This article is part of our CFB Waiver Wire series.
Mekale McKay, WR, Cincinnati
McKay exploded in the season opener for the Bearcats Friday to the tune of nine catches, 175 yards and a touchdown. This likely will be McKay's best line of the season, and the Bearcats have no shortage of receiving options, but quarterback Gunner Kiel certainly looks like the real deal, and McKay's 6-foot-6 frame makes him a threat to score each week.
Sherman Badie, RB, Tulane
Badie could still be available in leagues due to his early exit from the team's Week 2 contest against Georgia Tech with an undisclosed illness. He scored twice Saturday against Southeastern Louisiana and has 240 yards more than the Green Waves' next rusher.
Jon Hilliman, RB, Boston College
Commentators during the Eagles' upset win over USC on Saturday couldn't help but suggest the team had found its next big rusher in Hilliman, who scored twice while rushing 19 times for 89 yards. The Eagles' seem highly unlikely to turn their backfield over to Hilliman exclusively, but there is little doubt his role will continue to grow. And if he continues getting work in the red zone, he'll continue to be the back in Chestnut Hill worth owning.
John Wolford, QB, Wake Forest
While it has come against Gardner-Webb and Utah State, Wolford has looked like a capable quarterback after a disastrous debut against Louisiana-Monroe. More important, he's thrown 88 passes in those two games. Wake Forest is a bad football team and has little in terms of offensive firepower. Wolford will be called upon to keep his team somewhat competitive, and a Week 4 matchup with Army is certainly not imposing. Buyer beware, however, as the Deacons take on Louisville and Florida State in the following weeks.
Mario Alford, WR, West Virginia
Kevin White isn't the only junior college transfer blossoming in his second season in Morgantown. Alford caught 11 passes for 131 yards and two scores over the weekend against Maryland and already has 21 receptions in three games after 27 during the 2013 season. The Mountaineers offense looks much improved from a season ago, and Alford continues to reap the benefits.
Allen Lazard, WR, Iowa State
As the first month of the season draws to a close, we continue to see freshmen with increasing roles. Lazard's role has expanded partly due to the season-ending knee injury to Quenton Budrage, but the 6-5 top recruit arrived under great expectations. He's improved his catches and yards in each of his first three games and has become the team's leading receiver statistically in the process, and his role will only continue to grow.
Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana
Sudfeld may have been dropped by impatient owners after an 111-yard outing in the team's season opener, which was followed by a bye week. But he looked like the quarterback that entered the season with top-20 upside, throwing for 347 yards and three total touchdowns (two rushing) in Week 3 against Bowling Green. How he'll fair at Missouri this week is anyone's guess, but the Big Ten has proven to not be overly formidable, and Sudfeld should be a solid option once conference play begins.
Curtis Samuel, RB, Ohio State
Samuel becomes the fifth freshman to make the list this week. He's coming off of a 15-carry, 100-yard, two-touchdown performance against Kent State and looks poised to match some of the preseason hype bestowed upon him by coach Urban Meyer. Samuel showed he can be a threat in the passing game as well (four receptions Saturday,) and while he is unlikely to wrestle all of the team's carries away from Ezekiel Elliott, Samuel is certainly trending upward.
Angelo Jean-Louis, WR, Marshall
Look out - another freshman. Jean-Louis arrived at Marshall via Fork Union Military Academy after failing to qualify at the University of Miami. He entered Week 3 with just three catches, but exploded for four grabs, 158 yards and a score Saturday against Ohio. Davonte Allen and Tommy Shuler are safer bets in the Thundering Herd attack, but the team appears to be rolling with its playmakers instead of forcing itself to use a tight end like it did a year ago in Gator Hoskins. Jean-Louis is a playmaker.
Jowan Davis, RB, Rice
Davis had a solid showing Saturday against Texas A&M, rushing for 86 yards while adding an additional 41 yards receiving. He's likely been ignored due to a 33-yard outing in the season opener against Notre Dame, which was followed by a Week 2 bye. Rice's offense isn't exactly a juggernaut, but few defenses in CUSA can be considered stout, as well. The Owls don't play another team from a Power 5 conference, setting Davis up for consistent production.
