Rank's 11 Week 6 sleepers: Elijah McGuire is rising

The one player I've been asked about the most over the past month, be it on Twitter, Facebook Live or in line at H&M, is Deshaun Watson. Like, "should I start this dude?" I feel like that question has been pretty much been put to rest. We've answered that question. Now it's time to move on.

Alex Smith, however, is a player I figure we will hear a lot about in the coming weeks. Like, ask yourself this question: is Smith your starting quarterback? Probably not, right? (And don't be the smart [behind] who is going to be all, 'I'm in an 18-team, 2-quarterback league you're damn right I'm playing Smith. I have to play backup quarterbacks, fool!) But Smith should be considered a lock-stock QB1 in most fantasy formats.


I know, your hipster league with bonuses and 35 points for passing touchdowns for exactly 33-yards is so different. I like playing in leagues with bonuses, too. Yet, he's still the top guy. It's crazy. I had him in a league were Kirk Cousins was on a bye, and I still didn't like starting him. I went with Carson Wentz, who was fine. But there is some aversion to starting him. I don't know what it is.

Because, as I pointed out above, HE'S THE TOP QUARTERBACK IN FANTASY FOOTBALL.

You still have that fear with him, though, for whatever reason. Kind of like when you get food poisoning from a place. They ruin you once and no matter what, you'll never go back to give that place a shot again. Sorry, was that too graphic? I really need to get over it, though.

Here's the real test. He's got a matchup with the Steelers this week. And it's tough. The Steelers have allowed the second-fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks this season. Only the Jags have allowed fewer points (5.45). But the Steelers have played DeShone Kizer (benched), Case Keenum (meh), Mike Glennon (benched), Joe Flacco (ugh) and Blake Bortles (who didn't need to throw the ball). So those numbers might be a little skewed. I'm happy to play Smith at home this week.

In fact, here are some quarterbacks I would start Smith over:
Carson Wentz
Carson Palmer
Philip Rivers
Derek Carr
Eli Manning

So I'm good with Smith this week. Let's move on to the rest of Rank's 11.

Who is the Browns quarterback now? Kevin Hogan

I've always liked Hogan. I'm not sure why he's never been given more of an opportunity. He strikes me as a solid signal caller, much like how Trevor Siemian has blossomed recently. Hogan was 16 of 19 with 194 passing yards, a pair of touchdowns and one pick for a 122.4 passer rating. He even ran for 30 yards, showing a bit more moves than most people give him credit for.

A running back on the rise: Marlon Mack

Could the ageless wonder, Frank Gore, finally be reaching the end of the road? Mack looked pretty impressive during his time on Sunday. I mean, if you consider averaging more than nine yards per carry impressive. The matchup is fine this week against the Titans. I'm not scared.

Who was that guy you've talked about for weeks? Elijah McGuire

That's the guy. He's going to get his opportunity. The G.O.A.T. Matt Forte is still battling injuries. Bilal Powell has a calf (two actually; I kind of think it's strange to talk about injuries in this way). And even if he does play, he's going to have to cede some touches to McGuire. And I love the matchup against the Patriots, who have allowed the second-most points to running backs. Doug Martin put it in my face last week, making me look foolish as he ran all over this Patriots team. I'm curious how much Martin could have rushed for if the Tampa Bay coaches hadn't pulled the plug.

But what about that other stash? Matt Breida

Yep, he started getting into the mix. Carlos Hyde had just eight carries against the Colts. And now it's going to be the dreaded "hot-hand" approach going forward. I wonder if at some point Breida starts to garner a larger share. It's speculative. And the Redskins aren't a great matchup for him. But it's worth getting him on your rosters right now.

I'm about done with: Tarik Cohen

I know it was painful to watch Benny Cunningham (for [expletive] sake) score a touchdown. But that was a pretty bad matchup for him. Jordan Howard has a running style that does better against the Vikings, and he did well. The announcers questioned the holding call that negated Howard's touchdown run. But he was good as an individual. Cohen didn't get into the mix, but Cohen is going to be more involved this week. The Bears are having some fun with Mitch Trubisky out there. If you're stung with bye weeks and/or injuries, it's a fun play.

What about the tight end?

Yep, Zach Miller looked like a favorite target of Trubisky. I added him to replace Rob Gronkowski in our NFL Fantasy LIVE league. He ended up being the difference to defeat Matt "Money" Smith. I'm going to hang on to him.

Giants receiver to add? Roger Lewis

I'm going under the assumption you're not going to be able to add Evan Engram (if you can, great!). He stepped up for the Giants against the Chargers. Here's a pretty nice breakdown of one of his biggest plays last week.

I need another tight end: A.J. Derby

He had one of the sickest catches of the season, so far. I mean, he's so nonchalant about the whole thing after he makes a one-handed grab. But he did have four catches for 70 yards with a touchdown the last time he played. And look, it's the Giants. This thing is probably going to burn us at some time. Just don't let it be this week.

He's gone, give me another name: George Kittle

Ah man, I'm not sure how I feel about him wearing No. 85. I mean, Vernon Davis is still in the league! But he was the man for the 49ers last week. He had four catches for 70 yards on an 89-yard scoring drive to tie the game, including two fourth-down conversions. That's some trust right there.

Dude, I need to go into the Danger Zone: Nick O'Leary

Dude (and ladies), he's the grandson of Jack Nicklaus. Yeah, that's all I've got. But the Bills are without Chuck Clay, so they need a dependable receiver. They don't have one. This is a desperation heave.

Give me that D: Washington DST

I mean, it's the 49ers. They are getting better, sure. But the Redskins are decent on defense.

One more time: Atlanta DST

-- Follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank

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