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Waiver Wire Watch: Players to Pick Up Week 8

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

Traylon Shead, RB, SMU

Shead had relatively high expectations heading into this year, as the former high-ranking recruit and Texas transfer was set to take over the feature back role previously held by college fantasy football star Zach Line. A Week 1 injury against Texas Tech threw Shead off course, though, and he didn't get back onto the field until an Oct. 5 game against Rutgers. Although the Rutgers defense is good against the run, Shead showed well by running for 69 yards on 15 carries. He should hold onto the starting running back role and, particularly once he gets past Memphis' tough defense this week, he should have some nice games in store.

Brendon Kay, QB, Cincinnati

Someone has to win this week's ugly matchup between Cincinnati and Connecticut and, coming off a coming off a game in which he threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns while running for a third touchdown, Kay is a good bet to come out ahead against a Connecticut defense that gave up big rushing numbers to fellow dual-threat quarterbacks C.J. Brown and Devin Gardner. The Huskies allowed those two to run for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and Kay should be able to capitalize against Connecticut at home this week. The Huskies defense is likely to get tired as the team breaks in quarterback Tim Boyle, who completed 15-of-43 passes against South Florida on Saturday.

ACC

David Sims, RB, Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech quarterbacks have historically led the team's running games, especially in the red zone, but through the first six games of 2013 it is Sims who's carried most of the Georgia Tech running game. He leads the team with six rushing touchdowns and, prior to a blowout loss to BYU on Saturday, Sims posted five rushing touchdowns in the previous three games despite dealing with the relatively tough run defenses of North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Miami. He should get back on track against Syracuse this week, as the Orange offense is inconsistent and turnover prone, which means Sims should get plenty of chances to wear down a Syracuse defense allowing 4.0 yards per carry this year when adjusted for sack yardage.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Florida State's relatively run-heavy offense and absurd wideout depth have limited Benjamin's fantasy upside to this point, so he is probably available outside most ACC-only formats. He's shown signs of becoming a bigger factor in the Florida State offense recently, catching eight passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns the last two weeks and, at 6-foot-5, 234, he's bound to become the favorite red-zone target of star quarterback Jameis Winston, who already has 17 touchdown passes in five games.

BIG 12

Davis Webb, QB, Texas Tech

Baker Mayfield started the year at quarterback for Texas Tech and did well for himself, throwing for 780 yards and seven touchdowns in the first two weeks while running for 82 yards and another touchdown. A knee injury kept him out of Saturday's game against Iowa State, and Webb made the most of the opportunity in Mayfield's place. Webb threw for 415 yards, three touchdowns and an interception Saturday, which gives him one more passing touchdown on the year (nine) and the same number of interceptions on 75 fewer pass attempts. With Mayfield's short-term status unclear, Webb is worth an add if you could use the quarterback help.

Glasco Martin, RB, Baylor

Martin seems to have reestablished himself as Baylor's top backup runner, a role that usually grants at least one touchdown each week, especially in games that Baylor establishes big leads. Such a big lead is likely to occur against Iowa State this week. The Cyclones just don't have the offensive personnel to keep up with a passing game led by quarterback Bryce Petty and wideouts Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley, so Martin should get plenty of clock-eating carries in the second half. Even in a relatively close game against Kansas State on Saturday, Martin still received 16 carries, which he turned into 70 yards and a touchdown.

BIG TEN

Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois

It's pretty clear that Ferguson is Illinios' top talent on offense this year, and the Illini have no choice but to make him the featured skill position player from here on. Ferguson has a rather remarkable total of 344 receiving yards to go with three touchdowns, and he has 310 yards (6.3 YPC) and another touchdown as a runner. He might not get much going against a tough Wisconsin defense or an even tougher Michigan State defense the next week, but Ferguson could put up big numbers thereafter. He's coming off a dominant effort against Nebraska in which he ran for 114 yards and a touchdown (6.0 YPC) and caught eight passes for 82 yards.

Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State

While Ferguson is probably the better long-term addition between the two runners, it's Langford who probably has the better value this week. Langford faces a Purdue squad that will get smothered by the Spartans on Saturday, leaving Langford with a big workload against a weak and exhausted Purdue defense. Langford had a career game against Indiana on Saturday, torching the Hoosiers for 109 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries (4.7 YPC) while adding a fourth touchdown on an 11-yard reception. His owners shouldn't expect a circus-like box score like the one Langford posted against Indiana, but he should still score at least once against Purdue.

CONFERENCE USA

Taylor McHargue, QB, Rice

Rice faces a New Mexico State defense this week that, despite playing two option offenses in Minnesota and New Mexico, has allowed 1,426 yards and nine passing touchdowns in six games. That's good news for McHargue, who hasn't really shown the ability to throw consistently against good defenses. He can consistently provide rushing production, however, and he should balance his box score against New Mexico State with some decent passing production this week. He's also poised to post good rushing defense against the Aggies, who have already allowed 2,045 yards and 27 touchdowns on the ground in six games.

Brandin Byrd, RB, North Texas

Byrd has been plagued by a low rushing average much of the year, as well as a carry split with fellow running back Reggie Pegram, but Saturday's big win against Middle Tennessee may have shown Byrd turning a corner for North Texas, as he finished the game with 139 yards on 20 carries (7.0) YPC to go with a touchdown on the ground. Byrd is mostly a Conference-USA and deep-league consideration due to Pegram's 63 carries on the year, but Byrd looks like the better player - he averages 4.5 yards per carry compared to Pegram's 3.6 - so he might pull away soon in the committee.

INDEPENDENTS

Terry Baggett, RB, Army

We listed Baggett in last week's waiver wire article - hopefully you picked him up - but he had such a huge game against Eastern Michigan that he probably needs to be mentioned for the second week in a row. While he headed into last week as a merely "good" pickup, he's now a mandatory pickup after torching the Eagles for 304 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries (16.9 YPC). Baggett has 611 yards and six touchdowns the last four weeks, and there isn't a format in which he shouldn't be owned. He faces a Temple defense this week that just gave up 205 yards and three touchdowns on the ground to Cincinnati.

MID-AMERICAN

Jordan Williams, WR, Ball State

Williams has consistently seen his value rise over the course of this year, going from a merely speculative upside add in most formats a few weeks ago to a consideration in nationwide formats today. Williams has 26 catches over the last four weeks, totaling 439 yards and four touchdowns. He has clearly overtaken Jamill Smith as Ball State's second wideout behind lead receiver Willie Snead, and in an offense with 332.9 passing yards per game and 15 passing touchdowns in seven games, that's a role that should continue to yield standout fantasy production.

Jawon Chisholm, RB, Akron

Chisholm has mostly been a disappointment this year. He has just 357 yards (3.9 YPC) and three touchdowns on the ground after seven games and just 123 yards receiving on 17 catches. He was much better in 2012, running for 953 yards (5.3 YPC) and five touchdowns in 11 games while adding 310 yards and two scores as a receiver. Playing against a hopeless Miami (OH) squad this week, Chisholm should have a good chance at recapturing his 2012 form. He's coming off a two-touchdown game against Northern Illinois, and a RedHawks defense allowing 227 rushing yards per game (4.9 YPC) should be even friendlier.

MOUNTAIN WEST

Shaun Wick, RB, Wyoming

Although he was briefly benched by Wyoming after fumbling twice against Air Force on Sept. 21, he was reinstalled as starter against New Mexico on Saturday, and he put up big numbers as a result. Wick took his 17 carries from Saturday for 116 yards (6.8 YPC) and two touchdowns, giving him his third 100-yard game and his third two-touchdown game of the season. Quarterback Brett Smith is one of the nation's best and should continue to lead Wyoming to high point totals, so Wick should continue finding the end zone, too.

