Fantasy Football Week 5: Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, Christian Ponder primed for big games

October 4, 2012

Andy Dalton’s 103 quarterback rating is fifth-best in the NFL and the Dolphins struggle against the pass. (Alex Brandon / AP)

Brian Hartline, Roddy White, Andre Roberts.

Those were the top three wide receivers in standard scoring league last week. One of them was likely one of the top-five pass-catchers drafted in your league. The other two were still free agents in most leagues before this week.

Hartline and Roberts are more evidence that even in deeper leagues, there is always value to be found on the waiver wire. So who could break out for a Hartline-like scoring binge in Week 5? Keep reading to find out.

The Cowboys, Lions, Bucs and Raiders are all on their bye this week, so if you haven’t already figured out an alternative for five-pick Tony or struggling Darren McFadden, we’re here to help.

Thursday night game

Cardinals at Rams: Cardinals defense

Undefeated Arizona is third in the NFL in fewest points allowed (15.4). St. Louis has the seventh-lowest scoring average (19.8 ppg) and is ranked sixth from last in total offense (287 ypg).

  • Deep threat: Rams QB Sam Bradford – Arizona’s defense is legit, but the Cardinals let Ryan Tannehill throw for 431 yards against them last week. If Bradford can get a little protection – and that’s asking a lot from an offensive line that has already given up 14 sacks – he could have a decent night.

The 1 p.m. games

Browns at Giants: Giants defense

The Browns are averaging the sixth fewest points per game (18.2) this season and have a rookie quarterback in Brandon Weeden, so look for the Giants to bring heavy pressure and focus on stopping RB Trent Richardson.

  • Deep threat: Browns WR Greg Little – We picked the second-year wideout as our deep threat last week and he delivered 77 yards on four catches (and one minus-2-yard pass play). You’re not going to feel confident starting any Brown after Richardson, but Little should see some targets if Cleveland falls behind early.

Dolphins at Bengals: Bengals QB Andy Dalton

Dalton has thrown for 890 yards and eight touchdowns over his last three starts while the Dolphins are coming off a game in which they allowed 324 passing yards to the Cardinals’ Kevin Kolb.

  • Deep threat: Dolphins WR Davone Bess – If he wasn’t already owned, chances are Brian Hartline was one of the top waiver-wire picks in your league this week. But Bess was nearly as productive with 7 catches for 123 yards. He’s always been a PPR option, and if the Bengals focus on Hartline, Bess should benefit.

Eagles at Steelers: Steelers TE Heath Miller

As one of QB Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets in the red zone, Miller has four touchdowns through three games and ranks sixth among tight ends in fantasy points per game (12.3).

  • Deep threat: Eagles TE Brent Celek – Second on the team in targets and catches, Celek could be a sneaky play against a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed two tight end touchdown receptions in three games.

Despite what some fantasy analysts would lead you to believe, Michael Turner isn’t done just yet. (John Bazemore / AP)

Falcons at Redskins: Falcons RB Michael Turner

With all the attention paid to WRs Roddy White and Julio Jones, Turner probably won’t face an extra defender at the line of scrimmage given the Redskins’ suspect and injured secondary.

  • Deep threat: Redskins RB Ryan Grant – File this in the “if you’re desperate” playbook. No, Grant is not on Washington’s game-day roster at the moment, but with Evan Royster banged up, he could see some action Sunday as the Redskins look to control the clock against the high-flying Falcons.

Packers at Colts: Colts WR Reggie Wayne

The Packers’ offense appears back on track, so this one could get out of hand early and force the Colts to pass. That means plenty of opportunities for Wayne, who has 23 targets through three games.

  • Deep threat: Packers WR James Jones – By now, James should be owned in all leagues, and with Greg Jennings on the shelf for at least a couple weeks, now is his chance to shed his pass-dropper reputation and shine with Aaron Rodgers chucking the ball his way.

Ravens at Chiefs: Ravens QB Joe Flacco

Flacco is third in the league in passing yards and presumably well rested after last playing on Sept. 27. He also draws a pass defense giving up the eighth most fantasy points (24.6) to quarterbacks.

