CFB Waiver Wire: Players to Pick Up Week 6

CFB Waiver Wire: Players to Pick Up Week 6

This article is part of our CFB Waiver Wire series.

Throughout the college football season, I'll pick two guys from every active conference who either caught my eye in the previous week or who have a favorable match-up in the near future. As always, I'll get to any questions or comments you have in the comments section below.

First though, here are the guys who made me look good last week;

East Carolina RB Keaton Mitchell (37.2 points)
Michigan State QB Payton Thorne (29.2 points)
Miami RB Cam'Ron Harris (26.1 points)
Iowa State WR Xavier Hutchinson (22.6 points)
SMU WR Rashee Rice (21.1 points)
Virginia WR Billy Kemp (18.0 points)
USC RB Keaontay Ingram (16.9 points)

It was a dreadful week for my quarterback recommendations as I'm not sure what Cal's Chase Garbers (6.5 points) was doing against Washington State and Army's Christian Anderson (DNP) was ruled out with a shoulder injury. I still believe Texas' Casey Thompson (12.2 points) is an excellent season-long add, however, the Longhorns really leaned on the run-game in their win at TCU. The signal callers will be better this week as I've made sure to do a deeper dive at the position this week.

Slate Background: This week's Thursday slate should have tons of points with Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State and Houston at Tulane. Friday will likely have less points on a per-game basis, but a chance for us to see the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats (hosting Temple), a fun Charlotte at FIU match-up and a sneaky good night game with Stanford at Arizona

Throughout the college football season, I'll pick two guys from every active conference who either caught my eye in the previous week or who have a favorable match-up in the near future. As always, I'll get to any questions or comments you have in the comments section below.

First though, here are the guys who made me look good last week;

East Carolina RB Keaton Mitchell (37.2 points)
Michigan State QB Payton Thorne (29.2 points)
Miami RB Cam'Ron Harris (26.1 points)
Iowa State WR Xavier Hutchinson (22.6 points)
SMU WR Rashee Rice (21.1 points)
Virginia WR Billy Kemp (18.0 points)
USC RB Keaontay Ingram (16.9 points)

It was a dreadful week for my quarterback recommendations as I'm not sure what Cal's Chase Garbers (6.5 points) was doing against Washington State and Army's Christian Anderson (DNP) was ruled out with a shoulder injury. I still believe Texas' Casey Thompson (12.2 points) is an excellent season-long add, however, the Longhorns really leaned on the run-game in their win at TCU. The signal callers will be better this week as I've made sure to do a deeper dive at the position this week.

Slate Background: This week's Thursday slate should have tons of points with Coastal Carolina at Arkansas State and Houston at Tulane. Friday will likely have less points on a per-game basis, but a chance for us to see the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats (hosting Temple), a fun Charlotte at FIU match-up and a sneaky good night game with Stanford at Arizona State. Saturday's fantasy-friendly games include Florida State at North Carolina, Virginia at Louisville, Oklahoma and Texas in the Red River Showdown, SMU at Navy, East Carolina at UCF and UCLA at Arizona. Not a ton of fantasy intrigue with Penn State at Iowa (although I do have a recommendation below), but it will be a great game to watch!

*Fantasy Points referenced in article are DK format.
**To qualify for recommendations, players must be rostered in less than 50 percent of Fantrax Leagues

AAC

Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati

With their impressive win at Notre Dame, the Bearcats have a clear path to the Playoff and the best way to accomplish that as a non-power five team is to beat their American conference counterparts by as many points as possible. Pierce has been QB Desmond Ridder's favorite target over the last two games with 11 catches for 230 yards and a touchdown. Rostered in just five percent of leagues is far too low for perhaps the number one receiver on a top five team in the nation. The schedule couldn't set up any better for the Bearcats with Temple, UCF, Navy and Tulane over the next month.

Keaton Mitchell, RB, Eastern Carolina

Mitchell was so good against Tulane with a career-high 222 rushing yards that I have to include him here again. Even with backup, Rahjai Harris, receiving significant carries, Mitchell has been one of the best in the country. On 59 carries, the freshman has 574 yards which averages out to a ridiculous 9.73 yards per carry. Something looked off with UCF's defense this past week as Navy ran up 342 rushing yards, thus I'm ready to go all-in on Mitchell for this week's match-up as he's rostered in just in just 26 percent of leagues.

Week 5 Rewind; East Carolina RB Keaton Mitchell (37.2 points - 15 carries, 222 yards, 2 TD) & SMU WR Rashee Rice (8 catches, 71 yards, 1 TD)

ACC

Jeff Sims, QB, Georgia Tech

Sims had a monster fantasy performance against North Carolina in Week 4 with four total touchdowns on his way to 42.3 fantasy points. That resulted in him being rostered in 34 percent of leagues in this last week against a good Pittsburgh team where he performed with 27.2 fantasy points behind 359 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions. It gets even easier this upcoming week with Duke who are without a doubt the worst team in the conference with a pass defense that was shredded by Charlotte, Northwestern, Kansas and North Carolina. 

