Another week of college football is in the books, and it is crazy that we are fast approaching the halfway point of the season! Some of you have had great starts up until this point, but what happens when suddenly you’re without your best players because *gasp* they have a bye week! Navigating weeks six through nine will be a true gauntlet for many CFF teams, and finding replacements and reinforcements on the wire is more important than ever. During these weeks we’ll be shifting our focus away from rest of season value, as those guys are mostly claimed by this point in your league, and focusing on players whose matchups line up nicely for this stretch of weeks.

In this article, we’ll be discussing players who should be widely available on your CFF/C2C teams. In order to accomplish this, we’ll only look at guys who are rostered on only 30% of teams or less.

As always, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t always just target the top performers from the week before. Context matters even more in college fantasy than it does in NFL fantasy. A guy going off for 200+ yards and three touchdowns is great, but when it only comes on five touches versus an FCS opponent, you don’t want to fall for that trap. We do our best here to sift through the traps and provide you guys who will boost your teams down the stretch for your playoff runs!

Quarterbacks

Chandler Rogers – North Texas – Rostership: 15%

Rogers, Offense Thrive Again In Win Over ACU - University of North Texas Athletics

Part of the fun of being a “CFF expert” is that the sport constantly finds new ways to humble you and make you eat plenty of crow. Rogers is certainly the latest example of this, as I was convinced he would’ve been the answer for UNT this year, and I was partially right, as Stone Earle earned the starting nod to start the season. Well, turns out Stone Earle is more like Stone Hurl and Rogers came in to clean it up. Since then, Rogers has been a sneaky, steady play in college fantasy, and I believe his full potential hasn’t even been reached yet.

Knowing Rogers’ history at UL Monroe, you’d think his performances would be heavily reliant on his legs, but surprisingly that’s just not what we’ve seen. In his three starts, Rogers has had less than ten rushing attempts and 50 rushing yards in each game. His production is coming through the air, which is a massive pleasant surprise given what we’ve seen in the past with him. After barely hitting 200 yards in his first game, Rogers has hit 300+ in both of his last two games and has had 35+ passing attempts in each. So that means the staff trusts him to throw a ton, and his production isn’t coming from long plays on bad defenses. He has just been a steady performer, which is very translatable to other opponents.

Speaking of other opponents, the schedule sets up super nicely for Rogers and UNT, as they’ve already gotten their bye week out of the way, and their next two opponents are Navy and Temple, whose secondaries have been getting sliced and diced all year. That makes him a perfect grab for teams struggling for QBs in Weeks 6 and 7. However, Rogers could have some rest of season value as well, as our own Nicholas Ian Allen and our C2C Winning Edge numbers have UNT’s remaining schedule as 112th in team performance against the pass and 103rd against the run. If Rogers continues to perform as well as he has and they unlock his rushing ability even more, there’s some massive weeks ahead for Rogers.

Logan Smothers – Jacksonville State – Rostership: 3%

Jacksonville State shuts out Eastern Michigan 21-0, improves to 3-1 - al.com

Another QB that should help plug in bye week holes at QB the next couple of weeks involves at signal caller at one of FBS’ new additions, Logan Smothers of Jacksonville State. For those of you who may not have watched a JSU game since Week 0, when we were all desperate for any football, the Gamecocks have made a change at QB that has been for the better, not only for them but for us in fantasy. Smothers has been another quiet, steady eddy for fantasy, and he should continue that over the next couple of weeks during this bye-week hell. Unlike Rogers, Smothers is super reliant on his legs. He’s thrown for less than 200 yards in every game so far this year. However, he’s not being held back, as he has hit 35 rushing yards in every game and has a high of 118 rushing yards in a single game. He’s also found the endzone on the ground in every game he started, so he’s clearly part of the game-plan to score.

Like more on this waiver wire report today, the schedule is great over the next few weeks. Truly, God bless the CUSA. Smothers has matchups against MTSU, Liberty, and Western Kentucky over the next three weeks. All three teams have had defensive struggles this year, and all three have good enough offenses to potentially force the gamecocks into shootouts for three weeks in a row. A dual-threat QB playing from behind in a shootout? That’s the perfect recipe for some massive games for Smothers over the next three weeks!

