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Waiver Wire Watch: Players to Pick Up Week 2

Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett

Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC

Justin Holman, QB, Central Florida

Holman vastly outplayed starter Pete DiNovo in Ireland against Penn State, finishing with 204 yards passing and a touchdown, while adding two additional scores on the ground. The Knights have not confirmed Holman will start their next game, and with the team taking Week 2 off after travelling home, are unlikely to confirm what appears obvious in advance of their Sept. 12 matchup with Missouri. Holman won't provide immediate gratification due to the bye, but makes for a smart stash.

Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida

Darius Tice earned the Bulls starting running back job out of camp, and may not have a chance to earn it back. Tice missed Saturday's game against Western Carolina due to a knee injury and watched Mack run 24 times for 275 yards and four touchdowns. The Bulls passing attack was a disaster, as two quarterbacks went 10-of-27 for 191 yards. Their success wasn't needed in a close game against the Catamounts, but the offense will need balance to compete in conference play and to prevent defenses from keying on Mack. There's reason to pause before making Mack your top claim this week, but after this first showing, it's hard to pass on him as well.

Keevan Lucas, WR, Tulsa

Lucas tripled his scoring total from a season ago while catching 13 passes for 233 yards in Week 1. More important, Dane Evans looked like a capable quarterback after completing just 43.1 percent of his passes as a freshman. And to further impress, this all happened against a Tulane team that allowed just 27 points in its final three regular-season games of 2013. Lucas has a good chance to remain hot against a Georgia Tech defense that faced an option attack in Wofford during Week 1.

ATLANTIC COAST

Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech

Albeit against the Wofford Terriers, Thomas showed signs of giving the Yellow Jackets something they haven't had in quite some time - a capable passer. Thomas completed 11-of-15 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns while also leading the team in rushing with 71 yards. Thomas' size (5-foot-11, 185) likely will prevent him from getting goal-line carries, which increased the fantasy value of former Jackets signal-callers, but Thomas can make up for that with his arm. Thomas has staying power.

Issac Blakeney, WR, Duke

Blakeney slimmed down to 225 pounds during the offseason in advance of his new role on the outside of Duke's offense, and through one week, the results were very encouraging. While Max McCaffrey was actually the second-leading receiver on the day behind star Jamison Crowder, Blakeney used his 6-6 frame to catch two touchdown passes in the first half Saturday. He'll likely have games with more yards than the 45 he posted Saturday as well and will remain a threat to score weekly. Blakeney could come with the added bonus of tight end eligibility.

BIG 12

Tyrone Swoopes, QB, Texas

It is rather unfortunate that Swoopes finds his name here, but following a concussion sustained by Week 1 starter David Ash, Swoopes is in line to start Saturday against BYU. Ash missed nine games last year due to a concussion, and the recurrence of symptoms in his first game back puts Ash's long-term future in doubt. Swoopes wasn't impressive in limited action as a freshman last season and has freshman Jerrod Heard behind him, but Swoopes likely will be given a multi-week audition to prove he can be a long-term solution for the Longhorns.

DeAndre Washington, RB, Texas Tech

Washington's ascension to the team's top running back seemed to come and go during the offseason with little fanfare. The Red Raiders moved Kenny Williams to linebacker, leaving Washington as their only experienced back, and through one week, the results are impressive. Washington saw 20 carries while the rest of the rushing work was split nearly evenly between Quinton White (eight carries) and Justin Stockton (six.) Washington gained 104 yards and scored, and added two receptions, a number that should increase in the coming weeks. He figures to be a very steady performer weekly.

Seth Russell, QB, Baylor

This is a mandated preemptive strike. Starter Bryce Petty has two cracked vertebrae, yet insists he will play Saturday against Northwestern State. That seems highly unnecessary, at the least. Russell would be a tremendous one-week plug in and has the potential to play more frequently despite the team's insistence that Petty's injury is not serious.

BIG TEN

Derrick Green, RB, Michigan

Just a year ago, Green was arguably the nation's top incoming freshman running back and expected to give Fitzgerald Toussaint for carries. Through injuries and weight concerns, Green struggled to just 270 yards on 83 carries. If one game is any indication, Green has clearly gotten the message. He ran 15 times for 170 and a touchdown, and while his touchdown came while the game's outcome was well at hand, Michigan's other four running backs totaled 16 rushes. Green appears to have earned the right to be the lead back in Ann Arbor, and should benefit from the threat quarterback Devin Gardner's running ability.

Wes Lunt, QB, Illinois

It took a full four quarters for Lunt and Illinois to dispatch Youngstown State on Saturday, but at the end of the day, Illini fans and fantasy owners saw what they needed from the Oklahoma State transfer. He completed 24-of-38 passes for 285 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Just as notable, the Illini ran 22 times for 78 yards. Lunt offers a big downfield arm and will get every opportunity to keep his team in games this season, providing a recipe for fantasy success.

