How to Pick the Best DFS FLEX Player: 2023 Guide

Summary

Don’t just think of your FLEX position as an extra spot that you need to fill to round out your lineup. It is just as important as your other lineup spots and as such should not be used to just burn the rest of your available salary. Use the DFS tips and strategies below to plan out your lineups wisely and make the best use out of your FLEX spot throughout the 2023 NFL season.


Both DraftKings and FanDuel offer contests with a FLEX position. This position can be filled with a running back, wide receiver or tight end. It’s typically a RB3, WR4 or TE2.

Choosing who to fill your FLEX slot is not just a matter of squeezing in the highest priced player you can afford. That’s just gambling.

Remember, the right FLEX player can make or break your ticket, so let’s dive into some proper strategy.

Core DFS FLEX Strategies

  • Optimal strategy differs depending on:
    1. the game type (classic, single-game, etc.)
    2. and scoring system you’re playing (PPR or half-PPR)
    3. the size of the field (head to head, 100 people, or a huge tourney with 250,000 opponents)
  • In classic cash games, most people go with running backs.
    • The reason: RBs are the most reliable position and cash games require players with higher floors.
    • Three-down backs who get receiving targets are most desirable.
    • Other things equal, RBs who play are also relatively more valuable than receivers on FanDuel, given its half-PPR scoring method.
  • In GPP games, Millionaire Maker winners most often use wide receivers for their flex position.  
    • With full PPR scoring, receivers tend to offer the most upside (higher ceilings) relative to their price tags.
      • Low-end #3 receivers generally score more in PPR than low-end running backs
    • Running backs are a very close second, particularly pass-catching RBs. In fact, RBs perform just as well if priced low enough (e.g., a salary under $5,000 on DraftKings).
    • Big GPP winners generally spend less than $5,000 on the FLEX position
    • If you roster a pass catcher in a GPP FLEX, try to steer away from smaller slot receivers. Other things equal, lean towards a big receiver with breakaway speed who goes deep. They’ll give you a higher ceiling most of the time.
    • Past winners show that stacking your FLEX in a GPP is definitely not required but if you’re going to do it, a QB-WR or QB-Opposing-WR stack works best.
    • Avoid TEs—especially TE2s—in FLEX in big GPPs as they rarely exceed significantly more than 20 points.
      • Perhaps you can unearth other cases but we can’t recall only one Milly Maker lineup in recent years that had a TE in FLEX (it was Jordan Reed in 2020).
      • It’s tough enough to hit big on one tight end, let alone two.
  • Game script is important to consider. You usually don’t want a RB in your FLEX if his team is an underdog. Teams who play from behind late have to throw more than they rush.
  • If your slate spans multiple time periods and you’re in a late swap contest, put the player with the latest start time in the FLEX spot. This gives you three options:
    1. You can replace him before gametime if necessary due to late breaking developments (illness, weather, etc.)
    2. You can add insurance. For example, suppose you:
      • Are in the money with one game to go
      • Want to protect your lead
      • Have someone with a high ceiling, but less consistency, as your last player to start

        One option is to replace that player for a player with a higher floor (i.e., a safer play).
    3. If you’re out of the money and need a long-shot to win, you can sub another player with higher upside and lower ownership.
  • One trap that many fall into is overspending at other positions and then leaving themselves with too little salary to draft a decent FLEX. This is a mistake.
    • You’re better off re-drafting a lower-cost WR2 or WR3 than settling for a junk FLEX player.
    • Tip: If you like a particular matchup and need to swap for a lower cost player on the same team, use the NFL DFS players by team tool.
  • If your contest allows kickers, sometimes choosing the best DFS kicker makes for a good flex choice. That’s particularly true if his team gets into the red zone more than average but has a lower-than-average red zone touchdown ratio.

Injuries = Opportunity

  • Something you should do every week is scour our NFL DFS injury report.
  • Find an affordable player that will be filling in for an injured star.

Rookies in the Flex Slot

  • If you want to fill your FLEX with a rookie, here’s a tip. Increasing targets are an especially good sign for a top rookie (e.g., 1st or 2nd round pick in the draft).
    • Here’s an example. Note Chase Claypool’s subtly increasing targets in weeks one, two and three
    • That rising target count showed he was slowly being worked into the offenses, and it preceded his 45.6 point eruption in week five. Take into consideration a rookie’s growing involvement in the offense.