John O'Korn, QB, Houston
David Piland was expected to serve as Houston's top quarterback in 2013, but O'Korn has pulled away as the starter in Houston's pass-happy offense, and he's showing signs of turning into a strong fantasy asset as a result. Although he' s a true freshman, O'Korn has completed 63.5 percent of his passes while averaging 8.1 yards per pass, throwing 10 touchdowns in four games compared to just one interception. He hasn't passed any particularly tough tests as far as opposing defenses go, but that's only a minor concern given that he plays in the AAC. He should have at least a few big games in store before the year is over, even if it might be best to bench him against the likes of BYU and Louisville.
Justin Goodwin, RB, Rutgers
Paul James (leg) is expected to miss another game and previous top backup Savon Huggins continues to faceplant for Rutgers, so Goodwin surprisingly finds himself as Rutgers' top running back as the Scarlet Knights take on Louisville on Thursday. With James out against SMU on Saturday, Huggins posted just 48 yards on 18 carries. Goodwin, meanwhile, torched the Mustangs for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries (6.2 YPC) and added 73 yards and a touchdown on two catches. Louisville's defense is tougher than SMU's, but Goodwin could have another solid game in store with James sitting.
Chase Rettig, QB, Boston College
After throwing 39.4 times per game in 2012, the Boston College offense really pulled itself back in its first five games of this season, throwing just 109 attempts. Rettig has been much more efficient for it, throwing nine touchdowns and averaging 8.2 yards per pass after throwing 17 touchdowns and averaging 6.5 yards per pass in 2012, but Rettig's overall fantasy utility is done since his pass attempt volume has decreased so drastically. That should change this week as Boston College (perhaps futilely) attempts to keep up with a Clemson squad averaging 44.2 points per game. Rettig's only a deep-league option due to his own shaky history and the surprisingly good showing by the Clemson defense so far this year (16.6 points allowed per game), but there's reason to believe this week's game will be his best of the year from a fantasy standpoint.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
Bryant is best avoided outside deep leagues and ACC-only formats since Clemson has so many receiving candidates in its spread-out offense, but he's on the verge of establishing himself as Clemson's clear No. 2 wideout behind lead man Sammy Watkins, and that gives Bryant some fantasy upside. After catching three passes for 79 yards and a touchdown against Syracuse on Saturday, Bryant is up to 268 yards (17.9 YPC) and three touchdowns on 15 catches in four games. At about 6-foot-5 with deep speed, Bryant should continue to find his way into the endzone as the offense throws at a rate of more than three touchdowns per game.
Quenton Bundrage, WR, Iowa State
Bundrage was the favorite to lead the Iowa State passing game this year by default - the Cyclones lost their top three receivers during the offseason - but he's been much more than a placeholder in the Cyclones offense, as the early indications are that he'll be the team's best receiver since at least R.J. Sumrall in 2008. Bundrage has 18 catches after four games, totaling 323 yards (17.9 YPC) and four touchdowns through the air. He's been at his best against Iowa State's toughest opponents, with 283 yards and all four touchdowns coming from the Cyclones' matchups with Iowa and Texas. Quarterback Sam Richardson looks like a competent passer for Iowa State, and Bundrage will continue to be his go-to receiver.
Aaron Wimberly, RB, Iowa State
Wimberly was expected to play as Iowa State's fourth running back behind Shontrelle Johnson, Jeff Woody and James White to start the season, but it's become obvious in recent weeks that he's the Cyclones' best runner. He's been very good against Tulsa and Texas the last two weeks, totaling 254 yards and a touchdown on the ground while adding 54 yards and another touchdown as a receiver. He might struggle this week against a Texas Tech squad that allows just 3.0 yards per carry, but Wimberly offers some long-term upside to those who can afford to stash him on the bench.
Kyle Carter, TE, Penn State
Carter was one of the nation's best fantasy tight ends as a freshman last year, totaling 35 catches for 441 yards and two touchdowns in eight games before a leg injury and then a wrist injury ended his season. An arm ailment held Carter to a slow start this year, but he looked like his old self against Indiana on Saturday, catching six passes for 79 yards. If he's available in your league and in need of a tight end upgrade, Carter can probably provide it.
Macgarrett Kings, WR, Michigan State
Aaron Burbridge, Bennie Fowler and Keith Mumphery were expected to land ahead of Kings on the Michigan State wideout depth chart this year, but Kings is pulling away as the team's top wideout as the Spartans head into their sixth game. Kings has 17 catches for 226 yards on the year - both of which are team-leading numbers - and he has a touchdown in each of his last three games. The generally weak Michigan State passing game probably makes Kings less than useful in nationwide formats, but he should definitely be owned in Big Ten-only leagues until further notice.
Darnell Smith, WR, North Texas
The North Texas passing game is operating at a high level so far this year, posting 287.4 yards per game. Smith has been the main target in that passing attack, catching 36 passes in five games for 401 yards and three touchdowns. Smith's receiving average of 11.1 yards per catch is obviously a bit weak, though he at least has elevated value in PPR leagues due to his 7.2 catches per game. Despite his modest upside, Smith has been very consistent, posting at least 79 yards receiving or a touchdown in all but one game this year.
Jamari Staples, WR, UAB
The yardage hasn't been there yet for Staples, but it's hard to ignore a player who scores touchdowns. That's all Staples has done for UAB in the first five weeks of his career, catching four touchdown passes on just 14 receptions, including a 103-yard, one-touchdown showing in a shootout with Troy in Week 1. Leading-UAB wideout Jamarcus Nelson is questionable with an ankle sprain, so Staples' role should be even more prominent in the near future.
