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August 3, 2008

Fantasy Football Week 5 Wide Receiver Rankings


1. Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) – A week 5 match up against the Buffalo Bills’ 6th ranked pass defense would probably be problematic for most NFL wide outs, but it should be a walk in the park for the elite Fitzgerald. He will gain additional fantasy value this week if the very dizzy Anquan Boldin sits this one out, which appears likely. In addition, the Bills may also be without their top CB Terrence McGee due to a sprained knee. Fitzgerald should have a monster week 5.

2. Terrell Owens (DAL) – He was able to rebound nicely in week 4 and a week 5 match up against the Bengals looks to be even better. While Cincinnati does boast the NFL’s #4 ranked pass defense, it is a bit deceiving considering the caliber of talent they have faced to this point. Owens should easily torch this secondary all day and we expect a huge game from him.

3. Brandon Marshall (DEN) – He continues to light it up on a weekly basis. In spite of being suspended for the first game of the season, Marshall still ranks in the top 5 in almost every receiving category, and has a TD grab in each of his 3 starts. He will face a ball hawking Tampa Bay pass defense in week 5, but the Bucs are susceptible to giving up big plays in the passing game, so Marshall will succeed in this match up. He is a must start each and every week.

4. Reggie Wayne (IND) – The great thing about Reggie Wayne is that even his bad games are pretty good compared to other WR’s. Fortunately, you should have little concern that Wayne will have one of his “bad” outings in week 5. He will face off against a Texans secondary that has played well to this point, but they have yet to face a QB and WR combo that even comes close to Manning and Wayne. In his last game against Houston, Wayne hauled in 10 passes for 143 yards and a TD.

5. Greg Jennings (GB) – First off, this ranking is highly dependent on the availability of QB Aaron Rodgers this week. If Matt Flynn gets the start at QB, Jennings fantasy value will take a fairly significant hit, but he is still worth starting. As we expected, Jennings finally found the end zone in week 4, but we were surprised to see him get there twice. He is off to a monster start to the season with an NFL leading 482 receiving yards which comes out to around 120 yards per game. If Aaron Rodgers gets the start, Jennings will torch a young Falcons secondary on Sunday. UPDATE: QB Aaron Rodgers will be a game time decision on Sunday with regard to his sprained shoulder

6. Steve Smith (CAR) – After a mediocre week 3 performance by Steve Smith standards, he looked more like the Smith of old in week 4 with 96 receiving yards and a TD. The great thing is that he should only get better as the season progresses. Smith will face an overachieving and very young Chiefs secondary in week 5. They Kansas City DB’s have been surprisingly effective so far this season, but they will be no match for Smith.

7. Calvin Johnson (DET) – While he was a little off with only 40 receiving yards in his last game, you can probably expect Johnson to return to form this week against Chicago. He is without a doubt the new #1 WR in the Detroit passing game and the Bears have had difficulty defending the pass all season. Johnson is a must start for your fantasy roster as he should see plenty of targets against Chicago’s 28th ranked pass defense in week 5.

8. Santana Moss (WAS) – We keep waiting for Moss’ numbers to fall off, but he seems to only get better every week. He has been the top scoring fantasy WR in most fantasy formats to this point and is averaging over 100 yards receiving per game. He will face a solid Philadelphia pass defense in week 5, but the way he is playing match ups are almost irrelevant. Moss had 6 catches for 89 yards in his only game against the Eagles last season and he was playing mediocre ball at that time. You should continue to start him until the wheels fall off.

9. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (CIN) – Just as he looked like he was heating up, Carson Palmer comes up lame. While Housh still managed to have a solid day with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, it surely had an adverse effect on his potential last week. Unfortunately, it looks like Houshmandzadeh will have to work with Fitzpatrick again this week. Luckily, the Cowboys pass defense is struggling of late, so he still has a chance for a big game even with Fitzpatrick, but you should limit your expectations to some extent. UPDATE: Carson Palmer is expected to play, so Houshmandzadeh is good to go this week.

