A Beginners Guide to the Waiver Wire

For those just starting out, the Waiver Wire can be tricky to navigate. Not only do you have to decide who you’re going to pick up but you may not even know how to take advantage of it. I’m reblogging an article I wrote last season around this time, because it’s still just as relevant. For those just starting out, I’ve broken down the waiver wire into the 5 W’s. Who, What, When, Where, Why. Check it out here:



Week One Waiver Wire Pick Ups

There isn’t a draft strategy guaranteed to win you a fantasy football championship. There isn’t a golden rule that you can follow to insure you don’t end up drafting some duds on your team. There isn’t a cheat sheet, algorithm, or fantasy guru out there that can clinch a playoff spot for you. (though some come close) So if after the draft day glow wears off and you find yourself looking at a turd of a line up, it’ll be okay. You see, you have options. You have the wavier wire. That’s what it’s there for. It’s like the extreme makeover for otherwise crappy teams. It’s your Biggest Loser, your Rehab Addict, your Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It exists, to trim the fat, to give a fresh coat of paint, to throw a hot as hell blazer on your broken little team, and reveal it’s inner beauty. So without further ado, here are some guys you can target, if you’re feeling less than stellar about your draft.

Quarterback Jay Cutler, Bears– owned in 33% of leagues

People, the hate has swung too far. I know that Cutler looks like he’d rather have a profession as a Mad Man as opposed to a quarterback, but the guy isn’t as awful as he’s being painted. This season he should benefit from new offensive coordinator Adam Gase. (former OC for the Denver Broncos, and Peyton Manning) The Bears offensive line looks a lot tighter this year as well. The only thing holding Cutler back is that his receivers are a little banged up right now, but The Bears have a lot of hungry mouths to feed, and they all have good hands. Last season he finished as a top 15 QB. This season there’s no reason to think he can’t break into the top 12 fairly easily. This week they play Green Bay, so you can expect a lot of offense from both teams. If you hate your current quarterback, you could do a lot worse than Cutler.

Week One Prediction: 19 points

Wide Receiver Danny Amendola, Patriots– owned in 13% of leagues

The Patriots have been decimated at wide receiver. Brandon LaFell was just put on the PUP list, Brandon Gibson is on season ending I/R with an ACL tear, and Reggie Wayne just flew the coop for his own personal reasons. This leaves Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola,and Aaron Dobson to carry the load, and Edelman is dealing with his own injuries. A lot of times, waiver pick ups are made based on weekly matchups, or just filling a temporary void, but Amendola can offer you value all season. He’s currently the best back up option in New England. With all of Tom Brady’s preseason woes, you better bet he’s going to come out swinging. If you have a spot on your roster, Amendola is a great player to target.

Week One Prediction: 10 Points

Wide Receiver Ted Ginn Jr, Panthers-owned in 1.4% of leagues

Injuries. Injuries, everywhere. Leading receiver Kelvin Benjamin is out for the season with an ACL tear, and Devin Funchess is a rookie so that leaves us with Ted Ginn. Ginn didn’t exactly impress last season, but his fantasy production came with a lot of militating factors. One, he has a less than desirable quarterback situation. Two, he was buried in the depth chart. It’s worth noting that in his previous season with The Panthers he averaged 15.4 YPC, and had five touchdowns. With Benjamin out Cam Newton is going to need a long ball threat and I think Ginn is just the guy for the job. Funchess could eat into some of Ginn’s production, but the job is Ginn’s until he proves himself. Ginn is another player that offers season long value for your team.

Week One Prediction 9 Points 

Tight end Ladarius Green, Chargers– owned in 9.4% of leagues

Green has been vaulted back into fantasy relevancy with the suspension of Antonio Gates. Gates is out for four games, and Green looks to take over his roster spot. Phillip Rivers is a competent quarterback, who likes to target his tight ends in the endzone. There’s every reason to expect that Green will come down with a few TD’s while starting. Though Green is only a viable starter for the first four games of the season, I think he’s worth an add if you want an upgrade at TE. Keep and eye on him throughout the regular season as well. Gates isn’t getting an younger.

Week One Prediction: 8 Points

Running Back Dri Archer, Steelers- owned in .7% of leagues. 

This one is more of a reach, but hear me out. After LeVeon Bell serves out his two game suspension, it’s more likely to be Dri Archer on the field backing him up as opposed to DeAngelo Williams. Archer has better hands and more speed. The only thing that Williams has over Archer, is his strength and ability to run through players so this does take away short yardage options, like on 3rd and 1. But if it’s a short yardage situation on the goal line it will be Bell not Williams that gets the carry. Martavius Byrant is also suspended for four games, so having one more guy with soft hands on the field gives a boost to the Pittsburgh offense.This is a highly speculative grab but if you’re in a PPR league, a league that allows return yardage, or a 12-14 man league, Archer may be worth a stash.

