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Fantasy Fodder: The fifth pick, Vikings and more

The consensus among fantasy football pundits is that there is a big four -- Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Ray Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew -- when it comes to the start of fantasy drafts. (That's how I rank them, but you can shake them up however you'd like.)

But what should you do if you're stuck with the fifth pick in your draft? (Well, besides punching your keyboard or cursing out your laptop.)

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After the four guys I just mentioned, there's a big debate over which running back is the fifth best in fantasy. Steven Jackson, Frank Gore and Michael Turner are all in the discussion. But you could also take a wide receiver (Andre Johnson) or a quarterback (Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers) with the fifth pick in your draft.

According to ESPN's live draft results, Brees is fifth in average draft position (ADP) at 7.1 behind Rice's 4.8. The order after Brees is Jackson (7.5), Johnson (8.1), Gore (8.1) and Turner (9.1).

If I find myself in this situation over the weekend in one of my drafts, I know exactly who I'm taking. And you know what? I think I'd actually feel pretty good about my selection. 

I'd go with Turner. The 28-year-old Falcons running back was a top-three selection a year ago after a monster 2008 season (1,699 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns). But after surpassing the 350-carry threshold in his breakout campaign, Turner battled a high ankle sprain, missed five games and turned out to be a major fantasy disappointment even though he finished with 10 touchdowns.

Reports out of Atlanta say that Turner is healthy, fresh and has a bounce in his step. And if quarterback Matt Ryan continues to develop in his third season, the Falcons offense should be pretty formidable in 2010. That's good news for Turner and those who own him.

If I didn't take Turner, I'd go with Johnson, who is far and away the best option at receiver. No. 5 is way too early to take a quarterback. And injuries give me pause when it comes to Jackson and Gore.

You tell me: Who would you take with the fifth pick in your fantasy draft?

Post-waffling Vikings adjustments:

Brett Favre is back, which doesn't surprise anyone. But we now have to adjust our draft rankings with Favre leading the Vikings offense instead of Tavaris Jackson.

I had Favre ranked as my No. 20 quarterback when I published my rankings, but that was a couple of days after the news broke that he had texted his teammates about retiring. If I were to redo my rankings today, I'd have Favre at No. 8 between Matt Schaub and Jay Cutler.

Adrian Peterson remains my No. 1 running back, and Visanthe Shiancoe is still in the 8-10 range when it comes to my tight ends (he's too boom-or-bust for my liking).

As for the wideouts, the players most affected by Favre's return, they are tough to predict. The reason? Injuries. Sidney Rice is on the PUP list with a hip injury and Percy Harvin is battling migraines. If healthy, Rice is capable of being a top-10 receiver and Harvin would make a solid No. 2 or a great No. 3.

Bernard Berrian, who didn't really click with Favre a year ago, stands to benefit the most, especially if Rice and Harvin aren't at 100 percent. He's got the speed to be a popular downfield target for Favre. Take a late-round flyer on Berrian. It could pay off big-time.

More draft trends:

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1. Joe Flacco's strong performance against the Panthers (8-for-12, 120 yards, 1 TD) has him on the rise again. His ADP is up 5.6 over the past week to 54.2. That's crazy. Would you take Flacco ahead of Tony Romo or Favre?

2. Cedric Benson is hot property, too, as a 10.7 bump in ADP has him as the 11th back according to ESPN's live draft results. He leapfrogged Shonn Greene, Knowshon Moreno and Ryan Mathews.

3. Jonathan Stewart could end up being the steal of your draft. His ADP has dropped to 40.7, 19th among running backs. If you get this guy in the fourth round, head to Vegas -- or Delaware Park -- as soon as your draft is over.

4. Speaking of unlikely sleepers, Chargers wideout Malcom Floyd (134.2 ADP) continues to fly under the fantasy radar even as Vincent Jackson's contract stalemate continues.

5. Who needs cornerbacks? The Ravens D/ST has been coming off the board second, a whopping 35 picks behind the Jets (65.4 ADP). I guess those seven sacks against the Panthers caught the attention of fantasy owners.

My weekly Fantasy Fodder column will run in some fashion on the Virtual Vensanity blog every Wednesday. E-mail your fantasy questions to matt@btheite.com, Tweet them to twitter.com/mattvensel or leave them in the comments section below. Carrier pigeons are also acceptable.

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