10. Lee Evans (BUF) – He isn’t getting the number of touches that we expected for him so far this season, but he is putting up solid yardage totals on a consistent basis. In addition, Evans finally got into the end zone in week 4 which bodes well. Evans should continue his solid play in week 5 against an Arizona pass defense that got scorched last week by Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery. The Cardinal’s secondary will probably be playing with a chip on their shoulder this week, so you shouldn’t expect them to give up Coles type numbers again this week to Evans, but he should have a favorable outcome for fantasy owners.

11. DeSean Jackson (PHI) – He isn’t putting up monster totals every week, but the speedy rookie has been consistently good with the potential greatness every game he plays. He will face Washington’s 23rd ranked pass defense in week 5. The Redskins pass defense is probably better than their ranking suggests, but they have allowed 6 passing TD’s this season, and we still really like this match up for him. Jackson also adds fantasy value for those of you in leagues that account for return yardage and TD’s. He should be in your fantasy line up for week 5.

12. Roddy White (ATL) – He isn’t getting to the end zone every week, but he is one of the most targeted WR’s in the NFL, so it is only a matter of time before White starts adding some scores to his already impressive yardage totals. We really like his chances in week 5. While a match up against Green Bay might sound a little scary for him, it really isn’t. The Packers currently rank middle of the pack in the NFL in pass defense and they may be without both of their starting CB’s this week due to injuries (Al Harris for sure). We realize it’s tough to get excited about White with Matt Ryan at QB, but so far so good and it should only get better.

13. Chris Chambers (SD) – With only 8 catches in 4 games this season it probably seems a little crazy to have Chambers ranked so high, but the guy is averaging 25 yards every time he touches the ball, and he is tied for second in the NFL with 4 TD grabs. Plus, we really like his match up this week. Chambers will face his former team the Miami Dolphins in week 5. That alone should be incentive for him to play well, but the fact that the Dolphins have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL doesn’t hurt either. In 3 games, the Miami pass defense has allowed 6 passing TD’s and is giving up 227 yards passing per game. We like Chambers chances and he should be in your line up in spite of the lower number of targets so far this season.

14. Dwayne Bowe (KC) – We aren’t quite sure how he does it playing in this offense, but Bowe simply gets it done every week. While he isn’t on a break neck pace, Bowe is consistently solid week in and week out. He will face a very good Carolina pass defense in week 4, but this guy seems to find a way to produce against any opponent. Bowe probably won’t be the top point getter on your fantasy roster in week 5, but he should be near the top.

15. Andre Johnson (HOU) – We didn’t get to see the stud wide out’s week 4 game, but looking at the numbers, it wasn’t good. Johnson has produced on a sub par level for two straight games now, and something is obviously not clicking. A week 5 match up against Indianapolis is difficult to breakdown. On one hand, Johnson did have 74 yards receiving and a TD in 1 start against them last season and he is one of the most talented WR’s in the NFL. On the other hand, he is not playing well at the moment, and the Colts pass defense has been excellent this season and have not allowed a single passing TD in 3 games. Johnson should get back on track soon and remains a must start, but based on the match up and his recent poor play, don’t get your hopes up for a monster rebound in week 5.

16. Wes Welker (NE) – He is the one guy in the Patriots offense that hasn’t seen a significant drop off in production after the Tom Brady injury. Welker still isn’t putting up huge yardage totals and he hasn’t scored a TD yet, but he has not had fewer than 6 catches in any game this season, and the TD’s will come in time. A match up against San Francisco’s 19th ranked pass defense should prove productive for him if he is at full speed. Welker is nursing a slight groin injury. Check injury report: groin

17. Lance Moore (NO) – Marques Colston who? Talk about a guy taking advantage of an opportunity. Lance Moore has made a huge and immediate impact for the New Orleans offense since climbing up the depth chart from 3rd string. In his last 2 games (only 1 as a starter); Moore has 14 catches for 179 yards and 2 TD’s. We realize he only has 2 big weeks under his belt, but we have always thought highly of Moore, and thought that he would perform if given the chance. He should continue to play well in week 5 as well. The Vikings are showing improvement against the pass each week, but they are vulnerable, and will likely be no match for Brees and Moore. Congratulations, as you surely plucked Moore off the free agent list. The good news is that he will continue to start even after Colston returns from injury, but his fantasy value will still take a dip when that happens. Lance Moore should be on your week 5 fantasy roster.

