Injuries played a major role in Week 6 of the college fantasy football season as we saw three key starting running backs — Kerryon Johnson (Auburn), Justin Davis (USC), Armand Shyne (Utah) — go down with what could be extended injuries. While unfortunate, injuries do provide opportunities to backups that are likely to be available on the waiver wire.
A successful college fantasy football season hinges on a keeping a close eye on the waiver wire and AthlonSports.com will be the place each week during the year to find the top pickups for your roster.
Below are the top waiver wire selections for Week 7.
Michael Clark (WR, Marshall)
The Thundering Herd have had zero issues throwing the football in 2016 as Chase Litton ranks 18th among quarterbacks in passing despite only playing in four games thus far. For much of the year it has been a group effort with six wide receivers having 100 yards or more already, but one former basketball player is beginning to distinguish himself as the go-to target. Sophomore Michael Clark started the year with three receiving touchdowns in two weeks, but only had six receptions through the month of September. Clark doubled that production the past two games with 12 catches and 269 yards combined against Pittsburgh and North Texas. We figured Clark would be the team’s top red-zone threat given his size (6-7), but he is showing his big-play ability as well with seven catches for 20 yards or more.
James Gilbert (RB, Ball State)
Gilbert has been on a tear the past two weeks with a combined 260 rushing yards and five touchdowns against Northern Illinois and Central Michigan. With those two performances, Gilbert has already surpassed his touchdown total during his freshman season and will likely top his rushing yardage mark from 2015 next week against Buffalo. Gilbert now ranks first in the MAC in rushing yards with 590 and touchdowns with eight – three more than the next closest player. There is a very good chance that lead will be extended next week against the Bulls, who are currently 125th in the country in rushing defense at more than 270 yards per game allowed.
Ronald Jones II (RB, USC)
Unfortunately, injuries are a big part of the game and USC may have suffered a major one on Saturday with starting running back Justin Davis going down with what has been diagnosed as a high ankle sprain. Head coach Clay Helton confirmed the injury on Sunday and said that it could be multiple weeks before Davis will see the field again. In that time, sophomore Ronald Jones II is expected to see the majority of the carries with Aca’Cedric Ware moving into the No. 2 role. Jones, a former top-10 recruit coming out of high school, carried the ball 10 times for 56 yards against Colorado after Davis was sidelined.
Kamryn Pettway (RB, Auburn)
Pettway came on for an injured Kerryon Johnson early in the first quarter on Saturday against Mississippi State and rushed for a career-high 169 yards and three touchdowns on 39 carries. Pettway had been splitting snaps with Johnson the last three weeks, but may get an opportunity at the full-time role as Johnson was seen on crutches following the game. Auburn’s depth at running back is a major concern with Johnson now injured and fellow running back Malik Miller out as well with a torn MCL, though that spells good news for Pettway and his potential workload moving forward. It is important to note here that Auburn does have a bye week to get Johnson back healthy, but if he is unable to play, Pettway will see a healthy dose of carries.
Alex Gardner (RB, FIU)
I didn’t expect Gardner to be available, but looks like in a few of the leagues I am currently in, the junior running back is on waivers. Gardner was a top-30 projected running back coming into the season primarily due to his receiving prowess out of the backfield after he caught 60 passes a year ago, but I wasn’t sure if he would be able to break out as a rusher after finishing with just 760 yards on the ground. After a tough start against Indiana in the opening week, Gardner has rebounded with 100-yard games in four out of the last five weeks, including a season-high 141 rushing yards against UTEP. Regardless of PPR or not, Gardner looks to be a must-add as he has improved greatly as a rusher and has a promising matchup against Charlotte next week.
Other Players Worth Considering
Deon Cain (WR, Clemson)
Jalen Rhodes/Jarveon Williams (RB, UTSA)
James Morgan (QB, Bowling Green)
Gardner Minshew (QB, East Carolina)
James Summers (RB/TE, East Carolina)
Scott Miller (WR, Bowling Green)
Tra’Von Chapman (QB, Akron)
Bryce Bobo (WR, Colorado)
Stedman Mayberry (RB, Texas State)
Jon’Vea Johnson (WR, Toledo)
Malik Turner (WR, Illinois)
D’Eriq King (WR, Houston)
Robert Davis (WR, Georgia State)
Jarvion Franklin (RB, Western Michigan)
Dontel James (RB, Fresno State)
Greg Howell (RB, Florida Atlantic)
Wyatt Demps (WR, Nevada)
Cade Carney (RB, Wake Forest)
Dylan Cantrell/Keke Coutee (WR, Texas Tech)
Chris Evans (RB, Michigan)
Cedrick Wilson (WR, Boise State)
Warren Wand (RB, Arkansas State)
Jeremy Cox (RB, Old Dominion)
Tonny Lindsey (RB, Utah State)
— 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.