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 9
Tracking my predictions: 4-3-1
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’s recommendation of Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa vs. Los Angeles Rams couldn’t have been a bigger whiff. I drastically underestimated Miami’s ability to slow the Rams’ passing game, and Tua ran the ball only twice. One critical aspect in fantasy football player prognostication is the ability to correctly projection game flow. As they say, “That’s why they play the game.” … Let’s move forward and discuss a worthy gamble for Week 9.
Seattle Seahawks TE Greg Olsen at Buffalo Bills
How’s this for a risk? Olsen (foot) didn’t even catch a pass last week on four targets, and the veteran failed top 20 yards in any of the past three weeks. He has not scored a touchdown since Week 1. He has caught no more than five passes in any game this year, which happened in Weeks 3 and 4. The season-high yardage output is only 61 yards, and Olsen has 73 total yards in the four games since.
He is dealing with a foot injury, further making him a risk. It doesn’t sound particularly serious, though. At 35, it’s worth monitoring.
I’m not excited to recommend him, so be perfectly clear what kind of risk is being assumed and understand this is a huge gamble with modest returns in mind. The reality is there simply weren’t any gamble-type players this week I was enthusiastic about recommending.
So why is there any appeal? A few things jump out: Buffalo has given up six touchdowns to the position in eight games this year, including five in the last five weeks. Five different tight ends have caught at least five passes in 2020 vs. the Bills. The more intriguing factor is this defense has played the New York Jets twice and New England Patriots, two teams that have zero semblance of a tight end for fantasy purpose. Furthermore, the Los Angeles Rams were the Week 3 opponent, and LA’s 2020 positional contributions have been a fraction of what anyone expected entering the year.
Another factor is all of the defensive attention to be paid toward slowing Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Add in the consistently competent play of WR David Moore, and the possible return of running back Chris Carson, and it becomes difficult to keep up with all of the talented options. It cuts both ways, meaning Olsen just as soon can get lost in the mix.
With the recent losses of TEs George Kittle and Zach Ertz, as well as underperforming starters, say Mark Andrews, it’s easier to stomach taking a chance on Olsen with a good matchup than a more proven tight end with a poor one.
My projection: 4 catches, 51 yards, 1 TD (15.1 PPR points)