  • Deep threat: Chiefs WR Jon Baldwin – The rookie had his most active day yet in that blowout loss at San Diego – 4 catches, 50 yards – and is a good bet to get more garbage time work if KC is playing catch up.

Titans at Vikings: QB Christian Ponder

Although Ponder hasn’t thrown for 300 yards this year, he could be poised for a breakout game against the a pass defense ranked 27th and that has allowed 25.1 fantasy points (seventh most) to quarterbacks.

  • Deep threat: Titans WR Kendall Wright – The rookie leads Tennessee in targets (33) and has scored in two of the last three weeks. If Kenny Britt is out again, Wright makes for a decent flex play.

The  4 p.m. games

Bears at Jaguars: Bears defense

The Bears have the fifth ranked defense in the NFL while the Jaguars are last in the league in total offense and second to last in passing, meaning it could be a long afternoon for Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert.

  • Deep threat: Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon – Look, another rookie wide receiver! Blackmon has been a giant disappointment so far, but he caught six balls last week, which could be a sign that he and Blaine Gabbert are developing chemistry. You’re not starting him unless you’re extremely desperate, but the Jags don’t give us much to work with.

Seahawks at Panthers: Panthers TE Greg Olsen

Olsen is first on the Panthers and fifth in the league among tight ends in targets (31) and has combined for 13 catches for 187 yards and one touchdown over the last two weeks.

  • Deep threat: Seahawks WR Sidney Rice: Regular season Russell Wilson looks nothing like preseason Russell Wilson, to the surprise of no one outside of Seattle. But they have to throw the ball some, and at least Rice is healthy for a change. 

Scott Chandler. Touchdown machine. Man of the people. Nice upside play against the Niners. (Gary Wiepert / AP)

Bills at 49ers: 49ers QB Alex Smith

Smith isn’t a regular QB1 in most fantasy lineups, but he’s a fine bye-week play against the Bills, who have to travel across country with a porous defense that gives up the fifth most fantasy points (25.8) to quarterbacks.

  • Deep threat: Bills TE Scott Chandler – The guy is on pace for 16 touchdown catches this season and his quarterback leads the NFL in touchdown passes. Yeah, that’d be Ryan Fitzpatrick, who already has 12 TDs this season.

Broncos at Patriots: WR Wes Welker

After a slow beginning, Welker has 17 receptions for 271 yards and a touchdown, including nine for 129 last Sunday as the Patriots’ offense got rolling at the expense of the Buffalo Bills.

  • Deep threat: Broncos TE Jacob Tamme – The Patriots had a tough time marking Scott Chandler last week and the Bills don’t have the kind of weapons at receiver that Denver does is Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. That makes Tamme a nice upside play.

Sunday night game

Chargers at Saints: WR Marques Colston

Colston finally appeared fully healthy last Sunday, catching nine passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. Fantasy owners can expect another big day as QB Drew Brees goes for the NFL record of 48 straight games with a touchdown pass.

  • Deep threat: Chargers RB Jackie Battle – Ryan Mathews should be able to work his way out of Norv Turner’s doghouse against New Orleans’ dreadful D, but Battle continues to get the goalline work.

Monday night game


The Jets’ offense stinks. It could be marginally better with Powell more involved. (Don Wright / AP)

Texans at Jets: Texans defense

The Texans are second in total defense and allow the fewest points per game in the NFL (14). The Jets, meantime, own the fifth worst offense and have averaged 11 points in the last three games.

  • Deep threat: Jets RB Bilal Powell – Houston’s defense is playing lights-out and with the loss of Santonio Holmes, the Jets no longer have a single player you can feel good about starting week-to-week. That said, Powell is averaging 3.8 yards per carry to Shonn Greene’s 2.8, and at some point, Rex Ryan has to reward him for it.

Have a sit/start question? Send us a tweet or ask it in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Follow us: @gene_wang | @MattBrooksWP

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