Every week, at least one player becomes my fascination of whether he’s worthy of a fantasy football start or bench The decision can be a mental wrestling match, but for the purpose of brevity, only one player can be chosen as the fantasy football gamble of the week.
The best fantasy football gamble for Week 3
Tracking my predictions: 1-0-1
Win: Player produces ≥ 80% of projected fantasy points
Loss: Player produces >80% of projected fantasy points
Tie: Player is ejected or leaves with an injury
Cincinnati Bengals TE Drew Sample at Philadelphia Eagles
Last week, Leonard Fournette was my choice, projected for 14.3 PPR points. He delivered 27.6 points for a massive fantasy return. This week’s inclusion is the second-year tight end out of Washington. Sample was asked to step up after starting tight end C.J. Uzomah was lost for the year to a torn Achilles tendon in Week 2. Prior to going down, Uzomah posted a four-catch, 42-yard, one-TD effort on six targets vs. the Cleveland Browns.
Sample stepped up for nine targets, grabbing seven for 45 yards. He didn’t score, but 11.5 PPR points off of the bench is an encouraging contribution on no one’s roster. Sample is more of a hybrid breed than a traditional inline tight end, and he can move around. He has played five snaps out of the slot in two games as a reserve.
First and foremost, rookie quarterback Joe Burrow won’t be chucking it 61 times a game, which obviously inflated the volume of targets for the two tight ends. However, working in Sample’s favor is the common theme of inexperienced quarterbacks often relying on the tight end position as a safety blanket. That was on full display in the 6.4 yards-per-reception average by Sample and his 3.9 average depth of target, which ranks 32nd among TEs. Burrow averaged only 5.2 yards per attempt in Week 2, and that’s normal for a quarterback trying to prevent downfield mistakes.
In Week 2, Philadelphia gave up three touchdowns to Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee. While that isn’t bound to happen again, those scores increased the season total against Philly to four on a mere nine catches by the position. Washington’s Logan Thomas found the end zone in the opening weekend, suggesting we’re seeing a pattern developing before our eyes.
With that in mind, Sample is a flier for a score and not the nine targets leading to something like his seven catches from a week ago. When we gamble, we want to win big, right? Anyone can take a stab at a boring line … sure, seven or eight PPR points is great when you’re looking for something in a pinch, but what if you want to go for the jugular vs. your opponent?
My projection: 4 receptions, 34 yards, 2 TDs (19.4 PPR points)