James Knapke, QB, Bowling Green
Knapke threw a whopping 73 passes Saturday against Indiana, completing 46 for 395 yards and three scores. Matt Johnson was a potential top-10 option entering the season, and there's no reason Knapke can't at least come close to matching Johnson's expected production in a weak defensive conference.
Drew Hare, QB, Northern Illinois
It could be a week late to grab Hare, who has finally and exclusively been named the Huskies starting quarterback. He threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns Saturday, adding 74 yards and a score rushing, and while he won't be mistaken for Jordan Lynch, his production could be during conference games. Northern Illinois travels to Arkansas this week before beginning league play.
Garrett Brown, WR, Air Force
Receivers in triple-option offenses can certainly be dicey fantasy propositions. But Brown is at least marginally safer as he's garnered 18 rushes in three games with 13 receptions. The Falcons are off Week 4 before taking on Boise State, so Brown will not pay off immediately, but there's some hope for those who are patient.
Darell Garretson, QB, Utah State
The Aggies have not given an official timetable for Chuckie Keeton's return, only stating that his surgically repaired knee is structurally sound, and he will miss Saturday's game against Arkansas State. Garreston isn't as flashy as Keeton, but he can fill in in a pinch and makes for a solid streaming option Week 4 against a Red Wolves defense that just allowed 342 yards through the air against Miami.
Cayleb Jones, WR, Arizona
Jones gets the nod here under the assumption Arizona running back Nick Wilson is already owned in most formats. If Wilson isn't, make sure that changes immediately. Jones has shown nice chemistry with quarterback Anu Solomon, topping 100 yards in each of the last two weeks and scoring three times. The Wildcats have Oregon and USC on tap after California, so there could be a few bumps in the road in the immediate future, but Jones deserves to be owned as the team's top option.
Mike Bercovici, QB, Arizona State
Little is known about Bercovici, as the junior has thrown only 24 passes in his two-plus seasons. What is known is he'll take over as the Sun Devils starting quarterback following an injury to Taylor Kelly's foot. The only favor Bercovici gets from the upcoming schedule is a bye week this Saturday to practice as the team's top option before starting next Thursday against UCLA. Arizona State gets USC, another bye and Stanford over the next month. Kelly could return during that stretch, but Bercovici will fill in until then. With Jaelen Strong and D.J. Foster, the Sun Devils have weapons that can make Bercovici's transition smooth, allowing him to provide usable numbers as well.
Josh Robinson, RB, Mississippi State
Robinson has used the non-conference slate to secure his spot atop the team's running back rotation. He has 46 carries for 288 yards through three games, adding 94 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Robinson has found room to run as defenses focus on stopping quarterback Dak Prescott. The Bulldogs have a tough matchup Saturday against an LSU defense that has allowed only 66 rushing yards the last two weeks, but with Texas A&M and Auburn on tap following the Tigers, Robinson's schedule sets up nicely.
Patrick Towles, QB, Kentucky
Lack of competition aside, it seems time to take Towles early season success for real. He's topped 365 yards in two of his three starts, and has rushed 34 times in three games in route to six total touchdowns. Kentucky has a bye in Week 4, but returns to action with Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Louisiana-Monroe, making Towles another option who's schedule lends itself to sustained production.
Kevin Ellison, QB, Georgia Southern
Ellison has emerged from the shadows of Jerick McKinnon (now with the Minnesota Vikings,) to become a viable dual-threat option for the Eagles. He nearly led a remarkable comeback Saturday against Georgia Tech, rallying the team from a 35-10 halftime deficit to take the lead and has two games this season with at least 164 yards passing and 107 yards rushing; both against ACC opponents. He's certainly a different look for a Sun Belt quarterback, a conference that can be rather pass-happy, but Ellison has staying power as the team is set to begin its conference season.
Joshua McCain, WR, Idaho
McCain has been consistent in the Vandals two contests, catching seven and eight passes for at least 93 yards while scoring three times. Freshman quarterback Matt Linehan has thrown at least 41 times for at least 324 yards to begin his career, and Idaho takes on Ohio Saturday before Sun Belt play begins. All of these factors add up to McCain being a nice addition to fantasy rosters.