Waiver Wire: Week 7 scouting report
Which players are worth a move off the waiver wire? Mario Puig breaks down your options in the Week 7 scouting report.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke: His value is especially apparent in PPR leagues, but Crowder could remain a relevant Fantasy option in plenty of other formats, too, because he has emerged as a competent threat in the Duke passing game alongside No. 1 wideout Conner Vernon. Even with 38 catches for 461 yards (12.1 YPC) and three scores through six games, Crowder will almost certainly see favorable coverage due to the presence of Vernon, who has 41 catches for 555 yards (13.5 YPC) and five touchdowns.
Anthony Boone, QB, Duke: Sean Renfree figures to be handed back his starting role when he's ready to return from the elbow injury that kept him out of Saturday's victory against Virginia, but Boone made a strong showing in Renfree's place, so the Duke coaches may be in less of a hurry to get Renfree back on the field as a result. Boone is a better runner than Renfree, but he might have been better as a passer Saturday than Renfree has been all year, as he completed 18-of-31 passes for 212 yards and four touchdowns, adding 41 yards on the ground. Even if he remains starter against Virginia Tech this week, though, Boone figures to be no more than a temporary option due to Renfree's eventual return.
Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU: In light of his DWI arrest from last week, it appears as if star TCU quarterback Casey Pachall will miss the rest of the 2012 season due to suspension. It's a crippling loss for the Horned Frogs, as Saturday's loss to Iowa State showed, but it at least gives Boykin a chance to turn into a Fantasy factor. As a dual-threat quarterback, his chances are fairly good, and he has two very good receivers in Josh Boyce and Brandon Carter. Although he struggled against Iowa State on Saturday, throwing three interceptions, Boykin should provide nice spot-start numbers the next two weeks against the much friendlier defenses of Baylor and Texas Tech.
John Hubert, RB, Kansas State: Collin Klein hogged all the rushing touchdowns at Kansas State last year, and the result was minimal Fantasy value for Hubert, who scored just three times as a runner despite showing plenty of competence. This year, however, it's Hubert who leads the team in rushing touchdowns through five games, totaling 532 yards and eight touchdowns on just 76 carries (7.0 YPC). Those numbers are largely a fluke since four of those touchdowns came in Saturday's game against Kansas alone, but Hubert has scored in every game so far and should be owned in most or all formats.
Munchie Legaux, QB, Cincinnati: It might be ugly to watch him throw the ball sometimes, but Legaux is an explosive athlete at quarterback and is taking enough care of the football to provide strong production for Cincinnati despite his general wildness. Although he's completing just 55 percent of his passes, Legaux has nine touchdowns through the air compared to just three interceptions, and his ability to break out on the ground (191 yards and a touchdown) gives him a high Fantasy upside on any given day. He should post nice numbers against Fordham and Toledo the next two weeks.
Mark Harrison, WR, Rutgers: Rutgers is a ball-control offense for the most part with an abundance of talent at receiver, most notably in the form of star wideout Brandon Coleman, but Harrison is a good player in his own right and has some Big East-only and deep-league usefulness now that quarterback Gary Nova seems to be rounding into form. After catching 14 passes all last year, Harrison already has 21 receptions this year, which is tied for the team lead. He has 198 yards and three scores, with all three touchdowns coming the last three weeks against the three toughest pass defenses Rutgers has seen this year.
Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State: Burbridge is the most promising Michigan State wideout recruit in a while, and the school hoped to redshirt him this year despite the team's profound lack of talent at the position. That dearth of talent at receiver, however, forced the Spartans to burn Burbridge's redshirt. He showed that he was the best receiver on the team against Indiana on Saturday, catching eight passes for 134 yards. With top pass catcher Dion Sims (24 catches) likely out against Iowa due to an ankle injury this week, Burbridge should remain heavily targeted.
