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College Fantasy Football Top Five Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 5

Nick Mullens

Nick Mullens

Week 4 is now in the books, and the college fantasy football season is kicking into high gear. Are you prepared?  

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Below, you will find contributor and CFG writer Mike Bainbridge's five best waiver wire pickups for Week 5. To see the full in-depth article of over 50+ players, make sure to check out

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Hayden Moore (QB, Cincinnati)

Cincinnati starting quarterback Gunner Kiel is officially listed as day-to-day according to the school, but can you really see him playing this week against Miami after the violent hit he took against Memphis? Kiel was already questionable leading up to the matchup with the Tigers due to a neck injury he had suffered the week prior. With the way backup quarterback Hayden Moore played after coming in, what would be the benefit in rushing Kiel back into the lineup? Moore set a Cincinnati single-game record with 557 passing yards and four touchdowns in just three quarters of work, matching a dynamic Memphis offense score for score.

Nick Mullens (QB, Southern Miss)

Mullens is now fifth in the country in passing yards with 1,366 following his 447-yard effort on the road against Nebraska on Saturday. During the offseason, it was not even assured that Mullens would be the starting quarterback for Southern Miss as he was competing with former TCU transfer Tyler Matthews. Consistency and knowledge of the offense won out in the competition, and Mullens is now proving that to be the correct decision. The junior quarterback has six touchdown passes with zero interceptions the last two weeks, and some subpar C-USA defenses are ahead on the schedule.

Tre’Quan Smith (WR, UCF)

The season-ending injury to fellow receiver Jordan Akins has now forced Smith into the No. 1 spot for UCF, and the redshirt freshman looked quite comfortable in the new role with five receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown against South Carolina. With starting running back Dontravious Wilson also sidelined with an injury, UCF has thrown the football more than the Knights are accustomed to the past few weeks. That bodes well for Smith to be targeted often in the passing game as he is the only current proven commodity at receiver. True freshman Tristan Payton would not be a bad waiver wire selection, either.

T.J. Thorpe (WR, Virginia)

The injury-plagued North Carolina transfer was reportedly scheduled to miss the first eight weeks of the season after breaking his clavicle in fall camp, but Thorpe made a surprise return to the starting lineup this week against Boise State. The impact was immediate with a 75-yard touchdown for his first catch of the year. Thorpe was blanketed by defenders with double-coverage the remainder of the game, but we were reminded of just how explosive he can be with that one reception. Thorpe will provide Virginia with a boost in the passing game, but also as a return specialist.

Richie James (WR, Middle Tennessee State)

Do not sleep on the Middle Tennessee passing attack. The Blue Raiders rank 21st in passing, averaging 315 yards per game and are tied for fourth with 13 touchdowns. We already know about Ed’Marques Batties, but a developing story has been the play of James. The redshirt freshman now leads MTSU in receptions with 34, good for third overall in the entire country. That was not done against just cupcakes, either - James had 10 of those receptions against Alabama. In a PPR league, James should be snatched up immediately.

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