Honorable Mentions
  • Brady Cook, Missouri – 20%
  • Jaylen Raynor, Arkansas State – 23% – Discussed before, but if available, is the most important QB pickup of the week!
  • Kyron Drones, Virginia Tech – 4%
  • Joey Aguilar, Appalachian State – 9% – On Bye this week, but valuable the next couple of weeks.
  • Jase Bauer, Central Michigan – 4%

Running Backs

Tyre Shelton – Louisiana – Rostership: 17%

Tyre Shelton - Football - LA Tech Athletics

Shelton’s journey so far at Louisiana Tech this year has been quite a whirlwind, but he’s currently shaping up to be an important play, potentially for these upcoming weeks. Tech has been dealing with an injury-rattled RB room. Even Georgia is looking at them with pity. Shelton got his first shot in Week 2, where he ripped off big run after big run on just five carries. This earned him more run in week three, where he got 18 touches for 157 yards and a touchdown. Then he got hurt and was held out of Week 4, and many, including myself, thought that was the end of it. Then he comes back in Week 5 and picks up right where he left off, getting 16 touches and 104 yards and a touchdown.

I’m still not entirely sold on him being a weekly contributor down the line, especially if some of Tech’s other RBs start to regain health, but here is what I do know. This weekend, the Bulldogs face Western Kentucky, who is 120th in the country against the rush. After that, they get MTSU who is 77th against the rush and New Mexico State who is 87th against the rush. If Shelton holds this job and keeps the volume he’s bee getting, he makes an excellent stash and play guy for emergency starts in leagues over the next couple of weeks!

Malik Jackson – Jacksonville State – Rostership: 28%

JSU football: Malik Jackson living up to Rich Rod's vision | Free | annistonstar.com

We’ve already got one Gamecock on the waiver report this week, so why not get two? Jackson is someone who I was afraid would get caught in the midst of a committee at JSU who has since proven he has some steadiness to him. Jackson followed Rich Rodriguez over from UL Monroe, and his performances so far have earned the trust of this staff. In every game this season, Jackson has hit 92+ scrimmage yards, and his worst performance came in Week 1. His volume has been up and down, but regardless he finds ways to get the production regardless and that’s something to be admired from a fantasy perspective.

His main issues comes with Smothers vulturing TD opportunities, as Jackson has only gotten three on the year and unfortunately that issues isn’t going away. However, with his steady production, the TDs that come with Jackson are bonuses anyway and make him a great safe floor play at RB. As per the upcoming schedule for JSU, Jackson has those same tasty matchups as Smothers does with MTSU, Liberty and Western Kentucky. Then for the rest of the season, Jackson is looking at the 120th schedule in the country in team performance against the run, so Jackson could be a great backup optoin for you the entire rest of the season!

Honorable Mentions:
  • Ismail Mahdi, Texas State – 45% – Like Raynor, check to see if Mahdi is available before grabbing any other guys.
  • Logan Diggs, LSU – 34%
  • Myles Bailey, Central Michigan – 2%
  • Kadrius Calloway, Missouri – 1%
  • Rashod Amos, Miami, OH – 2%

Wide Receivers

Amare Thomas – UAB – Rostership: 1%

Man, I love it when freshmen just come out of nowhere, especially in really fun systems for college fantasy. Amare Thomas, a 3-star prospect in this past year’s HS class, has broken out onto the scene for the UAB Blazers and looks to be a key piece for them moving forward after an impressive last two weeks. Over the last two weeks, he has seen 23 targets and, with that opportunity has turned it into 17 catches for 159 yards and a touchdown. Did I mention he got nine of those receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown against Georgia of all teams? I’ve said before on my podcast that in games where G5 teams are outmatched by their P5 opponents, look for who they target in those games. It is usually a key indicator as to who the staff trusts moving forward. Thomas earned the trust of the staff and starting QB Jacob Zeno after his performance against Georgia and was rewarded with another double-digit game.

