Fantasy Football Week 5 Rankings: 5 Emerging Fantasy Studs You Should Target
Not one of the following players was selected in the first five rounds of your fantasy draft, but they're outperforming many first picks. In fact, one or two may have even gone undrafted. Well, just because you didn’t spend a high pick on them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start them over who you thought was a sure stud.
Each of these young athletes had a breakout game in Week 4. Whether their team won or lost, they all put up big numbers and in fantasy, that’s all that matters.
Being stubborn about benching that struggling starting wide receiver you’ve been patiently waiting to blow up since Week 1? Bench the vet and start these five emerging fantasy studs in Week 5.
5. A.J. Green
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The last few weeks, big numbers have been put up when Red turns to Green.
No one is asking who Andy Dalton’s favorite wide receiver is in Cincinnati. A.J. Green is playing so well that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Carson Palmer return just to throw him the football. Through the first four games, Green has caught 19 balls for 312 yards and two touchdowns.
This past week against the Buffalo Bills, he caught four balls for 118 yards. The Bengals play the Jacksonville Jaguars next week so Green will continue to have success. The only elite wideout the Jags have faced all year who wasn’t in a monsoon, Kenny Britt, caught five passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns on Jacksonville’s poor cornerbacks.
4. Stevan Ridley
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Ridley is a monster. In the first three weeks of the season, Ridley only received eight carries, but he made the most of his opportunities rushing for 6.4 yards a pop. In Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, he finally was a major part of the game plan and it paid off for the New England Patriots.
The former LSU halfback rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries. New England plays the New York Jets next week and believe it or not, Rex Ryan’s squad fielded the 29th ranked run defense in the league going into Week 4. Darren McFadden rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns against New York, so Ridley’s averages will continue to be sky high.
3. Julio Jones
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Julio Jones was an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate heading into the season and he would still be one if it weren’t for Cam Newton.
Jones has given Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons something they’ve longed after for years: a respectable wideout across from Roddy White. The Falcons added the former Alabama receiver to prohibit teams from double-teaming White. What they didn’t expect Jones to do immediately was to outgain the Pro Bowler, which the rookie is doing through the first four weeks.
Against the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday, Jones caught 11 passes for 127 yards. Atlanta will face the New Orleans Saints next week and against a defense that has given up eight touchdown passes this season. Jones should have a field day.
2. Jimmy Graham
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Jimmy Graham is making all of the people that compared him to Antonio Gates just because Graham played college basketball look like geniuses.
Graham is a quarterback’s dream and a defense's nightmare. At 6’6” and 260 pounds, no safety can body him and with his 4.5 speed, very few linebackers can keep up. Graham emerged late last season as a touchdown machine, catching four in the final three weeks of the year.
In 2011, Graham already has three touchdowns. This week against the Jaguars he caught 10 passes for 132 yards and a score. New Orleans' opponents next week, the Carolina Panthers, allow opposing quarterbacks to record an average of a 99.4 passer rating against them, so Drew Brees should find Graham a plenty.
1. Cam Newton
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If you were the one in your league lucky enough to snatch Cam Newton off waivers first, congratulations on your championship victory.
Newton may have been the projected first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, but no one expected him to play worthy of a first-round fantasy football pick. The former Auburn Tiger has already locked up Offensive Rookie of the Year. Newton is currently third in the NFL in passing yards, ahead of quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers.
Against the Chicago Bears in Week 4, Newton threw for 371 yards, a touchdown and an interception while also adding two touchdowns on the ground. Newton continues to shred even the league’s top defenses, so the New Orleans Saints will be no match next week.
David Daniels is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a Syndicated Writer. Follow him on Twitter.