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The Feeding Frenzy

Now that injuries are mounting up and we’re in the middle of seven straight bye weeks, shrewd waiver wire moves are as important as ever. I’ve received e-mails from owners who have suffered a number of damaging injuries to their fantasy teams. While injuries can’t be avoided, picking up and passing on the right waiver wire candidates certainly can help get your team back on the right track.

With guys like Felix Jones going down and Brandon Lloyd being traded, here’s my take on the players who’ll be the hot waiver wire targets this week:

John Beck, QB, Washington

After a decent start to the season, Rex Grossman likely sealed his fate this past Sunday when he threw four interceptions against Philadelphia.

Beck came in and sparked the offense, completing 8-of-15 passes for 117 yards. Beck also rushed for a touchdown, and after being stymied all day long the offense looked completely different with him under center. Coach Mike Shanahan likes to play coy but it would be a shocker if Beck didn’t start this week against Carolina.

Beck hasn’t started a game since 2007 so he’s far from a viable fantasy option at the moment. However, Beck’s presence could be a boost to Santana Moss and Washington’s other offensive weapons. Beck has a much stronger arm than Grossman so there’s a chance Moss and Co. will make more big plays than they did when Grossman was the starter.

Don’t expect Beck to come in and be a world beater but overall the Redskins’ passing game could improve in the long run.

The Final Call

: Beck is worth a shot in two-quarterback leagues but there are a lot better options available in standard 12-team leagues.

Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis

The former first-round draft pick actually showed signs of life on Sunday against a very stingy Cincinnati defense. Brown rushed for 35 yards and a score on just five carries. He also caught two passes for 16 yards.

Brown has been a major disappointment since being drafted in Round 1 three years ago. He’s shown brief flashes but injuries and dancing around too much in the backfield have really hurt his chances of getting on the field more.

Joseph Addai could return this week, and even with him out Brown got five carries, compared to Delone Carter’s 14. It’s hard to imagine that Brown’s role in the offense will increase with Addai and Carter both ahead of him on the depth chart. For one week, though, Brown was the most productive running back on the field for the Colts.

The Final Call

: Brown is still a longshot to make a fantasy impact at this point so take a pass unless you play in a very deep league and are desperate for running back help.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas – Felix Jones suffered yet another injury on Sunday when he went down with a high ankle sprain. It’s been one thing after another for Jones throughout his career and now the door could be opening for Murray.

Tashard Choice is still around to vulture some carries, but the Cowboys have never been all that high on Choice. He was even on the trading block before the injury to Jones. That means Murray will get the first opportunity to carry the load in Dallas.

The Cowboys are hurting along the offensive line right now. Starting left guard Bill Nagy fractured his ankle and he’ll miss the remainder of the season, so running room could be tough to come by for Murray.

However, Murray’s biggest asset is his versatility. At Oklahoma, Murray was arguably more valuable as a receiver than a runner. He has great hands and that will really add to his fantasy value in points per reception leagues.

With Jones sidelined for at least a couple of games, Murray will get a chance to show what he can do. Because of his receiving skills, Jones could actually provide more fantasy value than Jones has so far this year, depending on your scoring system. Plus, the Cowboys already had their bye, so Murray makes for a nice fill-in if one of your stud backs are out.

The Final Call

: Murray should be one of the most sought after free agents this week. I have the top waiver priority in my league and I will be using it to grab Murray. I actually think he’ll end up being a better fantasy player than Jones

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