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updated: 10/31/2013 8:42 PM

Bengals' Jones a fantasy game-changer?

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  • Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones spikes the ball after catching 1 of his 4 TD passes last week against the Jets.

      Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones spikes the ball after catching 1 of his 4 TD passes last week against the Jets.
    Associated Press

  • Is Bengals WR Marvin Jones the player that explodes on the scene midway through the season to lift the fortunes of fantasy football teams lucky enough to have grabbed him? Time will tell, but right now fantasy writer John Dietz says to view Jones as a WR3, a guy you are probably starting but not a verified star just yet.

      Is Bengals WR Marvin Jones the player that explodes on the scene midway through the season to lift the fortunes of fantasy football teams lucky enough to have grabbed him? Time will tell, but right now fantasy writer John Dietz says to view Jones as a WR3, a guy you are probably starting but not a verified star just yet.
    Associated Press

  • Saints WR Kenny Stills, despite a big day against the Bills last week, is probably too risky to be placed into fantasy football starting lineups.

      Saints WR Kenny Stills, despite a big day against the Bills last week, is probably too risky to be placed into fantasy football starting lineups.
    Associated Press

 
 

Every year it happens.

A player or two that nobody even thought of drafting in August comes of age and significantly changes the fortunes of whichever fantasy football team was smart enough to pick him up.

•In 2012, there were numerous examples: San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick, Colts WR T.Y. Hilton, San Francisco WR Michael Crabtree and Chargers WR Danario Alexander (fifth in fantasy points among WRs from Weeks 10-17).

•In 2011, Oakland's Michael Bush scored the seventh-most points among RBs after Week 6.

•In 2010, Tampa Bay's LeGarrette Blount rumbled for 905 yards and scored five times starting in Week 8.

•In 2009, Dallas' Miles Austin caught 10 TD passes from Weeks 5-15, and Miami's Ricky Williams had 10 TDs from Weeks 7-15.

So has the immortal Marvin Jones just added his name to this list? One owner in my auction league certainly thinks so as he spent $16 of his available $30 in free-agent pickup money on Jones this week.

Jones, a fifth-round pick out of Cal, set a Bengals record with 4 TD receptions last week and has 15 catches for 250 yards with 6 TDs since Week 6. The fact he went so low in the NFL draft has motivated the rookie.

"I don't think about that too much, but when somebody mentions it I start thinking about it and I start going back to that day and stuff," Jones told reporters earlier this week. "So it does. Every once in a while when I think of it, it does get me a little edgy."

Here's the catch with Jones at this point: He was only on the field for 19 snaps against the Jets and before that game he was never targeted more than six times.

Still, from a fantasy standpoint, it's tough to ignore what Jones has done and what some of his teammates are saying about him, especially all-pro WR A.J. Green.

"That guy plays with a chip on his shoulder like no other," he said. "He got drafted in the fifth round but you turn on the tape and see some of the plays he makes, he's a first-rounder."

Jones certainly has the potential to be this year's midseason breakout star, justifying the pretty penny many of you may have had to spend to get your hands on him.

At this point, I view him as a WR3 -- a guy I'm almost definitely playing in leagues where three wideouts are in starting lineups, and certainly a fabulous play for when you lose starters to injuries or bye weeks.

What about Stills?

Another hot pickup has been Saints WR Kenny Stills, a fifth-round pick out of Oklahoma who just burned the Bills for 129 yards and 2 scores last week.

The problem I have with Stills is that he's about the fourth/fifth option for Drew Brees behind Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, Darren Sproles and (maybe) Lance Moore.

Stills is a receiver more in the mold of Devery Henderson or Robert Meachem -- guys who can explode at any moment but can also give you about 1 catch for 23 yards.

Stills may be a great play this week, though, as the Saints just happen to be playing the Jets -- the team Marvin Jones just torched for 4 TDs.

But overall, Stills should be viewed as a WR4/5 until further notice.

My teams: Another split. The auction league team (5-3) dropped an 83-67 decision with good games from Tony Romo (19 points) and the Denver D (12). The regular team (3-5) exploded with a 120-38 win thanks to Cam Newton (31), Golden Tate (24) and the newly-acquired Darren McFadden (19), who was quite the waiver-wire find!

Good bets

•Panthers QB Cam Newton vs. Atlanta. In two games against the Falcons last season, Newton had 6 total TDs, threw for 502 yards and ran for 202.

•Chiefs QB Alex Smith at Buffalo. Ryan Tannehill (3), Andy Dalton (3) and Drew Brees (5) have throw 11 TD passes in the last three weeks against the Bills. The guess here is Smith gets you 220-240 yards and at least 2 TD passes, a serviceable performance for those of you missing Peyton Manning or Matthew Stafford.

•Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell at New England. Only the Jaguars have allowed more yards on the ground than the Pats.

•Patriots RB Stevan Ridley vs. Pittsburgh. Check this out: New England is averaging a ridiculous 26 attempts per game on the ground with its running backs. Ridely's got a good chance to hit double-digit fantasy points again this week.

•Seahawks WR Golden Tate vs. Tampa Bay. Tate owners should be excited that he's averaging 61 yards and 7.5 targets the last six games. Sidney Rice's season-ending injury will also open up more opportunities for Tate, even with Percy Harvin coming back as early as this week.

•Chargers WR Keenan Allen at Washington. The rookie (92 ypg last four) should be in nearly all lineups against this ghastly defense.

•Saints defense at N.Y. Jets. Take out Atlanta in Week 5 and here are the numbers defenses have compiled against the Jets since Week 4: 4 touchdowns, 16 sacks, 7 INTs and 2 fumble recoveries. And, the Bengals and Steelers held New York under 10 points. All-in on the Saints this week.

Bad bets

•Falcons QB Matt Ryan and WR Harry Douglas at Carolina. Six. That's how many TD passes the Panthers have allowed in seven games.

•Patriots QB Tom Brady vs. Pittsburgh. Think Brady doesn't want Wes Welker back?

•Skins RB Alfred Morris vs. San Diego. The only feature back to manage better than 9 fantasy points vs. the Chargers this season is LeSean McCoy.

•Bills RB Fred Jackson and WR Stevie Johnson vs. Kansas City. No team has scored more than 17 points on the Chiefs yet and Buffalo won't break that streak.

•Browns TE Jordan Cameron vs. Baltimore. After a hot start, Cameron (1 TD last four) has cooled down considerably.

•Texans defense vs. Indy. The Colts don't make many mistakes, so find another unit this week if possible.

jdietz@dailyherald.com

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