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.
Royal was flushed by many fantasy owners after a quiet start to '09. Bring him back to the throne. A 10-grab, 90-yard, 15-target effort reminded us he's still playing. Inconsistency will be a problem, but he should at least be on rosters given the talent he has shown and a Kyle Orton-commanded system that gives Royal point-per-reception potential.
As if quarterback Donovan McNabb needed another weapon.... In extensive work, Maclin hauled in six passes for 142 yards and a 51-yard scoring grab, one of two end zone trips. It was his third straight start, and he has been sought out 15 times in his last two games. The explosive rook should be a fixture in this offense now that McNabb has truly seen the goods - even if the presence of the MIA Kevin Curtis (knee) is keeping the Iggles from naming Maclin a full-time starter.
Another Colts wideout has a coming-out party on Sunday night. Collie ran circles around the Tennessee Titans for eight catches, 97 yards and two touchdowns; he was one of our one-week play highlights for Week 5. We all know quarterback Peyton Manning loves his slot receiver - heck, anyone who can consistently catch his throws. Wideout Anthony Gonzalez (knee) might be back in action after their Week 6 bye, but you should still grab Collie in case A-Gon can't regain his form early. It's also hard to think Collie would be completely eliminated from the looks party, anyway.
His huge Week 5 game aside, Austin deserves attention because of his reportedly increasing playing time. No word as to whom he'll replace in snaps, but he has made his biggest impression in terms of production. The fourth-year wideout has always had the talent, but he couldn't stay on the field. Patrick Crayton hasn't done enough to keep a permanent role, and Austin fits an outside role better than Crayton, who is more of a slot-type catcher. There's upside here if Roy Williams (ribs) fails to remain the No. 1 (well, with tight end Jason Witten, the No. 2) candidate. You can't count on starting Austin every week, but you shouldn't let him sit on the wire, especially if you can afford to wait out his Week 6 bye.
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.
Cincy went to Caldwell in a clutch situation for the second time in three weeks, and he hit paydirt both times. He wasn't used much in a tight Week 5 contest, but Caldwell has been active in the gameplan in general. He's a solid possession receiver, and the Bengals need a safe target to complement Chad Ochocinco, even as they reintegrate Chris Henry.
The shifty one is slowing finding his groove. Avery's 5-87-1 output in Week 5 punctuated a four-game stretch in which he averaged 6.0 looks per contest. Kyle Boller was taking snaps in Week 5, too. One would think a healthy Marc Bulger (shoulder) wouldn't hurt Avery's production. The Rams are bad, of course, but their top receiving option should be on more fantasy rosters. Don't let your leaguemates get away with this mistake.
Unlike most of his kind, this Moose has been quite sneaky with 19 looks in his last two games and 26 in his last three. While joining the 11,000-yard receiving club in Week 5, he also notched five catches; he has hauled in at least four grabs in every game this year. He hasn't shown the explosiveness of years past with just a 9.4 yards-per-haul average, and that blame is split between his 36-year-old wheels and the Carolina Panthers offense. What Muhammad does offer, however, is a solid rapport with Jake Delhomme (for what that's worth) and PPR-enhanced consistency on a club that will probably be playing from behind most of this season.
With Nicks returning from injury, the Giants have found sudden depth in their receiving corps, what with Mario Manningham emerging and Domenik Hixon also healing his wounds. That doesn't mean the talented Nicks will be ignored; in finding the end zone in each of the last two games, he has combined for nine looks - including six, along with two red zone plays, in Week 5. The physically gifted rook shouldn't be ignored for fantasy depth.
The Niners still enjoy running more than passing, and tight Vernon Davis is their top dog in the receiving hierarchy. Morgan, however, leads San Fran wideouts with 19 targets in the last three weeks and is averaging 15.5 yards per grab on the year. The explosive second-year catcher is the best big-play threat in their passing game.
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. They may have talent but are buried on the depth chart and merely awaiting an opportunity. Still, fantasy football players must know who they are for their potential contribution in the future.
The Bucs may give Stovall some more playing time due to Michael Clayton's butterfingers. Stovall hasn't been looked at or caught a pass since his six-target Week 2, which top wideout Antonio Bryant missed. No immediate action required. You can wait it out to see if he has some chemistry with quarterback Josh Johnson.
During a 38-10 Rams loss last week, Burton was targeted nine times on the way to five catches and 42 yards. With Laurent Robinson (leg, ankle) done for the year and quarterback Marc Bulger (shoulder) due to return, Burton has some more opportunities to contribute. He has averaged 5.0 targets per contest in the last four weeks, with 18 coming in the last three. Deep leaguers should give him the most attention, which still shouldn't be much for the near future.
The Bucs want to shake things up in the wideout picture with Michael Clayton dealing with the dropsies. Stroughter was sought out seven times in Week 5 after seeing just eight looks in the three previous contests. No one outside of tight end Kellen Winslow and maybe wideout Antonio Bryant, who is dealing with his own drop-fuelled illness, have established themselves as reliable pass-catching options, though Maurice Stovall will probably get the first shot at significant work. Stick to keeping casual eyes on Stroughter.
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.
The Lions are unsure if they'll be without wideout Calvin Johnson (knee). If he can't go against the Green Bay Packers this Sunday, Bryant would receive more work. He already has solid involvement, seeing 28 looks in the last four weeks, including two red zone targets; his workload rivals Megatron's. In their last three games, the Pack have allowed 10.00 receptions, 126.7 yards and 1.67 touchdowns per contest to this position.
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, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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