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Fantasy Football 2014: 5 Waiver Wire Darlings to Draft Next Season

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Fantasy Football 2014: 5 Waiver Wire Darlings to Draft Next Season

Fantasy Football 2014
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It's over. The 2013 fantasy football season is over. Congratulations if you won your league's championship. If not, then better luck next year. There was a lot to digest in the 2013 season. Franchise quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers missed a significant amount of time. Superstar players broke records like they were going out of style. Viable fantasy defenses came out of nowhere.

Speaking of coming out of nowhere, there were a ton of players that were not drafted, but put up some nice numbers and made themselves worth picking up. Guys like Nick Foles, Julius Thomas and Bobby Rainey surprised fantasy owners and experts alike with their strong performances in their first game on the field. In his first game as a starter, he had 110 yards and two touchdowns. He was a top-10 tight end ever since.

Games are won by drafting a good team. Championships are won by paying attention to the waiver wire. If you drafted a struggling quarterback like Matt Ryan, then Foles was your best friend. He finished 11th among quarterbacks, ahead of Ryan Tom Brady and other drafted quarterbacks.

In order to keep your team competitive, you need to keep tabs on players riding hot and cold streaks. It's important to drop dead weight and add more productive players. No one wants to hang onto a player who scores one to three points every game. The waiver wire is your best friend when competing for a championship.

Here are five players who started the season on the waiver wire, but finished 2013 on a lot of rosters and are worth drafting next season.

Bill Pivetz is a fantasy football writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Mr_Piv1127.

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5. Marvin Jones

Marvin Jones
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Marvin Jones was relatively quiet in the first five games of the season. He accumulated only 16 fantasy points. He then scored his first double-digit game in Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills. He scored 63 points from Week 6 to Week 8, including his four-touchdown outing. Owners then rushed to the waiver wire to pick up the second-year receiver.

He then was shut down for the next four games, scoring just seven points. Jones was able to finish the season strong. He scored a touchdown in three of the final four games and finished as the 24th-best fantasy wide receiver, despite Andy Dalton's inconsistent play.

Looking forward, Jones can be a solid No. 3 wide receiver in standard leagues. Being opposite of A.J. Green will have a lot of benefits. He may have to worry about Andrew Hawkins and Mohamed Sanu, but not much. Jones should be drafted no earlier than the eighth round.

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4. Keenan Allen

Keenan Allen
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Just like with Jones, Keenan Allen was a non-factor in the first four games. He then broke out in Week 5 with 115 yards and a touchdown. He followed that up with 107 yards and another score. Allen was one of the most added players after that game. He finished the season with an 86.2 owned percentage in leagues.

There's no doubt Allen is the No. 1 receiver for the San Diego Chargers. Philip Rivers targeted him often in the red zone. Allen scored five touchdowns in the final three games, including a pair of two-touchdown games. He finished with over 1,000 yards and the 16th-best fantasy wide receiver.

Allen is a clear-cut No. 2 fantasy wide receiver. He could go as early as the fourth round, but the fifth or sixth is a little more reasonable.

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3. Zac Stacy

Zac Stacy
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The St. Louis Rams began the season with Daryl Richardson as their running back. He and Isaiah Pead didn't last long and Zac Stacy took his spot in the starting lineup. In his first two games, Stacy rushed 32 times for 157 yards. His big breakout game came in Week 9 where he had 127 yards and two touchdowns, but he was already owned in most leagues at this point.

Despite not scoring a single point in the first four weeks, Stacy finished 2013 with 973 rushing yards, seven touchdowns and 15th among running backs. His 26 receptions for 141 yards helped the Rams find a rhythm in the passing game as well.

The Rams would be mistaken to draft a running back in the first round as Stacy looks to be an every-down running back. For me, Stacy is a borderline No. 1 back. He will be taken in the middle of the second round.

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2. Andre Ellington

Andre Ellington
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Rashard Mendenhall was the No. 1 back for the Arizona Cardinals. However, Andre Ellington made himself known and proved he has more upside in the future. Ellington surpassed 1,000 offensive yards (652 rushing and 371 receiving). Although he only finished with four total touchdowns, Ellington lead all running backs with 5.5 yards per carry.

Ellington's value will increase during the offseason as Mendenhall is a free-agent-to-be. The Cardinals kept Ellington on a snap count because of previous injuries. Entering Week 17, he only took 37 percent of the snaps. If the Cardinals decide to let him go, Ellington could enter 2014 as the No. 1 back with Stepfan Taylor as the change-of-pace back.

As of right now, Ellington will be best served as an RB3 or flex. If Mendenhall does not re-sign, he becomes a low-end RB2. Draft him in the eighth round for some running back depth.

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1. Charles Clay

Charles Clay
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The tight end position was the hardest to keep up with all season. There were the typical names like Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski (for a few weeks) and Vernon Davis. However, guys like Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron came out of nowhere.

There was one tight end who made more of an impact for their team — Charles Clay. Once Dustin Keller went down, the Miami Dolphins needed someone to fill his place and Clay did a great job. He ended with 69 catches for 759 yards and six touchdowns and the seventh-most fantasy points for a tight end.

Heading into 2014, the tight end position is a little shallow. Gronk is injured again and Tony Gonzalez is retiring. Clay can be drafted as a legitimate TE1 as a late-round steal.