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 12
Tracking my predictions: 4-6-1
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
The Week 11 writeup was Washington Football Team TE Logan Thomas vs. Cincinnati Bengals, and it didn’t go anywhere close to as planned. The Bengals provided a fantastic matchup, and Thomas was targeted five times in the game. Him finishing with only six yards is tough to reconcile, yet Thomas was a sound decision that I fully stand by. As the painful knife twist would go, he found the end zone in Week 12 vs. Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.
This week, in hopes of snapping my worst prognostic slide of the season, I go back to the tight end well once more …
San Francisco TE Jordan Reed at Los Angeles Rams
Update: Reed is listed as questionable with an illness but is expected to play.
San Francisco returns from its bye week to face a divisional foe in a matchup that pits backup quarterback Nick Mullens on the road vs. the No. 3 passing defense in the league. Many gamers may simply see the Rams as the opponent and run. The defense eliminated Rob Gronkowski last week, and other usually playable options haven’t fared well this year (Mike Gesicki, Jimmy Graham, Zach Ertz). It’s also easier to get away from Reed with no teams on bye, although four clubs have played so far, which could make it a wash depending upon when lineups are required to be set in your league.
A closer look at Los Angeles points to a rather decent opportunity for Reed to rack up work in PPR formats, and there’s even a remote chance of a touchdown, which is the true gamble of this recommendation. Reed hauled in five of six targets for 62 yards in Week 10 at New Orleans. In his two games without George Kittle and not contending with an injury of his own, Reed has produced no less than 50 yards and five grabs this year. He had seven catches in the other game fitting the criteria.
Six tight ends in 10 outings have at least four snags vs. the Rams this season. While that’s rather respectable given how well this unit has played vs. the pass, there hasn’t been much yardage to speak of — only Ertz (42), Evan Engram (35), Cole Kmet (45), and Kittle (109) have managed more than 34 yards. Kittle’s performance was by far the best effort of anyone this season, going for 7-109-1 in Week 6. Hopefully the 49ers learned more from that showing than the Rams did….
The Niners are hopeful to have WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring) as well as running backs Raheem Mostert (ankle) and Tevin Coleman (knee) back in the mix this week, which helps keep the defense from keying in on any one area. Wideout Brandon Aiyuk is expected to be activated from the COVID-19 list after being deemed a close contact. He has developed into one of the most dangerous rookies in football and commands attention.
Typically defenses that are as stout as this one vs. the wide receiver position sees quarterbacks going inside to the position and having success. That hasn’t quite been the case, as described above. Expect Kyle Shanahan to get extra creative here with a tough matchup and a diminished cast of personnel at his disposal. As long as the running game can keep Los Angeles honest, Reed has a chance to be quite productive.
My projection: 5 receptions, 46 yards, 1 TD (15.6 PPR points)