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Waiver Wire Watch: Players to Pick Up Week 13

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 Ishmael Butler, James Harrison and David Bowie.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC

P.J. Walker, QB, Temple

Walker was extremely impressive in Temple's near upset of a Central Florida squad that beat Louisville earlier this year, and he likely sent his 2014 fantasy stock soaring as a result. There's more cashing in to be done in the meantime, though, because he gets a matchup this week with a Connecticut squad that allows 35 points per game. Walker lit up the Golden Knights for his second four-touchdown game as a passer in three weeks, throwing for 382 yards (8.7 YPA) while adding 41 yards and his second rushing touchdown in the last three weeks while he was at it. It's early in his career, but Walker looks poised to establish himself as one of the nation's premier dual-threat quarterbacks.

Mekale McKay, WR, Cincinnati

You might remember McKay from last year, when he served as the top receiver for Arkansas. He chose to leave Arkansas when coach Bret Bielema arrived, though, and it looks like Arkansas should have tried harder to keep him around. McKay isn't often targeted in a Cincinnati passing game that has Anthony McClung and Shaq Washington ahead of him on the depth chart, but McKay's big-play potential is simply off the charts. He's caught just 10 passes in the last four games, but McKay turned those catches into an absurd total of 308 yards and four touchdowns. McKay is averaging 30.9 yards per catch this year and has seven touchdowns on just 13 catches, so Cincinnati would be foolish not to feed him.

ACC

James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh

A rotation has occurred and will likely continue to occur between Conner and incumbent starting runner Isaac Bennett, but Conner has the upper hand at the moment and should keep his momentum heading into a profitable matchup against Syracuse this week. Despite running for 240 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries against a weak Old Dominion run defense on Oct. 19 - a game Conner missed due to injury - Bennett still has a lower rushing average (4.7 YPC) than Conner (4.8 YPC), and Conner has two more rushing touchdowns (seven) on 26 fewer carries. Bennett hasn't scored on the ground in his last four games and is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry over the span, whereas Conner is averaging 3.8 yards per carry and has three touchdowns to show for it.

David Sims, RB, Georgia Tech

The Georgia Tech offense has been weak this year and Sims hasn't approached the production of past lead Georgia Tech runners like Anthony Allen and Jonathan Dwyer, but he should look more like those two this weekend when Georgia Tech plays Alabama A&M. Alabama A&M is just 4-7 in the FCS, indicating it is a prime candidate to get blown out by Georgia Tech, a team that beat Elon 70-0 in Week 1. As a result, Sims should find the end zone at least once and ought to push for the 100-yard mark for the second time in four weeks.

BIG 12

James Sims, RB, Kansas

Sims has been hit-or-miss this year due to the awful Kansas offense he plays within, but he's still a talented player who can provide big fantasy production when the conditions are favorable. He reminded everyone of that last week, torching West Virginia for 211 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, good for an average of 9.6 yards per rush. It's greedy if not unreasonable to hope for a repeat effort as Kansas takes on Iowa State this week, but it's not out of the question. The Cyclones are in the midst of a dark age, allowing 38.8 points per game to go with 229 yards (5.4 YPC) and 3.1 touchdowns on the ground per game.

Shock Linwood, RB, Baylor

Coach Art Briles implied Monday that Glasco Martin (leg) might return to the Baylor lineup as the Bears take on Oklahoma State this week, but he was more ambiguous on the status of starter Lache Seastrunk, who missed Saturday's game against Texas Tech with a groin injury. If Seastrunk or Martin misses the game against Oklahoma State, Linwood should have his third big game in a row. Linwood has been enormous the last two weeks, totaling 369 yards and a touchdown on 52 carries, and he's quietly just 76 yards behind Seastrunk for the team lead in rushing yardage.

BIG TEN

Josh Ferguson, RB, Illinois

Ferguson is one of the nation's best PPR backs almost regardless of his opponent - he has a team-leading total of 43 catches in 10 games - but he has the ability to stand out in any format when he goes against a defense the Illinois offense can handle. In games against Miami (OH), Nebraska, Penn State and Indiana, Ferguson has 309 yards (5.8 YPC) and four touchdowns on the ground to go with 25 catches for 281 yards and two more scores. He faces off this week against a Purdue defense that gave up 139 points over the last three weeks to Ohio State, Iowa and Penn State. The Boilermakers allow 230 yards and 2.6 rushing touchdowns per game on the year, so Ferguson should go off again this week.

