A week after a “lackluster” slate of games, week four gifted us six (!!!) ranked matchups plus a Clemson/Florida State showdown. I hope you were able to watch as many of these games as possible, as many certainly lived up to the billing.
As per usual, we are recommending players who are under 30% rostered on Fantrax to make sure we are giving as much actionable advice as possible. All players are considered season-long additions, with less focus on immediate production in Week 5.
Jalen Raynor – Arkansas State – Rostership: 9%
Welcome to college football, Jalen Raynor! The true freshman from North Carolina got his first start this weekend, and it certainly won’t be the last after he threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns while adding almost 100 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Most of college fantasy relies on offensive systems, but Raynor is a player who probably succeeds at a small school like Arkansas State, regardless of the system. He’s extremely athletic and can beat you in a variety of ways. Through 1.5 games, Raynor has rushed for over 150 yards, which gives him a very safe floor and a crazy ceiling if he can create a few more weeks like his most recent performance.
Arkansas State gets UMass this week, so you can probably slide him directly into your lineup if you have some injuries or bye weeks stacking up. Arkansas State’s schedule is fairly soft moving forward, so this is not a one-week play either. We could be looking at a league-winning option at quarterback and a dynasty hero if you’re playing those formats.
Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi – Colorado State – Rostership: 8%
Yes, Jared Palmgren covered Fowler-Nicolosi in last week’s waiver article, and I’ve gushed about him on Campus Life and in my own Key Takeaways articles the past two weeks. Since taking the job at Colorado State, he’s averaged 40 pass attempts per game in an offense that wants to throw the ball over 60% of the time in neutral game script situations.
Fowler-Nicolosi has a very strong receiver group, which certainly helps a young quarterback remain consistent on a weekly basis. Plus, his schedule includes Utah Tech, Utah State, and UNLV, with Nevada and Hawaii awaiting during the playoffs. There’s no rushing upside here, but the volume should be good enough to overcome that.
- Zeon Chriss – Louisiana-Lafayette
- McCae Hillstead – Utah State
- Kyron Drones – Virginia Tech
Peny Boone – Toledo – Rostership: 27%
Boone is on the high end of the rostership scale, but with MACtion just around the corner, he is a must-add in all formats. Boone has seen a steady increase in rush attempts over the past three weeks and has responded with a 100+ yard and 200+ yard performance. Boone is a big, bruising back who can handle a full workload for the Rockets.
Of note, Toledo lost starting QB Dequan Finn this weekend, and it does not look like his return is imminent. Toledo may lean on the run game even more than they were before. With upcoming games against defensive cupcakes Northern Illinois and UMass, plus a playoff schedule that includes Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, and Central Michigan, Boone could have a Lew Nichols-type performance down the stretch in 2023. Add him today, and if he’s already rostered by someone else, see if you can’t pry him away.
Emmanuel Michel – Air Force – Rostership: 17%
CFF experts projected John Lee Eldridge to lead the Air Force running game in 2023. We should have known that Air Force would pull one over on all of us. It looks like Michel has settled in as the starter, with 28 and 33 carries in their two most recent contests. Michel has gone over 100 yards in both and added six touchdowns to boot. Even if those touchdowns dry up, Michel provides a very stable floor in an offense that runs the ball a ton. Plus, Air Force looks pretty good again this year, which should mean a positive game script for him moving forward.
Parker Jenkins – Houston – Rostership: 8%
Houston thought they had their backfield set for years when Alton McCaskill broke out as a true freshman. A knee injury and subsequent transfer threw this group into chaos. Houston has tried different options, but looks like they finally struck gold on true freshman Parker Jenkins. Jenkins has a sub 10.8 100-meter dash under his belt at roughly 200 pounds, so this is an explosive back who can break big runs if given the opportunity.
There’s certainly some risk with Jenkins, especially with some tough matchups like Texas, Kansas State, and Cincy moving forward. However, his playoff matchups in weeks 12 and 13 are soft (Oklahoma State & UCF), and Jenkins should provide a different dimension for this offense that is loaded with weapons at the receiver positions. QB Donovan Smith can be a touchdown vulture, so he’s less of a priority than Michel and Boone in redraft formats.
- DJ Giddens – Kansas State: KSU is on a bye this week, and Treshaun Ward should return soon, but it’s also possible that Giddens seizes a bigger role here after his monster performance in week 4. He’s a risky add, but it could pay off if that happens.
Josh Kelly – Washington State – Rostership: 20%
Following the injury to lead receiver Lincoln Victor against Oregon State, Kelly stepped up in a big way with eight catches, 159 yards, and three touchdowns on 12 targets. It’s rare to find that type of volume available on waivers mid-season. We know this offense can pepper the lead man with targets (Victor has two double-digit target performances), so this type of volume is certainly sustainable moving forward.
My only hang-up on Kelly is that there is some serious competition for targets on the roster, and Kelly does not play the preferred slot position in this offense. Kyle Williams and Carlos Hernandez combined for 15 targets last weekend and should command more moving forward if Victor misses extensive time. Kelly is not as big of a priority for me as he is for others, but he’s certainly worth an add.
Kobe Hudson – UCF – Rostership: 25%
Hudson is the rare player who is killing it this season without a huge target volume. Hudson does not have a single game with 10 or more targets and only has one with more than seven, but it hasn’t really mattered because of how explosive he is downfield. Hudson’s ADOT is over 15, and he’s converting a really high percentage of these deep targets into production.
Hudson has now gone over 130 yards each of the past three weeks, with two different starting quarterbacks to boot. Baylor and Kansas, his next two opponents, are both beatable through the air, and he gets Houston in championship week if you make it that far. Hudson has been slept on a bit this season and should continue to produce as one of the most explosive deep threats in the nation.
- Naiem Simmons – USF: I’m not ready to call Simmons a “must-add” after his explosive performance against Rice. Simmons caught all eight of his targets for 272 yards and a touchdown but doesn’t have another game over 60 yards this year.
- Elijah Metcalf – MTSU: The schedule softens up, and Metcalf could be the top target in this offense.
Luke Hasz – Arkansas – Rostership: 25%
The third true freshman to make it into this piece, Hasz has been a consistent option in this Arkansas passing attack. Although he doesn’t get a ton of targets each week, he consistently gets a handful and has been deadly over the past two weeks, averaging almost 20 yards per reception. Hasz is a bit undersized and operates almost as a poor man’s Brock Bowers for the Razorbacks. Hasz is a priority add in dynasty formats but should only be added to rough TE rooms in redraft at this stage.