Taylor Morin, WR, Wake Forest

The undefeated Deamon Deacons have piqued my interest and Morin has been an unsung hero with double-digit fantasy performances in each of the last three weeks. In those three games against ACC foes, he has 16 catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns on 22 targets. Morin has a competent quarterback in Sam Hartman (29 percent rostered) and is available in nearly all leagues with a roster percentage of just three percent. Most of the ACC defenses are pretty bad, so I have a good feeling he can keep putting forward worthy fantasy performances even with Jaquarii Roberson (84 percent rostered) and A.T. Perry (seven percent rostered) in the mix for targets.

Week 5 Rewind; Miami RB Cam'Ron Harris (14 carries, 111 yards, 2 TD) & Virginia WR Billy Kemp (9/11 targets, 81 yards, 9 rushing yards)

BIG 12

Abram Smith, RB, Baylor

Smith has received double-digit carries in all five of the Bears' games this season and has been a pleasant surprise with 510 yards and six touchdowns on 67 carries. His 6.71 yards per carry on that much volume shows that he has some explosiveness in his game and he was able to break off a 55-yard touchdown against a tough Oklahoma State defense. Meanwhile, teammate Trestan Ebner, was held to zero yards on eight carries in that same game. I can foresee Baylor giving Smith more and more carries as the season goes on which means he should be rostered in more than 42 percent of leagues.

Kaylon Geiger, WR, Texas Tech

Geiger was elevated to the team's number one receiver spot this last week as Erik Ezukanma did not make the trip to West Virginia with an undisclosed injury. This could be significant as Texas Tech will need to throw the ball in heavy volume against most conference foes. This has been evident for Geiger who has 25 targets over his last three games. He's taken advantage of those opportunities with 18 catches for 303 yards and a touchdown. There's not many receivers averaging 100 receiving yards per game that are rostered in just 11 percent of leagues. 

Week 5 Rewind; Texas QB Casey Thompson (12.2 points - 12/22, 142 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 35 rushing yards) & Iowa State WR Xavier Hutchinson (22.6 points - 7 catches, 96 yards, 1 TD)

BIG TEN

Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa

LaPorta and the Hawkeyes are heating up as the junior tight end has at least four catches in each of his last three games. He's been quite productive at the position this year with 22 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns on 35 targets. Moreover, he's a significant part of what Iowa wants to do with 24.3 percent of the team's target share. Many gave up on LaPorta after his one-catch performance at Iowa State in Week 2, meaning that he's rostered in just 32 percent of leagues. It's looking more and more like that week was a blip as he's had at least 9.9 fantasy points in each of his other four games this year.

Payton Thorne, QB, Michigan State

I absolutely love what Mel Tucker has done with his undefeated Spartans. Through their first five games, they're averaging 38 points and 467 yards of offense per game. Yes, they're also giving up 429 yards of defense per game, yet that's all gravy in the fantasy world and it hasn't stopped them from going 5-0. The fantasy public has not caught up on the Spartans quite yet as Thorne is rostered in just 22 percent of leagues. He has excellent match-ups at Rutgers and at Indiana over the next two weeks, so that number should be on the rise.

Week 5 Rewind; Michigan State QB Payton Thorne (29.2 points - 20/30, 327 yards, 1 TD, 31 rushing yards, 1 TD) & Illinois WR Isaiah Williams (6.0 points - 3 catches, 24 yards, 6 rushing yards)

C-USA

Chris Reynolds, QB, Charlotte

Reynolds didn't have a huge game against Illinois, but he wasn't bad either when you consider they were playing above their talent level with a Big 10 team. The talent scale all changes this week though when they take on a Florida International team who has given up at least 397 passing yards in each of their last three games. It's not like FIU were playing great teams either with Texas Tech, Central Michigan and Florida Atlantic all finding success through the air. Reynolds is available in 65 percent of leagues and should be a top play this next week. I also like his top receiver in Victor Tucker (16.5 points last week) who is rostered in just 20 percent of leagues.

Xavier Gaines, TE, Marshall

As in most college football seasons, the tight end position is tough to call and it's scarce to see the position get in to double-digit fantasy points on a weekly basis. Gaines has done it in two of the last three weeks, highlighted by 24.2 points at Appalachian State with five grabs for 104 yards and a touchdown in Week 4. What I like the most about Marshall's tight end is that he has a relatively consistent floor with at least two catches and three targets per game this year. He's available in 71 percent of leagues, so he's worth picking up against Old Dominion this week.