18. Randy Moss (NE) – We still believe Moss is the most talented WR in the NFL, so for that reason and that reason alone, we suggest you give Moss another shot. He is clearly struggling with Matt Cassel at QB and he will probably continue to struggle until Cassel gets over his fear of throwing to Moss in double coverage. Moss can beat double teams all day long as he did on a regular basis with a fearless Tom Brady at QB. A week 5 match up with San Francisco bodes well for him, so if Cassel will put it up, Moss will get it. Hope for the best.

19. Bernard Berrian (MIN) – He is starting to heat up with Gus Frerotte at the helm, and week 5 looks like it could be a big week for him. If he can stop dropping passes, which has cost him big time in the last 2 games, Berrian will put up great numbers. He should have plenty of chances this week against New Orleans’ 29th ranked pass defense. With Berrian’s speed, we expect him to burn this secondary all night long. The match up will be there, you just have to hope Berrian brings his hands, and leaves the butter at home. UPDATE: Berrian supposedly injured his knee at practice on Thursday and it doesn't look good. Check injury report: knee

20. Hines Ward (PIT) – He has been a little off the last 2 weeks, mostly in part due to poor match ups, but also because Roethlisberger is beat up and the offensive line is struggling to pass block. Roethlisberger is still beat up, as well as the offensive line, but the match up looks much more promising for him this week. He will face Jacksonville in week 5. While the Jaguars secondary had high hopes coming into ’08, they have performed poorly to this point, allowing 6 passing TD’s so far this season. Ward should get back on track in week 5 against the underachieving Jaguars. He had 13 catches for 162 yards and a TD in 2 games against them last season.

21. Santonio Holmes (PIT) – After a shaky start to the season, Holmes finally found the end zone in week 4. He wasn’t overly impressive otherwise, but it’s a good start, and to his credit the whole Steelers offense is struggling a bit right now. He should keep it going this week against Jacksonville. In 4 games, the Jaguars 24th ranked pass defense has allowed 6 TD’s and exactly 900 yards passing. The match up bodes well, but Holmes is going to have to start getting more targets to jump into the elite category, which is difficult right now with offensive line issues and a banged up Ben Roethlisberger. Check injury report: knee

22. Roy Williams (DET) – At this point, Williams is barely maintaining starting value based on his talent and potential alone. It is obvious that he is #2 now behind Calvin Johnson, and his targets reflect that. There is no question that he is capable of a big game against a shaky Chicago pass defense this week, but Kitna has to start getting him the football, who knows, the Lions may actually win a game if he does. Williams remains a must start for week 5, but just by a thread. Check injury report: knee

23. Domenik Hixon (NYG) – This guy is an afterthought most weeks, but with Plaxico Burress suspended for week 5, Hixon will get to start for the Giants. We love this guy in week 5. He hasn’t gotten a lot of chances this season, but he seems to always make a big play when he is targeted, and he was amazing in the preseason. He will be matched up against Seattle’s 25th ranked pass defense in week 5. The Seahawks secondary has been pretty bad through their first 3 games, so for that, we like Hixon’s chances even more. He makes for a great sneaky start in week 5, and we don’t think you will be disappointed with the results.

24. Marvin Harrison (IND) – He is probably going to be hit or miss through much of the season based on his early returns, but we think he will start to form some consistency as the season progresses. That said, we like Harrison’s chances in week 5. For one, he is coming off of a strong performance. Secondly, he has a great track record against week 5 opponent Houston, and most importantly, Peyton Manning has had 2 weeks to prepare for this game. Harrison should prove reliable in week 5, but don’t expect the monster numbers of old.

25. Isaac Bruce (SF) – He now has a TD in each of his last 2 games and is starting to develop a nice rapport with 49ers QB J.T. O’Sullivan’s as his favorite target. Unfortunately, Bruce has not played well at home this season. He did have a TD catch in week 3 at home, but only has 2 catches for 19 yards in two games at Candlestick Park otherwise this season. Bruce will head back to San Fran this week to take on the New England Patriots. The Patriots have a solid pass defense, but they may be forced to start rookies at both CB spots this week due to injuries. Bruce is plenty capable and has a good chance to finally get things going at home.

