Free agents to pick up in your fantasy football league
If you are serious about winning your fantasy league football championship, it is important to stay on top of your fantasy football team throughout the course of 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 in your league. Not being aggressive in picking up fantasy football free agents is not a wise move. Sometimes, even if you do not need the player for your starting lineup, it is wise to tuck the player away for depth as well as to block others from adding the player to their fantasy football team.
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.
Sanchez lived up to his 2009 fifth overall draft status in Week 1. The rookie completed 18 of his 31 passes for 272 yards, one touchdown and one pick. The Jets even took shots downfield with Sanchez as he connected with wide receiver Chansi Stuckey on a 30-yard TD. Take into account those numbers came against the Houston Texans - he'll have a stiffer test against the New England Patriots in Week 2. Still, if you have the room for a No. 3 quarterback or aren't enamored with your backup, consider the former USC Trojan.
The Bucs are going to run, run and run some more. Despite major knee injuries in recent years, Caddy looks to be back to pre-injury form. He dominated with 7.5 yards per carry in Week 1, while leading the team in rushing attempts (13) and yards (97). He also found the end zone once. Despite being in a committee, he is going to be given weekly chances as long as he is healthy. Snag him immediately!
He rang for 143 ground yards on 28 carries in Week 1 against a perpetually cracked Detroit Lions defense. The hobbled back that allowed him the chance, Pierre Thomas (knee), may also miss Week 2, giving Bell another shot to start. Even if this was a Lions-based performance and/or Thomas returns next contest, the Saints had been hyping a potential three-headed monster, and Bell was utilized five times in the red zone and once inside the 5. He remains untouched in about 70 percent of surveyed leagues.
Burleson showed few effects from the ACL surgery he underwent last year. In his first game since tearing up his knee, the Calgary, Alberta, native caught seven passes for 74 yards and one touchdown. He's likely the second or third option for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on an offense that wants to establish the run. Still, he looked good in camp, and that form has carried into the regular season. He caught nine touchdowns in a season twice in his career as well as racked up one 1,000-yard season. As long as Hasselbeck stays healthy, Burleson should be a backup option on your receiving corps.
T.O. who? Quarterback Tony Romo spread the love in Week 1, and Crayton benefited with four receptions for 135 yards and an 80-yard score. Sure, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lining up opposite him probably helped, but cementing starter status in this offense doesn't hurt your value. The long score isn't a fluke; the typically sure-handed wideout boasts a 14.7 lifetime yards-per-catch average. You can still pluck Crayton off 33 percent of tallied waiver wires.
Stuckey was avoided in most drafts but won't be ignored for long after catching four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. He emerged as one of the team's top receivers during training camp and was targeted eight times Sunday, including once in the red zone.
A 2007 first-round pick, Meachem disappointed in his first two years. Injuries have played a large part in that. Well, this year, he is healthy and one of the top options in the Saints' vaunted passing attack. Meachem was targeted twice last week, catching both passes for 51 yards and one score. The Saints are going to be tossing the ball a ton this year; Meachem is one of the most talented receivers in the Saints' corps. It could be tough to play him, though, based on the options surrounding him in the offense.
Bennett's college rapport with quarterback Jay Cutler certainly showed Sunday night: seven catches for 66 yards on 15 targets, which ranked third among all receivers. He may not approach that number again this year, but even if Devin Hester keeps up his share of the deep-threat looks, that won't affect Bennett much. For as erratic as Cutler can be, there's a legitimate chance Bennett will remain their No. 1 target. He's still out there in about 38 percent of polled leagues.
A five-catch, 87-yard opening week (17.4 yards per grab) gives hope that Robinson can maintain his role as the No. 2 wideout. Wideout Donnie Avery is the better deep threat, but Robinson can act as the possession vessel outside running back Steven Jackson. Quarterback Marc Bulger still has an arm when he's upright, and you should expect the Rams to be passing a ton in the second half; the talented Robinson totaled four catches for 75 yards after last week's halftime. His polled availability won't remain at 84 percent for long.
The Ravens are expanding their passing game, and Heap is finally healthy. He had five catches, 74 yards and one score in Week 1; plus, he was targeted eight times during the game, with one coming in the red zone. As long as he is healthy, he can offer solid production!
Carney should be a nice three-week rental, at least, as he fills in for the suspended Garrett Hartley. Carney torched the hapless Detroit Lions for six extra points but made just one of his two field goals from between 30 and 39 yards. The odds of the Saints putting up another 45-point affair aren't great, but their potent attack made Hartley a fantasy darling last season. You can sign Carney in about 55 percent of polled setups.
Fantasy football free agents: Look to acquire
Fantasy football leagues come in all shapes, so the following players will have greater significance in deep fantasy football leagues. In shallow leagues, they are not as high of a priority but should be considered based on your fantasy football team's needs.
