NFL Fantasy Football: Alex Smith And Top 5 Sleepers For Week 5

Sam McGawContributor IIOctober 6, 2011

NFL Fantasy Football: Alex Smith And Top 5 Sleepers For Week 5

0 of 5

    Week 5 in the NFL features many games fantasy football owners dream about. This week, there are plenty of matchups your elite players will thrive in. Yet, there are many players that are free agents in your league who may have matchups in their favor.

    When entering Week 5, it is key to know teams are starting to go on bye weeks. This, of course, means it's time to start picking players up off of waivers to fill the gaps in your lineup.

    Nevertheless, it helps to know which player is poised for a breakout game based on the team he is playing.

    So here they are, the top five sleeper picks for Week 5 in the NFL.

Quarterback: Alex Smith vs. Buccaneers

1 of 5

    Call me crazy, but I really do believe Alex Smith has the potential to have a great game this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    As it turns out, Smith has actually been a productive quarterback this season. Through four weeks, he has thrown for 795 yards, four touchdowns, and just one interception.

    However, 492 of those yards came in the past two weeks against the third ranked Bengals pass defense and the Eagles 11th ranked pass defense.

    Not to mention, he has thrown zero interceptions in the past two weeks. In other words, Smith is protecting the ball while putting up good numbers.

    So why start him against the 3-1 Buccaneers? Through the first four games, the Buccaneers are ranked 21st against the pass while accumulating a total of only two interceptions.

    I also can't forget to tell you, the Bucs just allowed Colts quarterback Curtis Painter to throw for 281 yards and two touchdowns against them. 

    Quarterbacks have had success against the Buccaneers so far this season. Who's to say Alex Smith won't? Every week his stats improve and he continues to look more comfortable in this Jim Harbaugh offense.

    It's a safe bet that an improving quarterback against a struggling Buccaneers pass defense is a matchup in the quarterbacks favor. Take a chance on Alex Smith on Sunday, especially if your quarterback is on the ever so dreaded bye week. 

Running Back: Stevan Ridley vs. Jets

2 of 5

    This season, highlights of the Patriots consist of Tom Brady throwing the ball, and their defense getting lit up by opposing quarterbacks.

    What flies under the radar is this offense is ranked ninth in the NFL in rushing.

    The reason this stat goes unnoticed is because there is no telling who will be running the ball for the Patriots each week.  

    While there is never assurance as to who will run the ball for the Pats, there is, however, a bright light at the end of the tunnel. This bright light happens to be rookie third round pick Stevan Ridley.

    During the first quarter of the season, Ridley has rushed the ball 18 times for 148 yards. That's an average of 8.2 yards per carry.

    A majority of this came at the Oakland Raiders expense last weekend when Ridley ran for 97 yards and a touchdown on just ten carries.

    This Sunday, the Patriots go against the New York Jets whose reputation precedes them.  In years past, the Jets defense has been known as a hard-nosed, run stopping unit.

    This season, it seems as if they are the exact opposite. In their first four games, the Jets defense has allowed 125 yards per game on the ground, ranking 27th in the league. I

    n addition, they have allowed six rushing touchdowns, five of which, were to opposing running backs.  

    As his workload is obviously increasing, many people still may not be completely sold on Ridley. This is certainly justifiable as Ridley has only recorded one good game so far.

    On the other hand, Ridley's matchup this weekend gives him great upside, especially if you have a starting running back on a bye week.

Wide Receiver: Preston Parker at 49ers

3 of 5

    Here's a little known fact, wide receiver Preston Parker currently leads the Buccaneers in receiving this season. Right now, this guy is the most known, unknown receiver in the NFL.

    In a receiving core headlined by second year wideout Mike Williams, Preston Parker has quietly caught 16 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown.

    Normally, stats like this through four games aren't anything special.

    On the contrary, when you are competing for receptions against the likes of Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, and Kellen Winslow, it certainly stands out.

    While I'm not promising a huge game from Parker on Sunday, it can certainly happen. The Buccaneers face off against the 49ers in what has potential to be an absolute shootout.

    In the past three weeks, the 49ers have allowed two 100 yard receivers. Miles Austin torched the 49ers in week two for a total of 143 yards and three touchdowns.

    Last week, Desean Jackson accounted for 171 of Michael Vick's 416 passing yards. See the trend?

    While Preston Parker isn't the most known receiver out there, he has a great matchup against the 49ers 27th ranked pass defense.

    He is definitely a worthy flex player, especially in PPR leagues given the matchup. Give Parker a shot this weekend, as I'm sure he is available in most leagues.

Tight End: Jermaine Gresham at Jaguars

4 of 5

    In their past three games, the Jacksonville Jaguars defense has allowed 330 yards receiving and two touchdowns to opposing tight ends.

    A majority of these yards were gained last weekend by Saints tight end Jimmy Graham who had 132 yards and a touchdown.

    Week four doesn't look much better for the Jaguars as they play the Bengals, who are coming off a huge win against the Bills.

    Along with the Bengals, comes tight end Jermaine Gresham. Currently ranked 11th in receiving among tight ends, Gresham is on the brink of blowing up.

    After having two consecutive games of four receptions totaling 121 yards and a touchdown, Gresham comes into Jacksonville with a matchup that looks encouraging for fantasy owners.

    While Gresham has been a well kept secret so far, this week's game against the Jaguars could propel him into fantasy stardom.

    Play him this week as he is sure to not disappoint.  

Defense: Tennessee Titans at Steelers

5 of 5

    When looking at defensive totals for this season, something may surprise you. The Tennessee Titans are ranked first in points allowed per game.

    From a fantasy football standpoint that is okay, but when you take a look at the turnover and sack categories, your eyes start to open.

    In four games, this defense has produced ten sacks, seven turnovers, and one touchdown.

    Yes, these numbers aren't as good as what the Baltimore Ravens put up, but this defense did shut down the Ravens in week two, 26-13.

    This is the same Ravens team that destroyed the Steelers 35-7 the week before.

    While the Ravens defense is a reason this Titans unit goes unnoticed in fantasy leagues, Tennessee's defense is still more valuable than most teams in the NFL.

    Sunday's matchup against the Steelers is a favorable one for the Titans.

    As reported by many outlets, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be playing hurt, and starting running back Rashard Mendenhall may not even play on Sunday.

    This just adds more pressure for the Steelers offensive line as they have already allowed the third most sacks in the NFL with 14.

    The game between the Titans and Ravens was said to be a fluke. What better way to prove everyone wrong than by beating the Steelers in the same fashion the Ravens did in week one.

    Pick up the Titans defense off of waivers and start them if you haven't already.