Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings: Breaking Down Best Matchup at Each Position

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 09: Running back LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles rushes for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the third quarter at FedExField on September 9, 2013 in Landover, Maryland. The Philadelphia Eagles won, 33-27. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Fantasy owners sitting pretty with multiple top stars often find it difficult to decide which player gets the start.

One of two strategies is available to lucky owners with this good problem to have. The first is to simply go with the more talented player knowing he will put up numbers.

The second, and one we happen to detail below, is selecting the player with the most favorable matchup. This is a better strategy than the first because a good defense can still shut out a star, but a bad defense has no chance.

Here are the best plays at each position based on favorable matchups. Enjoy.

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


Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys 

Too obvious? Perhaps, but Denver's Peyton Manning is not only playing like he's 26; he now also has a shot at the No. 27-ranked pass defense.

Manning already has 1,470 passing yards and 16 touchdowns to his name in just four games, but he's just getting started. His vast array of weapons such as Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and more will have little issue spreading out a Dallas defense that gives up 305 yards through the air per contest.

As far as matchups go, this is as good as it gets at quarterback.

Running Backs

LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

The New York Giants have found little success running the ball this season, but the team has also had no luck in shutting down opposing ground attacks. 

The Giants allow opposing offenses to gash them for 123 rushing yards per game, so when the Philadelphia Eagles and Chip Kelly's offense show up, things are going to get ugly.

LeSean McCoy is playing out of his mind in Kelly's new offense with 608 total yards and two touchdowns in four games. Philadelphia is more physical up front, and McCoy will score his biggest fantasy outing to date.

Wide Receiver

Victor Cruz, New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles 

The flip side of the date between the Giants and Eagles has another fantasy star set to have his biggest game of the season.

This time it is New York receiver Victor Cruz, who already has 425 yards and four scores to his name this year. He now has a favorable matchup against an Eagles defense that ranks second-to-last thanks to allowing 325 yards per game.

Cruz will have no issue slipping by the spotty secondary as the Eagles are forced to focus on Hakeem Nicks.

Plenty of stars take the field at receiver Sunday, but none have a better matchup against a horrific defense in a game sure to turn into a shootout.

Tight Ends

Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys

Sep 29, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas (80) runs with the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With the way Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are playing, it should come as no surprise to see names from the offense litter lists such as this one. 

Julius Thomas has been quite a fantasy surprise this year. Manning has been able to find him consistently through four games with defenses transfixed on bigger names. So far Thomas has 237 yards and four scores. 

Against an aforementioned mediocre Dallas secondary that lacks enough athleticism at linebacker to match up with Thomas, Manning will have little trouble exploiting the mismatch every time it opens up—which will be quite often.

Defense/Special Teams

St. Louis Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

December 23, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA;  St. Louis Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan (31) reacts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. St. Louis Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Kim Kle
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It's simply unfair at this point. 

Literally any defense that takes the field against the Jacksonville Jaguars is a smart play, including a St. Louis Rams unit that has been miserable at times in its own right.

Jacksonville has scored over 10 points in a game just once this season as the quarterback situation has failed to sort itself out, and the duo of Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne will find minimal success against a St. Louis secondary led by Cortland Finnegan.


Matt Prater, Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys

Sep 5, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater (5) prepares to kick a field goal in the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Oh look, another player from Denver. 

As if it were not obvious enough above, the Broncos and Peyton Manning are going to score a plethora of points Sunday against Dallas, which sounds about right for a team averaging almost 45 points per game.

That won't stop against the Cowboys. Expect Matt Prater to have the best day of all kickers.

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


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