Who says rookies need time to assimilate into the NFL?
This season has seen a number of first-year players burst onto the scene with monster performances, squashing the notion that recent draftees can’t contribute right away. That trend could continue into Week 6, where a pair of rookies highlight our top plays of the week in daily fantasy football.
Here are our top plays and value picks at every position for this weekend’s slate of games.
Best play: Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans. Sorry — we’re just not gung-ho about Tom Brady on the road with a banged-up left shoulder. Watson has been the top fantasy quarterback for two weeks running and gets a home matchup with the Cleveland Browns, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season.
Value pick: Josh McCown, New York Jets. This is less about McCown and more about how awful the New England Patriots’ defense has been: 335 passing yards allowed per game (worst in NFL) and 12 passing touchdowns given up through five games (worst in NFL). If you’re looking for a bargain, McCown is your man.
Best play: Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars. Maybe Fournette was right about the NFL being “really easy.” The rookie bulldozed for 181 rushing yards and two touchdowns in Week 5 and faces the league’s worst rushing defense, the Los Angeles Chargers, at home in Week 6. This is a slam dunk.
Value pick: Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins. Thompson’s stock dropped a bit after his quiet Week 4, but the explosive back has a great bounce-back opportunity coming off a bye: The San Francisco 49ers allowed Andre Ellington to tally nine catches for 86 yards in Week 4 and have been exploited by running backs in both the running and passing game.
Best play: DeAndre Hopkins, Texans. Watson-Hopkins is the top stack play of the week. Watson has targeted his fellow Clemson alum 24 times over the last two weeks, resulting in 14 catches for 159 yards and four touchdowns. The Browns lack an elite cornerback to blanket Hopkins, making him an elite option this week.
Value pick: Jermaine Kearse, Jets. Kearse is the Jets’ leading receiver through five weeks and has a chance to find paydirt against New England’s struggling secondary. If you’re feeling bold, grab McCown and Kearse as a value stack and load up on elite talent elsewhere.
Best play: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots. Travis Kelce’s status is up in the air after his Week 5 concussion, making Gronkowski easily the best tight end play this Sunday against a Jets defense that’s allowed nine passing touchdowns through five games.
Value pick: Evan Engram, New York Giants. Eli Manning suddenly has no one to throw to — except Engram, who should see a serious uptick in targets in the absence of Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard. The matchup is sneaky good, too: The Denver Broncos have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.
Best play: Denver Broncos. Denver at home is a worthy play regardless of opponent, but it gets a dream matchup in Week 6 against a Giants team with a decimated offensive line and virtually no weapons. Expect turnovers and sacks galore in this one.
Value pick: Tennessee Titans. The Indianapolis Colts have been brutal on the road this year, averaging just 12.5 points while surrendering four defensive touchdowns over two games. That’s good news for the Titans, who bounced back with a strong showing in Week 5 and could feast on “Monday Night Football.”
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