Every week, at least one player becomes my fascination of whether he’s worthy of a fantasy football start as a streamer. 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 10
Tracking my predictions: 2-6-1
Win: Player produces ≥ 75% of projected fantasy points
Loss: Player produces >75% of projected fantasy points
Tie: Player is ejected, leaves with an injury, or lands on COVID-19 list after publishing
2021 record: 8-9-1
2020 record: 5-10-1
A lot of swinging and missing thus far … last week’s recommendation of Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon was a total flop. It is difficult to reconcile — regardless of how bad Green Bay has been — that the Lions managed shut out any offense until 3:22 left in the third and hold even the Packers to just nine points.
When making a prediction that hinges on game flow going in a specific direction, it’s basically impossible to make up any ground if the matchup doesn’t play out in such a way. This time out we’ll take a stab at an trending wide receiver on a terrible team and hope for a little bit of luck for a change.
It is just a numbers game. Carolina traded away both Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey in the past several weeks, which created a massive opportunity for the second-year wideout to step up his game. Prior to just a couple of weeks ago, Marshall was trending into the territory of being a second-round bust, and there had been rumors about the team’s willingness to trade him away.
Over the last two games, Carolina has increased Marshall’s playing time and target share. He accounted for 28.1 percent of the Week 8 target share vs. Atlanta, securing four of nine looks for 87 yards. Last Sunday, with a mixture of PJ Walker and Baker Mayfield at quarterback, the LSU product tied WR DJ Moore for the team lead in targets with six (22.2 percent). Marshall secured his first NFL receiving TD in the contest.
Walker has been named the Week 10 starter after being benched, and while he has favored Moore 23-to-13 since McCaffrey was dealt, no other player in that time was within six looks. Tommy Tremble isn’t much of a target threat at tight end, and neither of the primary running backs are consistent receiving outlets. Furthermore, in what is a lost season, the Panthers need to find out what they have in Marshall prior to his third NFL offseason. The point being, even though the sample size is small, Carolina has few other capable options.
In the Week 8 meeting, Atlanta managed a 37-34 overtime win in what proved to be the Falcons’ highest-scoring offensive day of 2022. Little has changed since to expect these teams to be capable of stopping the opponent. Atlanta still faces major injury concerns in the secondary and has allowed WRs to average the most receptions and second-most yards in the past five weeks.
No team has given up more points in standard scoring and just Pittsburgh has been worse in PPR. Six touchdowns have been scored, coming at the 14th-highest frequency. On the year, Atlanta is the biggest cupcake of them all, and a dozen TD grabs have come vs. this pushover.
The Falcons also stink vs. running backs, and D’Onta Foreman dismantled this unit in the earlier game. Even though he still racked up 118 rushing yards and a trio of scores, the Panthers still had to pass enough to send the aforementioned nine passes Marshall’s way, which should be encouraging.
While it’s a tad optimistic to expect nine targets again, the efficiency metrics vs. Atlanta make up for it. This is a top-10 opponent for yards per catch (13.9) and No. 12 for fantasy points per touch (1.82). Expect a total score somewhere in the mid-20s for each team, and Marshall should be no worse than a WR3 or flex play, but gamble on his plus-odds of delivering No. 2 returns.
My projection: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 71 yards, 1 TD (18.1 PPR fantasy points)