Looking at my Week 9 fantasy football flex rankings, not a whole lot stood out to me. But two wide receivers, who are both playing in major metropolitan cities, saw double-digit differentiation that I want to discuss. There's one I like much more than the Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and one much less. And they are ranked right in that range where you might be considering either of them for flex spot this week. I'm referring to Sterling Shepard and Darnell Mooney.
Back in 2016 I really liked Shepard and thought he would be a fantastic weapon for Eli Manning. And he was to some extent. He had 683 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Not bad for a rookie. Since then, however, he has scored just 10 other times. He has yet to catch 70 passes or even come close to hitting the 1,000-yard mark. Some of that can be blamed on injury, but now in his fifth year, Shepard's career evokes a "meh." Darius Slayton has flown right by him on the depth chart and its not like the Giants are a high-scoring team to start. Furthermore, Washington has been a better defense than most realize, so it's not as if Shepard has a decent matchup this week either.
I'd much rather go with Mooney. It would not surprise me if Mooney failed to even hit the career totals that Shepard has. However, for this year, I'll grab the guy playing in the Windy City over the Big Apple. Mooney is coming off his best game yet, grabbing five of six targets for 69 yards and a score. His matchup also is far better. Mooney is facing the Titans, who just gave up six catches for 78 yards to Mooney's fellow draft classmate and WR2, Tee Higgins. The Titans are giving up the second-most fantasy points to WRs per game and I'd expect Mooney's rise to continue.
Teams on bye: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia
NFL Flex Rankings: Week 9
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.