The playoffs are here and so are some big decisions for your flex spot. At this point in the season, I need to see someone perform for a couple of weeks in a row before I put them in my starting lineup. One-week wonders please don't apply. No "99-Luftballons" for me. So with that in mind, let's look at who are the flex position solutions with the postseason at hand. And if you're not in the playoffs, I've included a little sneak peek at 2014 as well. So there's something for everyone here. Unless you're a Jets fan. I can only do so much.
How about the big "Donald Brown will start over the demoted Trent Richardson" story from Sunday? The touches were divvied up with 16 for Brown and just five for Richardson against the Titans. The bottom line here is Trent Richardson's spot on your roster is no longer guaranteed. No matter what happens in the next two weeks, will you really start him in the fantasy playoffs? Didn't think so. So why waste the space on your bench? Brown is a pretty consistent flex play, but this Colts offense worries me immensely. They've been on a steady decline the last few weeks, to the point where there's not a guy outside of Brown or Coby Fleener you can trust -- and that includes Andrew Luck.
Let's play our favorite weekly game: Do I pick up Joique Bell or not? On Thanksgiving Day, Bell totaled 22 touches with Reggie Bush getting 25. Plenty of this was due to the fact the Lions were rolling over the Packers, but look closer at the Lions' box scores this season. Bell is always within a few touches of Bush in any given week. So he sees time regardless of how well Bush is playing. Don't forget to take into account Bush's penchant for getting dinged up and fumbling. Bell needs to be owned in all leagues, and two of the next three weeks he will see opponents the Lions can exploit on the ground (the Eagles and the Giants). He's a matchup-based flex play for those games as the Lions' offense is rolling.
Who's the real Harry Douglas? Is he still a sneaky flex play, or has he regressed into a bench player you only start as a last resort? At this point, consider him in the latter category. Roddy White looked healthy and dominant Sunday against the Bills. If he's ready to be the Falcons No. 1 wideout again, that means a decrease in production from Douglas. Playing opposite Julio Jones was great for Douglas, as he had room to manuever in the seams underneath Jones' deep route. But White is a possession receiver, which right away means more targets going his way along with less room to operate for Douglas. It's hard to trust Douglas as a flex right now because of the uncertainty surrounding White's role. I'd rather go with White as my flex, considering his pedigree and higher talent level.
Alshon Jeffery (15 targets) is a monster. Not only must you start him every week, but he has cemented himself as a high-end No. 2 fantasy wide receiver for the rest of 2013. And in all honesty, next summer there's a good chance you're drafting him ahead of Brandon Marshall. Jeffery has had more double-digit fantasy games than Marshall so far (seven to six), and while Marshall is a consistent producer during his career, you have to think of both players as No. 1 wide receivers, much like you do in Denver with Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker.
Not a bad two-week stretch for Josh Gordon (14 targets). Actually, an historical one, as no player in NFL history has ever had back-to-back 200 yard games. Gordon has been great this season with the motley crew of Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell under center. Just think what could happen in 2014 when Mark Sanchez, um, I mean someone with a better pedigree could be throwing the football for Cleveland. If you're drafting right now, Calvin Johnson is the first wide out taken. Dez Bryant would be second. But Gordon is right there next to A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas in consideration to be the third pass-catcher off the board.
So is Julian Edelman (12 targets) what the Patriots hoped Danny Amendola (5 targets) would be? Over the last two weeks, Edelman has crushed Amendola in total targets -- 23 to 11. New England's offense is really starting to hit its stride, and the most valuable and dependable pass-catchers are Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. If you own Edelman, he's a terrific flex option. If he's available in your league, make him a waiver wire priority this week.
Despite his big 15-target game against the Jets, don't chase fantasy points with Brian Hartline. Every few weeks he'll give you a great game, but then immediately revert to his sub-par fantasy ways. Sunday was his first time scoring over eight fantasy points in a game since Week 3 against the Falcons. While he does have a favorable schedule the next three weeks, you can't put him in your flex and expect big -- or even average -- fantasy numbers. There are better options out there. Mike Wallace though, that's a different story. This was his second big week in a row -- and he has a matchup against his former team this week in Pittsburgh. He's gone from being a fantasy curiosity to being in the discussion for as a legit flex option. If it helps, I'm probably going to play him in my league of record this week over Kendall Wright, Cecil Shorts or Andre Ellington.
Jason Smith writes fantasy and other pith for nfl.com. You can see him as the host of NFL Fantasy Live that airs Sunday through Friday on NFL Network at 5pmET/2pmPT and also at 1amET/10pmPT. Listen to him on the NFL Fantasy Live podcast available at nfl.com and on itunes. Reach out to him on Google plus or Twitter @howaboutafresca, and listen to his Fantasy Podcast with Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison every week on nfl.com. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.