Shane Williams-Rhodes, WR, Boise State

Although he's tiny at a listed 5-6, 157, Williams-Rhodes seems to be emerging as Boise State's primary red-zone wideout. He has four touchdowns receiving in six games with 40 receptions for 356 yards. His 40 receptions, of course, are a big boost to his PPR league value, as that figure leads the team. He has 22 catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns the last two weeks and, in a Boise State offense averaging 38 pass attempts per game, Williams-Rhodes could get on the radar in all formats.

PAC-12

James "Bubba" Poole, RB, Utah

Poole mysteriously disappeared from Utah's game against UCLA two weeks ago, running for just 26 yards on five carries after previously posting 213 yards on the ground over the two prior weeks. He reappeared in Saturday's upset over Stanford, though, and his excellent showing ought to leave him unchallenged as Utah's top running back. Poole is a must-add in most PPR leagues and an advised add in most other formats, too, as he made plays with relative ease against Stanford's tough defense Saturday, running for 111 yards on 22 carries (5.1 YPC) while catching seven passes for 75 yards. It was his second seven-catch performance of the year.

Devin Fuller, WR, UCLA

The presence of leading 2012 wideout Shaquelle Evans and the general lack of proven production in Fuller's young career mostly makes him a consideration for Pac-12-only and other deep formats, but he has shown signs in recent weeks of emerging as UCLA's top receiver. His 22 receptions already lead the team, and given that he's a only a sophomore, it's probable that he's still developing as a receiver, meaning he could continue gaining ground on Evans. Fuller has especially shown upside as a PPR prospect, because he has caught at least four passes in every game this year.

SEC

Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama

T.J. Yeldon was to Eddie Lacy a year ago what Drake is to Yeldon in 2013. It's not quite fair to equate Drake to a garbage time runner - he plays early and regularly in games since he offers a speed and elusive element that complements the power running that Yeldon provides - but Drake definitely has his best days when Alabama establishes safe leads. Since that happens most weeks, Drake is turning into a reliable running back option in SEC-only leagues, and he's even getting on the radar in other deep formats. Despite modest yardage totals, Drake has at least one touchdown in five straight weeks, and he heads into this week's game against blowout candidate Arkansas with 388 yards and six touchdowns from scrimmage in five games.

Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida

It seemed not long ago that Florida was hoping to redshirt Taylor, a highly anticipated top 2013 recruit and the son of Gators legend and former NFL star Fred Taylor, but a season-ending knee injury to starter Matt Jones could force the Gators to rely on Taylor's talents this year. Top backup Mack Brown is suitable in a backup role, but as his rushing average of 3.7 yards per carry this season makes clear, Brown isn't talented enough to meet Florida's standards in a starting role. Taylor, however, can. Taylor ran for 52 yards on 10 carries against LSU's tough defense a week ago. Florida has already lost two games this year and, if it wants to keep that number from getting any higher, it will need to give Taylor the ball. He should definitely be owned in SEC-only leagues.

SUN BELT

Albert Wilson, WR, Georgia State

Wilson deals with low quality quarterback play and therefore can struggle to produce against decent defenses, but there's no doubt he's one of the elite receivers of the non-AQ conferences. Wilson has been an absolute killer for Georgia State this year, totaling 33 catches for 670 yards and six touchdowns despite posting just four catches for 60 yards against West Virginia and Alabama. Wilson torched Troy for 153 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches against Troy on Saturday, and he should continue to produce against his Sun Belt schedule, though this week's game against Texas State is a tough matchup.

Robert Lowe, RB, Texas State

Lowe puzzlingly disappeared against Louisiana-Lafayette two weeks ago, running for just 25 yards on five carries, but in the games one week before and after that he has been red hot. Against Wyoming on Sept. 28 and Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 12, Lowe combined for 52 carries for 278 yards and four touchdowns. Texas State has a good defense by Sun Belt standards, so it should be able to keep most games close enough to keep feeding Lowe in the running game. He's worth adding in any format if you need running back help.