This is strictly based on the health of Donovan McNabb (rib) and the chance that Kevin Kolb and "old-comer" Jeff Garcia. Vick is a boom-or-bust gamble; he is prohibited from even sniffing game action until Week 3 but is practicing with the Iggles. If you have the space to speculate, you can find Vick available in approximately 69 percent of surveyed formats. Although his outlook isn't great, you may not have another chance at him, if you really want him.
Steelers backs Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall were ineffective against the Tennessee Titans' line in the Thursday opener, so Pittsburgh went with Moore heavily in the second half. He totaled 12 utilizations, along with three red zone plays. Moore is the best option of these three backs in the passing game, but he also proved last year he's worth more than that when both of the other carriers were injured. The shifty back can still be had in about 85 percent of leagues polled.
Charles' eight utilizations Sunday tell that he can have a significant complementary role to starter Larry Johnson (12). Charles had only four carries for eight yards, but he snagged four passes for 29 yards. Working between the tackles is by no means Charles' strength, but his ability to break a big play will keep him in KC's rotation. Quarterback Matt Cassel's (knee) passing contributions are still up in the air for the near future, too. You can still obtain Charles in approximately 64 percent of leagues polled.
Oakland expects to have the brittle Fargas (hamstring) back on the field for Week 2 for their two-back system, bumping out Michael Bush despite his strong performance in Week 1 (12-55-1). Bush could still figure in heavily later on, but Fargas is the Darren McFadden complement to go with for now, as long as you don't put too much stock in him. They feel Fargas fits the playbook better. You can sign him, hopefully as only a depth option or matchup play, in about 86 percent of leagues polled.
Edge's burst wasn't exactly there in Week 1 (30 yards), but he received 11 carries. Beware: Nine of those came in the second half during a blowout, and Julius Jones remains the No. 1 back in the Northwest. However, James can round out your fantasy running back corps and is a must-handcuff if Jones is your No. 3 back or higher, especially since they run a Greg Knapp system. The gold-toothed one is still out there in about 64 percent of leagues polled.
The Bengals' No. 3 receiver has typically boasted ample fantasy value. Many, including KFFL, figure Chris Henry will be a big factor this year. However, Cincy looks at Caldwell as the third-down successor to the exited T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Caldwell was tied for the team's receiver look lead in Week 1 with eight. The talented second-year receiver can be a nice plug-in for point-per-reception leagues and can still be had in nearly every setup.
Hauschka rattled off eight kicking points in the first week of play. The rook missed a 41-yard field goal but netted one from 44, proving leg strength probably won't be much of an issue. Baltimore's passing attack is expanding, meaning more chances for one-pointers and three-pointers may not be far behind; we may see him pass the '08 numbers of former Ravens kicker Matt Stover. Hauschka can be added in nearly every setup.
Atlanta Falcons defense/special teams
The Falcons kept the Miami Dolphins off the scoreboard until the final four minutes of their Week 1 game. At that point, the Falcons had a 19-0 lead. How else did they help fantasy teams? They picked off 'Fins quarterback Chad Pennington once while sacking him four times. On tap this week is the Carolina Panthers, and yes, quarterback Jake Delhomme will be starting. Carolina turned the ball over five times last week. There's some reason to believe Atlanta can keep it up. They have six new starters on D, including linebacker Mike Peterson, who has plenty of experience in a Mike Smith-coached defense.
Fantasy football free agents: Watch list
These fantasy football free agents shouldn't be on your immediate list. They may have had a big week of production; they may show talent but are buried on the depth chart; they may have a chance to play sometime this season because of injuries. Still, fantasy football players must know who these players are for their potential contribution in the future.
We hope Kendra likes the Midwest. Coming from a West Coast offense with his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, Baskett may soon earn some snaps for Indy. His chances increase with Anthony Gonzalez (knee) out for up to eight weeks. Baskett's talent was buried inside a crowded Eagles cupboard. Quarterback Peyton Manning takes a bit to trust new addition; however, Indy might not keep Baskett locked up long if he comes in and learns quickly. If your wideout options are thin, you can take a chance on Baskett in almost every league.
Naanee was looked at six times Monday, five more instances than both Chris Chambers and Malcom Floyd. He caught a career-high five passes (tied for Chargers receptions lead) for 49 yards. San Diego made Floyd a playable option when injuries hurt the receiving corps last year. Quarterback Philip Rivers looks content with spreading the ball to even more targets than in '08; Rivers may continue that since running back LaDainian Tomlinson (ankle) is already hampered, like he was for much of last season. In this system, Naanee may have a shred of value if the matchup is right for deep leaguers. Naanee can be picked up pretty much everywhere, but you don't need to rush.
