Fanball's Sunday-only slate for Week 6 of the NFL season features 24 teams, with the Bills, Bengals, Cowboys and Seahawks on bye while Thursday's Eagles-Panthers game and Monday's Colts-Titans clash are excluded. The Fanball format calls for a QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, FLEX WR/TE, FLEX RB/WR/TE, D/ST lineup with a $55,000 salary cap. The players below can fit into lineups regardless of strategy, as they all offer strong value relative to price.
Deshaun Watson, HOU vs. CLE ($6,800): Watson has grown from wide-eyed rookie to top-tier quarterback in front of our eyes, throwing for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns the last three weeks while adding another score with his legs. His rushing ability slightly buffs Watson compared to comparable passers and he should have no problem picking apart a winless Browns team that's tied for 25th with 24.8 points allowed per game.
Josh McCown, NYJ vs. NE ($5,200): McCown's yet to top 250 yards in a game this season, but he does have a pair of two-touchdown performances. A scenario in which the Jets open up the playbook offensively and McCown blows by his previous season bests isn't too farfetched, as New England has allowed a league-high 323 passing yards per game and New York will be trying to keep pace with a high-octane Patriots offense while possibly playing without one or both of Bilal Powell (calf) and Matt Forte (toe) at running back. Considering the lineup flexibility using a $5,200 quarterback gives owners, McCown's a sneaky-good value this week.
Todd Gurley, LAR at JAX ($8,200): Gurley disappointed last week against the Seahawks, but it's much too early to give up on a player who scored seven touchdowns in the first four weeks. He's the mostly likely Ram to find paydirt any time the team enters the red zone, whether through the air or on the ground. Jacksonville's elite pass defense likely will trouble Los Angeles' aerial attack, but the Jaguars allow the second-most rushing yards per game at 146.4. Gurley's no stranger to massive rushing volume with 100 carries through five weeks, and he's likely to see all the work he can handle against this opponent.
C.J. Anderson, DEN vs. NYG ($6,100): Fresh off a bye and ready for a large workload, Anderson has tremendous volume-based appeal in a game his team should spend most of the time leading against the winless Giants. New York's run defense has been gashed for 139 yards per game on the ground while the 26-year-old running back has toted the rock at least 20 times in all but one game this season. Anderson's also averaging three catches per game over the last three and has already found paydirt both on the ground and through the air.
Andre Ellington, ARI vs. TB ($4,400): With Chris Johnson averaging just 2.5 yards per carry and the newly acquired Adrian Peterson sitting at 3.0, coach Bruce Arians should continue to opt for short passes to Ellington out of the backfield over traditional runs from his alternatives. That approach has netted the receiving back 18 catches on 24 targets the last two weeks, which is music to PPR owners' ears. Since Fanball utilizes a PPR format, Ellington is still a massive bargain despite Peterson's presence against a Buccaneers defense that has been stout against the run and awful against the pass.
J.J. Nelson, ARI vs. TB ($4,700): Nelson doesn't see the target share of Larry Fitzgerald or even Jaron Brown most weeks, but his 16.3 yards per catch are tops among Cardinals with more than two catches this season. The speedster makes the most of his middling usage (17 catches through five weeks) by doing most of his damage deep downfield and appears to have regained his explosiveness after being hampered by a hamstring injury in Weeks 3 and 4. Nelson has a great chance to get into the end zone for the first time since Week 2 against a dreadful Tampa Bay pass defense that allows 309 passing yards per game, and Nelson's big-play ability gives him arguably the highest ceiling among Arizona's deep receiving corps outside of the much more expensive Larry Fitzgerald ($6,300).
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU vs. CLE ($8,100): Watson has proven capable of hooking up with his secondary reads when necessary, but Cleveland's subpar secondary is unlikely to contain Hopkins based on its track record against No. 1 wide receivers. Since Week 2, top options Jeremy Maclin, A.J. Green, T.Y. Hilton and Jermaine Kearse have all scored against the Browns, and Week 1 opponent Antonio Brown didn't exactly struggle with 11 catches for 182 yards. Hopkins is head and shoulders above at least two of those players, and there's no doubt he'll be heavily involved after being targeted 61 times through five weeks.
Terrelle Pryor, WAS vs. SF ($6,600): Pryor looked out of sync with quarterback Kirk Cousins early in the season, but the offseason acquisition had his best game in a Redskins uniform with 70 yards and a touchdown against Kansas City in Week 4 before getting a bye week to further improve chemistry. Now that he's finally acclimated to his new surroundings, Pryor should start turning his physical gifts into production with greater frequency. The 6-foot-4, 228-pound receiver with sub-4.4 speed is a matchup nightmare for a 49ers team that's allowed the seventh-most passing yards per game, so get Pryor now before a strong performance forces his price to shoot up.
George Kittle, SF at WAS ($3,700): Kittle had his coming out party last week in Indianapolis, matching his total of 83 yards from Weeks 1-4 while scoring his first NFL touchdown. The rookie fifth-rounder out of Iowa should be able to carry that momentum over against a Redskins team that has allowed tight ends to lead all four of its opponents this season in receiving yards. With the winless 49ers likely to fall behind as usual and Washington's talented cornerbacks capable of bottling up San Francisco's underwhelming wide receivers, Kittle could well become the fifth consecutive tight end to top his team's passing game in yardage against the Redskins.
Cameron Brate, TB at ARI ($4,800): Brate's red-zone prowess is becoming impossible to ignore, as he's found the endzone in three consecutive contests. He also posted season highs in targets (nine) and catches (five) last week, suggesting first-rounder O.J. Howard isn't getting any closer to undermining Brate's production at tight end. With many of the top tight ends battling injuries, Brate's nose for the end zone makes him arguably the most reliable option at his position this week.
Atlanta Falcons, ATL vs. MIA ($3,100): Miami's offense has produced a mere two touchdowns and one field goal the last three weeks, and the Falcons have had plenty of time to prepare for this matchup coming off a bye week. Atlanta's high-powered offense likely will force the Dolphins to throw to catch up, which should lead to some turnovers from erratic quarterback Jay Cutler. Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker is battling an ankle injury, and his absence would be the cherry on top of an already near-ideal matchup.
Denver Broncos, DEN vs. NYG ($3,500): Paying up for Denver will be worth it this week against the decimated Giants offense. New York's been unable to generate anything on the ground all season and likely will be without top three wide receivers Odell Beckham (ankle), Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Sterling Shepard (ankle). Shepard's the only member of the trio with any chance of suiting up after all three along with Dwayne Harris (foot) were hurt in last week's deflating loss to the Chargers, as he's merely week-to-week while the others have been placed on injured reserve. Like Atlanta, Denver had a bye week to prepare for this favorable home tilt and should deliver a terrific performance.