We briefly talked about the waiver wire in another post, but it is possibly the most important part of being successful in fantasy football, and fantasy sports in general. I have had horrible drafts in which I didn’t think I would be able to win a single week and ended up being the league’s champion that year due to waiver wire pick-ups. So each week you should be scouring the NFL fantasy football waiver wire, and I am going to teach you how.
First things first – Which type of waiver wire does your league use?
As always, you need to know the rules before you begin. There are 3 commonly used waiver wire systems used – continuous rolling list, reverse order of standing, or FAAB, which is and acronym for free agent auction bidding. Let’s go over each one for better understanding.
Continuous Rolling List
This is my personal favorite, and the type I use in the league that I am commissioner. Essentially after the original waiver wire is set (typically base on reverse draft order from the original draft), every time you pick up a player using the waiver system you are then moved to the back of the list. So every week you do not pick up a player through the waiver system, you move up. This does not include free agents, which we will talk about later.
Reverse Order of Standings
Pretty self-explanatory here, each week the person with the worst record gets the first waiver priority. Total points is typically the tie breaker here if 2 or more teams have the same record – lower point would get higher waiver priority.
FAAB – Free Agent Auction Bidding
This one is slightly different from the other two in that there is no order. You are given a certain amount of “money” at the beginning of the season to use through the entire year. Once it’s gone, you are unable to pick up free agents through the waiver system. The amount of money differs from league to league. In one league I am in, we were given $500 to use. It does make the waiver system fair, but you do not know who much everyone else is putting on any player until after the waivers have gone through, so plan accordingly. Although, if you do not get the player you bid on you do get the money back to use the next week.
Ok, I know which system we use, now what?
After you know your system, you need to look at your team. Do you have any under performing players? Did you have a player get hurt over the weekend and now are missing a quality player at a certain position? The first thing you should look for is players to complete your team. Also, look for players that are outperforming the current members of your fantasy team. Basically any player that can improve your roster should be looked at.
Now comes the hard part – every player you pick up you have to drop a player from your team. Obviously in situations where the player is out for the season this is easy, but what if the player is coming back in a few weeks? Or even 6 to 8 weeks, depending on how good of a player it is? That is when it gets tricky. In that case you need to find one of those players picked with the last few picks in your draft, and decide if you think they are actually going to put up numbers this season, or if there was a reason that they were still available in the 12th round. So keep the injured player on your bench until he gets healthy and drop the player that hasn’t been putting up fantasy points.
Depending on the league you are in, there may not be anybody on waivers better than who you have already on your team. No worries. You are not forced to pick up a waiver each week, or at all for that matter. If you are in a 12 team league, especially one with veteran fantasy football managers, the backups of most high profile players are already on rosters. That’s fine, just use who you have and hope for the best.
There are a couple of positions that I am not a fan of using a waiver, at least in the continuous rolling list waiver system. One of those is kickers and the other defense. In the case of kickers, there is typically 15-20 available any given week. So you should not have any problem getting a suitable replacement for your bye week kicker after waivers have gone through and it doesn’t move you to the back of the line. Defenses are similar, if you do not have one of the top 5 defenses that you play every week, there should be options available that can get you decent points based on who that particular team is playing that week. Even an average defense can get you big points if they are playing a bad offense. Not using a waiver claim isn’t helpful on the other two types of waiver systems however, since it is not connected to previous weeks.
Always look to improve your roster
Once again, even with what you think is a poor draft you can still be successful if you find players through waivers. The same is true on the other end, even with a great draft, if you do not try to improve your team over the year you may not have a good team by the end of the year, which will make the playoffs tough to navigate. Also, just because the waivers have completed for that week, continue to pay attention to the sports news of the week. Players get hurt all the time in practice, and once the players have moved through waivers they are “free agents” and can be picked up by anyone immediately.
As always, if you have any questions please leave them below, or have any waiver tips you like to use in your league. Hope you have a great fantasy football week!