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Waiver Wire Watch: Players to Pick Up Week 3

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 Chip Kelly, James Harrison and David Bowie.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC

Marcus Shaw, RB, South Florida

Considering he faced a very tough Michigan State defense and had absolutely no help from his passing game (South Florida threw for 66 yards and one interception against the Spartans), Shaw's 94 yards on 23 carries in Week 2 were impressive. He clearly has some talent, and new coach Willie Taggart has a long history of giving his top runners big workloads. If you need a running back upgrade this week, grab Shaw and plug him in against a Florida Atlantic defense that allowed 413 yards (5.7 YPC) and five touchdowns on the ground through the first two weeks.

Brendon Kay, QB, Cincinnati

Munchie Legaux (knee) will miss the rest of the season, leaving Kay to re-take the Cincinnati starting quarterback job. He was quite good in the role last year, and his dual-threat ability translated to standout fantasy production. In the final five games of 2012 Kay threw for 1,250 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions while running for 239 yards and a touchdown. He should get off to a nice start in 2013 with Northwestern State, Miami (OH) and South Florida up next.

ACC

Brandon Connette, QB, Duke

Starting Duke quarterback Anthony Boone is out with a broken collarbone, which leaves Connette to step in as the new starter. Previously a specialist in the red-zone, Connette has production to point to as he takes on this promotion. He completed 19-of-29 passes for 253 yards, four touchdowns and one interception through two weeks this year, adding 53 yards and another touchdown on the ground. From 2010 to 2012, Connette ran for 17 touchdowns. He might be a downgrade as a passer from Boone, but Connette has a fair amount of fantasy intrigue, especially once Duke gets past its upcoming games against Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh and takes on the vulnerable defenses of Troy and Navy.

Terrel Hunt, QB, Syracuse

Hunt is strictly a consideration for those in ACC-only and deep leagues, but he's an intriguing prospect in those situations due to his dual-threat skill set. Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen has been remarkably bad since Syracuse named him starter over Hunt, throwing for just 468 yards on 78 attempts while tossing six interceptions compared to just one touchdown. Syracuse needs to bench Allen and, after Hunt ran for 30 yards and a touchdown off the bench against Northwestern on Saturday, the Syracuse coaches should be well aware of the fact.

BIG 12

Blake Bell, QB, Oklahoma

Trevor Knight, who was surprisingly named starter at Bell's expense prior to the first week of the year, will miss one or two weeks with a knee injury. That leaves Bell with a chance to provide big short-term fantasy value at the very least, and he might even be able to lay claim to the starting role if he plays well in Knight's absence. Knight has not been as good as advertised for the Sooners, proving a complete liability as a passer in the first two weeks with a completion percentage of 43.8 while averaging just 4.3 yards per pass. Bell has enormous upside as a runner, and he figures to be a fantasy asset against Tulsa this week.

Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

White missed West Virginia's season-opener against William & Mary with a foot injury, but he suited up against Oklahoma on Saturday and seemed to establish himself as the top Mountaineers receiver in the process. Playing against a Sooners defense that has smothered opponents in the first two weeks, White caught seven passes for 80 yards. Listed at 6-foot-3, 211, White has the size to stand out in the red zone for West Virginia and could get hot against Georgia State this week.

BIG TEN

Philip Nelson, QB, Minnesota

Nelson doesn't offer much as a passer, but rushing production is highly valuable at the quarterback position in college fantasy football, and through the first two weeks Nelson has been one of the nation's most productive runners. His 205 yards (7.6 YPC) and three touchdowns on the ground more than make up for his 226 yards (6.1 YPA), one touchdown and two interceptions as a passer. His production will probably fall off a cliff when he faces some real defenses, but with Western Illinois up next, Nelson should have at least one more big game in him.

Nate Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois

Scheelhaase was awful as a passer in 2012 as Illinois broke in a new offense, averaging just 5.5 yards per pass while throwing four touchdowns against eight interceptions. Two games into the 2013 season, though, Scheelhaase has almost literally been twice as good as he was last year. His YPA is up to 10.0, and he has six touchdowns compared to just one interception with 728 yards in two games. He still has room for growth from a fantasy standpoint, too, as he has yet to show off his wheels in 2013 after running for 15 touchdowns from 2010 to 2012.

CONFERENCE USA

Steward Butler, RB, Marshall

Playing in a committee with fellow runners Kevin Grooms, Remi Watson and Essray Taliaferro last year, Butler never really got onto the fantasy radar despite running efficiently for 500 yards and three scores (5.0 YPC). Through two weeks in 2013, though, Butler has had most of the Marshall running game to himself, and he heads into Saturday ranked 15th in the nation with 258 yards on the ground along with three touchdowns. His 9.9 YPC average isn't sustainable, but Butler should continue serving as the top runner in what could be one of the nation's highest-scoring offenses.

Rickey Bradley, WR, Southern Mississippi

A junior college transfer listed at 6-2, 204, Bradley has immediately established himself as Southern Mississippi's top receiver in a pass-heavy offense, doubling as the team's best deep threat and its best option near the end zone. With an awful defense and an offense averaging 45 pass attempts per game, Bradley should consistently see a high number of targets in 2013, and through two weeks it has paid off to the tune of 250 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches, including three catches for 57 yards and the touchdown on the road against Nebraska. Bradley will see a couple intimidating defenses in Arkansas and Boise State the next two weeks, but once he takes on the Conference USA portion of his schedule he should be a difference-maker in fantasy leagues.

