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: 0-2-0
Win: Player produces ≥ 75% of projected fantasy points
Loss: Player produces >75% of projected fantasy points
Tie: Player is ejected or leaves with an injury
Not off to a great start, but that’s why this is about gambles and not locks … The Week 2 selection was Jared Cook, and while it amounted to a loss, my train of thought was on the right track.
The Chargers threw him a short touchdown pass that was called back for an illegal shift, but even with the would-be score, my projection remained outside of the “win” range. If the TD stood, his final line of 3-30-1 (12 PPR) still was short of the 16.4 points I projected. Instead, the final number was way off the mark by 10.6 PPR points.
One thing I hadn’t accounted for was the possibility Dallas would move linebacker Micah Parsons to defensive end to cover an injury. I was banking on the rookie’s experience getting used against him by the veteran Cook.
Shake off the second straight loss and on to Week 3 we go. …
WR Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Let’s pick on the Cowboys again! In Week 1, Reagor landed all six of his targets for 49 yards and a score at the Atlanta Falcons. The next game brought the San Francisco 49ers to town, and the 2020 first-rounder was a total flop for fantasy purposes. He caught only two of his five looks, registering a whopping five yards of offense.
It wasn’t all bad, though, because Reagor would have scored a 36-yard touchdown if he had not barely stepped out prior to the catch to nullify the play. Even with one fewer target than in the previous contest, quarterback Jalen Hurts is clearly looking for the maturing receiver, and there’s a blossoming connection unfolding before our eyes.
From the other side of the matchup, the Cowboys have surrendered the second-most yards to the position through two games of action. The three touchdowns allowed have come on 32 receptions, or one every 10.67 snags. That’s a neutral rate at 13th, but it leans toward the positive.
A definitively strong metric working in Reagor’s favor: 16 catches per game granted by this divisional foe. Only five teams have permitted more to the position. This opponent is ninth for average yards per reception, and just 10 teams have allowed more PPR points per catch.
Dallas lost pass-rushing team leader DeMarcus Lawrence in Week 1, and the defense is in only its third game of learning Dan Quinn’s system. There shouldn’t be a ton of pressure on Hurts, and even when he feels the rush, his athleticism allows for he and Reagor to go into scramble-drill mode. Downfield wideouts are exceptionally dangerous in this situation.
While the Eagles have played well on defense, Dallas’ offense is capable of posting points with the best of them, so there’s a slightly stronger than remote chance for a high-scoring contest. The Over/Under is 52.5 for this Monday Night Football tilt, and it’s tough to see either team scoring something like 38-14 or worse of a blowout, which suggests Philly is likely to score two or three times, at a minimum, if this game reaches the over (probably doesn’t). If that is indeed how it plays out, Reagor is bound to be a large part of the offense. If not, he’s still a factor and can’t score from anywhere on the field.
My projection: 7 targets, 5 catches, 88 yards, 1 TD (19.8 PPR)