A.J. Barker, WR, Minnesota: The unstable nature of Minnesota's passing game primarily limits Barker's Fantasy utility to Big Ten-only leagues, but owners in deep formats can't be faulted for giving him a look as a spot starter, particularly with Northwestern coming to town. The Wildcats have faced just one reliable passing game this year - a Week 1 match against Syracuse in which the Orange threw for 482 yards and four touchdowns. Minnesota won't fare that well Saturday, but the Gophers should have enough success in the passing game for Barker to make an impact. He has 357 yards and four touchdowns on just 19 catches this year (18.8 YPC).
Alex Singleton, RB, Tulsa: Singleton's Fantasy value prior to this year was limited due to his status as a strict short-yardage back, but his workload has for some reason reached an all-time high this year, and his Fantasy stock has skyrocketed in a hurry. He has 74 carries through six games, resulting in 336 yards (4.5 YPC) and 11 touchdowns. The 11 touchdowns previously were a season high for Singleton, but he looks like a real threat to go for 20 or more touchdowns on the ground in 2012.
Vintavious Cooper, RB, East Carolina: Cooper is only a C-USA league and deep-format option, but he's emerging as East Carolina's top runner and is therefore on the radar in those situations. Through six games he leads the Pirates with 362 yards and a touchdown on 69 carries (5.3 YPC), easily distancing himself from the competition. That includes a sharp increase in his workload over the last two weeks, a span in which he totaled 41 carries for 209 yards and a touchdown.
Trent Steelman, QB, Army: Steelman is a fairly significant injury risk as a triple-option quarterback, but the rushing production he's shown lately makes him a worthwhile gamble in all formats, anyway. The Black Knights have been absolutely killer on the ground this year, averaging 397 yards and three touchdowns rushing per game, including three games with more than 429 yards and one with more than 500. Funny enough, the 516-yard effort last week might have been against the technically best rush defense of the group (Boston College). Steelman has had a great deal to do with all of this, rushing for 427 yards and eight touchdowns the last four weeks. Three MAC teams are up next.
Tyler Van Tubbergen, QB, Western Michigan: It's not clear how long incumbent quarterback Alex Carder (finger) will be out for Western Michigan, but Van Tubbergen's dominant showing in Week 6 could convince Western Michigan coaches to delay Carder's return. The Broncos apparently have a more than competent replacement in Van Tubbergen, who completed 23-of-28 passes against Massachusetts on Saturday for 283 yards, five touchdowns and one interception while running for a sixth touchdown. As long as Carder is out, Van Tubbergen is close to a must-own in most formats.
Alonzo Russell, WR, Toledo: Bernard Reedy was generally expected to serve as Toledo's top receiver this year, but at this point in the season it appears as if Russell might be the Rockets' No. 1 wideout. Reedy is the more active possession wideout, posting 41 catches compared to Russell's 30, but Russell is showing much more explosiveness (17 yards per catch) than Reedy (10.5 yards per catch). Russell's role appears to be growing, too, as he has 24 of his 30 catches over the last four weeks. He's worth owning in most formats.
Devin Combs, QB, Nevada: Star quarterback Cody Fajardo is questionable for Saturday's game against UNLV due to back spasms, and Combs is the top backup for Nevada. He took over Fajardo's role against Wyoming on Saturday and did a nice job running the offense, completing 11-of-19 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns while adding 38 yards on 11 carries. If he starts this week, he could be a good spot starter in all formats because UNLV is allowing 35 points per game, including 1,676 yards passing and 1,179 yards rushing in just six games.
Will Gregory, RB, Hawaii: After leading the team in rushing in 2011, it was expected that Joey Iosefa would once again lead the Hawaii backfield in 2012, especially with pro-style coach Norm Chow implementing a more traditional running game. Instead of Iosefa, though, it's been Gregory who emerged as the top back for the Warriors. With 58 carries the last three weeks, few runners nationwide have been as busy as Gregory lately. He has 241 yards and two touchdowns on the ground over that span, making him a justifiable pickup in most formats.
