We're breaking down the best players available on the CFF waiver wire that are worth consideration of a claim. Ownership percentages referenced -- unless noted otherwise -- come from Fantrax.
Syracuse QB Tommy DeVito -- Orange HC Dino Babers has declined to name his starter for next weekend’s game with NC State, but DeVito is well worth a speculative claim. He came on for an ineffective Eric Dungey in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s contest against North Carolina and proceeded to complete 11-of-19 passes for 181 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in helping to ignite a Syracuse comeback which ended in a double-overtime victory. That was the second time this season in which DeVito has had an Oscar-worthy cameo. When he replaced an injured Dungey in a mid-September win over FSU, he hit on 11-of-16 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. He brings a completely new level of passing to the Syracuse offense, an offense which is insanely fantasy-friendly if run to its potential. DeVito would also get the Wolfpack -- who could be in a Clemson-induced daze -- at home on Saturday.
TCU QB Michael Collins -- Collins replaced Shawn Robinson (sigh) in the second quarter of Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma and went on to complete 7-of-17 passes for 142 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also had a string of eight incompletions at one point. Mixed results, there, but Collins gained fantasy value after this column posted on Monday, as it has been announced that Robinson will miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury which has been nagging him for much of the campaign. It'll be Collins' show from here on out. He'll have a prime matchup with Kansas next weekend.
Air Force QB Isaiah Sanders -- Sanders painted a beautiful picture against UNLV on Saturday, not only excelling as point-man in the triple-option, rushing for 173 yards and three touchdowns, but also lighting it up through the air (relative to the offense he plays on) for 217 yards passing and a score on 9-of-11 passing. In doing so he became the first player in program history to rush for 100 yards and throw for 200 in the same game. Arion Worthman is now firmly entrenched as Sanders’ backup. You can’t expect a crisp passing game from an Air Force quarterback on a regular basis, but you’re not picking up Sanders for his passing, anyway. The only slight drawback is that Air Force’s schedule has a few potential shutdown spots, including this coming Saturday against BSU and the following weekend against Army (experienced in defending the triple-option and currently sitting as the No. 11 rushing defense in the country). They also have contests against New Mexico and Colorado State in November, though. Depending on when your league’s playoffs are running, Sanders could serve as a huge difference-maker, especially if you’ve been cycling through quarterbacks this season.
Purdue QB David Blough -- For reasons unknown, Blough is owned in just 16% of Fantrax leagues. If people were sleeping on the Boilermakers offense before -- and obviously they were -- we’re guessing that they won’t be after Saturday’s upset of the Buckeyes. Blough is far from a one-game wonder. He’s now topped 300 yards passing in four of his last five games, with three touchdown passes tossed in four of his last five to boot. In his last two games alone (against Illinois and Ohio State), Blough has thrown for 755 yards with a 6/0 TD/INT ratio. There’s no reason Blough should be on your wire to begin with, but by the ownership numbers, he probably is. You can right this wrong.
Northwestern RB Isaiah Bowser -- 36, 12, 23. Entering the weekend, those were the rushing yardage totals for Northwestern’s leading rusher in each game since the retired Jeremy Larkin last played in September. That spell of futility ended on Saturday, when true freshman Bowser rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries in a win over Rutgers. The heavy workload (and the team’s previous futility on the ground) gives us a great hope that Bowser will receive double-digit carries against Wisconsin upcoming. That’s a road game, against a brand name, but potential starting backs are difficult to come by on the waiver at this juncture. We consider him a priority pick-up.
Oklahoma RB Kennedy Brooks -- Unlike Bowser, who has an open shot at carries in that backfield void in Evanston, Brooks is just one of many on Oklahoma. He’s had two strong games this season, rushing for 107 yards and two touchdowns against Baylor in mop-up duty on Sept. 29 and bolting for 168 yards and a score on 18 carries in Saturday’s win over TCU. Trey Sermon left that contest against the Horned Frogs with a leg injury (not considered to be serious), affording Brooks a bit of extra work. Whether or not Sermon can play against Kansas State this coming weekend, Brooks has earned our attention. Consider him an upside chip to add to a contending team, rather than one who’s going to catapult a fringe-contender to glory.
