Week 5 Fantasy Football Projections: Under-the-Radar Players Destined to Shine

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2012

Sep 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) runs the ball during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Minnesota won 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

With Week 5 comes the first crushing set of bye weeks for fantasy football owners, as four teams get to rest comfortably at home on Sunday.

That means owners of players on the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be desperately searching for solid replacements.

Whether those replacements come from the waiver wire or already owned bench players, it's important to not always go for the home run. Oftentimes in fantasy football it's about finding a player who puts your team in the best position to win while also not hurting your team either. 

Most of the time, these players go under the radar because they lack overly spectacular performances. 

For that reason, here are a few underrated players that will excel in Week 5 action. 


Christian Ponder (QB, Minnesota Vikings)

After looking lost for much of his rookie season, the Vikings signal-caller is leaps and bounds better than he was a year ago.

Ponder has thrown for 824 yards and four touchdowns without an interception, while being among the NFL leaders with a 68.3 completion percentage. Those numbers are fantastic and should give Minnesota fans assurances for its franchise quarterback, but they are not helping fantasy owners. 

Expect that to change in a big way on Sunday when the Vikings face off against an anemic Tennessee Titans defense. Mike Munchak's crew has given up the second-most yards in the NFL this season and has been particularly bad against the pass, giving up 285 yards per game.

That should mean big things for the Vikings' aerial attack, particularly Ponder and wide receiver Percy Harvin. 

If you have Matthew Stafford or Tony Romo riding the bench this week, grab Ponder and feel comfortable plugging him into your starting lineup.


Alfred Morris (RB, Washington Redskins)

While it's likely that Morris is already plugged into your starting lineup this week, there may be some out there who still refuse to trust a running back on a Mike Shanahan-coached team.

History tells us that's understandable. Shanahan hasn't garnered the reputation as a vacillator without probable cause.

Nonetheless, Morris is the only Redskins running back to get more than 10 carries thus far in 2012 and should be in line for a career-best day against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Coming into Week 5, the Falcons have given up 146.3 rushing yards per game, which is 29th in the NFL. Couple that with Atlanta's excellent pass defense, and it's likely that we'll see Washington rely heavily on the run.

With Robert Griffin III providing a constant decoy in run option sets, Morris should see gaping holes throughout the contest. If you weren't already starting the Redskins running back this week, get him in the lineup before you regret it.


Domenik Hixon (WR, New York Giants)

Another one-week stopgap fix, Hixon should be in line for a second straight huge performance against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Without starter Hakeem Nicks and breakout flanker Ramses Barden, the Giants are left with a complete dearth of talent at the wide receiver spot. As the Browns undoubtedly look to blanket speedster Victor Cruz, quarterback Eli Manning should see some huge holes on Hixon's side of the field.

If Manning is able to accurately make throws in necessary situations, Hixon should easily go over the 100-yard mark on Sunday. While Cleveland's secondary is an underrated group, it will be without superstar corner Joe Haden, who will serve the final game of his suspension on Sunday.

Available in over 90 percent of ESPN leagues, Hixon could be a marvelous last-minute pickup for desperate owners.