Cody Vaz, QB, Oregon State: Emerging star quarterback Sean Mannion is out indefinitely due to a knee surgery of an undisclosed sort, so Vaz will take over as conductor of an Oregon State offense that's loaded with skill position explosiveness. Mannion threw for 1,358 yards (8.0 YPA), seven touchdowns and four interceptions in just four games, attempting 42.3 passes per contest, so a big opportunity awaits Vaz. Although he's a backup, Vaz has been in the Oregon State system since 2009, so his grasp of the system is a non-issue.
C.J. Anderson, RB, California: California keeps bouncing between Anderson and Isi Sofele as the team's top running back, but as we head into Week 7 it appears as if Anderson has the lead - for now, anyway. Sofele has more carries (73) on the year than Anderson (57), but considering Anderson has a rushing average of 6.4 yards per carry or more in four of California's six games - whereas Sofele has done that just once - Anderson appears like the more efficient option. The Golden Bears coaching staff may have finally realized that Saturday, as Anderson ran for 151 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries while Sofele totaled just 21 yards on five attempts.
Ben Malena, RB, Texas A&M: Malena was expected to serve as backup this year behind former blue chip recruit Christine Michael, but upon Michael's return from suspension due to a violation of team rules, Malena surprisingly has not let go of the starting running back spot at Texas A&M. Michael has just 16 carries for 71 yards and two touchdowns the last three weeks, while Malena boasts a total of 289 yards and three touchdowns on the ground on 37 carries over that span. Malena is worth owning in most formats as long as he's leading the backfield because the Texas A&M offense is one of the nation's best.
Chad Bumphis, WR, Mississippi State: Although his production is inconsistent in a Mississippi State offense that is both run-heavy and liberal in its pass distribution when it does throw, Bumphis is quietly one of the nation's most talented receivers. With 21 catches for 375 yards and six touchdowns in five weeks, he's clearly among the country's best big-play threats, and his production tends to correlate to the threat posed by the opposition. In the two Mississippi State games with victory margins of 13 or less, Bumphis has 15 catches for 284 yards and four touchdowns, while in the other three games he has just six catches for 91 yards and two scores. This week's game against Tennessee, however, should be another one of Bumphis' gems given that the Volunteers are probably Mississippi State's toughest test yet.
Anthony Amos, WR, Middle Tennessee: He might not be a big-name receiver, but Amos has surprisingly been one of the nation's most consistent wideouts as we head into Week 7. He has posted at least 96 yards or at least one touchdown in all of his five games to this point, totaling 31 catches for 432 yards and four touchdowns for Middle Tennessee. His only real competition for targets is Kyle Griswould, who merely has 23 receptions for 209 yards and a touchdown, so at a glance there's no reason to think that Amos can't stay hot the rest of the year.
Chip Reeves, WR, Troy: Reeves is typically a deep league option given Troy's deep wideout rotation, but through five weeks it looks as if he's the team's best player in the group. He caught at least four passes in every game this year, totaling 29 receptions for 428 yards and two touchdowns. Chandler Worthy and Eric Thomas are two other good Troy receivers, but Reeves has a big reception lead over Worthy (18 catches) and a yardage lead on Thomas (247 yards). He might have a low ceiling, but Reeves should remain the best player in a strong passing game.
Chuckie Keeton, QB, Utah State: Keeton struggled against a tough BYU defense Saturday, completing just 22-of-38 passes for 202 yards, but look for him to bounce back against a less intimidating San Jose State squad this week. The fact that it's a road game should allow the Spartans to put up more points against the Aggies than the team typically allows (12.3 points per game), particularly given that the Spartans throw the ball better than any team Utah State has played. The result should be a Utah State offense playing with sufficient urgency to allow Keeton, a dual-threat quarterback, to be a Fantasy factor.
Chandler Jones, WR, San Jose State: If you're looking for a spot starter in deep and WAC-only leagues, Jones could make a nice option as San Jose State takes on fellow conference heavyweight Utah State at home. Although the Utah State defense has been quite good, the Spartans figure to be sharp themselves since they'll be on their home turf for the first time since Sept. 15. Jones is generally the third wide receiver in the San Jose State offense, so he should see favorable coverage as he attempts to capitalize on the big-play ability he's shown so far (223 yards and five touchdowns on 14 catches).
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