CONFERENCE USA

Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky

Doughty was no slouch in 2013, throwing for 2,857 yards, but the Hilltoppers offense revolved around since departed running back Antonio Andrews. That absence paired with the promotion of offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm to head coach has made Doughty a one-week wonder. Doughty threw for a nation-high 569 yards and six touchdowns against Bowling Green. There is no matchup on the Hilltoppers' schedule that causes concern, and without overly jumping to conclusions, Doughty has the makings of a weekly top starter.

Devon Johnson, RB, Marshall

The former heir apparent to tight end Gator Hoskins, Johnson officially converted to running back prior to Saturday's game against Miami (OH) and rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson goes all of 243 pounds and can clearly shoulder as many carries as he is presented with. And he could come with additional position flexibility. Johnson tops the waiver list in national formats under that scenario.

INDEPENDENTS

William Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

Fuller was the biggest beneficiary of the return of quarterback Everett Gholston and the suspension of wide receiver Davaris Daniels, catching four passes for 85 yards and a touchdown Saturday against Rice. While he did most of that damage on a 75-yard strike, only one other Irish receiver caught more than two passes.

MID-AMERICAN

Jarvion Franklin, RB, Western Michigan

Franklin ran 19 times at Purdue, the rest of his team ran 12. Franklin gained 163 yards and scored three times in his collegiate debut, and if he continues to get nearly 20 touches weekly, Franklin will be a very big performer come conference season.

Thomas Rawls, RB, Central Michigan

The former Michigan Wolverine looked the part of a top notch recruit playing in a smaller conference Saturday against Chattanooga. The schedule is favorable with the Chippewas traveling to Purdue for Week 2, which just allowed the aforementioned Franklin to rush for 163 yards and three scores. Rawls is positioned for sustained success.

MOUNTAIN WEST

Cole Gautsche, QB, New Mexico

Gautsche needs to formally be accepted and embraced by the fantasy community at this point. He's a glorified running back playing quarterback, and performs as such, having six 100-yard rushing games dating back to last season. He's only tossed for more than 100 yards three times in that stretch but is the driving force to the Lobos offense, and may even make it through your team's waiver system this week with Arizona State looming followed by a bye in Week 3.

Don Jackson, RB, Nevada

Jackson showed what he was capable of Saturday, rushing for 110 yards and a touchdown against Southern Utah. Jackson's sole problem has been his inability to stay healthy, having never played a full season since enrolling at Nevada. With Kendall Brock moving to receiver and the team not willing to commit to freshman James Butler as their top back, Jackson figures to see the lion's share of work as long as he remains healthy.

PAC-12

Terris Jones-Grigsby, RB, Arizona

Jones-Grigsby was one of three Wildcats running backs listed as a starter for Week 1 against UNLV, and one of two to top the century mark. Coach Rich Rodriguez is known for his depth chart games, not so much his rotation shenanigans, rather remaining loyal through modest struggles. It's a strategy that paid off with quarterback Anu Solomon, who missed a few open passes early Friday only to toss for 425 yards and four scores. Expect Jones-Grigsby to continue to start over freshman Nick Wilson, and produce accordingly.

Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA

Perkins tallied 17 touches compared to Jordon James' three, outgaining him 90 to three. The usage and success totals speak volumes, especially against an aggressive from four from the Cavaliers. Perkins has bulked up to 200 pounds and should at least surpass last season's 573 yards and could overtake James as the starter sooner than later.

SEC

Russell Hansbrough, RB, Mizzouri

Hansbrough represents yet another running back who somewhat surprisingly dominated carries in the first week of the season, taking 20 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown. Marcus Murphy, who had nine carries, and with an upcoming schedule that includes Indiana, Toledo and Central Florida, Hansbrough appears ready to better the 685 yards he rushed for a season ago.

D'haquille Williams, WR, Auburn

Williams' debut more than lived up to expectations, as the junior college transfer snagged nine balls for 154 yards and a score. The only caveat here is that Jeremy Johnson played most of the game under center for the Tigers in place of the suspended Nick Marshall, and Johnson is a much more proven passer. Marshall's favorite target from a year ago, Sammie Coates, caught just one pass, and there figures to be more balance. That said, Williams is talented enough to make a continued impact.

SUN BELT

Joel Ruiz, TE, Georgia State

Any time a tight end snags seven passes for 111 yards and two scores, it merits attention. Of all of the options presented in this column, Ruiz would appear the least likely to replicate his Week 1 success, however. The 6-4 junior transferred to Georgia State after spending two seasons at Presbyterian, where he totaled 16 catches and 200 yards. He did amass 13 carries in his last season there, proving his athleticism. Sun Belt defenses are far from intimidating, and while Ruiz's best asset may be his ability to keep defenses from double-teaming receiver Robert Davis, taking a chance on Ruiz at a position that lacks steady choices is a worthwhile gamble.

Tres Houston, WR, Arkansas State

Houston matched his 2013 season total with eight receptions in Saturday's opener against Montana State, nearly doubling his yardage output by finishing with 87 yards. The Red Wolves offense is one that spreads the ball around on short yardage throws, but there is clearly room for Houston to see an expanded role. Houston seems to have slid in to the role Julian Jones filled last year, when Jones totaled 52 catches for 641 yards and four touchdowns. Houston has every opportunity to eclipse those numbers and then some.

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