26. Antonio Bryant (TB) – After a huge week 3 performance, Bryant was somewhat of a disappointment in week 4. He should bounce back in week 5 against Denver. The Broncos pass defense has been horrible so far this season, allowing 276 yards passing per game and they have given up 7 passing TD’s in just 4 games. Bryant is a skilled WR with solid week 5 potential and a great match up, but keep in mind that Brian Griese will be throwing to him and that’s always a crapshoot.

27. Steve Breaston (ARI) – We really like Breaston for a week 5 fantasy start. Not so much because of his impressive week 4 numbers, but because he will likely step into Anquan Boldin’s starting spot in a pass heavy offense. Don’t get us wrong, he is no Anquan Boldin, but he is very talented in his own right. Breaston will face Buffalo’s 6th ranked pass defense. The Bills are solid against the pass, but they have some injury issues in the secondary this week, and will primarily focus on Larry Fitzgerald, which should open the door for Breaston to have a great game. If Boldin plays, Breaston will lose significant fantasy value, but should still make a decent contribution. UPDATE: Breaston will start on Sunday in place of Anquan Boldin who is out after sinus surgery

28. Muhsin Muhammad (CAR) – We weren’t sure if we were in a time warp, but watching Delhomme make big play after big play to Muhammad in week 4 felt eerily similar to watching a Panthers game in 2004. As strange as it was, it may be an indication of promising things to come, as Muhammad and Delhomme were one of the deadliest QB – WR combinations in the NFL back in the day. We can’t be completely sure if the chemistry and momentum will carry over into a week 5 game against Kansas City, but the match up certainly bodes well and Muhammad has certainly earned another look.

29. Donald Driver (GB) – Like Greg Jennings, Driver’s success this week will rely heavily on whether or not Aaron Rodgers plays. Unfortunately, Driver was a bust in week 4 even with Rodgers. We can’t promise that he will have a significant rebound in week 5, but the match up is excellent, and Driver’s opportunities should be plentiful. The Atlanta secondary was torched last week by Carolina’s #2 WR Muhsin Muhammad, which bodes well for Driver this week. We like his chances, but only if Rodgers gets the start, Driver becomes a very risky fantasy option otherwise. UPDATE: QB Aaron Rodgers will be a game time decision on Sunday regarding his injured shoulder

30. Amani Toomer (NYG) – He has performed admirably in his last 2 games, and with Plaxico Burress suspended for week 5, Toomer should continue his streak of solid efforts. We think Domenik Hixon, who will replace Burress this week, will benefit more than Toomer, but there should be plenty to go around against a soft Seahawks pass defense in week 5. Toomer is worth a look in week 5 as a WR3 or flex play.

31. Matt Jones (JAX) – A week 5 match up against the Steelers isn’t great, but Jones is really starting to heat up, and his consistency has been second to no one. He has at least 5 receptions in every game this season, and managed to find the end zone last week. He seems to be targeted early and often each week, so we believe it is only a matter of time before he explodes for a monster game. Week 5 probably won’t be it, given the match up, but we still expect a solid effort from Jones.

32. Bobby Engram (SEA) –. We usually suggest taking a wait and see approach when a guy returns from injury, and if you are already adequate at WR this week, you should take that approach, but Engram is capable of stepping right in and making a real difference. A week 5 match up against the Giants is not ideal for him, but if he can start to connect with Hasselbeck like in the past the match up is irrelevant. Engram is a risky, but very capable WR3 for week 5. Check injury report: shoulder

33. Robert Meachem (NO) – He isn’t getting enough targets to be considered a safe play for week 5, but if you like to gamble or you are in need of a WR3 this week, Meachem could be your man. In 3 games this season, he only has 5 receptions, but it is amazing what he has done with those catches. Meachem has accumulated 204 receiving yards and 2 TD’s, and averages a ridiculous 40 yards every time he touches the football. He has a mildly favorable week 5 match up against Minnesota, and while he could put up monster numbers, Meachem could just as easily go bust.

