By now, it's reasonable to assume season changing waiver additions will be few and far between. But injuries are still breeding opportunity, and we're also moving in to the heart of conference play. Good news for smaller schools - their paydays for scrimmages are over and now their players are viable fantasy options.
We're digging a little deeper this week and looking at some players with expanded roles, softer schedules, and long term potential. Everyone listed here is showing less than 25% ownership as well. Keith Price is falling in to this category, and he's had three straight 30+ point performances. The only question to be asked here is why isn't he owned? Week Four also saw two former fantasy mainstays make their return. If Boston College running back Montel Harris, or Oregon State wide receiver James Rodgers remain unowned, add them quickly.
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (13% owned) - His 5 for 13 debut as a starter is obviously less than stellar. But he did find the end zone twice, ran 17 times for 83 yards, and most importantly, former starter Joe Bauserman played very few snaps. There will be some major hiccups along the way, but it's officially Miller time in Columbus.
John Hubert, RB, Kansas State (0% owned) - Moving forward, the only thing we'll believe from K State head coach Bill Snyder's mouth is that Bryce Brown is firmly entrenched in the doghouse. Otherwise, ignore everything Snyder offers about his running back "committee." Hubert ran around and through a Miami defense for 166 yards on just 18 carries. The Wildcats do seem intent on letting quarterback Collin Klein run near the goal line, and Hubert's 5-foot-7, 182-pound frame isn't going to yield many carries in close. But a Big 12 schedule is on the way, and it's rare to find a starting BCS running back available this late into the season.
Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State (24% owned) - My colleagues haven't been shy in their downgrading of Edwin Baker this season. And with a month as our sample size, they've hit the nail on the head. Baker is still seeing the lion's share of the carries in East Lansing, but he's scored just once through four games; nowhere near the pace that saw him reach paydirt 13 times a year ago. Enter Bell, whose 230-lb. battering ram body is getting the glory. Averaging just 9.5 carries, Bell has already scored six times. He's posting a solid 5.7 yards per carry, and looks like the safest Spartan back to own.
Eric Ward, WR, Texas Tech (23% owned) - A lot of Ward's value will be tied to the severity of Darrin Moore's injured ankle, but Ward has four touchdowns in his last two games. A one-time top recruit for the Red Raiders, it's taken the redshirt sophomore a little longer than expected to make an impact, and we'd certainly like to see some more yardage here. Then again, I'm not overly picky - if Ward wants to score twice from eight yards out, that's fine with me.
Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami (21% owned) - Benjamin may be a forgotten man in many leagues. He served a one-game suspension, then the 'Canes had a bye week. Benjamin followed that with a three-catch, 13-yard performance against Ohio State. Miami finally made a point to get Benjamin his touches in this week's loss to Kansas State, and he didn't disappoint, going for 91 yards and a touchdown. He's quarterback Jacory Harris' safety valve, and should see consistent targets throughout the year. Benjamin is also the 'Canes primary return man, totaling 112 yards on punt and kickoff returns, and he's likely to house at least one sooner than later.
Some other names to consider, who are showing roughly 40-50% ownership include Arizona State running back Cameron Marshall, North Carolina State wide receiver T.J. Graham, and West Virginia wide receiver Stedman Bailey. Bailey and Marshall are must owns, and Graham is really heating up, posting three-straight 100-yard games.
Logan Kilgore, QB, Middle Tennessee (0% owned) - Take away an embarrassing performance at Georgia Tech, because Kilgore's remaining Sun Belt opponents are not the Yellow Jackets. Now know that in two games not facing the 'Jackets, Kilgore has 745 yards passing, and seven touchdowns. And finally, Kilgore gets the disaster that is the Memphis Tigers this week. We're looking at a likely top ten quarterback for Week Five, and other than a Week Ten matchup at Tennessee, Kilgore should post terrific numbers.
Brandon Rutley, RB, San Jose State (0% owned) - I've been following Rutley's progress since Blue Ribbon named him the Preseason WAC Newcomer of the Year in 2008. His career certainly hasn't gone the way we'd hoped, but Rutley exploded for 209 yards and two touchdowns on a whopping 33 carries Saturday against New Mexico State. He's already tied his career-high of four scores in a season, and is just 75 yards short of a career-high in yardage. He should reach that total awfully soon, especially if his carries remain high. After 18 through the first two tilts, Rutley has gone 50 times in the next two.
Jawon Chisholm, RB, Akron (0% owned) - It took roughly a month, but Akron coaches are finally seeing what we suspected in August: Chishom is a dynamic runner, and Broderick Alexander is not. After splitting carries with Alexander for the first two weeks, Chisholm has exploded in the last two, running 52 times for 321 yards. He's only scored once, but that number has to change with 25+ touches each week, especially with the likes of Eastern Michigan on the upcoming schedule.
Jalen Saunders, WR, Fresno State (0% owned) - The fact that this burner is unowned leads me to believe not many folks are using the WAC in their leagues. It's a shame, because they produce points! Saunders is a game changer, plain and simple. He's got 296 yards and four touchdowns on just eight receptions in his last two games, and is simply a fun player to own. The upcoming schedule isn't kind, as Fresno gets Mississippi and Boise State, but when Saunders needs just one catch to produce big time points, he's worth a look as a WR3/WR4 nationally.
Deon Long, WR, New Mexico - Meet this week's reminder that bad teams produce good fantasy players. Long was putting up solidly unspectacular numbers through three games (15 catches, 265 yards) but hadn't found the end zone. That changed in a big way Saturday against Sam Houston State, as Long scored three times on nine catches, and added another on a kickoff return. His total yardage Saturday was a monstrous 378! And guess what - the Lobos lost to the mighty Bearkats. Long is doing everything he can to help his dismal team, but he might find more wins on your fantasy roster.