Week One Prediction: 7 Points

Running Back Cameron Artis-Payne, Panthers– owned in 15.4% of leagues

Cameron is currently back up to the injury prone Jonathan Stewart. Stewart averaged 9 carries a game last season when he participated in a Running back committee approach with DeAngelo Williams, so I don’t expect him to get a heavy workload, and due to the loss of starter Kelvin Benjamin The Panthers are going to need to get their run game going to open up the field. Artis-Payne looked good all preseason, and I expect him to eat into Stewart’s touches and yardage. Plus last season, Cam Newton scored 5 rushing touchdowns. I don’t expect the same rushing TD production out of Newton this year. Payne will get a few of those TD looks. As far as handcuffs go, there are only a couple I would rather have on my team than Artis-Payne. He’s on a running back hungry team, behind an injury prone starter. For reference, Christine Michael has been a trendy name lately with his trade to the Dallas Cowboys, and is currently owned in 25.4% of leagues. Between these two I’d rather have Payne.

Week One Prediction: 6 Points

*Since it’s week one I tried to list guys that could help your team more than week one. If you’re already looking to tidy up your roster you’re obviously going to need the help. Good luck out there!

But Kickers have Feelings too! (the fantasy relevance for kickers and defenses)

Fantasy football is a fickle friend. Where last weeks studs can be this weeks duds, players can suffer season ending injuries, and there’s no such thing, as a sure thing. But there are two tried and true rules that I ALWAYS live by. At the beginning of the season I heavily suggested taking a defense and kicker in the last two rounds of your fantasy draft. I am now suggesting as the season continues, to only carry one kicker and one defense. Don’t worry, I’m going to explain why this makes sense. We’ll also take a look at why waiting on a defense and kicker was a good draft strategy.

The reason I lump kickers and defenses into the same category is that they have similar value. But, what makes up a players value? Basically three things: Points they produce, scarcity of position, and how many roles they can fill for your team: basic supply and demand. (foreshadowing for next article) The scarcity of position and role fulfillment of both kickers and defenses is equal. There are 32 teams and each team starts one defense and one kicker.  On standard fantasy rosters kickers and defenses can only occupy one position. So you have 32 possible players to fill one role.  The takeaway from this is there are a lot of available players to fill a small part of your roster. For comparison, each team starts one running back for a total of 32 RB “starters”. Every now and then there are teams that produce two fantasy relevant running backs so we’ll bump that number up to 45. But standard rosters require two running backs, and most will allow you to play a running back in your flex position as well, which is up to three roles. So while the number of startable players is slightly higher for running backs, the demand is up to three times higher. This makes running backs much more valuable.

So that’s two points covered: Supply and Demand. But the other point, which is literally points, is more important. Lets take a look at the top 10 kickers.

  1. Stephen Gostkowski, NE
  2. Dan Bailey, DAL
  3. Cody Parkey, PHI
  4. Adam Vinatieri, IND
  5. Phil Dawson, SF
  6. Nick Novak, SD
  7. Justin Tucker, BAL
  8. Chandler Catanzaro, ARI
  9. Matt Bryant, ATL
  10. Graham Gano, CAR

Of those top ten there is only a 3 point difference in their game averages. The highest being 12.2 and the lowest 8.8. The worst ranked kicker in the league Sebastian Janikowski, OAK has an average of 4 points per game. That’s only about a four point difference from the top 10. Let’s say thats a total 7 point spread. Now, let’s go back to our comparison with the running back. These are the top 10 running backs:

  1. Demarco Murray, DAL
  2. Matt Forte, CHI
  3. Arian Foster, HOU
  4. Marshawn Lynch, SEA
  5. Le’Veon Bell, PIT
  6. Giovani Bernard, CIN
  7. Darren Sproles, PHI
  8. Ahmad Bradshaw, IND
  9. Justin Forsett, BAL
  10. Antone Smith, ATL

Now, between these top 10 there is a 9.9 point spread in game averages. If you look at the 45th ranked running back, Chris Johnson NYJ, his average is 5.7. This is 4.7 points lower than the 10th ranked back. If you add those totals its 14.6. This is a much larger point discrepancy.

