If you are serious about winning your fantasy league football championship, stay on top of your fantasy football team throughout the year.
Each week during the NFL fantasy football season, KFFL brings you its Fantasy Football Waiver Wire, which breaks down players to pick up. Be aggressive when picking up fantasy football free agents. Even if you do not need a player, you can tuck him away for depth or block others from adding him to their fantasy football team.
Note: Percentage of polled leagues in which player is available in parentheses
Fantasy football free agents: Priority additions
The following players should be high on your radar and are worthy of being added immediately to your fantasy football team.
NEW - Brandon Tate, New England Patriots (74 percent)
That availability figure probably took a nosedive within the last 18 hours or so.
Randy Moss was sent back to the Minnesota Vikings. Tate (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) figures to take over as a starting wideout; he's averaging an OK 12.3 yards per grab in catching 11 of his 15 looks this year and could fill the field-stretching void Moss will leave.
Maybe the Pats look outside the organization for help at the position. And there will be more of Julian Edelman and the two-headed tight end monster of Aaron Hernandez and Ron Gronkowski, and Wes Welker will still handle the middle of the field. However, Tate's inhabitance of an outside spot will guarantee him more playing time. Maybe Welker now sees double teams.
The Pats' apparent offensive evolution didn't consider Moss a necessity. Any newfound target of Tom Brady shouldn't be left on fantasy waiver wires - especially one that has a chance to replicate Moss' big-play portion of the playbook.
Fantasy football free agents: Look to acquire
The following players will have greater significance in deep fantasy football leagues. In shallow fantasy football leagues, they are not as high of a priority but should be considered based on your fantasy football team's needs.
NEW - Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers (33 percent)
Tate: taking over for departed Moss?
Check your waiver wire. Many might have written off the holdout's chances to play again this season. After trading Randy Moss to Minnesota, the New England Patriots have two picks in each of the first four rounds of the 2011 draft. Meanwhile, the Chargers were yearning for at least a second-rounder for V-Jax when trade talks heated up not too long ago.
Maybe Jackson's camp and the Chargers renew talks. The Pats have the ammo to get a deal done, and they just traded an iconic free-agent-to-be. It's far from a guarantee, but sometimes fantasy owners must read between roster lines to acquire a winning commodity. The odds of Jackson becoming one of those just jumped significantly.
If it doesn't happen before the Week 6 trade deadline, cut him unless you're truly desperate for wideout help. Even if nothing goes down, you must put yourself in the position to beat the rush so that YOU have control over the situation and avoid running headfirst into a violent FAAB melee.
NEW - Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings (37 percent)
As with Jackson, check on Rice's availability. Minnesota's acquisition of Randy Moss hurt Rice's value - whenever he returns from his hip ailment - and maybe this is a sign that they're not confident in Rice's ability to contribute this season. Either way, Rice is probably a few weeks from returning, and some of his former owners may have given up on him.
Moss' presence could free Rice up more in single coverage. At this point, you're looking for anything to help. You might have to wait until sometime around Week 10 for Rice to be ready to contribute, but thinking that far ahead can help in the right circumstances.
David Gettis, Carolina Panthers (99 percent)
Don't expect a lot from Gettis, but a fellow rookie, quarterback Jimmy Clausen, favors the athletic wideout. Gettis, at 6-foot-3, 216 pounds, figures to start opposite Brandon LaFell in Week 5, and possibly longer, with Steve Smith (ankle) unlikely to play.
Since he is a starter and has chemistry with the quarterback, Gettis lands in our "Look to Acquire" section. For most owners, he is probably more of a player to add to your scout team rather than being an actual acquisition. If you're in a deep league, this high-flying first-year player deserves a spot. Facing the Chicago Bears this week, Gettis shouldn't be started as anything more than a desperation bye week play.
NEW - Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (87 percent)
With Randy Moss about to wear purple and gold again, the Pats' offense is revamped. Wes Welker and Brandon Tate are the best bets to be on the field as wideouts most often, and New England's increasing love for two-tight end sets isn't going away anytime soon.
Edelman remains a forgotten commodity - rightfully so in most leagues. He has been a lotto ticket that can be cashed in on a Welker injury. Now, the likelihood of him contributing isn't tied to that. Edelman is a slot type but played often on the outside during the preseason, so it isn't farfetched for Welker to be in the slot with Tate and Edelman toeing the sidelines in three-wide.
If your league awards a point for each reception, you should be more inclined to take the chance for your depth.
NEW - Brandon Stokley, Seattle Seahawks (99 percent)
Johnson could fill in this week
The veteran slot wideout caught four passes for 62 yards on eight targets in Week 4. This wideout corps could use a reliable veteran (Deion Branch accounts for the second word, but not the first), especially on intermediate routes. Matt Hasselbeck didn't take long to take to Stokley.
His slight increase in value, however, isn't as significant as his presence thinning out Seattle's wideout target distribution. Seattle still has ample options, and he isn't explosive. He's on a bye this week, so there probably won't be much fanfare around him; that presents a decent chance to throw a line at Stokley in deep point-per-reception leagues.
Fantasy football free agents: One-week plays
The following fantasy football pickups are for those who need injury or bye week replacements. They are not players you immediately acquire - unless your team is in dire straights. Some have, however, shown some life and should be followed in case they materialize as options beyond their temporary use.
Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills (99 percent)
Attention fantasy owners: Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with an underperforming wide receiver corps? Do you have receivers from the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers or Seattle Seahawks facing a Week 5 bye? Are you looking for a worthwhile gamble to help kick-start your ailing fantasy season? The fantasy experts at KFFL.com are here to help.
Johnson has scored during each of the past two weeks with Ryan Fitzpatrick commanding the ship. This week, he has the luxury of facing a Jacksonville Jaguars pass defense that has allowed wideouts the most receiving yards per game (228.0) through four weeks. We know what you're saying: Reggie Wayne killed them in Week 4 to skew the average. Not so fast, my friend: The Jaguars ranked as the third worst D against wide receivers prior to the Colts game. The Jags have given up 14.25 receptions for 228.0 yards and 1.50 touchdowns per game to the position on the year.
Johnson is a risky but sneaky play. He probably won't catch a high volume of passes. It may not matter. He has shown the ability to produce with limited touches based on his career rate of a touchdown every six receptions.
Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams (99 percent)
Gibson has been targeted 13 times in the past two weeks, including three in the red zone. This week Gibson has the luxury of facing the Detroit Lions, who have surrendered 10.00 receptions for 155.0 yards and 1.25 touchdowns per game to receivers this year.
Quarterback Sam Bradford has shown considerable poise and has been rather effective as a rookie through four starts. Gibson may not see a ton of looks, but he makes for a worthwhile speculative flex play if you're in desperation mode or have to cover a bye.
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.