The best fantasy football gamble of Week 8

The best fantasy football gamble of Week 8

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The best fantasy football gamble of Week 8

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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 8

Tracking my predictions: 2-5-0
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

Anyone following along with this series in 2021 has seen some of the worst luck imaginable, and it had me starting if my brother’s famed “Bonini Black Cloud” was transferred this direction.

Last week, however, was just simply a bad call. It took seven weeks — despite having four “losses” on the books entering the week — to finally whiff through my own doing. I chose Green Bay Packers wideout Randall Cobb last week as my gamble pick, and while the logic was sound, his returns were anything but.

Just as it felt like I was starting to right the ship in a bid to get back to .500, I’m now getting dangerously close to joining the Titanic. This week, I’m taking a slightly different tact. Two teams on bye means gamers won’t have to gamble as much, but with the tight end position being a hot mess, I opted to avoid my planned pick of Buffalo RB Zack Moss and go with …

TE C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets

It may not feel like much of a gamble when the player is coming off his second two-TD game in a month’s time, but Uzomah gets lost in the shuffle from week to week and is overly reliant on scoring.

Sandwiched in between those two strong showings you’ll find a clunker and a 15-yard performance that was salvaged by a short TD. His first three games of 2021 resulted in a total of 7.9 PPR points, including a goose egg in Week 3.

The volume just hasn’t been there for Uzomah in all but one game, a Week 5 performance in which he landed five of six targets. Otherwise, we’re looking at a dude with no more than three targets in any of his other six appearances this season.

New York is easily the worst defense of the running back position in the last five weeks, and the five PPR points per game separating the Jets from Philadelphia is the largest points-allowed gap between two teams from top to bottom. A week after Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine each scored on the ground, is there room once more for Uzomah to get in on the action? Absolutely.

Somewhat a product of being terrible vs. running backs, the Jets aren’t bad against wide receivers, which is Cincy’s offensive strength. The three-deep cast of rookie phenom Ja’Marr Chase, reliable possession guy Tyler Boyd, and a red-zone threat in Tee Higgins will guarantee isolated coverage against Uzomah each and every play.

Play-action passing is another factor working in his favor. When a team is this bad against the run, crowding the box is common, and it allows quarterbacks to go over the top of the second layer of defense to exploit holes in coverage.

Getting back to the Jets’ defense of receivers, we’re looking at the third-toughest matchup from a statistical perspective. Sure, one can easily point to the level of competition so far — which has merit — but New York still did at least what they were supposed to against lesser talent. Truly awful secondaries get burned by equally inept receivers more often than not, because the advantage inherently favors an offense. Do I believe the Jets are accurately represented as being the third-best defense at stopping WRs? Definitely not, but this group isn’t worse than middle of the pack.

The risk here purely comes down to the combination of game flow and how Cincinnati opts to attack. If the Bengals get up huge early, will they take their foot off the pedal? I don’t see it happening. There still a sense in some circles this team is going to revert into being the same old “Bungles,” which is far from reality, and Cincy will want to make a statement once again.

My projection: 4 receptions, 52 yards, 1 TD (15.2 PPR points)

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