USF RB Johnny Ford -- The Bulls are more than set with Jordan Cronkrite as their lead back, but Ford’s been productive behind him. UConn learned that the hard way -- UConn learns everything the hard way -- when he put up 164 yards and three touchdowns (seven carries) on Saturday. That was his second game of multiple touchdowns this season, as he also scored twice against UMass on Oct. 6. Over the past three games, Ford has received a combined 25 carries, so he’s seeing low-grade-but-steady work of late. The backfield will get a bit more crowded when Elijah Mack and Duran Bell return from injury, but Brooks may have locked down the backup role behind Cronkrite regardless of who else is available.
Western Kentucky RB Gino Appleberry -- Well it is apple-picking season, after all. Appleberry had an equivalent performance of a scrumptious fruit pie on Saturday, in a weird loss to Old Dominion, rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns. He outcarried ostensible starter Joshua Samuel 18-15. The Hilltoppers have been abysmal running the ball this season -- they rank 112th in the FBS on a per-game basis -- and there should be opportunity for Appleberry if he can take advantage with the coaching staff’s growing trust in the true freshman. He’s got a soft opponent upcoming in the form of FIU (85th against the run).
Arizona WR Shawn Poindexter -- Poindexter proved to be the best friend of QB Rhett Rodriguez -- starting in place of Khalil Tate (ankle) against UCLA -- on Saturday, serving as a reliable target for the green starter while putting together a 6-106-2 receiving line. This was his best overall game since Sept. 22 and his first 100-yard game since Sept. 8. Given Tate’s inadequacy as a passer, it would actually probably be better for Poindexter’s prospects if Rodriguez starts against Oregon on Saturday. That’s a sentence that we did not expect to be writing this season, or, like, ever.
North Carolina WR Dazz Newsome -- Newsome has begun to see consistent looks as the season has progressed, having come through with three games of five or more catches in his last four contests. He caught seven passes for 90 yards and a touchdown versus Syracuse on Saturday. We like him as a spot play against UVA this coming weekend -- the Cavaliers have allowed four wideouts to post at least 90 yards receiving this season.
Colorado State WR Warren Jackson -- The Rams are stocked to the brim with receiving talents, with Jackson seeing considerable love in red zone packages of late, having caught a pair of touchdowns against San Jose State three weekends ago and repeating the feat against Boise State this past weekend. He caught nine passes in total, good for 105 yards. Jackson is owned in just 5% of Fantrax leagues. Those rostering Olabisi Johnson -- 48% ownership in Fantrax leagues -- would be wise to pick up his receiving teammate to give an additional option. For reference’s sake, Johnson owns a 38-545-4 receiving line to Jackson’s 23-302-4 line. While that may seem to be a sizeable gap, in three games this month, Jackson’s caught 17 passes for 218 yards and four touchdowns as compared to Johnson’s nine catches for 109 yards and zero touchdowns. Johnson is also dealing with an undisclosed injury concern which could certainly be playing into his quiet October. Whether the injury is cause for his slow down or not, Jackson makes for a pickup in a receiver-friendly offense.
Syracuse WR Jamal Custis -- We started the column with Mr. Tommy DeVito and we’ll end it with one of the receivers who would most stand to benefit from a quarterbacking change, here. Custis went off for 7-162-1 in the aforementioned double-overtime thriller-of-a-win over North Carolina on Saturday. It was his first game over 100 yards receiving -- and his first game over 75 yards receiving -- since he ripped Western Michigan in the opener. While Eric Dungey had already hit him for several big games prior to DeVito’s entrance in the fourth quarter, we see Custis’ prospects for a strong stretch run improving considerably if DeVito’s given the keys to the car. Right now, Custis is owned in a scant 15% of Fantrax leagues.