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Risers and Fallers - Week 5

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Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals - Andrew Hawkins

At this point we already know the worth of A.J. Green, Andy Dalton and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Their values won’t diminish if they have a quiet day here in Week 5. Outside of the established Bengals, though, there is an entire universe of uncertainty. After four games, the question still remains as to who the second receiving target is?

During the preseason, many argued that Muhamad Sanu would be that player. Then it appeared that Jermaine Gresham would pick up the slack. At times, even Armon Binns looked to be the guy. Someone has to stand up and earn the targets that Green doesn’t get. Andrew Hawkins could take that role here. The Dolphins are surprisingly good against the run and could force the Bengals to attack through the air. Hawkins could be in for a lot of looks if that turns out to be the case. He’s an extremely fast, shifty receiver who is closely reminiscent of Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson. Hawkins is a threat to take any pass the complete scoring distance and could have ample opportunity to do so this week. His 250 yards and two scores in four games are a great indication that he is up for a bump in looks.

Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts - Jordy Nelson

Greg Jennings will be unable to suit up against the Colts. It really is a downer for Jennings owners as these are the types of matchups you look forward to all season. But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure as Nelson could be set for a big increase in production. Nelson had a goal line grab last week, but is still aching to find his 2011 talent. Given the nature of the competition and sudden addition of added looks, he could be ready to blast back into Top 10 wide receiver consideration.

Nelson blew up last year when Jennings missed a stretch of games, including a three-touchdown day with backup Matt Flynn at the helm. Owners will be hoping that rings true once again here in Week 5. This should be an incredibly easy outing for Nelson. If he doesn’t provide owners with a big game, it could be time to hit the panic button. What more could we possibly ask for outside of this scenario? Everything is lining up in Nelson’s favor here, and if he can’t pull through with a top tier outing, owners may be forced to start shopping for more reliable options.

Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs - Torrey Smith

After just four weeks, Torrey Smith has asserted himself as a top end wide receiver. When it comes to consistent production, Smith is right at the top of the class with the likes of A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson. Smith could be in for a fantasy MVP award if he keeps this pace up all season long. Quarterback Joe Flacco looks to be the 2012 Eli Manning in that he took a huge step forward from the previous year to now. Smith is firing on all cylinders here, catching everything thrown his way. He’s being used in short routes, in the red zone, and as the main deep ball threat. Smith is one of those receivers who can contribute with eight catches for 100 yards or two catches for 100 yards. His production isn’t necessarily completely reliant on the explosive play, but it is an added bonus.

There are few wide receivers in the NFL that offer as much upside on a weekly basis as Smith does. The Chiefs will have their hands full here. If Smith can keep his momentum going, he’ll likely remain in the Top 10 wide receiver ranks for the rest of the year.

Cleveland Browns at New York Giants - Domenik Hixon

The Giants have had only two constants in their passing game in 2012 in Victor Cruz and Martellus Bennett. Outside of them, Eli Manning has been bouncing from player to player trying to establish additional threats. The latest news of from Giants coach Tom Coughlin in regards to Hakeem Nicks isn’t great.

The Giants elite receiver has missed significant time early in 2012 and is likely to miss this outing as well. Nicks’ vacancy creates the need for someone to step up and earn a role moving forward. At one time, it looked as though Ramses Barden would be that player. Instead, he took a step back and now even he is uncertain to play due to a head injury suffered in Week 4. Hixon has a “giant” chance to repeat last week’s 100-yard game thanks once again to circumstance. Not only will the Giants be down two options at wide receiver, but they will be facing the Cleveland Browns.

Hixon makes for a great bye week fill in here and could propel his stock if he mirrors last week’s numbers. Hixon could earn the open spot left by Mario Manningham and remain productive even when Nicks returns to the field. Or he could just slip into the background like Barden. He has the chance to move up from a replacement option to a possible weekly WR3.



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