Fantasy Football Week 5: Vital Sleepers Who Will Lead You to Victory
Start a sleeper and you gain a significant competitive advantage in fantasy football.
Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season is no different. One player we'll view is quarterback Christian Ponder.
The Minnesota Vikings are clearly a team on the rise, and Ponder's development this season has impressed. Facing the 1-3 Tennessee Titans on Sunday, the Vikings have a great opportunity to win again and keep Ponder consistent.
Obviously, though, he is not the only reliable sleeper to consider this week.
Let's dive into Week 5's action and come out with some starting sleepers to get your team a fantasy victory.
Scott Chandler: TE, Bills (at 49ers)
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In order for the Buffalo Bills to move the ball consistently against the tough San Francisco 49ers defense, Scott Chandler must get involved.
The 49ers are capable of totally blanking the Bills ground game. Therefore, they will likely need to rely more on Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second half.
We all know how Fitzpatrick can be turnover-prone, and San Francisco also presents an excellent pass rush. To that end, Chandler is Fitzpatrick's best outlet to look for at Candlestick Park.
Buffalo's passing attack isn't explosive enough to get San Francisco on its heels, and the Niners can lock down with only man coverage. Taking advantage of Chandler's size and athleticism is the safest option.
Averaging 14.6 yards per catch and leading the team with four touchdowns, Chandler's 6'7", 260-pound frame will be excellent in any passing situation and inside the red zone. All Fitzpatrick has to do is toss the ball up and let him outjump any defenders to make plays.
Donnie Avery: WR, Colts (vs. Packers)
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The Indianapolis Colts have a golden opportunity this week to upset the Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay's defense, although definitely improved, still has some rough spots to fix before getting back to elite status.
Defending the pass was an issue against the New Orleans Saints. Meanwhile, this team has allowed 4.4 yards per rush so far in 2012. Fortunately for the Colts, Andrew Luck's passing ability will ease the pressure on the ground game as Indy fields a balanced attack on Sunday.
A big part of that attack is receiver Donnie Avery.
With Reggie Wayne as the No. 1 receiver, it's reasonable to expect that Green Bay's coverage will gear toward him. Additionally, the Packers have to honor tight end Coby Fleener, because he's another one of Luck's favorite targets.
That will leave Avery facing many man-coverage situations and wider zones underneath. As a quick and explosive player, Avery's field awareness and ability to move the chains will pay nice dividends for Indy's offense this week.
Ahmad Bradshaw: RB, Giants (vs. Browns)
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Ahmad Bradshaw hasn't been incredibly dominant for the New York Giants in 2012.
With more durability concerns, it's no surprise Big Blue ranks just No. 23 in rushing and averages 89.5 rushing yards per game.
We also have to keep in mind that a big reason for that low production is because of Eli Manning and the passing attack. Manning has already attempted 160 throws, while Bradshaw has only been given 35 carries.
Don't forget about the emergence of fellow ball-carrier Andre Brown, either.
Fortunately for Bradshaw, he got somewhat back on track last week with 77 total yards against the Philadelphia Eagles. Lining up against the Cleveland Browns in Week 5, Bradshaw won't get isolated as much.
Cleveland needs to focus more attention on slowing down Manning to win, so count on better running lanes for Bradshaw this week. Also, the Browns allow 117.3 rushing yards per game and four yards per carry.
Bradshaw won't rack up numbers like Adrian Peterson or Arian Foster this week, but he will produce and contribute more to Big Blue's offense since a victory on Sunday is imperative.
Christian Ponder: QB, Vikings (vs. Titans)
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Christian Ponder may have just four touchdown passes on the season, but he also has yet to throw an interception.
With a 68.3 completion percentage through four games, Ponder is certainly managing games excellently for Minnesota.
What's more, the Vikings host the Titans in Week 5, who are defensively weak against the run and pass. Allowing an average total of 421.5 yards per contest, Tennessee won't be able to slow down Minny's balanced approach.
Adrian Peterson has the potential to run for 150-plus yards, and that will certainly set up the passing game. Ponder has two reliable targets in Percy Harvin and tight end Kyle Rudolph, while Peterson will add some yards on screens and checkdowns.
Ponder has collected 46 rushing yards and one score on the ground this season. He'll dice up the Tennessee defense whenever he drops back.
Denver Broncos Defense (at Patriots)
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Yes, it's Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense.
However, we must also give more recognition to the Denver Broncos defense of 2012.
Having played a rigorous schedule through the first three games this season, we saw how truly dominant the Denver defense can be in Week 4.
The Oakland Raiders obviously pale in comparison to the Pats, but there's no denying Denver's confidence.
After all, the Broncos offense turned the ball over four times on the road against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2, and yet Denver's defense limited Matt Ryan and company to 27 points and recorded a sack.
This week, provided Peyton Manning and the offense don't turn it over, that adds pressure to Brady.
The Broncos will be one of the better pass-rushing defenses that New England has seen this season. Furthermore, Denver is allowing only 3.4 yards per carry.
Secondary playmakers Tracy Porter and Champ Bailey can take away half the field, and will see numerous opportunities from the pass rush.
Backed by an offense capable of putting up points and controlling the tempo, Denver's defense will surprise in New England.
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