Deion Branch (hamstring) is considered an organizational albatross, and the Seahawks are wasting little time giving Butler his own shot. Though he caught just one pass for seven yards Sunday, Butler was targeted three times, including once in the red zone. The Seahawks have been impressed by the rookie's work so far. Branch's Week 2 status is already uncertain, meaning we could see more of Butler in the second game. Keep a casual eye on Butler, who's on the wire in just about all leagues.
Mac was one of only three Rams to haul in more than one pass in Week 1 (four receptions, 44 yards), and with wideout Keenan Burton failing to show a fantasy pulse, McMichael stands to continue receiving this attention. This is a positive springboard for him to become a frequent beneficiary of Pat Shurmur's offense. With McMichael available in nearly all fantasy leagues polled, you probably don't have to run out to get him. There's valuable backup potential there, though.
The fantasy community expected the short passing game to blossom once Brady Quinn won Cleveland's passing duties. Royal's Week 1 line (four catches, 60 yards, one score) is Exhibit A. Hold on: Royal isn't normally a big receiving threat (career-high 33 catches in '08 with the Buffalo Bills), and Quinn will probably spread the ball around; the Browns will still look to include Steve Heiden and (eventually) Martin Rucker. By no means should you rush to acquire Royal, who as a free agent in nearly every format will be readily available in the future; if anything, he'd be a last-ditch backup as a product of his environment.
The St. Louis Rams will make any offense look professional, but a healthy Matt Hasselbeck and rejuvenated all-around ball movement boosts this boot's worth. Mare netted only four extra points in Week 1 but showed his comfort with the Northwest last year (88.9 percent on 27 field goal tries). The 14-year vet still has room to grow ... err, recapture some fantasy notoriety. He has a solid statistical matchup this week against the San Francisco 49ers if you want to try him now.
Fantasy football free agents: One-week plays
The following fantasy football pickups are one-week plays for those who need injury or bye week replacements. These are not players you immediately acquire - unless your team is in dire straights. Some are, however, showing some life and should have an eye kept on them to see if they materialize as worthy options beyond their temporary use.
Though the Colts' Hank Baskett addition leaves Garcon's workload in jeopardy, Garcon should at least be picked up for this week. With Anthony Gonzalez (knee) out for a while, Garcon likely assumes the No. 2 job, at least for this week; he earned five looks in Week 1, two more than competitor Austin Collie. The matchup with the Miami Dolphins isn't that good, but it's nice to be a beneficiary of quarterback Peyton Manning's throws, especially if you're seeing more chances to do so. Garcon is fair game in nearly all formats.
The Dallas Cowboys would've given up more points had it not been for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Nugent's blocked and missed field goals in Week 1. Tynes plays the Cowboys in Week 2 and looks to build in his three-field goal, two-extra point opener. The Cowboys let up 21 points to the Bucs; the way Dallas' run D looked last week, the Giants should be able to set up Tynes frequently. You can find Tynes on 47 percent of polled waiver wires.
Prater had another solid start to a season, banking six kicking points on field goals of 48 and 50 yards. He struggled on kicks of 40-plus yards last year (10-for-17), but if his big leg has found some accuracy, he could find frequent play in what could be a stalling Broncos offense. Prater faces the Cleveland Browns, who tied for the second most kicking points allowed (10) last week. Prater can be had in about 75 percent of leagues polled.
The Chiefs come calling in Week 2. Last week they allowed eight kicking points, which tied for the seventh highest total, and it would have been 11 if not for a 41-yard miss. You know the accuracy risk with the big guy, but he made all four of his kicks (including two field goals) against the San Diego Chargers Monday night. If there are few alternatives, we cautiously recommend him this week. He can be had in about 82 percent of surveyed setups.
NEW - Denver Broncos defense/special teams
Like Prater's great matchup, the Broncos' D, which came through against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, has a chance to compete against the Cleveland Browns. They'll try to be risk-averse once again with quarterback Brady Quinn running things. New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's 3-4 setup had a nice debut; the Broncos managed three sacks and two interceptions in the opener. The Browns yielded five sacks along with two giveaways in their '09 debut. Denver is available in nearly all leagues.
About KFFL Staff
KFFL, part of USA TODAY Sports, has been turning fantasy sports players into winners since 1996!
We are your one stop for all of your fantasy football, baseball, NASCAR, hockey and basketball needs all year long. Follow @KFFL
Don't miss these great reports....
Recent KFFL releases
Fantasy Football Rankings: Standard Scoring
Fantasy Football Rankings: PPR Scoring
Fantasy Baseball Closer Depth Charts: White Sox chaos coming?
Fantasy Football Rankings: Scoring only