Steve Hull, WR, Illinois

Hull was a defensive back for his first three years at Illinois, but he's proven to be a quick study in his first year at receiver. After a nondescript start to the season, he started to catch fire against Wisconsin on Oct. 19, a game in which he caught six passes for 105 yards against one of the nation's most dominant defenses. Hull kept the momentum in his next three games, lighting up Penn State, Indiana and Ohio State for a total of 23 catches for 388 yards and three touchdowns. He ought to finish the year on a similarly strong note, as his next two opponents are the unimpressive defenses of Purdue and Northwestern.

CONFERENCE USA

Jaquez Johnson, QB, Florida Atlantic

Johnson offers little as a passer, averaging just 6.2 yards per pass while scoring six times in nine games, but his rushing production is top notch and should reach a high point this week against a New Mexico State run defense that just might be the worst in FBS history. The Aggies have surrendered an average of 313 yards per game on the ground to go with 4.1 rushing touchdowns per game. That should mean fireworks for Johnson, who has a rushing touchdown in seven straight games, with 225 yards and four touchdowns on the ground over his last two games.

Jay Warren, RB, Florida Atlantic

Johnson shouldn't be the only Owl to run wild on New Mexico State. Starter Jonathan Wallace is dealing with a leg injury, which forced Florida Atlantic to lean more heavily on Warren against Southern Mississippi on Saturday. The promising freshman came through, as he has all year, running for 105 yards on 18 carries (5.8 YPC). He faces a New Mexico State defense this week that's allowing a mind-boggling 7.1 yards per carry on the year, allowing more than 200 yards on the ground in all but one game this year while allowing more than 300 yards five times (as well as 293 and 298 yards on two other occasions).

INDEPENDENTS

Austin Franklin, WR, New Mexico State

Oh, right. That guy. Franklin was only one of the best receivers in the country last year, catching 74 passes for 1,245 yards and nine touchdowns, but he was declared academically ineligible shortly before the start of the 2013 season. He was surprisingly activated at the end of September, but the New Mexico State coaching staff didn't let him play much for a few weeks. Franklin's talent was too great to keep buried on the depth chart, though, and the player from 2012 is back, making him worth owning in all formats. He has 37 catches for 502 yards and five touchdowns in his last four games.

MID AMERICAN

Zurlon Tipton, RB, Central Michigan

Tipton was one of 2012's elite fantasy assets, emerging as Central Michigan's workhorse as he ran for 1,492 yards (5.9 YPC) and 19 touchdowns while catching 24 passes for 287 yards and a 20th touchdown. He suffered a broken ankle prior to this year, though, and was expected to miss the season. He made a surprise return against Ball State two weeks ago, however, and it looks like he'll go forward as Central Michigan's top runner, making him a strong fantasy pickup as a result. He ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries against Western Michigan on Saturday.

Rob Blanchflower, TE, Massachusetts

Injuries are sometimes a problem for Blanchflower, but when he's on the field he tends to be one of the nation's most productive receiving tight ends. He had 24 catches for 263 yards and two scores in his final four games of 2012, and he has 17 catches for 255 yards and three scores in his last three full games (he missed one with injury and was ejected early in another in Massachusetts' last five games). There's no indication that he's injured at the moment, so Blanchflower should be a good play this week as Massachusetts takes on Central Michigan.

MOUNTAIN WEST

Anthony LaCoste, RB, Air Force

It was only on Nov. 2 that LaCoste had one of the biggest fantasy efforts of any player in the country this year, torching Army for 263 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries, good for 11.4 yards per rush. He followed that up with another strong effort, running for 177 yards on 21 carries (8.4 YPC) in a game that just narrowly saw him miss a couple scoring opportunities. LaCoste should return to the end zone at least once against UNLV this week, as the Rebels are allowing 5.5 yards per carry this year to go with 235 yards and 2.2 touchdowns on the ground each week. The last time UNLV saw an option offense like Air Force's, they gave up 192 yards and a touchdown to New Mexico's Kasey Carrier.

