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 16
Tracking my predictions: 4-10-1
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
Denver Broncos tight end Greg Dulcich wasn’t able to overcome Brett Rypien at quarterback despite a tremendous matchup opportunity, so last week was yet another bust. Momentum hasn’t been on my side this year.
Let’s see if we can’t get back on track this week and finish the season on a strong note over the next few weeks.
This one intrigues me from the basic angle of someone in this offense will have a fine fantasy day from the wide receiver position. My preferred option is the best bang for your buck, or at least lineup spot, and it has to be Slayton for that reason. While Richie James ultimately may outdo him, he doesn’t offer as high of a ceiling as Slayton. James’ floor is a little safer, though.
We’ve seen a mild resurgence from Slayton in 2022. He has averaged 10.5 PPR points on the year — his best per-game rate since being a rookie in 2019 (12.1 PPR/game). Averaging a career-high 15.8 yards per reception, the vertical threat’s six outings of 11-plus PPR points this season actually account for one more than his five performances of fewer than 10 points. Since Week 7, his floor is 6.2 points.
Some of the risk being assumed here stems from him failing to get into double figures in three of the last four contests as well as having scored no touchdowns over the most recent five outings.
Minnesota fortunately hosts this one in a dome, which is an enticing additional factor that could sway gamers toward Slayton when so many teams are playing outdoors in horrendous weather conditions as a massive storm is being delivered in time for Christmas.
Slayton has drawn target totals of 10, six, eight, three, and seven, respectively, over the last five weeks. The Giants have serious question marks at the position, so competition for touches isn’t a major concern. It isn’t meant to be if he cannot generate meaningful fantasy numbers on even six looks.
The Vikings are capable of hoisting a large number of points onto the scoreboard, and the Giants have allowed 28-plus to their opponents three times in the last five contests. A result of having such a strong offense tends to be a defense seeing excessive passing volume as enemies try to keep pace or climb back into a game.
Since Week 10, wideouts have averaged the fourth-most receptions and second-most yards per outing, helping manufacture the fourth-best fantasy matchup in PPR (5th in standard). Minnesota is one of three teams to have allowed more than 1,000 yards to wideouts in that time frame, and this matchup is 22.6 percent better than average during those five weeks. In the last three games, this one sits 34.3 percent easier to exploit. Twenty-three times in 2022 a wideout has made it into double-digit PPR land, and nearly 40 percent of those efforts have come after Week 10 wrapped up.
Slayton is a risky option by any standard, and even against a defense that has allowed so much work to wideouts, Daniel Jones needs to play better than average to put the receiver on the right track. Most quarterbacks have had their way with the Vikings in ’22, and Jones should be good enough to make Slayton a nice lineup stocking stuffer.
My projection: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 77 yards, 1 TD (19.7 PPR fantasy points)