Fantasy Football Week 5 Rankings: Analyzing Top Players at Each Position

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystOctober 2, 2012

Fantasy Football Week 5 Rankings: Analyzing Top Players at Each Position

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    We've just about wrapped up Week 4 of the 2012 NFL season, and that means the fantasy football season has reached the end of the first quarter.

    However, rather than deluge you with commercials for beer and SUV's like they do on TV at the end of the first quarter of a game, I'm going to give you some information you can actually use.

    So, whether you're at the helm of a 4-0 juggernaut or furiously bailing water from a rapidly sinking 1-3 squad, here's an early look at some top fantasy plays for Week 5.

    Mind you, these aren't the biggest names, but do you really need me to tell you to start Houston Texans running back Arian Foster every week?

    I didn't think so.

QB: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (at CIN)

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    Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has struggled through the ups-and-downs that are common to many rookie signal callers, and while Tannehill turned the ball over three times in last week's overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the former Texas A&M star also topped 400 passing yards and threw a touchdown pass.

    Tannehill should have a solid shot at building on that breakout performance this week when the Dolphins travel to face the Cincinnati Bengals, who feature an injury-depleted secondary that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.

    Other quarterbacks with favorable matchups: Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings (vs. TEN), Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (at KC), Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills (at SF)

RB: Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers (at NO)

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    Fantasy owners of San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews received a nasty surprise last week when it was reserve Jackie Battle who started against the Kansas City Chiefs and not the third-year pro.

    This demotion was ostensibly due to Mathews' fumbles the week before, but given the performance of the two backs against the Chiefs, he shouldn't be in the doghouse for long.

    The table would certainly seem to be set for a big bounce-back from Mathews against the winless New Orleans Saints, whose defense has been historically awful through the first four games this year.

    Other running backs with favorable matchups: Cedric Benson, Green Bay Packers (at IND), BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals (at MIA), Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals (at STL)

WR: James Jones, Green Bay Packers (at IND)

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    With starter Greg Jennings forced out of last week's game by a groin injury, sixth-year pro James Jones was thrust into a larger role for the Green Bay Packers.

    Jones responded, reeling in five catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns in a one-point Green Bay victory.

    Jennings' status for Week 5's tilt with the Indianapolis Colts is very much up in the air at this point, which should mean additional targets for Jones against a Colts defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts to this point in 2012.

    Other wide receivers with favorable matchups: Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers (vs. BUF), Jerome Simpson, Minnesota Vikings (vs. TEN), Malcom Floyd, San Diego Chargers (at NO)

TE: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings (vs. TEN)

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    Week 4 was a game that fantasy owners of Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph would just as soon forget, as the second-year pro was nearly invisible, managing all of two catches for eight yards in Minnesota's win over the Detroit Lions.

    Rudolph and the Minnesota passing attack should be able to get things back on track next week against the Tennessee Titans, as no team in the National Football League has surrendered more fantasy points to the tight end position than the Titans.

    Other tight ends with favorable matchups: Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills (at SF), Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. CHI), Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans (at MIN)

D/ST: Arizona Cardinals (at STL)

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    Although the Arizona Cardinals defense regressed a bit in last week's win over the Miami Dolphins, the team still performed fairly well fantasy-wise, forcing four turnovers and notching four sacks.

    The Arizona defense has been a big part of the team's first 4-0 start in nearly 40 years, and linebacker Daryl Washington and company should have another good outing when the Cardinals travel to face the St. Louis Rams—who are giving up the second most fantasy points to opposing defenses this season.

    Other team defenses with favorable matchups: Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. PHI), Miami Dolphins (at CIN), Buffalo Bills (at SF)