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Working the Waiver Wire: Starvin’ for Marvin?

Another week, another red-hot receiver lost for the season. That’s right, Brandon Gibson collected his third touchdown in his last two games, only to swiftly shred his patella tendon and is lost for the season.

Owner’s with the top waiver priority may see one obvious option at the top of the scrap heap — this is, of course, assuming that you’ve already picked up Andre Ellington as we’ve been telling you to do since September — and that is the emerging No. 2 in Cincinnati. With the Ginger Ninja Andy Dalton playing inspired football and A.J. Green drawing the attention of opposing defensive backs, Marvin Jones has been simply unstoppable. Four, count ’em, four touchdown catches came on Sunday, giving him seven for the season and six in his last three games. He’s got decent size at 6’2″ and enough speed to get the job done, but the most impressive attribute is the body control. He runs smooth routes and is able to make adjustments to the ball, as we saw on his first touchdown grab of the day.

So it’s that simple , right?

Hardly. Jones does come with a few major questions and his playing time tops the list. Though it may be hard to believe, Jones played on just 19 snaps in Week 8. That’s right, he saw 8 targets on just 19 snaps and turned that into a 36-point, four touchdown performance for those few fantasy owners who were smart enough (read: desperate enough) to call his number. Admittedly, there were a couple of factors at play and perhaps the Bengals pure dominance of the Jets and their lack of urgency to throw the ball led to such a skimpy snap count for the wideout. However, this usage pattern closely matches how Marvin has been deployed in recent weeks (26 offensive snaps in Week 6, 24 snaps in Week 8). Mohamed Sanu continues to get reps in both two and three wide-receiver sets and while Jones’ monster performance will likely earn him an uptick in playing time, the impending return of speedster Andrew Hawkins (IR, eligible to return), who recently returned to practice, will only muddy the waters.

Jones is a strong pickup this week, but is a slam dunk with that No. 1 waiver claim? Hardly. Terrence Williams in Dallas (who remains available in 26% of standard Yahoo leagues) is a more attractive player, as is the aforementioned Ellington (54% owned) as well as Rams’ running back Zac Stacy (owned in 63% of leagues). Bottom line, Jones will be near the top of most pickup lists, and if you believe that Andy Dalton has finally turned that corner, by all mean, invest heavily. But we have our doubts that Jones returns top-30 value at his position the rest of the way.

So who else would we be adding? Lets take a look.

Working the Waiver Wire

These widely available players are arranged in the order that we’d pick them if drafting today for the rest of the 2013 season, obviously team needs play a role, but we’ll leave that to you.

Andre Ellington (RB – ARI)

We warned you. This kid is going to be special. And while he may be eased into the “feature back” role, his play on the field simply demands 12+ touches a week.

Shane Vereen (RB – NE)

He’s eligible to return in Week 10 and as long as that wrist is healthy, we expect Vereen to step right back into that joker role. Making a complete mess of the Pats’ backfield.

Terrell Pryor (WR – OAK)

Pryor needed just one play to make his fantasy day in Week 8 and though he was unable to do much after a 93-yard touchdown scamper on the first play from scrimmage, Pryor is headed into a matchup with an improving-but-still-suspect Eagles defense. The legs make him a top-12 QB the rest of the way.

Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR – IND)

Freakish size and speed with a pair of bricks at the ends of his arms. We’ll have to see how the targets shake out, but DHB is in position to be an impact player down the stretch. And we’ll note, DHB falls ahead of Marvin Jones on this list.

Mike James (RB – TB)

In a brutal matchup against the Carolina Panthers last Thursday, James was relatively impressive, rushing for 39 yards on 10 totes and added 25 yards in the passing game. It doesn’t get any easier in Week 9 with a road game in Seattle, but if Doug Martin remains sidelined for the stretch run, James will have some value.

Marvin Jones (WR – CIN)

We’ll buy, but keep it within reason.

Kenny Stills (WR – NO)

Like Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson and Joseph Morgan before him, Stills is carving out a role as Drew Brees’ deep threat. What does that mean? A couple of fabulous fantasy performances as well as some maddening inconsistency.

Kris Durham (WR – DET)

It may take all 11 defenders to hold Calvin Johnson under 100 yards and who is left open on the other side?

Dexter McCluster (WR – KC)

McCluster saw double-digit targets for the first time all season in Week 8 (previous high was 5) and turned that into 7 catches, 67 yards and a score. KC needs another dimension on offense and while McCluster has underwhelmed in the past, 11 receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown over his last two games speak to a growing role.

Lance Moore (WR – NO)

Perhaps the wrist injury that bothered him earlier in the year is finally healthy, perhaps he was simply lost in the shuffle in New Orleans. Regardless, Moore has always been a sneaky good fantasy play working with Drew Brees, and oh look, he got into the end zone in Week 8.

Andre Brown (RB – NYG)

Expected to be ready to rock following the G-men’s Week 9 bye, he’ll have to wrestle his playing time way from a suprisingly effective Peyton Hillis.

Peyton Hillis (RB – NYG)

Ran well for a second straight week and the conditioning will surely improve with a bye week ahead. Andre Brown’s return, however, keeps Hillis from the top of the list. Still, we don’t expect him to be simply kicked to the curb after providing some much needed reliability as a compliment in the passing game.

Joseph Randle (RB – DAL)

Demarco Murray continues to struggle with injuries off the field while the Dallas running game struggles on the field. This is the Tony Romo show.

Daniel Thomas (RB – MIA)

Thomas’ put up his second score in as many weeks, but the backfield breakdown couldn’t be less encouraging. Lamar Miller out-carried Thomas 18 to 9 in Week 8 after Thomas put together what was arguably his finest game as a pro.

Montee Ball (RB – DEN)

We finally saw the short-yardage score that we’d been waiting for, but he remains second in line… at best.

C.J. Anderson (RB – DEN)

The rookie looked good in his debut when given opportunities and if Moreno were to go down, Anderson could very well find himself the lead back in the most explosive offense in football.

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