Week 5 Rewind; Charlotte QB Chris Reynolds (17.2 points - 17/23, 191 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 26 rushing yards) & Rice TE/RB/WR Jordan Myers (6.1 points - 2 catches, 21 yards, 10 carries, 20 yards)

MAC

Austin Osborne, WR, Bowling Green

Ready for some MACtion between two of the worst teams in college football. At first glance, I was not quite sure which offense to trust in a game between Bowling Green and Akron, then I remembered that the Falcons knocked off Minnesota two weeks ago. More seriously though, Bowling Green is yielding just 286 yards of defense at home while the Zips gave up an average of 618 yards in their two away games. Osborne is Bowling Green's top receiver with 31 catches for 233 yards and is still awaiting his first collegiate touchdown. I think he gets it this week and it's even sweeter that he's available in 99 percent of leagues.

Jacob Sirmon or Daniel Richardson, QB, Central Michigan

Here's a sneaky darkhorse recommendation as it appears Sirmon may get the starting job back with Daniel Richardson sustaining a shoulder injury at Miami of Ohio. The passing game with both Richardson and Sirmon has been solid in 2021 as the Chippewas are averaging 302 passing yards per game. They play one of the worst defenses in the conference in Ohio who are allowing 419 yards per game. Make sure to check the news prior to the game to see if Sirmon gets the starting nod and he's available in 98 percent of leagues. If Richardson can come back, he's available in 99 percent of leagues.

Week 5 Rewind; Toledo WR Devin Maddox (3.2 points - 2 catches, 12 yards) & Northern Illinois QB Rocky Lombardi (11.0 points - 9/20, 84 yards, 16 rushing yards, 1 TD)

MWC

Toa Taua, RB, Nevada

After opening the season with three consecutive games with more than 300 passing yards, Nevada displayed a lot more balance in their offensive attack in a 41-31 win at Boise State. Taua (35 percent rostered) received a season-high 12 carries and rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns with seven catches for 44 yards. He shouldn't slow down against New Mexico State who allows 449 yards per game, particularly 188 per contest on the ground.

Todd Centeio, QB, Colorado State

I'm targeting the San Jose State and Colorado State match-up because it's a battle of similarly bad teams who have middling defenses. I was quite shocked to see that Centeio managed 18.1 fantasy points against Iowa in Week 4, considering the Hawkeyes have one of the best defenses in the nation. Coming off a bye, Centeio is rostered in just two percent of leagues and is averaging 34.3 passing attempts per game. It will be a big bonus if he gets WR Dante Wright back from a knee injury and he does have a stud TE in Trey McBride. I love the Rams' next three games with San Jose State, New Mexico and Utah State.

Week 5 Rewind; Air Force QB Haaziq Daniels (10.3 points - 1/2, 33 yards, 30 rushing yards, 1 TD) & Fresno State WR Josh Kelly (12.0 points - 6/9 targets, 60 yards)

PAC-12

Brittain Brown, RB, UCLA

The Bruins have one of the best running games in the nation and that's why I believe there's room for both Zach Charbonnet (91 percent rostered) and Brown (50 percent rostered) in fantasy line-ups against soft opponents. In Chip Kelly's system, UCLA is averaging 193 rushing yards per game and it would be well over 200 yards if not for a 117-yard performance against Fresno State. This week's soft opponent, the winless Arizona Wildcats, are giving up 192 rushing yards per game, so there's a great chance UCLA goes over 200 rushing yards this week. 

Stanley Berryhill, WR, Arizona

Sticking with that game between the Bruins and Wildcats as it should have an enticing over-under, I still don't understand why Berryhill is rostered in just 19 percent of leagues. He's had double-digit targets in all four games this year (51 targets in total!) and is averaging 20.2 fantasy points per contest. UCLA is giving up 322 passing yards per game, so whoever Arizona puts at quarterback should find some success in a fun Pac 12 game after dark.

Week 5 Rewind; Cal QB Chase Garbers (6.5 points - 14/30, 152 yards, 1 INT, 14 rushing yards) & USC RB Keaontay Ingram (16.9 points - 14 carries, 124 yards, 15 receiving yards)

SEC

Connor Bazelak, QB, Missouri

Bazelak has been all over the map in 2021 with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions through five games. That tends to happen when you're averaging roughly 40 passing attempts per game. I don't love that type of volume versus most SEC defenses, but I absolutely love that type of volume against inferior foes such as North Texas this week. Bazelak had a tough outing with no touchdowns against Tennessee (13.2 fantasy points) this past week, so he should be available on most waiver wires as he's rostered in just 29 percent of leagues currently.

