Duke Johnson, RB, Miami (FL)
If his dominant showing against Virginia Tech was any indication, Johnson appears to be over the turf toe injury that slowed him down at the start of the season's second month. After failing to average 3.4 yards per carry or better in four straight games, Johnson lit up the Hokies on Saturday, running for 100 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries while totaling 118 yards on two kick returns. The explosiveness is back, and as a result Johnson is poised for a strong finish. He takes on Virginia, South Florida and Duke to close out his highly impressive freshman year.
James Wilder, RB, Florida State
Devonta Freeman is probably the main back to own for Florida State, but Wilder looks like a decent option in deep leagues, as he has 21 carries and two touchdowns the last two weeks. Since he's much bigger (6-foot-2, 226) than Freeman (5-9, 209), Wilder is a good bet to make his presence felt in the red zone consistently. Indeed, even with Chris Thompson stealing the show in the Florida State backfield for much of the year, Wilder already has 10 touchdowns (two receiving) on the year.
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
It appears the Baylor coaching staff is finally coming around on Seastrunk. After making him sit behind veteran runners Jarred Salubi and Glasco Martin to start this year, Baylor has called Seastrunk's number 31 times the last three weeks on the ground. Salubi and Martin, meanwhile, saw just 27 and 30 carries over that span, respectively. Coming off a breakout game against Kansas in which he ran for 103 yards on 17 carries and caught five passes for 91 yards and a touchdown, Seastrunk is a must-own in Big 12-only leagues and is a justifiable pickup in other formats, too.
Clint Chelf, QB, Oklahoma State
Incumbent starter Wes Lunt suffered what was feared to be a concussion against Kansas State on Saturday, and even aside from the injury, Lunt was outplayed by both J.W. Walsh and Chelf. With Walsh out for the year, though, Chelf is the one who will step in for Lunt if he's too hurt to play this week against West Virginia's weak pass defense. In such a scenario he's worth a gamble start in most formats, because a shootout almost certainly awaits. Chelf has some dual-threat skills, and he completed 16-of-27 passes for 233 yards, one touchdown and one interception against Kansas State while running for 33 yards on four carries.
Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse
The Syracuse passing game is on fire, and Lemon is one of the main reasons. Although a leg injury derailed the early part of his season, he's healthy and on a roll the last three weeks, totaling 307 yards and three touchdowns on 20 catches over the span. With Marcus Sales (722 yards, seven touchdowns this year) serving as the primary worry for opposing defenses, Lemon should continue to capitalize on favorable coverage.
Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Following a six-interception collapse against the MAC's Kent State two weeks ago, Rutgers likely will make it a point to establish its passing game to build the confidence of quarterback Gary Nova, who no doubt isn't feeling so good after his horrible showing against Kent State. Luckily for Nova, he faces an Army defense Saturday that allows 9.5 yards per pass. As Nova's No. 1 receiver, Coleman should have a nice showing this week, too.
Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
Denard Robinson missed Saturday's game against Minnesota with an elbow issue, and Gardner played very well in his place, completing 12-of-18 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while running for 21 yards and a touchdown. Robinson reportedly didn't look all that close to playing Saturday, so he's not guaranteed to be ready for this week's game against Northwestern. If Robinson is out, Gardner could pay off as a gamble.
Philip Nelson, QB, Minnesota
Nelson is a very promising freshman for Minnesota who figures to have a bright future. Even in the meantime, there's some potential fantasy production to be had. Nelson has a dual-threat skill set (141 yards rushing in three games), and he has six passing touchdowns in three games compared to two interceptions. He takes on a weak Illinois defense this week that allows 8.5 yards per pass, so those in Big Ten-only leagues and some other deep formats could find some utility in Nelson this week.
Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane
Grant has always looked like a talented player for Tulane, but between injuries and poor quarterback play, he rarely had the opportunity to show his skills. But he's healthy at last, and quarterback Ryan Griffin is on a roll himself. When you throw in Tulane's Conference USA schedule, you have a recipe for elite fantasy numbers. Indeed, Grant is close to a must-own in all formats, with 834 yards and five touchdowns in nine games, including 17 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns the last three weeks. He gets to feast on a Memphis defense this week that has allowed 20 passing touchdowns compared to just three interceptions.
Ryan Griffin, QB, Tulane
Griffin has looked truly bad for nearly all of his college career, but in the second half of his senior season a light appears to have finally gone on. In the past four weeks his numbers have been nothing less than spectacular, as he has 1,607 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. Particularly with Memphis coming up next, we can't fault anyone in any format for adding Griffin.
Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame
It looks like Golson is finally starting to figure things out, as the running ability he didn't show earlier this year is quickly becoming a focal point of his game, and in the process he's really helping his fantasy value. After losing 11 yards on the ground in his first four weeks, Golson has 230 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his last four games despite facing tough defenses like Stanford and Oklahoma. He looks especially good in dynasty leagues because coach Brian Kelly will eventually set Golson loose if he holds up in his current role as mostly a game manager in a run-heavy offense.
Bronson Hill, RB, Eastern Michigan
If the Hill owner in your league got impatient and cut him after he went two weeks without a touchdown, then you might want to add him. His 111 yards on 25 carries against a respectable Ohio defense were generally promising, and his schedule gets much more favorable the next two weeks as the Eagles take on Central and Western Michigan. The Chippewas and Broncos have combined to allow 40 rushing touchdowns this year, and Hill is a good bet to post big numbers over that span.
