Balancing the waiver wire

Andy Dalton is proving not to be the greatest option at QB for fantasy.Andy Dalton is proving not to be the greatest option at QB for fantasy. Supplied.

How an owner negotiates the fantasy football waiver wire is one of the key factors in determining a team’s success. Many of these thoughts apply to waiver priority bids or a free agent acquisition budget, or FAAB.

If you’ve been reading these articles, you know I’m a fan of proactive fantasy ownership. Stagnant ownership leads to stagnant fantasy performance. Players fizzle out, get nicked up, and lose their jobs. If you’re not on the ball, your fantasy team will be done quicker than you can say, “the Cleveland Browns are bad at football.”

However, I’m not talking about a full reboot. We don’t need to see another “Fuller House.” But once you have your core starters, you will need key pieces to replenish the rest of your lineup for bye weeks and injury protection. The engine of your fantasy team may be strong, but you’ll need an oil change from time to time.

The waiver wire is where you can give your team a boost. As I mentioned last week, league winners such as Jordan Howard in 2016 or David Johnson in 2015 were found on the wire. I write this article early in the season because I feel owners need to make strong bids on players in the first few weeks. As Winnipeggers, we are notoriously parsimonious – otherwise known as cheap. If you’re using FAAB, obviously don’t blow it all. But make a strong bid or use waiver priority on a player who could turn out to be an every-week starter. Usually, I target running backs on the wire because of volume. Volume and snap rates are king in fantasy. Todd Gurley is dominating, in part, because he’s on the field all the time. I can usually find a good spot wide receiver starter from week to week. But the potential stud running back free agent target would be, as Gollum would say, “my precious.”

But what if I have enough stud running backs, you may ask? Why would I bid on more? The answer is simple. The goal of fantasy football is to get all the good players you can. Not to mention, from a strategic point of view, you can use a waiver wire wonder as trade bait; you can target another player to address your own team’s weaknesses.  Say you need a wide receiver and so you text a buddy, “I will trade x for y.” The owner may diss you and respond by saying, “Who’s this? New phone.” But keep trying. Target owners who need what you have. For students in business and commerce, they may have the edge in understanding this concept. Knowledge of the value of commodities comes in handy when playing fantasy football.

In summary, the waiver wire can be a fantasy gold mine. Don’t ignore it.

Life is but a dream

Update: in one of my leagues I dropped Andy Dalton. Tyler Eifert is hurt – again. My field goal kicker was missing kicks. And I usually start a new defence every week. So I’m streaming all these positions. I’ve never tried this strategy before, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Basically, I’m finding a new QB, TE, K, and defence every week, based on matchup. I started Carson Palmer this week because of his favourable matchup, but I also picked up one of the top fantasy quarterbacks right now – I can’t believe I’m saying these words – Trevor Siemian from Denver. He was sitting right there on the wire. There are some players out there on the waiver wire who can be impactful, and they come with a cheap price tag. There may be a week where I stop streaming, but not now. The adventure is about to begin.