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: 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.
Newton discovery revolutionary?
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (50 percent)
That number illustrates a frenzy of pickups following Newton's rookie record-breaking 422-yard debut Sunday; he chucked two touchdowns on his 24-for-37 day and also scored on the ground. It'd be a nice story to say he stuck it to his critics and that he'll be a top fantasy QB.
That's a fairy tale, though. Sure, he's athletic, and the Panthers are going to have a rough season, but you can't expect that many attempts from him every week. Carolina is a balanced squad. Plus, the Arizona Cardinals were probably still trying to get their new system together and had plenty of weak spots because of injuries to their secondary.
This, however, doesn't mean Newton can't have more intrigue now than he did in draft season. Safe to say Steve Smith, with whom Newton hooked up for on two long scores, is helping ease in the slinger; that'll help the freshman get his feet wet quicker. He'll probably do just enough to complement this ground-oriented squad most weeks, but knowing he can thrash a weak D should give you more reason to grab him.
Starter? No. A highly talented stash and bye fill-in candidate? At this point, worth it.
Rex Grossman, Washington Redskins (89 percent)
Facing an injury-laden New York Giants helped Grossman to a 21-for-34, 305-yard, two-TD opener. He showed his cognizance of Kyle Shanahan's offense and precision in the red zone while leading what could be a more balanced attack for 2011. Grossman's joke-inducing days with the Chicago Bears were chiefly caused by an offense that would've limited even a supertalented QB. Grossman isn't one of those, but he's showing that he has grown.
This Sunday, Sexy Rexy gets the same Arizona Cardinals that Cam Newton embarrassed in the opener. After that, Washington faces the secondary-challenged Dallas Cowboys and the still-growing St. Louis Rams. Scorned Peyton Manning owners have an upside candidate to take a shot on.
NEW - Chad Henne, Miami Dolphins (53 percent)
Will the Dolphins throw that much every week? You wouldn't think so, but with Reggie Bush being their top RB, and the heavy possibility that they'll be playing catch-up a bunch, maybe Henne will sniff top-10-QB territory based on attempts alone as Brian Daboll's offense calls for more aerial attempts. He's getting better at pushing it downfield. Henne lost weight and is more mobile than in the past.
How good is your fantasy starter? Does your league start two QBs? Henne still holds some upside as a backup. Maybe he's worth a matchup play, but it's best to see how Miami's offense runs over the next few weeks.
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.
NEW - Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers (84 percent)
The Dallas Cowboys, who let Mark Sanchez dissect their banged-up and spotty secondary during Week 1, await Smith and a scuffling San Fran pass attack. Smith at least has Vernon Davis to rely on, and Braylon Edwards is talented enough to take advantage of a solid matchup. It's a perfect chance for desperate owners (especially those with two-QB lineups) to try him out.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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