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 5
Tracking my predictions: 2-1-1
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
Last week, Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan was the pick and proved to be a fantasy football jackpot! My projection was a shade over 14 points, but he more than doubled it, scoring a cool three touchdowns on the night. I couldn’t wait to play Tonyan, and he was in three of my lineups — all of which were wins, and he was the X-factor in two of those games.
Indianapolis Colts WR Zach Pascal at Cleveland Browns
While I am not quite as high on this week’s recommendation, Pascal and the Colts travel to Cleveland where to face a Browns defense that has given up serious points to the position. Pascal has seen at least four targets in each of the past three games, including eight looks last week. He has shown the ability to get downfield and even scored in Week 2 as a part-time player.
Indianapolis needs someone to step up in the passing game. Quarterback Philip Rivers and star receiver T.Y. Hilton have not been on the same page … they haven’t even been in the same library. Indianapolis may struggle to run the ball as effectively as the coaches would like to see in this one, and more passing is predicted. The Browns have scored at least 34 points in three straight games, and Indy could be without its best defender in stud linebacker Darius Leonard this week. While the Colts have been impressive on defense, the level of competition hasn’t been. Cleveland could force Indianapolis into a pass-heavy script.
Wide receivers have done damage in multiple ways vs. the Browns this season, and it hasn’t been just the typical star players. In fact, quite the opposite. Of the eight touchdown receptions to receivers against this defense, Baltimore’s Willie Snead, Cincinnati Bengals WR Mike Thomas, and Washington wideout Dontrelle Inman account for half of them. Eight different receivers in four games have posted double-digit PPR points vs. the Browns.
Added attention paid to Hilton, regardless of his struggles, as well as the fear of rookie running back Jonathan Taylor, suggests Pascal could stand out vs. isolated coverage. He will benefit from play-action passing, as well, if the running game finds traction. In a week with byes, injuries, and a possible COVID-19 game interruption (BUF-TEN), there’s amplified reason to chance it with Pascal.
My projection: 5 catches, 74 yards, 1 TD (18.4 PPR points)