In Week 5 of the NFL season, there is a perfect storm brewing for fantasy owners: Some of the most productive players thus far will face off against the worst defenses in the game.
Mark my words—there will be a lot of high-scoring games this week.
The elite players in fantasy football are basically shooting fish in a barrel this week, even if they should just shoot a hole into the bottom of the barrel rather than individual fish so that the water drains and kills all of the fish at once. (Yes, I know the saying probably predates guns. Whatever.)
Anyway, stick with the top guns this week and be glad you did. Let's highlight a few players who I think will finish atop the fantasy rankings in Week 5.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
What happens when you take the second-ranked quarterback in fantasy football and put him up against a team ranked 31st in passing yards allowed, 32nd in passing touchdowns allowed and 31st in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks?
Fireworks, that's what.
Ryan faces a Washington defense that is allowing 326 passing yards for game and has given up an NFL-worst 11 passing touchdowns. All Ryan has done thus far in 2012 is throw for 1,162 yards, 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions in four games. Not too shabby, huh?
So Ryan has to be your favorite this week. But with Eli Manning facing the Cleveland Browns (29th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks), Joe Flacco facing the Kansas City Chiefs (27th) and Peyton Manning taking on the New England Patriots (25th), you've got plenty of excellent options this week.
I know Robert Griffin III has been tearing it up and sits atop the fantasy rankings—and I think he'll have a nice game in a contest that could become a shootout—but the four guys above should outpace him this week.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
Also Receiving Consideration: Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch, Ray Rice
Arian Foster has the most fantasy points of any running back in standard-scoring leagues. The New York Jets are 26th in points allowed to opposing running backs, are 31st in rushing yards allowed and 32nd in rushing touchdowns allowed.
It's not rocket science, folks—Foster should have a huge day.
Meanwhile, Forte plays the Jacksonville Jaguars (30th in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs), Lynch gets the Panthers (31st) and Rice gets the Kansas City Chiefs (24th).
It's a great week to own an elite fantasy runner.
Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants
Also Receiving Consideration: Roddy White, A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas
If Victor Cruz scores a touchdown, do you think CBS will start playing salsa music? Because that was a serious party foul on Sunday night, NBC, and you're better than that.
Anyway, Cruz has a fantastic matchup against the Cleveland Browns, 30th in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers, 28th in passing yards allowed and tied for 26th in passing touchdowns allowed. Oh, and no Joe Haden for one more week.
Whether Hakeem Nicks plays or not, I expect Cruz will blow up in Week 5.
As for the rest of them, well, you already know that White and Thomas have really good matchups against the Redskins (32nd in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers) and Patriots (24th). I would have White as the top dog on this list if I didn't think Julio Jones might blow up this week.
Oh, and that A.J. Green guy will continue his excellent sophomore campaign against a lackluster Miami secondary (25th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers).
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings
Also Receiving Consideration: Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez
Finally, a sleeper selection that should blow up. You were probably getting tired of me going all chalk, right?
The facts back up this selection. The Tennessee Titans are 32nd in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and tied for 30th in the NFL with 10 touchdown passes allowed. Six of those touchdowns have gone to tight ends. You'll want to start Rudolph this week.
Yes, the others just so happen to be three of the top four fantasy players at the position, but all three have solid matchups, namely Gronkowski and Gonzalez. No need to turn from the elite this week, with the exception of Mr. Rudolph.
Houston Texans, D/ST
Week 5 Projections: Four turnovers, five sacks, six points allowed
Also Receiving Votes: Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals
The Texans have forced nine turnovers, scored twice and have 13 sacks on the year. This week, they face Mark Sanchez and the miserable New York Jets offense. Talk about the perfect storm.
Then again, the Bears have forced 14 turnovers, have scored three times and have 15 sacks on the year, and they get Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars. Truly, you can flip a coin between these two teams, but I went with the Texans because they have the better overall defense.
As for the Ravens and Cardinals, they play the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams, respectively. Each should provide solid points.
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