Matt Ryan and More Fantasy Stars to Watch in Week 5

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2012

Matt Ryan and More Fantasy Stars to Watch in Week 5

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    Each NFL week brings changes to your fantasy football lineup, with each set of games featuring a handful of can't-miss starts.

    Week 5 is no different.

    In an odd week that features no contests between two teams with winning records, favorable fantasy matchups are created.

    Even if the games themselves aren't competitive, fantasy owners will be glued to the television on Sunday. If points are on the line for their team, there's always a reason to tune in.

    Let's take a look at seven fantasy stars to watch in Week 5.

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

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    Eli Manning has had his struggles this season, but he's been excellent overall.

    Through four games, he has 1,320 yards and seven touchdown passes. He has thrown four interceptions; however, three of those came versus Tampa Bay in Week 2.

    Not only do the Cleveland Browns not have the offense to hang onto the ball for long periods of time, but its pass defense has been dreadful this season.

    Allowing 286 yards per game won't cut it against Manning and the Giants.

    Manning can be inconsistent at times, but that doesn't diminish his value this week. Cleveland is arguably the worst team in the NFL right now, and the Giants will treat them as such.

    Manning will follow up his 309-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Eagles last week with something even better.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

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    Adrian Peterson, for those who were concerned (all of us), is fine.

    Peterson is carrying the ball with regularity for the Vikings, racking up over 15 carries in all four games. In his last two games, he has over 20 carries.

    He's shown no ill effects and appears to be relatively close to his old self.

    The Titans are allowing nearly 130 yards per game on the ground this year. Tennessee's offense doesn't have any ball-control elements either, so that maligned defense should be on the field for much of the game.

    Peterson only has two touchdowns this season, but he's coming off a 100-yard performance against Detroit in Week 4.

    Look for him to pick up right where he left off last Sunday.

Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans

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    The New York Jets are allowing nearly 173 rushing yards per game, but they're expected to stop Arian Foster Monday night?

    No way, no how.

    Foster has 380 yards and four touchdowns this season. The Jets have allowed six rushing touchdowns this year to backs much less talented than the Texans ball-carrier.

    Ben Tate only has 30 carries this season, which is less than some had feared. Houston is relying on Foster to carry the bulk of the workload, making him a can't-miss fantasy player most weeks.

    The Jets are a mess; Houston isn't.

    Expect Foster to tear through New York's defense for 100-plus yards and at least one score.

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

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    A.J.Green is a menace.

    With 27 catches, 428 yards and three touchdowns, he's taken the NFL by storm in his sophomore season. Even more than he did as a rookie in 2011.

    Green is coming off two straight 100-yard performances in which he's averaging around 20 yards per snag. He's a dynamic vertical threat, and he's heading for a big game against a Dolphins defense that's allowing nearly 300 yards through the air per game.

    He uses his 6'4'' frame and freakish athleticism to simply outclass defenders on the outside. Even if you blanket him, he's capable of coming down with the ball.

    Don't expect Green to slow down anytime soon, at least not this week.

    Miami doesn't have a defensive back with a prayer of stopping him. Its secondary was exploited by Arizona's Andre Roberts last week and Santonio Holmes in the game prior to that.

    Needless to say, Green presents another challenge entirely.

Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

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    It took Peyton Manning a few games to adjust with his new team, but he's hit his stride just in time to exploit a weak New England secondary.

    Manning threw three touchdowns and three interceptions in the first two weeks of the season. In the past two games, he's tossed five touchdowns and no picks.

    He looks more comfortable as each game passes, which is a scary situation for any opponent standing in his path.

    The Patriots do many things well, but stopping the pass isn't one of them. They're No. 25 in the league, surrendering just over 281 yards per game.

    Manning knows the Patriots from his days with the Colts. Returning to Gillette Stadium will feel like old hat for him.

    This game should be high-scoring. If you have Manning on your roster, slot him in and watch him go.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears

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    If Monday night is any indication, Chicago's passing attack is getting better. That movement surrounds Jay Cutler's poise in the pocket, but it's also built around Brandon Marshall's presence on the outside.

    Expect more big things from Marshall against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had seven catches for 138 yards and a touchdown against Dallas and seems to be finding his stride alongside his old signal-caller.

    Marshall's 6'4'', 230-pound frame makes him a matchup nightmare. He's not only tall, but he's strong enough to bully any corner who decides to step up in bump-and-run coverage.

    On the year, Marshall has 23 catches for 352 yards and two scores.

    Jacksonville's 20th-ranked passing defense doesn't have the corners to match up with him like Dallas' Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne were supposed too.

    We saw what he did to Dallas' duo, and Sunday should be just as bad.

Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

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    Matt Ryan has taken the Atlanta Falcons to a 4-0 start with his stellar play behind center, and that won't end in Week 5 versus the Washington Redskins.

    Ryan has 1,162 yards and 11 touchdowns this season to go with two interceptions. Taking care of the ball helps his squad win games and maximizes his obvious fantasy value.

    Washington has the No. 31 pass defense in the league. Its No. 10 rush defense should ensure that the Falcons air the ball out early and often, making Ryan's owners very happy in the process.

    He hasn't had a bad game yet. He's completing nearly 70 percent of his passes, forcing opponents to play focused on every play.

    Don't be surprised if Ryan follows up last week's 369-yard, three-touchdown performance with something similar against the Redskins.