Jawon Chisholm, RB, Akron
Chisholm is a good running back who has been a solid fantasy factor at several points the last two years, but he's especially likely to make an impact this week as Akron takes on Massachusetts. The Minutemen allow 44.1 points per game, and that includes 27 touchdowns on the ground while giving up 241.3 yards rushing per contest. Chisholm has been plenty productive against better MAC opponents than UMass, burning Miami (OH), Bowling Green, Ohio and Kent State for 548 yards and three touchdowns rushing, as well as 171 yards receiving.
Tim Cornett, RB, UNLV
Cornett has quietly been among the nation's best runners this year, totaling 1,042 yards (5.5 YPC) and seven touchdowns in 10 games. He hasn't demonstrated a great deal of upside, however - his highest fantasy point output was against Minnesota in Week 1, when he totaled 24 points. In all other games, Cornett has scored no more than one touchdown. He could break that streak against Colorado State this week, as the Rams have been lit up on the ground lately, allowing 191 or more yards on the ground in each of their last six games, as well as 12 touchdowns.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State
Ajayi continues to establish himself as the clear backup to starter D.J. Harper, totaling 369 yards (7.0 YPC) and three touchdowns in seven games while no other runner besides Harper is at even the 100-yard mark on the year. Ajayi might get his biggest workload yet against Hawaii this week, because the Warriors are just about hopeless. They've allowed four times as many touchdowns on the ground (28) as they've scored themselves (seven), and with a passing game averaging 5.3 yards per pass, playing catch-up is out of the question. The Boise backups should take over no later than halfway through the third.
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington
A tough on-paper schedule limited Sankey's fantasy football expectations after his dominant showing against Portland State on Sept. 15, but Sankey has proven to be more than up to that challenge, producing 670 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground over six games. He's absolutely an elite player in Pac-12-only leagues, and he's worth owning in all other formats, too. Sankey figures to finish especially strong this year, because his matchups in the final two weeks of the season are Colorado and Washington State.
Brett Bartolone, WR, Washington State
With Marquess Wilson no longer around, someone on the Washington State roster needs to step up as the team's new No. 1 receiver. Bartalone appears to be a good bet to emerge with that role. Although he's no more than a possession wideout, and therefore probably won't be a factor outside of PPR and Pac-12-only formats, he could get enough of a target volume to make an impact despite his 7.9-yard receiving average. Bartalone has 29 catches the last five games, totaling 226 yards and three touchdowns.
Bo Wallace, QB, Mississippi
Wallace struggled to get going against Georgia on Saturday, but against Vanderbilt this week he should find some more success in Hugh Freeze's dual-threat system. Although the Commodores have allowed just four passing touchdowns all year, that's not surprising when you consider that the only remotely competent quarterback they saw all year was Aaron Murray on Sept. 22, when Murray threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns on 24 passes.
Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia
Marshall has fallen off in a big way since his 164-yard, two-touchdown outburst against Tennessee on Sept. 29, totaling just 92 yards and no touchdowns on 33 carries since. Against Auburn this week, however, Marshall should get back on track in SEC-only leagues. The Auburn offense is miserable and should leave the Tigers defense on the field for a big snap count, which should result in Marshall getting carries against a tired defense that has allowed 17 rushing touchdowns so far this year.
Willie McNeal, WR, Western Kentucky
McNeal's volatile numbers this year and Western Kentucky's historical preference for running the ball make him too risky to use outside Sun Belt-only leagues in most cases, but he has been making some noise lately in such formats. Of his 30 catches on the year, 23 came in McNeal's last four games, a span in which he totaled 334 yards and two touchdowns. Florida Atlantic is up next, and considering that it allows 8.7 yards per pass, McNeal should be in a good position to post more nice numbers this week.
Demetre Baker, RB, South Alabama
Baker has quietly shown the ability to consistently produce against non-AQ defenses, and even BCS squads at times. He has 262 yards and two touchdowns on the ground the last three weeks, and even ran for 94 yards on just 19 carries agianst North Carolina State and Mississippi State earlier this year. He's the clearly top runner for South Alabama, and against North Texas, Baker looks like a player worth starting in Sun Belt-only leagues.
Chandler Jones, WR, San Jose State
Even in a crowded receiver rotation that includes Noel Grigsby (55 catches), Jabari Carr (40 catches) and Ryan Otten (35 catches), Jones should make an impact in WAC-only and potentially other deep formats against New Mexico State. The Spartans are throwing for nearly 330 yards and more than two touchdowns per game, affording Jones 37 catches for 460 yards and seven touchdowns, including a score in each of the last two weeks. New Mexico State has allowed 17 touchdowns compared to three interceptions through the air.
Eric Soza, QB, UTSA
Soza had a very good game against Louisiana Tech on Saturday, throwing for 314 yards and four touchdowns. His fantasy value is further helped by the fact that he's shown a bit of a dual-threat skill set to this point, running for 132 yards and a touchdown on the year. He should do well in both categories this week as the Roadrunners take on McNeese State, an FCS squad that should pose less difficulty than the likes of Louisiana Tech.