryan, and RB Todd Gurley II, flex WR Russell Gage if you need to, but avoid playing TE Hayden Hurst, and leave him on the bench.


Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans (Sunday 1 pm)

PIT: Start QB Ben Roethlisberger/RB James Conner, flex WR Diontae Johnson if healthy and WR Chase Claypool if Johnson can't go, stream TE Eric Ebron. Start the DST but keep in mind the Steelers lost MLB Devin Bush for the year. Could be weird there. 

TEN: Start QB Ryan Tannehill/RB Derrick Henry/WR A.J. Brown/TE Jonnu Smith if healthy, give TE Anthony Firkser some stream consideration if Smith is out, bench the rest. 

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (Sunday 4:05 pm)

SEA: Start QB Russell Wilson, RB Chris Carson, and WRs D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. There is not really anyone to flex, and while you could stream TE Greg Olsen, I would leave him on the bench with everyone else, including the DST.

ARI: Start QB Kyler Murray, and WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk (yes, Kirk is a start this week), flex RB Kenyan Drake, and bench RB Chase Edmonds and the DST.

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (Sunday 4:25 pm) 

KC: You know what's up here. The only things to note are being conservative about RB Le'Veon Bell-related expectations and WR Demarcus Robinson is a better flex bet than WR Mecole Hardman. 
DEN: Start no one, flex RBs Philip Lindsay/Melvin Gordon III (really depends on Gordon III's health) and maybe WR Tim Patrick, bench the rest.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers (Sunday 4:25 pm)

JAC: Start RB James Robinson, flex the WRs (Chark, Cole Sr., and Shenault Jr. all seem to have at least some viability even in a tough matchup), bench QB Gardner Minshew II

LAC: Start QB Justin Herbert/RB Justin Jackson/TE Hunter Henry/WR Keenan Allen (if healthy), flex WR Mike Williams, and I'm caught somewhere between flex/bench RB Joshua Kelley. Teams run all over Jacksonville so maybe there's some value to be had there.

San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots (Sunday 4:25 pm)

SF: Start TE George Kittle, flex RB Jerick McKinnon, along with WRs Brandon Aiyuk (TD upside) and Deebo Samuel (volume upside), and flex RB JaMycal Hasty if you have to, but I would personally leave him on the bench with QB Jimmy Garoppolo in what could be a tough match-up between two good DSTs. Speaking of which, consider streaming the Niners DST, who looked good against Los Angeles despite only finishing DST16 and are up against a Patriots team that made Denver look really good last week en route to a DST5 finish.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Track RB Jeff Wilson Jr.'s availability. He may be a desperation flex if healthy and has a chance to get run over Hasty behind McKinnon.]

NE: I'm comfortable starting QB Cam Newton and that's about it to be honest.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Las Vegas Raiders (Sunday 8:20 pm)

TB: Start QB Tom Brady, Rb Ronald Jones II, WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and the DST, consider Leonard Fournette as a flex if he is healthy, otherwise you can leave him on the bench along with WR Scotty Miller. This is not a great match-up for TE Rob Gronkowski, but I would start him over TE Cameron Brate, who I would leave on the bench.

LV: Start RB Josh Jacobs/TE Darren Waller, QB Derek Carr is a deeper league stream, bench the WRs but keep an eye on Henry Ruggs III. 

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams (Monday 8:15 pm)

CHI: Start WR Allen Robinson II and probably the DST (if you have them), flex RB David Montgomery, stream TE Jimmy Graham if you can and need a TE, but know that the Rams are a so-so match-up for him, and bench everyone else, including QB Nick Foles.

LAR: Start... maybe nobody? QB Jared Goff has been good, but he looked human against San Francisco in Week 6, and Chicago gives up the least PPG to QBs. RBs are a crapshoot, but Darrell Henderson Jr. should remain a flex along with WR Robert Woods. Chicago is weaker against TEs than they are against any other skill position, so TE Tyler Higbee would be my pick for a start, if you think that he can keep teammate TE Gerald Everett from vulturing his targets. I would leave WRs Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds on the bench, along with RBs Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown, but the DST would be a sneaky streaming option.

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