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.
Cincinnati Bengals (90 percent)
This unit is ranked No. 1 in the NFL, but they've had a favorable schedule to open 2011, facing the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills. In that stretch, they averaged 2.50 sacks, 0.25 interceptions and 0.75 fumble recoveries per game. Those opponents have helped them allow just 18.5 points per game, which is one of the 10 lowest averages against in the league.
This listing is a little aggressive, considering the Bengals' sack and takeaway numbers aren't outstanding. However, this weekend they play the Jacksonville Jaguars, who with an under-center combo of Luke McCown and their current starter, rookie Blaine Gabbert, have yielded six picks on the year and struggled on offense overall.
Bye weeks commence in Week 5, and along with their upcoming fight with the Jags, the Bengals face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6 and, after Cincy's Week 7 bye, the Seattle Seahawks. They're an intriguing time-biding D with a little growth potential in Mike Zimmer's sometimes-aggressive system.
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 Bills haven't been a dynamic fantasy unit, but they've picked off eight passes this season, tied for the league lead. That was fueled by a four-pick Week 3 against Tom Brady. Though they also have three fumble recoveries, they have just four sacks, and their pass defense is easily abused.
Does your league reward for sacks and takeaways while limiting penalties on yardage and points allowed? If so, Buffalo's home matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles could serve as a surprising bye-week filler. Philly has thrown five interceptions and lost five fumbles while struggling to protect quarterback Michael Vick, who has thrown a pick in each of his last three games.
Minnesota Vikings (69 percent)
This is hardly the dynamic defense it used to be, thanks to the losses of defensive tackle Pat Williams, pass-rushing DE Ray Edwards and linebacker Ben Leber, in addition to a secondary that's still sieve-like. They're 0-4 and have struggled to record takeaways, but at least they still have Jared Allen. The Vikes have averaged four sacks per game over the last two weeks, versus the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs. Obviously, the latter was a better matchup.
Minnesota is still allowing ample points, but they probably have enough pass-rush juice to get to Arizona Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb in Week 5, especially since it's at the Metrodome. 'Zona has turned the ball over seven times this year and is vulnerable on the road. Maybe a solid performance by the Vikes would make them worth a look against the pass-rusher-friendly Chicago Bears in Week 6. If your D is on a bye, the Vikings could carry your flag this weekend.
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.
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