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Fantasy Football Rookies to Watch in Week 6


Welcome to Week 6 RotoBallers! Each week in this column, we'll highlight a few first-year players who are worth keeping your eye on. Not all of the players listed below are must-starts, but all of them are in a position to be viable fantasy options. If any of these names are sitting out on your waiver wire, you should keep a close watch on them.

Ideally, some of these names will help fantasy players get some roster depth which can minimize the negative impact of injuries and bye weeks.

Initially, some of these names will seem fairly obvious. As the season progresses, expect this column to pay more attention to under-the-radar options.

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The One Man Hype Machine

Gardner Minshew (QB, JAC)

Try to understand this: The Jaguars rookie QB, who was thrust into the starting role midway through Week 1, is currently a QB1 on the season. In his time under center, he has a 9-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio. His biggest pass-catching weapon is a sophomore receiver who logged zero starts last year.

Minshew is firmly proving he's the real deal and he'll get another chance to throw up a big stat line against a New Orleans defense that's allowed an average of 363 passing yards per game. He put up 374 yards and a couple of touchdowns last week against one of the top defenses in the league. Minshew Mania may be a fad, but the man behind the mustache could be here to stay.

 

The Real Deal

Terry McLaurin (WR, WAS)

Speaking of rookies who will likely stay atop the mountain, Terry McLaurin is the real deal. He's faced off against some of the toughest corners in the NFL, including last week against New England's Stephen Gilmore, and is still resting comfortably as the WR14 on a points-per-game basis in PPR formats.

This week is a perfect storm for the 24-year-old wideout. He's stayed off the injury report this week. He gets to re-establish his connection with Case Keenum, who is mercifully returning to the starting role. And he gets to face a Miami defense that's softer than key lime pie. If ever there was a time to best his debut wherein he put up 125 yards and a touchdown, this would be it.

 

The Plodder With A Path To Touches

Benny Snell, Jr. (RB, PIT)

James Conner is in for a lot of work this Sunday against the Chargers. That really isn't up for debate. What will be interesting, though, is how frequently the rookie from Kentucky is brought in to spell him. Snell was talked up in the offseason in many fantasy circles as someone who could compete for the starting gig with Conner. That...clearly has not happened.

Snell has touched the ball a total of seven times through five games and hasn't looked all that special. But with Jaylen Samuels on crutches, Snell will be Conner's backup. Los Angeles is a team that can be run on, and Pittsburgh will have to test their front seven often to keep the pressure off their third-string quarterback. If Snell is going to break out this year, he'll have to do look better than he has thus far with the opportunities he sees this week.

 

The Under-Utilized Weapon

Miles Boykin (WR, BAL)

Marquise Brown is a game-time decision, though it's looking unlikely Baltimore's 1st-round draft pick will suit up based on his missing practice all week. In his absence, Lamar Jackson will have to figure out a way to get this receiving corp going against a beatable Cincinnati secondary. Mark Andrews is obviously the motor that keeps the receiving game moving down the road, but Boykin will need to get involved to keep it from sputtering if a banged-up Andrews can't play at full tilt.

Boykin flashed a couple of weeks ago against Cleveland when he snatched all three of his targets for 32 yards and a touchdown. He followed that up, however, with a goose egg at Pittsburgh. Boykin has all the measurables you could possibly want in a receiver, including a catch radius that should be incredibly enticing for Jackson. This could be the game he puts those traits into action.

 

The Third-In-Command

Devlin Hodges (QB, PIT)

Pittsburgh has been home to one of the most depressing quarterback carousels in recent memory this year. First, their star QB Ben Roethlisberger is put on IR with a season-ending elbow injury in Week 2, then their impressive backup Mason Rudolph is literally knocked out of the game in extremely disturbing fashion last week against Baltimore. That left undrafted rookie Hodges out of Samford to take the reigns.

And he looked surprisingly sharp in his brief time filling in last week. Hodges led a scoring drive as soon as he entered the game and a little over a quarter of play completing seven of nine passes for 68 yards and a pair of scampers for 20 yards. That stat line would've looked much more impressive had JuJu Smith-Schuster not had a pass punched out of his hands for a fumble that would ultimately secure a loss for the Steelers. Against an injury-ravaged Chargers Defense, Hodges will have a chance to further endear himself to Steelers fans and fantasy owners alike.

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