Fantasy Football Projections 2012: Week 5's Breakout Stars at Each Position
We've entered the second month of the 2012 NFL season, and while some stars such as running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens have performed as advertised, others such as Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans have been massive disappointments.
However, there have also been some players, such as Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris, that have stepped into the breach and picked up the slack of these under-performers.
Whether it's a familiar name primed to go off or a "sleeper" pick of sorts in line for a big game, here's a look at some players to whom Week 5 should be kind.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts (vs. GB)
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It hasn't necessarily shown up in the win column for his new team yet, but from a fantasy football perspective, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has played well as a rookie, averaging well over 20 fantasy points a game and topping 30 points in his last start.
Luck has very good shot at getting "lucky" statistically in Week 5, while the Green Bay Packers are a middle of the pack (so-to-speak) fantasy matchup, a Colts team likely playing from behind and forced to throw should make for tasty garbage time production.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (at NO)
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Fantasy owners of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers can't be pleased with the production they've gotten to this point in the season, as the ninth-year pro is averaging fewer than 225 passing yards a game and is barely cracking the top 20 at his position in fantasy points.
However, if there was ever a week for Rivers to break out his funk, it would seem to be this Sunday against the Saints in a game that could easily become a shootout, as New Orleans has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers (at NO)
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This may seem like I'm picking on the New Orleans Saints defense, but I figured I might as well since their opponents have been doing so with great success all season long.
Granted, there's a bit of risk involved in starting San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews, especially since the third-year pro's fumbling issues have apparently landed him in a timeshare with veteran Jackie Battle.
With that said, however, there should be plenty of fantasy points to go around Sunday against a Saints defense that's allowing nearly 187 rushing yards a game.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks (at CAR)
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Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch appears to have shifted back into "beast mode," as the sixth-year veteran has now averaged over 110 rushing yards over the past three games with a pair of touchdowns.
There's no reason to think that Lynch won't keep that momentum going this week when the Seahawks travel to face the Carolina Panthers, who have been the friendliest fantasy matchup in the National Football League for opposing running backs so far in 2012.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons (at WAS)
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There was a great deal of hype surrounding Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones entering this season.
To this point, the second-year pro has yet to live up to that hype. After a huge opening game, Jones' numbers have tailed off and he now ranks outside the top-20 fantasy wideouts in leagues that award a point for receptions.
Jones should have an excellent chance on getting things on track this week against the Washington Redskins, who have been an absolute fantasy bonanza for opposing wide receivers this season.
Domenik Hixon, WR, New York Giants (vs. CLE)
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The New York Giants enter this week's matchup with the Cleveland Browns with a banged-up wide receiver corps, as both Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden were held out of practice Wednesday with a foot injury and concussion respectively.
With the Week 5 availability of both players very much in question, that should mean an increased role for seventh-year wideout Domenik Hixon, who reeled in six passes for 114 yards in last week's loss to the Eagles.
Add to that the fact that the Browns have surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and you have a more than viable plug-and-play fantasy starter for this week.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (vs. TEN)
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Before last week's disappearing act (two catches, eight yards) second-year tight end Kyle Rudolph of the Minnesota Vikings had been off to a hot start to the season, hauling in three touchdown passes and ranking seventh in fantasy points at his position.
The 22-year-old should rebound this week when the Vikings host Tennessee, as no team in the NFL has allowed more fantasy points to the tight end position this year than the Titans.