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College Fantasy Football Top Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 3

Kalen Ballage

Kalen Ballage

Week 2 of the college football season is in the books, and we are continuing to see some unlikely performances from players that likely were not on fantasy rosters to start with.

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A successful college fantasy football season hinges on a keeping a close eye on the waiver wire and will be the place each week during the year to find the top pickups for your roster.

Below are the top waiver wire selections from Week 3.

Jalen McCleskey (WR, Oklahoma State)

James Washington typically gets all the headlines, but it is McCleskey, his sophomore running mate, who leads the Cowboys in receptions and receiving yards through two weeks. The inside slot position is a valuable role in the Oklahoma State offense where last season senior David Glidden also led the team in receptions. With the rushing attack failing to gain much traction, expect Oklahoma State to continue to air it out. McCleskey should wind up with 60-70 receptions on the year at this rate and could add a big return on special teams as well.

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Kalen Ballage (RB, Arizona State)

Ballage was a no-brainer for this list following his record-setting, EIGHT touchdowns against Texas Tech on Saturday night. And surprisingly enough, he is still likely available in your leagues (depending on roster sizes) as he remains the No. 2 option behind starting running back Demario Richard. With the Sun Devils breaking in a new starting quarterback, the thinking was that the offense would lean on the rushing attack early in the year. And true to form, Arizona State is running the ball 61 percent of the time. Ballage looks to be the Sun Devils’ top back near the goal line, whether he is lined up behind center in wildcat packages or taking handoffs from Manny Watkins.

Noel Thomas (WR, Connecticut)

Prior to the regular season, the only Connecticut player that deserved fantasy consideration was running back Arkeel Newsome. That’s not the case anymore, as Thomas finds himself in a four-way tie for third in the country with 20 receptions through just two games. Sure the competition level hasn’t been overwhelming with Maine and Navy, but it is promising to see improvement thus far from a Huskies passing game that averaged just 185 yards per game last year. With Virginia and Syracuse up next on the docket, big games are likely in store for Thomas. Both opponents rank 96th or lower in the FBS in passing defense through the first two weeks.

Steven Sims (WR, Kansas)

Kansas may be an awful football team, but the Jayhawks have an absolute stud at wide receiver. And no, it is not who many thought it might be, Texas A&M transfer LaQuvionte Gonzalez. Instead Sims, a sophomore, is tied for first in the country with four touchdown receptions through the first two games. The Kansas offense is still inconsistent early in the year with so many young pieces trying to gel, but the Jayhawks figure to be throwing the ball a lot in many of their matchups as they will likely be trailing. And you can bet that Sims will be the top target when they do.

Ja’Marcus Bradley (WR, Louisiana-Lafayette)

The buzz throughout the offseason was that Bradley was trending upwards in fall camp towards a possible starting role. He is validating that talk thus far, leading the Ragin’ Cajuns with nine catches and 147 yards through two weeks. Against McNeese on Saturday, Bradley led the team with six receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. Depending on roster size, Bradley deserves waiver wire consideration in most formats, including dynasty leagues where he is the No. 1 receiver on a team and is just a redshirt freshman.

Other Players Worth Considering

Deondre Douglas (WR, Troy)
Scott Miller (WR, Bowling Green)
Andy Davidson (BB, Army)
Alonzo Moore (WR, Nebraska)
Michael Clark (WR, Marshall)
Jerrod Heard/Jacorey Warrick (WR, Texas)
Dalton Sturm (QB, UTSA)
Nick Westbrook (WR, Indiana)
Jonathan Lloyd (WR, Duke)
Cade Carney (RB, Wake Forest)
Blake Lynch (WR, Baylor)
Tyler Conklin (TE, Central Michigan)
Lamical Perine (RB, Florida)
Quay Johnson (WR, East Carolina)
Domonique Young (WR, Purdue)

— Written by Mike Bainbridge, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bainbridge is a graduate of Northern Illinois University. Make sure to follow him on Twitter @MikeBainbridge2.