Tiyon Evans, RB, Tennessee

Evans had his breakout game against Missouri with 15 carries for 156 yards and three touchdowns. This was helped by fellow running back Jabari Small leaving the game early with an undisclosed injury. With Small struggling through multiple injuries in 2021, Evans is averaging 22.5 fantasy points per game. The JUCO transfer does have to contend with QB Hendon Hooker who has a propensity to run the ball, however, that shouldn't be a problem against South Carolina who gave up 184 rushing yards to Georgia and 230 rushing yards to Kentucky. The best part about Evans is that he's rostered in just nine percent of leagues in a high-tempo offense.

Week 5 Rewind; Alabama TE Jahleel Billingsley (8.7 points - 4 catches, 47 yards) & Vanderbilt RB Rocko Griffin (16.7 points - 19 carries, 77 yards, 1 TD, 2 catches, 10 yards)

SUN BELT

Cornelious Brown, QB, Georgia State

It's fairly miraculous that Louisiana Monroe (2-2) currently has more wins than Georgia State (1-4), however, the strength of schedule couldn't be any more polarizing. UL-Monroe hasn't played anyone and is one of the worst teams in the nation while the Panthers have gone up against Army, North Carolina, Charlotte, Auburn and Appalachian State.  Brown has been replaced by backup Darren Grainger at times, but I think that has a lot to do with the tough competition. I expect that to change this week as Brown (19 percent rostered) also has a healthy weapon in WR Sam Pinckney (53 percent rostered) back in the line-up.

Terrion Avery, RB, South Alabama

Starter Kareem Walker (nine percent rostered) is dealing with a quad injury that kept him out of the game against Louisiana and potentially will cause him to miss the next game at Texas State. If that is the case, I'm willing to take a chance on Avery who hasn't done a lot this year through the first four games. The reason why is because Texas State is giving up 435 yards per game. Avery is available in 99 percent of leagues and if you need a running back in a pinch, there will be great opportunity for upside this week.

Week 5 Rewind; Arkansas State QB James Blackman (13.2 points - 28/43, 292 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT) & Arkansas State WR Te'Vailance Hunt (5.3 points - 3 catches, 23 yards)

INDEPENDENTS

Nathan Carter, RB, Connecticut

No way was I going to pass up the opportunity to recommend someone from the battle between the 0-6 Huskies and the 0-5 Minutemen. Typically the two fantasy doormats now have a chance to steal the spotlight and put forth their very own fantasy superstar. My best bet to do so is Carter (available in 100 percent of leagues) who goes up against a defense allowing 238 rushing yards per game. Carter has already seen his arrow go up in recent weeks while passing Kevin Mensah on the depth chart and rushing for a combined 188 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries against Wyoming and Vanderbilt. 

Week 5 Rewind; Army QB Christian Anderson (DNP - Shoulder Injury)

DEFENSE RECOMMENDATIONS

San Diego State (vs. New Mexico) - The Aztecs are averaging 13.25 fantasy points per game and somehow rostered in just 21 percent of leagues. They have yet to allow more than 70 rushing yards in a game and love to run the clock down on their end while averaging 47 carries per game.

South Alabama (at Texas State) - Usually don't like going against home teams, but the Bobcats have no chance against South Alabama who are holding opponents to an average of 17 points and 289 yards per game. They also have at least three sacks in three of their four games and eight turnovers on the season. Rostered in just six percent of leagues.

Nevada (vs. New Mexico State) - Available in 99 percent of leagues. The talent gap between the Wolf Pack and the Aggies is large and will be evident on Saturday Night.

Week 5 Rewind; UTSA vs. UNLV (11 points - 17 PA, 6 Sacks, 3 TAs), Michigan State vs. Western Kentucky (8.5 points - 31 PA, 3 Sacks, 1 TA, 1 TD) & West Virginia vs. Texas Tech (2.5 points - 23 PA, 3 Sacks, 1 TA)

SUMMARY & TOP RECOMMENDATIONS

Utilizing the two players for each conference above, here are my top recommendations for the week by position:

QB: Charlotte Chris Reynolds, Michigan State Payton Thorne, Georgia Tech Jeff Sims

RB: East Carolina Keaton Mitchell, Baylor Abram Smith, Tennessee Tiyon Evans

WR: Arizona Stanley Berryhill, Texas Tech Kaylon Geiger, Cincinnati Alec Pierce

TE: Iowa Sam LaPorta, Marshall Xavier Gaines

D/ST: San Diego State (vs. New Mexico), Nevada (vs. New Mexico State), South Alabama (at Texas State)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Grays
Grays covers college football for RotoWire by night and is a Financial Analyst by day.
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