Eli Manning (vs Philadelphia) **Thursday**
Manning had his two best games of the year last year against the Eagles, including one without Odell Beckham. He added Saquon Barkley this year and Manning will face an Eagles pass defense that has been exposed at times this year when their pass rush isn’t getting home. Weather could complicate this if there is a driving rain for most of the game as some forecasts indicate.
Jameis Winston (at Atlanta)
Winston shouldn’t really be on any sleeper lists, but just in case you are reluctant to start him because of his two interceptions against the Bears or his presence on the waiver wire earlier this year, don’t be. The Atlanta pass defense is one of the worst in the league and the Bucs have had a week off to get the offense re-aligned around their starting quarterback. Winston is also 2-0 in Atlanta with strong fantasy showings in both games.
Mitchell Trubisky (at Miami)
The Bears offense finally resembled what we hoped it could become after a flurry of offseason moves and the installation of an innovative, offensive-minded head coach. Everything worked against the Bucs in Week 4, and while the Dolphins defense is a tougher draw, the Bears should have been able to use the time off to get Trubisky even more comfortable. Trubisky has also been adding value as a runner to raise his floor and soothe worries if you turn to him as a streamer or bye coverage.
Blake Bortles (at Dallas)
This one comes with risk, but the Cowboys have been strong against the run and that should encourage the Jaguars to rely on Bortles even though his game was a house of horrors last week against the Chiefs. Bortles still came through with numbers in garbage time against the Chiefs, and while the Cowboys offense can’t bury opponents to bring that about in this game, Matthew Stafford and Russell Wilson had decent showings on 30 or fewer attempts. Bortles has also run for at least 27 yards in every game and the Cowboys have allowed two quarterbacks to run for at least 40 yards this season.
Bilal Powell (vs Indianapolis)
Somewhat lost in Isaiah Crowell’s three outbursts this year is Powell’s performance, which has been very effective. The coaching staff actually seems to prefer Powell, and he is also much more accomplished as a receiver. Now Crowell has been missing practices leading into Week 6, which happens to feature a prime matchup for a now on track running game against the Colts. Powell should get at least 10-15 touches even if the game somehow goes off the rails, but if Crowell isn’t 100% and the Jets defense plays the way it did against Denver and Detroit, Powell could end up being one of the best running back plays of Week 6.
Aaron Jones (vs San Francisco)
We’re still waiting for Jones 2018 breakout game, but we might not be waiting for much longer. Jones is still clearly the best back in Green Bay’s backfield when it comes to running the ball, an if they can build a lead against the Garoppolo-less 49ers, Jones should be set up to get the majority of the carries to close out the game. He had six to Jamaal Williams’s four when the Packers shut out the Bills at home two weeks ago.
Alfred Morris (at Green Bay)
Morris isn’t a high ceiling sleeper, but he should dominate the 49ers backfield touches against a beatable Packers run defense. Adrian Peterson and LeGarrette Blount both had two rushing touchdowns against the Packers, and Jordan Howard had his best yards per carry of the year against Green Bay, so you can see the kind of back that can make headway against them. Morris even caught three balls last week to bulk up his fantasy stats. Kyle Shanahan should try to establish the run early to keep Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines and get Morris off to a hot start.
Mike Davis (at Oakland - London)
Davis is clearly behind Chris Carson for carries, but there should be plenty to go around against the reeling Raiders defense in London. The Raiders have given up five touchdowns to running backs in the last two weeks, and they allowed back-to-back 100-yard games to open the season. Davis got all of the goal-to-go running back looks for Seattle last week and scored on a fourth and goal touch, so they should go back to him when they are knocking on the door.
Latavius Murray (vs Arizona)
Dalvin Cook is no sure thing to go in Week 6, and even if he plays, the Vikings could pull him once they have the game in hand against the Cardinals. Arizona has allowed nine scores to opposing running backs this year, and even in a loss last week, 49ers backs compiled 243 total yards. As long as this one goes according to plan, Murray should get some goal line looks and lots of touches to close out a win.