Terry Baggett, RB, Army
With Raymond Maples out for the year, Army needed another running back to step up and provide big plays next to power back Larry Dixon. Baggett stepped up and proved to be fully capable of handling the task, and now he's Army's leading rusher with 440 yards (7.5 YPC). Despite playing against the toughest stretch of Army's schedule - Stanford, Wake Forest, Louisiana Tech and Boston College - Baggett did very well over that span, totaling 403 yards and two touchdowns. With Eastern Michigan and Temple up next, Baggett is on the deep-league radar at the very least.
Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
If Davis was dropped in your league while he sat due to a concussion, there is fantasy production to be had in the freshman wideout, who showed signs of getting back on track last week by catching five passes for 77 yards against Toledo on Saturday. He didn't get much press for it because he plays for such an awful team, but Davis was matchup-proof before his injury struck, totaling 21 catches for 324 yards and two touchdowns in three games despite playing road games against Michigan State and Northwestern. With health on his side again, Davis could be capable of even better numbers against his MAC schedule.
Rob Blanchflower, TE, Massachusetts
Blanchflower has shown signs of becoming one of the nation's best pass-catching tight ends the last two years, and after getting held back by an injury to start 2013, he should be in position to break out in the immediate future. He quietly caught 43 passes for 463 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games last year, including 263 yards over the final four weeks, and he has 10 catches for 58 yards against the tough defenses of Vanderbilt and Bowling Green in 2013. His schedule is much easier from here, though, so his yardage should spike upward. This week's game against Miami (OH) is a big opportunity for Blanchflower.
Brandon Miller, RB, Wyoming
Shaun Wick served as Wyoming's top running back for most of the year, running for 353 yards and five touchdowns in the first four games of the season, but fumble troubles struck during that fourth game. Miller was given the opportunity to take over, and he did well for himself against Texas State, running for 72 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries (5.1 YPC). Miller offers a lot more pass-catching ability than Wick, so PPR-league owners should especially be intrigued by Miller. He's primarily a deep and MWC-only league consideration for now, though, because Wick is a threat to steal touches.
Tyler Winston, WR, San Jose State
With Noel Grigsby (knee) and Jabari Carr (shoulder) hurting, the Spartans needed a receiver other than Chandler Jones to step up Saturday. Winston answered the call, as the former defensive back burned Hawaii for 159 yards and a touchdown on six catches. Grigsby is out for the season and Carr is also questionable, so Winston should stay active this week against a Colorado State squad that allows 8.1 yards per pass attempt and has surrendered 14 touchdown passes in five games.
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
Starting runner Jordon James is expected to miss time due to an ankle injury he suffered against Utah on Thursday, leaving Perkins to take over as the Bruins' top running back. Perkins has consistently impressed this year as an off-the-bench runner, and he took full advantage of his opportunity when James got hurt Thursday, taking 16 carries for 92 yards and posting 49 more yards on two receptions. UCLA gave James 62 carries over the first three weeks, so a potentially big role is in store for Perkins as long as James is out. He should be a starting option in nationwide formats.
Vince Mayle, WR, Washington State
Mayle is primarily a Pac-12-only league consideration due to the relatively small role he's had to this point, but his production in recent weeks gives reason to suspect that role will be expanded soon. The main reason is that he's clearly the team's best option to score through the air, as wideouts Gabe Marks, Kristoff Williams and Bobby Ratliff are short-route receivers, and big-play threat Dominique Williams has largely been invisible this year. Mayle, on the other hand, has four touchdowns in the last four weeks, highlighted by a 113-yard, two-touchdown breakout game against California last week. Mayle has four touchdowns on just 11 receptions, so Washington State would be wise to give him more targets.
Jameon Lewis, WR, Mississippi State
Lewis has definitely arrived for Mississippi State, and it looks like he'll be a serious threat to finish as a top-five fantasy receiver in the SEC. He has proven himself to be a major big-play threat, taking 19 catches for 359 yards (18.9 YPC) and three touchdowns while adding 74 yards and two more touchdowns as a runner. He even has a 36-yard touchdown pass. He arguably had his best performance of the year against LSU, a game in which he caught seven passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. If he can produce against the Tigers, there's no reason to think Lewis can't stay hot against the likes of Bowling Green and Kentucky.
Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn
Artis-Payne is clearly a backup to starter Tre Mason and is therefore just an SEC-only and deep-league consideration, but he should be busy this week against Western Carolina. Auburn is going to put up a lot of points in this one, and the backups should get a lot of playing time. Auburn has played in only one blowout so far this year, and that was a 38-9 victory over Arkansas State. Artis-Payne received 19 carries in that one, going for 102 yards and a touchdown. He should be within reach of 100 yards and a touchdown again as the Tigers take on Western Carolina's FCS squad.
Bryan Holmes, WR, Troy
Holmes has yet to really break out, but there's reason to think he'll finish this year as one of the nation's best breakout fantasy assets. He quietly heads into his seventh game with 387 yards and four touchdowns despite playing road games against BCS squads Mississippi State and Duke, and his role appears to be growing since he has 13 catches (for 175 yards and two touchdowns) the last two weeks. The next month of his schedule features a potential shootout each week, especially against Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette. Given that Troy just allowed 33 points against South Alabama, the Trojans should have reason to throw the ball aggressively all game.
Adam Kennedy, QB, Arkansas State
Kennedy's offense has been a bit goofy this year - the pass blocking is not good and Kennedy has just three passing touchdowns despite throwing for 1,187 yards - but he has an easy home matchup against Idaho this week, and he's coming off a road game against Missouri in which he threw for more than 300 yards. Kennedy has a fair amount of talent and, as he faces off against a defense that has allowed 19 passing touchdowns in six games, he should have his best game of the season so far as long as Arkansas State throws the ball 30 or more times. He's generally best avoided outside of deep formats for now, though.