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.
Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints (66 percent)
Thomas wore out his welcome in D.C.
Fantasy owners have progressively given up on Meachem over the past month, and rightfully so. Our sources said there wasn't much reason to believe he'll turn it around since he has been used primarily as a blocker and isn't 100 percent recovered from offseason toe surgery.
Meachem hauled in four receptions - one fewer than he had in four previous games - for 72 yards and a touchdown in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals. His next four opponents: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers, all of whom have given up big plays at various stretches during the first quarter of this season.
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.
Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans (65 percent)
With Justin Gage (hamstring) out in Week 5, Britt continued his recent momentum, grabbing four passes for 86 yards and snaring a touchdown for his third straight game. He seems to have bounced back both personally and in his standing with the team after his preseason focus issues.
The 6-foot-3, 218-pound sophomore provides Tennessee with a productive red zone target (seven looks there this year). Even if Gage returns, Britt has probably regained a frequent role, having already been targeted seven or eight times in three of Tennessee's last four games. Gage is a decent wideout, but he doesn't provide the upside that a polished, more disciplined Britt would.
Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams (99 percent)
In Week 4 we told you Gibson's teammate, wide receiver Danny Amendola, was worth adding. With wideout Mark Clayton (knee) done for the year, Gibson should see more looks after passing Laurent Robinson on the depth chart. Prior to going down in Week 5, Clayton led the team with 42 utilizations during the first four games. Someone has to pick up the slack. The Rams have not shied away from letting rookie quarterback Sam Bradford chuck the ball around the field.
NEW - Deion Branch, New England Patriots (66 percent)
Branch returns to his old home, with a strong pitch coming from quarterback Tom Brady. With the Pats, Branch recorded his career-best season in 2005: 78 catches, 998 yards and five scores. The 31-year-old has lost some explosiveness and will fight for looks with deep threat Brandon Tate, slot receiver Julian Edelman and tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. However, Branch's history with Brady and improved offensive situation say that a rebound is possible and worth taking a chance on for deep rosters.
NEW - Deon Butler, Seattle Seahawks (99 percent)
Butler is the biggest beneficiary of the Deion Branch trade because he's more familiar with the Y position than Golden Tate. Butler, the team's leading wideout during the preseason, has two games with five-plus targets in 2010. Butler could lose more reps to Tate in the long run, but he equates well to what Branch offered the Seahawks - a smurf wideout that can provide a useful contrast to the bigger Mike X. Williams.
Despite his underwhelming yards-per-catch average, Butler has wheels, runs clean routes and can stretch the field. These attributes should be magnified with more playing time in an offense that still enjoys chucking the rock.
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.
NEW - Anthony Armstrong, Washington Redskins (95 percent)
Donovan McNabb likes to throw deep. "Stretch Armstrong" thrives on that. They should hang out more. Wait ... is that already happening? Armstrong had eight targets last week, the same as No. 2 wideout Joey Galloway. Armstrong's big-play package is younger and fresher than Galloway's, so there's season-long potential here. Maybe Galloway is phased out if he continues to disappoint.
Armstrong probably won't see many receptions but has earned enough of McNabb's trust to become a steady part of this offense. You probably won't find many wideout lottery tickets with his upside, especially in non-PPR setups.
NEW - Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks (87 percent)
With Deion Branch gone, targets are for the taking. Tate has been involved in mix-and-match receiver work at both the split end and flanker positions in practice. Deon Butler will likely be the one to benefit most consistently at first, but Tate's work at both wideout positions should help his opportunities, too.
Known more so as a big-play threat, Tate is trying to refine his route running, thanks to working with the recently acquired Brandon Stokley. Seattle is coming off a bye - we could see the fruits of Tate's labor soon. Matt Hasselbeck has been targeting Tate more each week - two times in Week 2, four times in Week 3 and six times in Week 4. Big-play receivers that clean up their technical skills are an enticing bunch.
Devin Thomas, Carolina Panthers (98 percent)
If you're looking for a speculative gamble, target Thomas, who was recently cut by the Washington Redskins and signed by the Panthers Monday. The 2008 second-round pick from Michigan State has quality size at 6-foot-2, 218 pounds. He might have trouble producing much in the short term, especially in this run-first offense and if Steve Smith (ankle) returns soon, and probably will remain slated behind David Gettis and Brandon LaFell until then. On the bright side, he has enough talent to become involved in this offense as the season wears on; in cavernous leagues he might eventually earn consideration
as a No. 6 or 7 wideout.
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 - Patrick Crayton, San Diego Chargers (93 percent)
Legedu Naanee (hamstring) and Buster Davis (ribs) might be limited in Week 6 duty. Crayton hasn't seen much work since coming to San Diego, but his four Week 5 targets all came after Naanee left the game. He'd be the biggest beneficiary for looks if Naanee and Davis can't perform their full workloads.
Good timing for a matchup play: Wideouts have averaged 10.50 receptions, 144.3 yards and 1.00 touchdowns per game in the last month against the Rams. The way the Chargers are relying on the arm of Philip Rivers, Crayton is in position to offer flex production in deep leagues if he's called upon more this Sunday.
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.