Taylor Gabriel (at Miami)
The Bears romp over the Bucs already feels like ancient history, but it was only two weeks ago. It won’t be lost on them that their best offensive performance came when Gabriel was featured in both the short and deep passing games. Xavien Howard should be clashing with Allen Robinson this week, leaving Gabriel to feast on the lesser matchups in the Miami secondary. Cameron Wake is still banged up, so the Miami pass rush should be weakened, allowing downfield routes to develop. Gabriel had enough volume before his Week 4 breakout to be a safe play in PPR leagues even if he goes back to being in a smaller role this week.
Maurice Harris (vs Carolina)
This one requires some faith, but factors are lining up for Harris to be one of the big surprises of Week 6. Paul Richardson Jr and Jamison Crowder are banged up, and Josh Doctson is getting healthier, he has been a non-factor even while at 100%. The Panthers defense weakness is in their secondary, and they have allowed over 200 yards to opposing wide receiver corps in each of the last two weeks, and even gave up 73 yards to a Cowboys receiver. Harris showed deep speed to separate against the Saints in Week 5, we’ll just need Alex Smith to continue to take shots down field for this to work out.
Simple match dictates that Rogers and Grant have high PPR floors this week. Andrew Luck is on pace to break the season pass attempts record and Rogers and Grant will be his starting wideouts in Week 6. The Jets will likely be missing two of their top three corners, and the Colts might be missing tight end Eric Ebron, who has been drawing double-digit targets while TY Hilton has been out. Grant has some red zone prowess and Rogers has deep speed. If either of those elements come through this week, the high PPR floors could turn into high ceilings.
Adam Humphries (at Atlanta)
Week 6 will be big in revealing how the new and improved Bucs pass offense will perform with Jameis Winston. The woeful Falcons pass defense is up this week, so it should be a successful start for Winston and company. The “and company” may more prominently feature Humphries, who was already second among Bucs wideouts in snaps, but only when Winston took the field against the Bears did Humphries target share match his snap share. Humphries three quietest games last year all came when Winston was hurt. The Falcons have given up multiple touchdowns to opposing receivers each of the last four games and more than one receiver has caught a score in every one of those contests. This might be Humphries best chance to score this season.
Courtland Sutton (vs LA Rams)
The Rams are doing a lot of things right, but limiting wide receivers hasn’t been one of them. Opposing wideouts have scored eight times in the last three games, and one has had two scores in each of those games. If that happens again this week at Denver, Sutton is the best bet to come through, as he had four red zone targets last week. Sutton has been close to a break through all season, and if the Rams get out to a lead and force Case Keenum to throw more again in Week 6, that game could come this week.
Erik Swoope (at New York Jets)
Swoope triumphantly returned to a role in the Colts offense in Week 5 and almost had two scores. He looked great making plays on the ball in flight and is actually one of the most experienced targets with Andrew Luck in the Colts Week 6 lineup. Eric Ebron hasn’t practiced as of Thursday and even if he can play, he might be limited or tap out early, giving Swoope a shot at a big target share in a big passing pie with the Colts offense leaning pass heavy and Andrew Luck back in top form.
CJ Uzomah (vs Pittsburgh)
Uzomah was already established as the #1 receiving tight end over Tyler Kroft after Tyler Eifert went down, now Kroft is banged up heading into a prime matchup with the Steelers. Pittsburgh has given up at least 85 receiving yards to opposing tight ends in each of the last three weeks and Bengals tight ends had a score in one game and 51 receiving yards in the other last year without Eifert.
Austin Hooper (vs Tampa Bay)
Hooper had his highest volume game of the season last week against the Steelers and he should be in line for another solid game when the Bucs come to Atlanta this week. Tight ends have scored and gone over 80 yards in each of the last two games and Eagles tight ends combined for 15 catches and 151 receiving yards in Week 2. Hooper should have a chance to add a touchdown this week after the Falcons barely spent any time in the Steelers red zone last week.
Nick Vannett (vs Oakland - London)
The Raiders have allowed touchdowns to opposing tight ends in each of the last two weeks and in the two weeks before that, the lackluster Dolphins tight end group combined for 4-47 and the Broncos tight ends went for 6-58. Since Will Dissly went down, Vannett should dominate whatever tight end targets there are to go around in the Seahawks offense.