Matt Miller, WR, Boise State

Shane Williams-Rhodes has been the top Boise State wideout for most of this year and might reestablish himself in that role soon enough. It generally appears, though, that there's room for both Miller and Williams-Rhodes to stand out as fantasy wideouts, especially in PPR leagues. Under the direction of quarterback Grant Hedrick, who might be one of 2014's top fantasy quarterbacks, by the way, Miller has caught fire the last two games, catching 13 passes for 239 yards and five touchdowns. Miller isn't normally so explosive - he has just two touchdowns on the year otherwise - but he's a reliable PPR option since he has 60 catches in 10 games.

PAC-12

Myles Jack, RB/LB, UCLA

If there's an IDP college fantasy football league out there, the person who owns Jack might just be unbeatable. Jack began this year as a linebacker for the Bruins, but he has since proven he's the team's most explosive running back, as well. Jack has remained on the field for his defensive duties the last two weeks, totaling 11 tackles against Arizona and Washington, but he also torched the Wildcats and Huskies for 179 yards and five touchdowns as a runner on just 19 carries, averaging 9.4 yards per attempt. There's no reason to think the emerging two-way star won't continue to produce in the Brett Hundley-led offense.

Javorious Allen, RB, USC

Silas Redd and Tre Madden began the year atop the USC running back rotation, but injuries to both have allowed Allen to get his foot into the door. With Redd dealing with a knee injury that forced him to miss Saturdays' upset over Stanford and Madden limited by a lingering hamstring issue, Allen is a good bet to pick up a big workload for the second straight week after earning 16 carries against the Cardinal. Although he totaled just 26 yards and a touchdown against Stanford's defense, Allen's 22 carries for 268 yards and five touchdowns from the previous two weeks show that he has plenty of explosiveness. The Colorado defense he faces this week is much friendlier than Stanford, as the Buffaloes allow 210 yards (5.0 YPC) and 2.5 rushing touchdowns per game.

SEC

Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU

The LSU offense rarely lets Mettenberger throw the ball much, reserving his arm only for the most dangerous of opponents. With Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M up next, though, this week should be one of the few where the Tigers allow him to air it out. Against A&M's relatively weak defense, that could result in big passing numbers for Mettenberger, who has two of the nation's absolute best receivers in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckahm. Mettenberger threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-41 shootout victory against Georgia this year, and he might find himself in a similar situation against an Aggies team that allowed 24 passing touchdowns through 10 games.

Kelvin Taylor, RB, Florida

Taylor is really beginning to hit his stride for the Gators, giving the flailing program a real reason for hope beyond 2013. Taylor ran very hard against South Carolina on the road Saturday, accounting for most of the Florida offense by running for 96 yards (4.6 YPC) and two touchdowns in the 14-19 loss. The 4-6 Gators figure to feed Taylor this week and vent their frustrations against a Georgia Southern squad that should finally provide Florida with a weak enough defense for the Gator offense to look competent. It would be disappointing if Taylor scored fewer than twice.

SUN BELT

Michael Gordon, RB, Arkansas State

Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon isn't the only M. Gordon to establish himself as one of the nation's bigger big-play threats at running back. Michael got started a little bit later, but he nonetheless appears to be here to stay as Arkansas State's best player, as he has 256 yards (7.1 YPC) and six touchdowns the last two weeks. He also torched Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Troy for 217 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries earlier this year, good for 18.1 yards per carry. Now Gordon gets a crack at a Georgia State squad that allows 229 yards and 2.3 touchdowns on the ground each game at 5.2 yards per carry.

Albert Wilson, WR, Georgia State

Wilson is pretty much the entirety of the Georgia State program. He has 1,065 yards and seven touchdowns from scrimmage for a team that averages just 17.5 points per game, making him a good bet to produce so long as Georgia State scores any points at all. Although the fragility of the Georgia State squad makes him a bit hit-or-miss, Wilson is an especially safe play in PPR leagues, as he has 15 catches the last two weeks. He averages 5.8 catches and 92.7 yards per game despite getting shut out by West Virginia in September.

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