34. Justin Gage (TEN) – He is looking more and more dangerous every week with Kerry Collins getting him the ball. He isn’t an elite caliber WR1, but he is a guy we think will get you solid numbers each and every week with the occasional big game as a bonus. A week 5 match up against the Ravens top ranked pass defense is not ideal, but we still believe he will have ample opportunity to put up solid totals if healthy. Check injury report: knee (doubtful)

35. Eddie Royal (DEN) – He appears to be a hit or miss fantasy prospect this season, but we still like his overall potential most weeks. At first glance, a week 5 match up against Tampa Bay’s 21st ranked pass defense looks promising, but that may not be the case for Royal as Denver’s #2 WR. The Bucs secondary has been roasted by #1 WR’s almost every week (thus the poor ranking), but they have shut down #2 guys completely from week 1 (just look at Donald Driver’s numbers last week, Rashied Davis’s numbers in week 3 and so on and so on). We love Royal’s potential, but this match up worries us. He might be worth the risk as a WR3 and he is capable of a strong effort, but if he gets shut down, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Check injury report: ankle

36. Vincent Jackson (SD) - While Jackson continues to produce decent and steady fantasy totals each week; he hasn’t shown much promise for a monster game. The potential is there given his attributes, but it is difficult for him to get looks with so many play makers in the Chargers offense. Jackson has a great week 5 match up against a soft Miami secondary that is giving up an average of 2 receiving TD’s per game. He is worth a look as a WR3 with this match up, and if he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle as usual, a big game is not out of the question.

37. Derrick Mason (BAL) – Anyone who watched Mason on Monday night can clearly see that he is a qualified starting fantasy WR. He has yet to get into the end zone, but it is only a matter of time as he and QB Joe Flacco are definitely on the same page now. Mason actually was within a hair of getting a couple of TD’s against Pittsburgh. We definitely like him down the stretch, but a week 5 match up with Tennessee’s shut down CB Cortland Finnegan may prove difficult.

38. Anthony Gonzalez (IND) – He is probably not going to be a reliable fantasy option this season, but he has already proven that he is capable of big games. While a week 5 match up against Houston holds promise, Gonzalez’s chances for success ride solely on the arm of Peyton Manning. Manning might target him early and often or he could only throw to him a couple of times. There is no real clear cut precedent that would suggest what he will do either way. Gonzalez makes for a shaky but capable WR3 or flex start for week 5.

39. Kevin Walter (HOU) – While he is putting up some impressive numbers this season, including a huge 2 TD performance in week 4, we still aren’t completely sold on him as a consistently reliable fantasy option. He has done most of his damage while Houston’s #1 WR Andre Johnson has struggled. As soon as Johnson gets back on track, Walter’s numbers will probably dip back into the average level. He may be worth a shot in week 5 given his recent success, but a match up against Indianapolis’ 2nd ranked pass defense will probably prove difficult.

40. Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson (CIN) – He did manage to finally find the end zone in week 4 in spite of what was another otherwise forgettable fantasy day for him. Johnson will likely have Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him the ball again this week. On one hand, that is good news because Fitzpatrick did throw him his only TD of the season, but on the other hand, Johnson is struggling, and Fitzpatrick is horrible, so the likelihood of that happening again looks bleak. He will face a Dallas pass defense that has struggled of late, so that bodes well, but we have little faith in #85 these days. He is a risky WR3 at best under these circumstances.

41. Patrick Crayton (DAL) – The match up is excellent, but you can never be sure what Crayton will give you in any match up, and it could be nothing.

42. Reggie Brown (PHI) – He looked good in week 4, but he is still a long shot for a big game against Washington.

43. Deion Branch (SEA) – He allegedly looks great in practice and the potential is there, but almost a year removed from playing in actual games is a little scary. Plus, the match up is not ideal. Check injury report: knee

44. Antwaan Randle El (WAS) – A week 4 TD was promising, but a week 5 match up against the Eagles, not so much.

45. Ike Hilliard (TB) – A match up against Denver is excellent, but Hilliard will struggle for Griese’s attention.

46. Josh Reed (BUF) – He’s almost a lock for a few fantasy points against Arizona, but anything more would be surprising.

47. Greg Camarillo (MIA) – We love the match up and he is due.

48. Bryant Johnson (SF) – He’s hit or miss against a stubborn Patriots pass defense.

49. Arnaz Battle (SF) – He was impressive in week 4, but don’t count on a sequel.

50. Jabar Gaffney (NE) – He’s not reliable, but holds sleeper potential in a match up with the 49ers.


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