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.
Ryan Torain, Washington Redskins (82 percent)
Ridley still alien to some rosters
Mike Shanahan's revolving door of running backs produced a strong Week 4 showing by Torain, a favorite of the coach over the past several seasons. The 6-foot-1, 218-pound rusher, who didn't touch the ball through the first three weeks as he worked his way back from a fractured hand, carried the rock 19 times for 135 yards (7.1 per attempt) and scored a touchdown on the ground in Week 4.
Torain isn't much of a receiver, so he'll likely come off the field in favor of Tim Hightower on third downs. Regardless, he fits Shanahan's offense perfectly and, as long as he can remain healthy, is a strong fantasy option most weeks. The 'Skins have a Week 5 bye, but that shouldn't stop you from adding Torain to your roster immediately.
Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots (77 percent)
We wrote about acquiring Ridley in this space last week, and his Week 4 effort (100 total yards, TD) further supports our claims. The Pats will likely ride the hot hand, and Ridley looks much more explosive than BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Law Firm still rushed six more times than Ridley against the Oakland Raiders, but the rookie is making the most of his modest workload.
BJGE is an unrestricted free agent after this year, and the Patriots may be auditioning Ridley to see if he is ready to take over the starting job in 2012.
Ridley should at least be stashed in all standard formats and, depending on the matchup, is a playable commodity as no worse than a flex.
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.
Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers (67 percent)
Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring) should be all right this week, but such an injury is tricky and can leave a fantasy owner cursing. Monitor Mendy's status as the week goes along, but add Redman earlier in the week to cover your bases if you are a Mendenhall owner. Fantasy leaguers looking for a potential flex play can turn to Redman in deep leagues.
If you choose to play Redman this week, his matchup against the Tennessee Titans is just so-so. Caution: Redman isn't for every owner. Adding him is advised for Mendenhall owners and those with enough room to stash him in the event of a several-week setback for the Steelers' starter.
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.
James Casey, Houston Texans (88 percent)
Depending on his classification in your league, the tight end-turned-fullback has a great matchup in Week 5. Casey could play more than one position for your team if your league software lists him that way. Casey is an H-back, but some league hosts will list him at tight end only.
Consider him a flex play in deep leagues. The Texans likely will be without Andre Johnson (hamstring) this week against the Oakland Raiders. The offense may rely heavily on the ground game, but Casey, who is one game removed a 126-yard, one-TD performance, could be a factor in the passing attack. The Texans can move him around the field and take advantage of this wide receiver in a tight end's body.
Oakland has allowed 6.50 receptions for 73.8 yards and 0.50 touchdowns per game this year to running backs. They haven't been as kind to tight ends, but considering how much Casey shifts around, it may not matter.
About Cory J. Bonini
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.
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