Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings: Early Look at Best Play for Each Position

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2013

Sep 29, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron (84) tries to stay inbounds during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

With Week 4 in the books, it is never too early to begin the search for a quality lineup in preparation for next week's slate of fake football.

As always, the owners who know when to sit or start players given certain matchups come out ahead in fantasy.

This week, the best plays at each position are highly contested given the variety of top stars in favorable matchups, but being able to discern which star to roll with will weigh heavily on the outcome of all fantasy showdowns.

Here's a look at rankings for each position followed by the absolute best play.

 

Note: The Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on byes this week. All stats courtesy of NFL.com.

 

Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions

Sep 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to throw a pass during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Denver's Peyton Manning has a favorable matchup against Dallas in Week 5, but so does Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers.

Not only is Rodgers red hot after an upset loss to Cincinnati, but he's also coming off a bye week in which he's had ample time to prepare for a weak Detroit secondary.

The Detroit Lions have surrendered almost 270 passing yards per game and allowed Chicago's Jay Cutler to go for over 300 last week. Rodgers is just a few weeks removed from a 480-yard performance against a similarly weak Washington defense, so a repeat performance is likely.

Manning is the hot hand at the position, but all signs point toward Rodgers exploding in a big way.

 

Running Backs

LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

The New York Giants are a team in disarray in all areas, which is beautiful news for LeSean McCoy owners. The star running back has already amassed 608 total yards and two touchdowns in four games for the Philadelphia Eagles.

McCoy has been the biggest benefactor of head coach Chip Kelly's high-octane offense, and that will only continue against a New York Giants defense that ranks near the bottom and allows 123 rushing yards per game.

Plenty of backs have favorable matchups this week, but none trump "Shady" given his stellar start in a new system.

 

Wide Receivers

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England Patriots

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 05:  A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals can't make a catch against Johnathan Joseph #24 and Kareem Jackson #25 of the Houston Texans during their AFC Wild Card Playoff Game at Reliant Stadium on January 5, 2013 in Houston, Texa
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

While A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals may seem like an obvious play, he's anything but a shoo-in as the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver.

Plenty of big names, such as Julio Jones and Victor Cruz, have favorable matchups in Week 5, and Green is coming off a down week after notching only 51 yards in Week 4 against Cleveland.

The good news is Green won't face another Joe Haden in Week 5. Instead, Green will see Aqib Talib and an iffy New England secondary that allowed Julio Jones to notch 108 yards while Matt Ryan threw for over 400.

Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton is no Ryan, but considering Dalton found Green for 162 yards in Week 1 versus Chicago's Charles Tillman, it's a safe bet Green can notch a big game against a weak secondary.

Expect Green to explode after a down week.

 

Tight Ends

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns vs. Buffalo Bills

Jordan Cameron has arrived as an elite tight end option along with New Orleans' Jimmy Graham.

Cleveland's superstar is a byproduct of the vertical passing game implemented by coordinator Norv Turner. Owners who bought the hype are reaping the benefits in a big way.

In the past two weeks alone, Cameron has caught four touchdowns to go with 157 yards.

As the clear No. 1 in Cleveland against a Buffalo defense that gives up 277 passing yards per game, Cameron will once again get his in a big way. It has been a long time since Cleveland has fielded an elite fantasy weapon, but Cameron is the definition of elite from a fake football standpoint, and he's the best play of Week 5 at the spot.

 

Defense/Special Teams

St. Louis Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The St. Louis Rams have been miserable on defense through one month of football and rank No. 24 overall thanks to a putrid rush defense that allows 134 yards per game.

Luckily for St. Louis and owners smart enough to grab the unit, the Jacksonville Jaguars are on the menu in Week 5.

Jacksonville has scored over 10 points in a contest just once in four attempts and ranks near the bottom of the barrel in most offensive categories. St. Louis and talented linebacker James Laurinaitis will have little issue generating top fantasy production.

 

Kickers

Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Aug 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski (3) kicks a field goal in the second quarter of a preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

With so many obvious scoring options, there's not much to worry about in the way of kickers, but New England's Stephen Gostkowski will rise above the rest with a favorable matchup against Cincinnati.

Last week, the Bengals had issues stopping Cleveland thanks to injuries to safety Reggie Nelson and corner Leon Hall. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will have little issue moving the ball against the weak Bengals secondary. Gostkowski will have plenty of chances to put points on the board.

 

Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling