This article is part of our Rising Star portfolio series.

As I explained in a recent article, I look for dividends as a way to play stocks. Ideally, I'm looking for the dividend as a catalyst to fuel stock price growth. So with that, here are three dividend stocks I'm following and that you can follow, too, using our free watchlist service.

1. Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR)
I've highlighted Frontier as a watchlist stock before because of its undervaluation and its massive yield, which is currently 8.5%. The company is still in the process of reinvesting in operations that it acquired from Verizon (NYSE: VZ) last year. Frontier's investment in rural broadband is growing, having so far achieved about one-third of its goal of a million new subscribers. As the company builds out its network, capital investment should fall, giving this company room to increase its dividend. If Frontier moves back into the low eights, I'll be adding this one to my Rising Star portfolio.

2. Vodafone (Nasdaq: VOD)
This U.K. telecom giant pays a 5.1% yield and offers a play on consolidation in the industry. The company's 45% stake in Verizon Wireless could start to pay big dividends soon, leading Vodafone to fatten its own payout. Verizon owns the other 55% of Verizon Wireless. The speculation is that Verizon will need cash to fund its own infrastructure build-out and dividend, and cash from its joint venture would allow it to continue on firmer footing. Other analysts see a takeover of some sort: Verizon of Vodafone or vice versa, or either partner snapping up the joint venture. But with AT&T (NYSE: T) in the hunt for T-Mobile, it's hard to see Verizon willing to give up any ground on its key rival. This is an interesting situation, so keep an eye on it with your watchlist.

3. Fortune Brands (NYSE: FO)
The company behind Jim Beam and Maker's Mark just sold off its golf division, Acushnet, to Fila and a group of investors for $1.2 billion. With the divestiture, Fortune has just two divisions remaining: its spirits business and its home and security unit. While the company pays a dividend of 1.2%, that's pocket money while waiting for the company to spin off its home and security division later this year. A variety of strategic investors, including Diageo (NYSE: DEO), have already expressed interest in the spirits division, and I expect it to be a hot commodity when the company is finally a stand-alone entity. This is another interesting special situation that you need to keep an eye on.

So add the three dividend stocks above to your watchlist and keep tabs on them in the coming weeks. Interested in any of these stocks or have another to share? Join me on my discussion board and follow me on Twitter (@TMFRoyal).

This article is part of our Rising Star portfolio series, where we give some of our most promising stock analysts cold, hard cash to manage on the Fool's behalf. We'd like you to track our performance and benefit from these real-money, real-time free stock picks. See all of our Rising Star analysts (and their portfolios) here.

Jim Royal, Ph.D., owns shares in Frontier and Vodafone. The Motley Fool owns shares of Diageo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Diageo, AT&T, Fortune Brands, and Vodafone. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.