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Waiver Wire Watch: Players to Pick Up Week 14

Mario Puig

Mario Puig

Mario sets the direction of RotoWire's college football and NFL draft content, with his other responsibilities primarily resting in those same subjects. He's a fan of Jim Harbaugh, James Harrison and David Bowie.

Because most teams have concluded their regular seasons (and six of this week's games are conference championships), this week's Waiver Wire article will include just one player per conference rather than the usual two.

ACC

James Wilder, RB, Florida State

With Florida State taking on a 6-6 Georgia Tech team, the expectation should be a big victory for the Seminoles, and a lot of clock-eating running plays while they're at it. Devonta Freeman figures to lead the charge for Florida State, but his skill set is better suited to the big-play role that puts points on the board. Wilder (6-foot-2, 226), on the other hand, is the sort of bruiser who falls forward well against an increasingly tired defense. Both players should get their numbers this week, though Wilder is probably lower on the radar with just 15 carries the last three weeks.

BIG 12

Shawne Alston, RB, West Virginia

A thigh injury wiped out six games for Alston this year and limited him to one carry in another, but when he's on the field there are almost always big numbers to be had. He had 185 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries in the first two weeks before the injury struck, and he was even sharper in his return from injury against Iowa State last week, taking 19 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown. Although the running back experiment with Tavon Austin probably limits Alston's upside, he still has a solid hold on the goal-line work as the Mountaineers take on a weak Kansas squad.

BIG EAST

Savon Huggins, RB, Rutgers

Jawan Jamison is the better player by basically any measure, but an ankle issue has had him gimpy lately and losing a significant number of carries to Huggins, who might be rounding into form himself in recent weeks. He's looked like a complete bust despite his former status as an elite recruit, but Huggins took 41 carries for 179 yards against Cincinnati two weeks ago. He had just eight carries in last week's 27-6 loss to Pittsburgh - a game that's a blowout by the standards of the Rutgers defense - but things are likely to be more competitive against a Louisville squad whose starting quarterback will be playing with a broken wrist.

BIG TEN

Kenny Bell, WR, Nebraska

Bell doesn't tend to get consistent looks in Nebraska's run-heavy offense, but he's arguably the best wide receiver in the Big Ten, and on the conference's biggest stage he should be a good bet to step up this week. He caught four passes for 57 yards against Wisconsin the last time the teams played, so it's not as if he was a non-factor to begin with, but between the higher stakes and the increased pressure brought on by an improved Wisconsin offense - the Badgers ran for just 56 yards against Nebraska and have surpassed 200 yards four times since - Bell should be a good bet to push for 80 or more yards this week.

CONFERENCE USA

Keyarris Garrett, WR, Tulsa

The uninspiring play of Cody Green at quarterback (54.7 percent of passes completed, 6.3 yards per pass) harms both Garrett's upside and consistency, but recent history gives reason to hope for a good day as Tulsa takes on Central Florida. The two teams faced off Nov. 17 with Garrett snagging seven passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns, and with a rematch this week Garrett might be one of the better under-the-radar bets to produce at receiver. It's not as if he's been otherwise quiet in recent weeks, though - Garrett has 35 catches and five touchdowns the last five weeks and has nine touchdowns on the year.

MAC

Martel Moore, WR, Northern Illinois

Moore has been incredibly efficient this year for Northern Illinois, consistently posting big numbers despite playing in an offense that runs the ball 43.75 times per game compared to 27.9 passes. Out of the team's 2,851 yards and 24 touchdowns through the air, Moore owns 1,015 and 11, respectively. Against a Kent State squad that has allowed big plays through the air lately, not to mention 25 passing touchdowns in 12 games, Moore is a good bet to post more nice numbers in the MAC Championship.

MOUNTAIN WEST

Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State

As Boise State takes on Nevada this week, the Broncos will make it a high priority to establish a dominant ground game to keep the Wolfpack offense and its own explosive rushing attack off the field. That means Boise State will call on more than just senior and starter D.J. Harper to shoulder the rushing load, and Ajayi will need to come off the bench to keep the clock ticking. Even in that somewhat peripheral role, Ajayi should find the opportunity to produce this week. Nevada is friendly against the run, allowing 5.1 yards per carry and two touchdowns per game, and Ajayi averages 7.1 yards per carry.

PAC-12

Shaquelle Evans, WR, UCLA

Running back Johnathan Franklin is normally the engine that powers the UCLA offense for the most part - his 1,803 yards and 13 touchdowns from scrimmage have been indispensable for the Bruins - so it's not surprising that UCLA only put up seven points against Stanford last week when Franklin was held to 65 yards on the ground. Stanford is likely to shut Franklin down again this week, though, so UCLA will have to focus on another part of its offense to get itself going. Besides star tight end Joseph Fauria, the best chance for the Bruins to move the ball otherwise would be Evans, who for some reason seems to save his best performances for the best defenses he comes across - he has 439 yards and two touchdowns against Oregon State, Utah, USC and Stanford.

SEC

T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama

Georgia has a competent defense for the most part, but the Bulldogs can't claim to have a run defense capable of striking fear into many teams. When you match them up against an already fearless squad like Alabama, you start to see a scenario in which big numbers might be posted on the ground. In Alabama's two-back rushing attack, that leaves production for both Eddie Lacy and Yeldon, his backup. Yeldon is the only one of the pair with even a slight chance of still being available in most leagues, though. He doesn't average even 11 carries per game, but his per-play efficiency (6.6 yards per carry) will still allow him to be viable against Georgia, a team that allowed more than 300 yards rushing in each of its last two games.

SUN BELT

William Dukes, WR, Florida Atlantic

Florida Atlantic takes on Louisiana-Lafayette in its season finale this week, and a fairly high-scoring game could be in store. The Ragin' Cajuns will almost certainly force a shootout - they average 34.8 points per game - and their points-allowed average of 28.2 makes it equally possible for the opponent to keep up. If Florida Atlantic does show signs of life in this one, Dukes figures to be one of the main indicators. Although he has only two touchdowns on the year, he has consistently been quite promising over the last six weeks, catching 36 passes for 551 yards and both of the touchdowns.

WAC

Germi Morrison, RB, New Mexico State

It's a grim situation for those still involved in fantasy leagues involving the WAC at this point, as the only game this week is between Texas State and New Mexico State. There are a couple fantasy-relevant players on the Texas State side in Shaun Rutherford (QB) and Marcus Curry (RB), and New Mexico State has a star in wide receiver Austin Franklin, but as far as under-the-radar pickups there isn't much to see. The best bet might be Morrison, who's the clear New Mexico State runner with 100 carries the last six weeks, and a respectable rushing average of 4.6 yards per carry on the year. The problem is that Morrison has just one rushing touchdown on the year, so hopefully a Texas State defense allowing 5.8 yards per carry will be friendly enough to let Morrison into the end zone.