Going forward, I think we’ve only just begun with Thomas. He only has one TD through five weeks, but he’s been earning his placement into the starting lineup during that time. I don’t think he’s giving that up anytime soon now. He’s in an offense that has seen 35+ passing attempts in every game and averages 41.6 pass attempts per game. The volume will be there for him every game. Now it’s just a matter of getting good matchups. This week, UAB goes up against South Florida, which is 127th in the country against the pass. I’d call that a pretty nice matchup for people who are looking for a replacement at WR for Week 6!

Sean Atkins – USF – Rostership: 1%

Sean Atkins - Football - USF Athletics

Speaking of USF, our other WR of the day is currently leading the Bulls in targets and should be an option widely available in your CFF leagues. On last week’s CTN episode, I brought up Naiem Simmons and mentioned during that segment that Atkins is probably the safer player due to his volume each week, even if he isn’t as explosive as Simmons. Well, this week, Atkins showed this and more, pulling down five of his targets for 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Some might point out that his target load only being five is a red flag, but that’s by far the lowest volume Atkins has seen this season. He more than made up for it by having more explosive gains and scoring twice with it.

We’ve seen what Alex Golesh is able to do at Tennessee when he can get consistent production out of his slot WR, where Atkins plays. Just look at Jalin Hyatt’s dominant run during the mid-late portion of 2022. Given how much this Bulls offense is scoring each week, Byrum Brown getting more comfortable each week, and the nice upcoming schedule of UAB (71st vs. the pass), FAU (85th), and UConn (71st), there’s little reason that Atkins should be hanging out on your free agent market come this week.

Honorable Mentions
  • Joey Hobert, Texas State – 13%
  • Lewis Bond, Boston College – 6%
  • Tyler Brown, Clemson – 8%
  • Jalen Royals, Utah State – 2%
  • Ricky White, UNLV – 37%
  • Nick Nash, San Jose State – 42%

Tight End

Mitchell Evans – Notre Dame – Rostership: 15%

Mitchell Evans gets foot surgery ahead of Notre Dame football season

Another player that’s gonna make me eat crow? Is that two this week? Woof. Mitchell Evans has started to prove me wrong on the role he’d play for Notre Dame this year. We all know the names at TE the Irish have given us for fantasy. Guys like Michael Mayer, Cole Kmet, Tommy Tremble and even more than that. I, personally, was skeptical we’d get another Notre Dame TE this year for two reasons. First, the loss of Tommy Rees to Alabama. And second, given how well the Notre Dame TEs like Mayer, Tremble and Kmet have performed in the NFL, there was a decent chance that the string of Irish TEs we’ve seen had more to do with talent that demanded targets than the system.

Thus, I was not in on Evans as a grab in drafts this off-season, especially with him only having three catches in his career. It just felt like too much projection. Given his performance through the first few weeks of the season, my hesitancy seemed justified. It looked as though Holden Staes would become the pass-catching TE for the Irish, and Evans might be relegated to blocking duties. In the immortal words of Lee Corso, “not so fast, my friend!”

In Notre Dame’s two biggest games of the season so far, it was Evans who stepped up in a big way. In the game against Ohio State, Evans was targeted seven times and caught all for 75 yards. Then, the very next week, in a tight game versus Duke, Evans improved on that, getting targeted eight times for six catches, 134 yards, and no touchdowns. In both games, when the offense needed a spark, Evans provided it. He should continue to get work, even as both Jayden Thomas and Jaden Greathouse work their way back from minor injuries. In a year where anchor TEs are at a premium, the potential for Evans’ role is too much to pass up on if you don’t have Bowers or Holker. If you’re struggling at TE, Evans may be the most important pick up of the week!

For More Waivers:

There are obviously way more names to consider for picking up in CFF this week than the one-two per position that I’ve fully broken down above. For more in-depth looks at even more waiver wire options for this week, make sure to check out Monday’s episode of Chasing the Natty: A CFF Podcast, available on YouTube and all your favorite podcast locations!

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