One of the things I look for in the Conversation section of the weekly Thursday flex rankings is the early complaints of players missing from the Top 100 list. This week, there will be cries from angry readers wondering why Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren Sproles and Brandon Marshall, among others, were omitted. Well, I like those players. But they can't help you this weekend because their teams are on bye. It pays to check the schedule first. Anger can be a good thing, whether disagreeing with a certain ranking or comment, but one reason the flex rankings can really help is when your players have weeks off, you'll need to compensate by perhaps looking deeper here at others you rarely considered, perhaps at an Arizona Cardinals running back or New York Jets wide receiver.
Just to be thorough, the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints (Drew Brees!) are on bye this week, taking away a few top quarterbacks, a big-time running back and, believe it or not, a defense (Bears) with so many fantasy points that only five players in the entire league have outscored it. Prepare accordingly and enjoy our weekly compilation of the top running backs, wide receivers and tight ends in one cozy place. Compare, analyze, cry, do whatever you need to field the best possible lineup for your teams, and make sure they are your decisions.
Here are the Week 6 staff rankings, which you can sort individually by expert, and perhaps your question was answered in my Wednesday chat wrap or will be handled by my colleagues Thursday or Friday. You can also find me on Twitter (I am @karabellespn).
Good luck in Week 6 and beyond!
1. Arian Foster, RB, Texans : First in rushing attempts by 19 and first in fantasy points at this position by 14. Anyone is tradable, but you'd need a good bit to move Foster.
2. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens: Among running backs, only Darren Sproles has more targets.
3. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: No, I can't say I'm too worried about multiple games of 30-plus rushes. The Chiefs don't want to get him hurt either, you know.
4. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: Seeing and hearing lots of complaining about him, and he's not in the top 10 scorers among running backs this season, but you should be buying, not selling.
5. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks
6. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
8. Trent Richardson, RB, Browns
9. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
11. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: Sure, he hasn't scored since Week 1, but 84 or more yards in all but one game tells us more.
12. Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers: Talent wins out, and Mathews proved it in Week 5. It wasn't really a timeshare.
13. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: The potential is there for a monster performance against the lowly Bills defense. We're talking 20-targets potential here.
14. Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings
15. Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: Averaging 3.5 yards per rush. Last year it was 5.4. Improvement (or injury, perhaps) is coming.
16. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins: Yes, a lot of us thought Mike Shanahan would torpedo this situation, and he hasn't. Enjoy it.
17. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos: Gotta call him a top-10 wide receiver at this point.
19. Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots: If he keeps putting the ball on the ground, he will lose touches. Book it.
20. Roddy White, WR, Falcons
21. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
22. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts: You really shouldn't be selling high because you think he's too old.
23. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers: Perhaps we've overrated him a tad, but you know who's getting the goal-line touchdowns, at the least.
24. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots: Tougher matchup in Seattle, but this guy is tough to cover.
25. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants: Tough matchup for him in San Fran, but he looked so good last week. Even 60 yards and a score would make him worth it.
26. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs
27. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: To be honest, I'm not too scared of the Ravens matchup. This guy is talented. I'm giving him more chances.
28. Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons: What a great story he is. Still.
29. Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers
31. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons
32. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals
33. Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: Titans not doing a good job defending the pass this season.
34. Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys: Perhaps he deserves a better rank seeing that he's in double digits for fantasy points each week, but with no big games, he's barely top-20. It evens out.
35. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys: Austin is certainly outperforming him.
36. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
37. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles: Would love to see him returning a punt or two against the terrible Lions special teams.
38. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
39. Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos
40. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: Nobody's saying you should sit him, but be realistic in expectations.
42. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans: Talk about a disappointment. Good matchup here; has to produce.
43. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans: Disappointment No. 2. Not a good matchup for him, though his one good game came against a top defense.
44. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: Disappointment No. 3. Again, he needs a big week or he won't be in this rank range next week.
45. Brandon Lloyd, WR, Patriots
46. C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills: So far this timeshare thing isn't really working out. The Bills should consider moving the older running back. It would make fantasy owners happy!
47. Eric Decker, WR, Broncos
48. Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens
50. Steven Jackson, RB, Rams: I don't think he'll finish the season with nary a touchdown, so don't give up hope.
51. Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
52. Steve Johnson, WR, Bills
53. Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers
54. Owen Daniels, TE, Texans: He's actually off to the best start of his career. Embrace it.
55. Shonn Greene, RB, Jets: If you can't run on the Colts, it might be the end.
57. Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins
58. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles: Is he finally healthy? Normally, Maclin would be ranked about 20 spots better. Certainly a nice matchup.
59. Brandon Bolden, RB, Patriots
60. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys: Yeah, I guess I am a believer again. Bye weeks are good for health recovery.
61. Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins: Be careful that you aren't still using him because of the Week 1 game. Since then, he has a total of 10 fantasy points.
62. Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers
63. James Jones, WR, Packers: A case can be made, I admit, that he should be ranked better than Jordy Nelson. I'm giving this situation one more week.
64. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Falcons: A case can be made that he's ordinary and Turner is not, so why the relatively high Rodgers rank? This week Atlanta plays the Raiders, and trash time comes early.
65. Jeremy Kerley, WR, Jets: All aboard the Kerley train! Can Moe get him the ball?
67. Nate Washington, WR, Titans
68. Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens
69. Alex Green, RB, Packers: Should share touches. Yes, he ran for 55 yards, but 41 came on one play. We can tailor that argument for both good and bad.
70. Robert Meachem, WR, Chargers: Now let's see him do it against a team he hasn't played for.
71. Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals
72. David Wilson, RB, Giants: Rumor is he's back in good graces, not a bad guy to stash away.
73. Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders: You don't have to use him this week, but he's another one to stash if an impatient owner lets him go.
74. Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Lions
75. William Powell, RB, Cardinals: Probably starting over Stephens-Howling, for what that's worth.
76. Kenny Britt, WR, Titans
77. Kendall Wright, WR, Titans
78. Domenik Hixon, WR, Giants: Forget him if Nicks plays. I'd go Hixon over the rookie Rueben Randle.
79. Isaac Redman, RB, Steelers: Looked better last week when he wasn't the lead back.
80. Andrew Hawkins, WR, Bengals
81. Davone Bess, WR, Dolphins
82. Fred Davis, TE, Redskins
83. Aaron Hernandez, TE, Patriots: It's not assured he plays, so have options on Sunday morning. This rank takes into account the risk of that, and an ordinary game against a tough defense.
84. James Starks, RB, Packers: Hasn't really proved he's all that good.
85. Jackie Battle, RB, Chargers: Him, too.
86. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants
88. Nate Burleson, WR, Lions
89. Heath Miller, TE, Steelers
90. Daryl Richardson, RB, Rams
91. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers: Is seeing more looks than James Jones, just doesn't turn them into touchdowns.
93. Brent Celek, TE, Eagles: Lots of tight ends in this week's rankings!
94. Kendall Hunter, RB, 49ers
95. Brandon Gibson, WR, Rams
96. Chris Givens, WR, Rams: Has 50-plus yard catches the past two games, and nothing else. Interesting prospect.
97. Ben Tate, RB, Texans: People are starting to cut him, but imagine if Foster gets hurt ...
98. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers: Should play considerable role this week.
99. Jacob Tamme, TE, Broncos
100. Mario Manningham, WR, 49ers
Others: Danny Woodhead, RB, Patriots; Stephen Hill, WR, Jets; Bilal Powell, RB, Jets; Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers; Jared Cook, TE, Titans; Shaun Draughn, RB, Chiefs; Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens; Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos; Justin Forsett, RB, Texans