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.
Hillis showed off his all-around game in Week 3 against a typically stout Baltimore Ravens' D with 144 yards on 22 carries (6.5 yards per) and seven catches for 36 yards. He tacked on a ground touchdown.
Many continue to underrate Cleveland's run blocking, which will help. Even when Jerome Harrison (thigh) comes back, it looks like Hillis will be the top dog. James Davis isn't doing much to convince Cleveland he deserves carries, either. Even if this might not last all season, Hillis is available in far too many leagues right now.
After Fred Taylor (toe) became fragile again in Week 3, Green-Ellis carried the load, finishing with 16 carries for 98 yards and a score. This backfield, once a cluster of fantasy headaches, was actually depleted heading into Week 3. Now? Even with Taylor's prognosis still unknown, "Law Firm" is the Pats back to own.
Green-Ellis was already in line to see a work increase in New England's rotational backfield. If Taylor, New England's top back in name, were to miss time, it would probably be a procedural courtroom drama with a sprinkling of Danny Woodhead for changeup relief. Don't be afraid to throw a significant bid on Green-Ellis if he's still out there.
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.
The hamstring injury to Knowshon Moreno was somewhat cushioned by the fact Denver had acquired Maroney not long beforehand. Maroney knows Josh McDaniels' offense, which should help him assimilate quickly. He only tallied 24 yards on 12 carries in his first Denver action last week, but he caught two passes for 40 yards - there's some big-play spark in him in the right environment.
He's the logical successor to Correll Buckhalter's changeup back job. Buck is no picture of health, either, so that might come sooner than expected. Buckhalter had six catches last week but didn't do much else. Maroney at least has fresher legs and enough upside to stash as a No. 6 or so fantasy back.
Jahvid Best (toe) has had the worst luck with his foot. Already nursing a toe left big toe injury heading into Week 3, he now has Grade 2 turf toe on his right big toe. He's day-to-day but could play, depending on his ability to practice and his pain tolerance. This doesn't sound like it's going to go away anytime soon.
Smith was inactive for the first three games while continuing his recovery from knee surgery. Maurice Morris could also be involved in handling tailback work, but he's more of a changeup option. Coming off two seasons with a combined 1,723 rushing yards and 80 receptions, Smith is better built to handle a full-time workload.
Owners of Steven Jackson (groin) shouldn't need an explanation to move toward handcuffing the two backs. Darby (14 carries, 49 yards, one touchdown) carried the torch when Jackson left their Week 3 contest.
We know Jackson's injury history is long. S-Jax and the team say it's a minor injury, but don't rely solely on press quotes. The Rams might not stick with Darby if Jackson can't go - they already have reported interest in Larry Johnson and said they were going to "dig deep" into their options at the position. If you don't own Jackson, you should be careful on throwing a big pile of free-agent budget funds or a high waiver priority on Darby; his shelf life might be short.
After hubbub for Keiland Williams heading into Week 3, Mike Shanahan messed with fantasy owners' heads. Again. He's good at that. Torain, fresh off the practice squad, seemingly jumped ahead of Williams on the depth chart and ran for 46 yards on seven carries in Week 3. Reports said Washington planned on having Clinton Portis (wrist), limited by a wrist injury, play strictly on third downs and passing situations, with Torain having first- and second-down duty.
Well, Portis' injury caused him to play more cautiously. If Washington wants to keep him safe even more, Torain's workload should remain high in the near future. That, Williams' prowess on special teams, and Torain's connection with Shanahan from their time in Denver should prompt you to pick up the talented Torain, who can handle between-the-tackles work.
Maybe his bye week will allow you to sneak him on roster without anyone noticing. The team wants to take some work off Cadillac Williams' shoulders; Blount will at least have goal line utilizations moving forward and is in essence Tampa Bay's No. 2 back. The 6-foot, 247-pounder, who reminds head coach Raheem Morris of former fullback Mike Alstott, gained 27 yards on six carries Sunday while also plunging to paydirt.
Tampa also will probably mix in fullback Earnest Graham, scatback Kareem Huggins and Kregg Lumpkin, too, but the troubled yet talented Blount has enough shiftiness to be a decent changeup back to the plodding Williams. Blount's touchdown potential alone is worth a depth addition. If you have enough running backs to get by for this week, think ahead and stash Blount.
Running back Pierre Thomas (ankle) didn't practice Wednesday. He isn't ruled out yet for Sunday, but New Orleans' running back crop is already dented with the injury to Reggie Bush (leg). Ivory and Ladell Betts would be the only backs on roster if Thomas were to miss Week 4. Runner DeShawn Wynn is on their practice squad and could be activated if PT can't go.
Ivory had just seven rushes for 14 yards in Week 3 against a stout Atlanta Falcons defense. It was his first action since spraining his knee in the preseason. Ladell Betts, a back that knows the system, wasn't used and is still trying to work his way back from his '09 knee injury. Right now, Ivory, who has an intriguing size-speed combo, appears best suited to step into majority duty if Thomas were to miss time.
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 Pats' tailback depth has been dwindling, and if Fred Taylor (toe) harkens back to his extensive injury history, Woodhead might see a handful of touches each week. He made a promising impression in Week 3 with 42 yards and a touchdown on three carries. BenJarvus Green-Ellis carries the workhorse profile in a non-Taylor world, but the Pats are trying to fill the void left by pass-catching, pass-blocking back Kevin Faulk (knee), who's done for the year.
Woodhead's versatility (he can play wideout, too) and scrappiness speaks to head coach Bill Belichick in both scheme and team utility. Woodhead has low-end PPR fill-in potential in deep formats. This lotto ticket might be eligible at both positions, too, for when desperate times ... etc.
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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