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Waiver Wire Watch: Players to Pick Up Before Week 2

Chris Morgan

Chris Morgan

Chris Morgan is a writer of sports, pop culture, and humor articles, a book author, a podcaster, and a fan of all Detroit sports teams.

Each week we will highlight the best options for owners to consider picking up as waiver wire options.

ACC

Conner Vernon, WR, Duke
Vernon was very productive as a freshman last year, and he seems to have taken another step forward this year. He caught ten passes for 129 yards against Elon in Week 1, and he has a good quarterback in Sean Renfree throwing him the ball. Because Duke's defense isn't going to stop anybody, you know the Blue Devils will be throwing the ball a lot all year.

Keith Payne, RB, Virginia
Payne is caught up in a running back rotation, but as a power and short-yardage specialist he stands out at Virginia. He ran for 114 yards and four touchdowns against Richmond, so he might be pulling away as the lead back, too. Payne reportedly had an offer from Virginia Tech coming out of high school, so he might be more talented than the typical Virginia runner.

Big 12

Lyle Leong, WR, Texas Tech
Leong had been dealing with a concussion heading into this year, but he showed he was completely over it when he caught 11 passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns against SMU. Texas Tech wide receivers are usually inconsistent, but they have high upside every week. Leong has a bit of an advantage over his competition because Taylor Potts was his quarterback in high school, too.

Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Last season, Nebraska struggled to find good quarterback play. But Martinez, a freshman, stepped in Week 1 and rushed for 127 yards and three touchdowns while also throwing for 136 yards, making the Cornhuskers offense suddenly worth noting fantasy wise. Now he just needs to do it against someone that isn't Western Kentucky.

Big East

Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville
Most of Powell's 153 yards came on one 80-yard scamper, but doing it against an SEC defense is always impressive. His total was one of the best in the country in Week 1, and there's reason to believe he might be legitimate. Beware of Victor Anderson making another push for the starting spot, however.

Jock Sanders, WR, West Virginia
Sanders' numbers weren't among the most impressive in week one, but he did catch eight passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Plus, he had one run for 31 yards, and hes gotten plenty of carries in the past despite being a receiver. In a Big East that looks like it might be week this year, Sanders could find himself in plenty of favorable matchups.

Big Ten

Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
This might be an obvious suggestion, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good one. Robinson ran for 197 yards and passed for another 186 yards against Connecticut, and he made it look easy. Anybody who saw the Connecticut game can vouch for his speed, and it looks like Robinson could be one of the breakout players in college football this season.

Damarlo Belcher, WR, Indiana
Belcher is a mammoth wideout who could be the No. 1 target of Ben Chappell as long as Tandon Doss is limited due to a stomach injury. Belcher approached 100 yards and a touchdown in just about a half of football against Towson, and his strong finish to 2009 shows he's a player on the rise.

Conference USA

Dominique Davis, QB, East Carolina
This is a team that is going to sling the ball around this season and could be in store for a bunch of shootouts. Davis might not pass for 383 yards and five touchdowns every week like he did against Tulsa, but his numbers should be gaudy nevertheless.

David Isabelle, QB, UAB
If you were watching UAB take on Florida Atlantic, you might have assumed that Joe Webb was still playing for the Blazers. You might have thought that, surely, UAB wouldn't be so lucky as to go from one incredibly dangerous runner at quarterback to another without missing a beat. But it was Isabelle, not the longtime UAB juggernaut Webb, who ran for 214 yards and three touchdowns while throwing for 79 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Isabelle has a long way to go before he's as good of a passer as Webb was, but his running ability is surreal.

Independents

Dayne Crist, QB, Notre Dame
This isn't as much about Crist's Week 1 performance as his future potential. Crist did play well against Purdue in Notre Dame's opener, passing for 205 yards and a touchdown, but it is the promise of Brian Kelly's offense that really drives the Crist bandwagon.

MAC

Dwayne Priest, RB, Eastern Michigan
The Army run defense was actually fairly tough in 2009, but Priest ran right over it with ease on Saturday. He took 26 carries for 142 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, and that combination of workload and productivity has him looking like a legitimate feature back in the MAC.

Marcus Rivers, WR, Buffalo
Rivers hauled in ten passes for 155 yards and a touchdown in Buffalo's season opener. Yes they were playing the Rams of Rhode Island, but those are the kind of numbers you shouldn't ignore, especially since it is quite clear Rivers was a frequent target of quarterback Jerry Davis.

Mountain West

Ed Wesley, RB, TCU
Wesley rushed for 134 yards on 17 carries against a ranked Oregon State team to open the season, while scoring a touchdown as well. Granted, preseason rankings don't mean all that much, but Oregon State's run defense is legitimate, so Wesley has shown he's up for the toughest of tasks.

Jordan Wynn, QB, Utah
Wynn was pretty good last season as a freshman after taking the reins of Utah's offense. This year, he began the season by throwing for 283 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against a tough Pittsburgh defense. That's a good sign he could be ready to build on last year.

Pac-10

Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Look, just because USC can't go to a bowl game this year doesn't mean their stats don't count for fantasy. Barkley opened up the season by throwing for five touchdowns against Hawaii, and there's no reason to think that he won't live up to his hype this season.

Marc Tyler, RB, USC
Allen Bradford will make his presence known in the USC backfield as well, but Tyler proved he was the real deal against Hawaii. Tyler offers a rare amount of athleticism for a back pushing 230 pounds, and his explosiveness complements Bradford's power running. Both players might go over 1,000 yards this year.

SEC

Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
The Razorbacks figure to be a team that throws the ball around this season, and although Greg Childs is probably the best receiver on the team, Adams' six-reception, 138-yard, two-touchdown performance in Week 1 seems to indicate there will be plenty to go around.

Chad Bumphis, WR, Mississippi State
There's no doubt that Bumphis is one of the most talented receivers in the country, but his offense's inability to throw the ball was expected to limit his value this year. But he took four catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns against Memphis in Week 1, and quarterback Tyler Russell was a major improvement as a passer compared to what the team had in the past. If Russell can keep throwing it well, Bumphis will produce.

Sun Belt

Nathan Tune, QB, North Texas
Although Tune threw two interceptions to one touchdown in Week 1, it was hard to not be encouraged by his performance. Clemson always has one of the nation's tougher defenses and, despite taking five sacks in the game, Tune completed 65.5 percent of his passes and averaged 8.3 yards per attempt. The North Texas spread will force Tune to throw it a lot, making him a decent depth pickup at quarterback in deeper leagues.

Ryan Aplin, QB, Arkansas State
It's hard to find good performances for Sunbelt teams in the early weeks of college football, as they are using performing the role of cupcake for larger, more talented teams. However, Aplin's 278-yard, one-touchdown performance against Auburn shows that he might have some potential once the schedule gets more favorable.

WAC

Ryan Colburn, QB, Fresno State
Colburn was shaky as a starter in 2009, but he was spectacular in Week 1 against Cincinnati. He completed 18-of-24 passes for 247 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in a performance that rivaled that of any other quarterback in the country. He appears to have stepped up his game significantly.

DeMarco Sampson, WR, San Diego State
Sampson started the season off with a big game, catching seven passes for 179 yards and two scores. Last season, he caught 62 passes for 851 yards and eight touchdowns, so if he can even equal that this season he's worth a shot. He's drawing favorable matchups due to the presence of Vincent Brown, and that should continue.

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