So what does this all mean? What it breaks down to is that not only is the point discrepancy between a “starting” kicker and a kicker you can pick up off the waiver wire very small., but there is also a low demand. It makes more sense to carry one kicker and use the bench spot for a position with more value, such as a running back. Your goal should always be to have as much value on your team as possible. This also translates to your draft. Wasting a pick on a player that you can replace easily with the waiver wire sabotages the strength of your team.
The same rules apply to defenses. The Seattle Seahawks defense was drafted on average in the 8th round. They are currently ranked 20th. Between the top ranked defense and the last (32nd) ranked defense there is only a 12 point difference in average points per game. But even the Eagles (ranked first) have had a game in which they scored only one point. Defenses have a much bigger swing in game to game point production than the average position. For this reason, it’s not smart to blow a 8th round pick on a defense when you could get the likes of Steve Smith Sr. (ranked 4th) or Rob Gronkowski (6th). There are some good defenses out there, but any defense is playable against the right offense. Target these defenses, which will change on a week to week basis based on opponent.

In conclusion ONE defense, ONE kicker. Those type of players are not shoes. You do not need a different pair for every occasion. They are more like socks; wear ‘em, wash ‘em, repeat. Good luck gals!

Waiver Wire Watchdog

Fantasy football is full of highs and lows, and were already experiencing the affects of injury on your fantasy football game. So the importance of the waiver wire is definitely not to be forgotten. Wondering which guys will be break out stars off the waiver wire? These are some guys that I personally have my eye on. Check it out!

2014 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Spotting Greatness

I’ll be posting early in the week each week about players that I plan on targeting on the waiver wire. Consider me your personal, Waiver Wire Watchdog. Sound off on people you have your eye on as well and we can debate the highs and lows of both.

And don’t forget to subscribe to http://www.yourfantasyfootballcoach.com

The Waiver Wire W’s; What you need to know

We’re going back to grade school to answer some common questions about the waiver wire using those famous W’s; Who, What, When, Where, Why. So breakout the friendship bracelets because you and the waiver wire are going to get very close throughout your fantasy season.

Who: Who does the waiver wire consist of and who can use it?

The waiver wire consist of players available to be added to your team. Players who already belong to another league member will not be shown. All members of your league has access to the waiver wire, but the waiver wire order (who has priority) differs depending on your league preference. The most common system is reverse ranking order. Ideally this allows the “worst” team the first opportunity to improve their team. So whoever is last in the rankings at the end of the week, will have first priority when choosing players off of waivers. Be sure to check your league rules to determine how waiver order is decided.

What: What is the waiver wire and what is its purpose?

The waiver wire is the place to go to check which players remain undrafted, and to fulfill all of your player needs. If you have a player that needs to be replaced due to injuries, bye weeks, or poor performance the waiver wire is where you will find these replacements. To add a player, there will be a plus (+) sign next to the player information. Click it to add the player. Just keep in mind that you will have to drop a player to add a player to keep a balanced roster.

When: When is the best time to use the waiver wire? 

Two words; Early and Often. By early I mean that you need to be decisive, as you will be battling against 10-14 other people to get the players you want. Waiver order is going to play a large part in this of course, but make sure to stake your claim as soon as possible. There is even a term “waiver hawk” which refers to a player who will stay up all night and into the morning to claim a player as soon as they become available. Some call these people “obsessed”; Some call them “dedicated”…either way don’t be afraid to use the waiver wire to your advantage. I have personally never seen a playoff team with more than half of the original team they drafted. There’s a reason for that. In the ever changing world of fantasy football there are those who adapt and those who are left behind. Don’t fall into that second group.

Where: Where is the waiver wire located?

It’s about the same for every website I have used. There will be a bar of tabs that will read something like: League, My Team, Players, Matchup, Score Board, etc. The tab you will want to focus on is the Players tab. Click on the players tab and that will bring you to the wavier wire page. Find a player you like, add them, and drop someone else. Easy Peasy. (If you want to drop a player, click on the desired player, and there will be a red minus (-) sign near their name. Click this to drop the player. Websites will offer you a prompt asking if you are sure you would like to drop the player at this time, so you don’t have to worry about accidently dropping a player.)

Why: Why should I use the waiver wire?

Beside the previous statement before, “I have never personally seen a playoff team with more than half of the original team they drafted”, you will have to use the waiver wire for bye weeks and in case of injury. Another sneaky way to use the waiver wire is to pick up players that you know other players are targeting. Say another players main QB goes down with an injury and you have waiver wire priority. If you have an opening to pick up, you could aim for the highest ranked QB on the waiver wire. Particularly if there is a big gap in projected production between him and the next available quarterback. This creates a possible trade scenario, or simply handicaps your opponent. (extra sneaky points if your next match is with the now quarterbackless adversary) But be warned, make sure the player your drop is not providing value for your team.

*BONUS* Which one: What’s the difference between a player on waivers and a free agent?

A player on waivers can not be immediately picked up, and are subjected to waiver wire priority. Free agents can be picked up at any time. Free agents commonly are marked by an “FA” listed somewhere near their name. Also when searching under players there will be a way to specify your player results to include players on waivers, free agents, or both.

Wishing you Well on your Waiver Wire Wandering!