Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top Wide Receiver Options for Sunday's Slate
Sunday's NFL slate is filled with friendly matchups for pass-happy offenses. The top five fantasy options at wide receiver for Week 5 are headlined by a pair of explosive targets who will forever be linked.
The majority of these high-end wideouts will be playing away from home, but will nonetheless be poised to post monster afternoons.
1. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins
There weren't many more inviting defenses than in last week's home tilt with the Carolina Panthers, but Jones still only managed one catch for 30 yards despite eight targets.
Matt Ryan is playing like the MVP of the league, and gets a crack at the 30th-ranked pass defense. The ball will be in the air quite frequently, because Atlanta's leaky run defense is going up against the dangerous rookie tandem of Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris.
With the home crowd behind them and a typical ground performance, the Redskins will have a huge advantage in controlling the clock and shortening the game for Atlanta. That will force Ryan and Co. to play from behind, resulting in more pass plays.
Expect Jones to be targeted at least 10 times, and to take advantage of a thin Washington secondary. It will be a shootout for the second week in a row for the perceived Super Bowl contenders.
Jones is due to breakout following a relatively underwhelming stretch based on his stellar opening day in Kansas City.
2. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami Dolphins
The second half of the receiver couple who will thrive this week is Cincinnati's superstar. Jones went sixth overall in the 2011 draft, while Green went at No. 4. Both have been constantly compared since their high school days, and both will have big afternoons.
Green has been virtually unguardable in 2012. He is averaging 107 yards per game and has scored three touchdowns, further fortifying his chemistry with his draft classmate QB Andy Dalton.
Although the Dolphins have the league's top rush defense, they are giving up nearly 300 yards through the air per game. There is no sign of a sophomore slump for Green or Dalton, but the wideout will have a difficult task against the aggressive, sizable Sean Smith, who stands taller than most corners at 6'3".
As solid as Smith is, that shouldn't stop Green from getting behind him on at least a few occasions.
Against similarly shaky defenses the past two weeks, Green has posted yardage totals of 183 and 117, respectively, finding the end zone once in each game. It should be just another day at the office for the best young receiver in the game.
3. Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings vs. Tennessee Titans
The fourth-year former Florida Gator is one of the most explosive and versatile weapons in the league, which is why it's so shocking that he hasn't reached the end zone on offense.
Harvin's only touchdown came on a kickoff return in the Vikings' most recent win in Detroit, but expect that to change in the Metrodome on Sunday.
Against both the run and the pass, Tennessee's defense has been disastrous. The Titans are also last in the league, giving up nearly 38 points per game. Young quarterback Christian Ponder looks for Harvin the most in the passing game, and the receiver has hauled in 30 of his 38 targets.
Ponder is also the only starting signal-caller to not throw a pick through the first four games, and the running game that Adrian Peterson will be able to establish should open up the opportunity for easy completions to get Harvin in space.
Oh, and it's likely Harvin will even register a few carries as a change of pace, too. The all-around home run threat he presents makes him a must-start against such a listless Titans D.
4. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars
Entering Monday Night Football, the Dallas Cowboys had a top-flight pass defense and Marshall and his favorite QB Jay Cutler didn't seem to be quite in sync over the previous two weeks.
Perceptions change quickly in the NFL, as the Cutler-to-Marshall connection was revived. The Bears' top receiver will lock up frequently with Aaron Ross this weekend, but the good times should keep rolling for Chicago.
It appears the departure of former head coach Jack Del Rio has taken away some of the defensive tenacity in Jacksonville. After having a Top 10 defense in 2011, the unit is struggling out of the gate, especially against the run.
Cutler is lethal when he has time to throw the football, and the Jags have registered just two sacks as a team through the first four weeks.
That should give time for Marshall's deep routes to develop, and as much of a nightmare as he is to deal with size-wise, he is extremely dangerous after the catch.
If Jacksonville fails once again to get pressure on the QB—which it likely will—Marshall's fantasy owners are going to be pleased to say the least.
5. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts
Although he isn't on pace to match his monster 2011 season, Nelson did get back on that level. He produced a strong, eight-catch, 93-yard outing versus New Orleans in Week 4, including the game-winning touchdown.
The Colts' pass defense is ranked in the middle of the pack league-wide, but they haven't faced an aerial assault quite like the one Green Bay has. Also hurting the cause is the fact that Indy's secondary is rather decimated right now.
Cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Justin King have both been ruled out for Sunday's contest, according to ESPN's injury report.
Nelson should get notch a team-high total in targets once again after seeing 12 passes from Aaron Rodgers sail his way against the Saints. The Colts' secondary was thin to begin with, but the mismatch has tilted even more in Nelson's favor.
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