INDEPENDENTS

Amir Carlisle, RB, Notre Dame

George Atkinson was expected to serve as Notre Dame's top running back in 2013, but through two weeks it has actually been Carlisle who led the Irish running game. Atkinson has just 13 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown, while Carlisle has 19 carries for 132 yards (7.0 YPC). Atkinson drew criticism from coach Brian Kelly for showing poor hands, which leaves Carlisle with a chance to pull away as the clear lead runner for the Irish this year.

MID-AMERICAN

Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green

Johnson displaced incumbent starter Matt Schilz in the Bowling Green starting lineup, and through two weeks he looks like a fairly significant upgrade. Johnson offers much more as a runner than Schilz and heads into Week 3 with 67 yards (3.9 YPC) on the ground and 508 yards (10.6 YPA), two touchdowns and an interception as a passer. He should keep rolling this week against an Indiana squad that has allowed 38 points per game through the first two weeks.

Cooper Rush, QB, Central Michigan

Rush started the season as Central Michigan's third quarterback behind Cody Kater and Alex Niznak, but after last week's game against New Hampshire it appears as if Rush, a redshirt freshman, should have been starter all along. He stepped in for Niznak on Saturday and completed 19-of-32 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, leading the Chippewas to a 24-21 victory. A road match against UNLV will be a tough test for Rush, but he has a great trio of receivers to capitalize on in Titus Davis, Andrew Flory and Courtney Williams.

MOUNTAIN WEST

Isaiah Burse, WR, Fresno State

Burse and Josh Harper appear to be locked in an endless battle to emerge as Fresno State's clear No. 2 receiver behind workhorse wideout Davante Adams, but Burse heads into Week 3 with the upper hand in that race. While Harper has 105 yards and two touchdowns on 16 catches, Burse has 17 catches for 161 yards and a score, as well as two punt returns for touchdowns from Saturday's game against Cal Poly. The Fresno State passing game will remain aggressive all year, so all three of the Bulldog wideouts should remain fantasy-relevant, but Burse looks like the one to target after Adams.

Chris Nwoke, RB, Colorado State

Nwoke looked like one of the nation's best rushers at the end of the 2011 season, but injuries derailed his 2012 season, and he entered this year as the apparent backup to Kapri Bibbs, whose 15 carries in Week 1 easily outpaced Nwoke's six. But Nwoke was assigned the workhorse role against Tulsa in Week 2, running for 97 yards and a touchdown while Bibbs was given just nine rush attempts. Nwoke will likely never regain the form he had when he ran for 717 yards in a four-week span in 2011, but he should provide standout fantasy production if he gets another 20 carries against Cal Poly this week.

PAC-12

Keith Price, QB, Washington

Price struggled in 2012, throwing for just 19 touchdowns against 13 interceptions while averaging just 6.3 yards per pass, so it's easy to forget the fact that he threw 33 touchdowns in 2011. The Huskies made some shrewd changes to their offense in the offseason, though, switching to an uptempo attack that proved hugely effective against a historically powerful Boise State defense in Week 1, shocking the Broncos with a 38-point outburst. Price was much improved in the victory, completing 23-of-31 passes for 324 yards (10.5 YPA), two touchdowns and one interception. It looks like Price is back into his 2011 form, and he should continue to put up big numbers as Washington takes on Illinois, Idaho State and Arizona in the upcoming three weeks.

Connor Wood, QB, Colorado

Wood was a major bust for both Texas and then Colorado after transferring for the 2012 season, completing just completing just 51.5 percent of his passes while throwing one touchdown against four interceptions, but it appears new coach Mike MacIntyre and his staff have turned Wood into a completely different player. It was against the weak defenses of Colorado State and Central Arkansas, granted, but through two weeks Wood has completed 68.3 percent of his passes and has 741 yards (9.0 YPA) and six touchdowns compared to two interceptions. With Paul Richardson proving himself as perhaps one of the nation's five best receivers, Wood should continue to do well against Fresno State.

SEC

Evan Engram, TE, Mississippi

Although he headed into the year as a relatively unheralded true freshman at tight end, through two weeks Engram has been one of the nation's most productive players at the position, taking seven catches for a Mississippi-leading 131 yards, scoring once in the process. Engram could be subject to inconsistent targets in an offense that features three top wideout talents in Donte Moncrief, Laquon Treadwell and Vince Sanders, but for now it appears as if he should be owned in most formats.

Odell Beckham, WR, LSU

Beckham seems to have really turned a corner in his development in 2013, and that's saying something given that he was already one of the nation's more promising receivers in 2012. He caught 43 passes for 713 yards and two touchdowns in LSU's run-heavy offense last year, returning two punts for touchdowns while he was at it, but through two weeks he has already matched his 2012 touchdown total of four. He has 10 catches for 254 yards and three touchdowns heading into Week 3, and he scored a fourth touchdown on a missed field goal against UAB on Saturday. Fellow wideout Jarvis Landry also figures to have a strong 2013 season, but Beckham is showing more big-play ability so far.

SUN BELT

Leon Allen, RB, Western Kentucky

Antonio Andrews is clearly king of the Western Kentucky offense (if not the entire Sun Belt), but Allen has carved out a noteworthy role through the first two weeks as Andrews' backup. At 6-0, 235, Allen offers more of a bruising element than Andrews, and he's been quite effective as an off-the-bench runner through two weeks, running for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries (6.3 YPC). Andrews is too good for Allen to make a push for the starting role, but he'll remain a factor in Sun Belt-only and deep formats.

Darion Griswold, TE, Arkansas State

Griswold showed good explosiveness as a freshman in 2012, taking his 10 catches for 172 yards, and it appears he is in for a more prominent role in 2013. He should be owned in Sun Belt-only leagues and is on the radar in deep formats as well after catching five passes for 46 yards against Auburn on Saturday, a game in which he produced more yardage than any other Arkansas State receiver or tight end.

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