Fantasy Football Is Actually A Skill When It Comes To The Waiver Wire

This is the important skill to master!
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Joshua Kellem
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This is the important skill to master!

We've told you how to play the game of luck, fantasy football, and how to sharpen your skills pertaining to your fantasy football Draft. In this edition, we'll zone in on playing the waiver wire.

Starting with the waiver wire, another mistake I see occur with novice players, typically only their first year, is the fact they underutilized the waiver wire. They draft players in the draft, and ignorantly keep the same players all year. So, let's obtain knowledge on what the waiver wire is first, and go from there. According to ESPN, waivers is the process by which owners can add to their team from the pool of available players who are not on any other roster in your league. 

Additionally, ESPN's explanation said once a player is added to the candidate pool, usually by means of someone dropping them from their roster, owners can put in a claim for that player and then wait a certain amount of time for other owners to do the exact same thing. So, once that time period has passed the claims get awarded based on your league settings. 

Also, by utilizing the waiver system it gives every owner the same amount of time to evaluate and determine which players they'd like to add to their teams, therein eliminating the possibility of a never ending first-come, first-serve system that would be frustrating to play with, according to ESPN.

In a standard 12 team league, the most common league, your waiver wire league settings will be inverse order, awarding the team with the worst record the first waiver priority, so on and so fourth, resetting each week. The thinking is the waiver claims the worst team obtains will make them more competitive. However, once a team is awarded a claim they get moved to the last possible position on the waiver order and everyone else moves up a slot, ESPN's explanation said.

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Now that we know what the waiver is let's explain why it's important. First and foremost, fantasy football is a game of luck, for the most part, as no one can predict the future. That said, no one can predict injuries, players you drafted playing worst than projected, or players you didn't draft playing better than projected (the players you should be targeting on the waiver wire).

And, every team has a bye week, so it makes sense to browse the waiver wire during bye weeks instead of settling for a player on your bench you know isn't good, especially if you're lacking depth on your roster. If you're still not sold on the good things the waiver wire can do for you, here are examples of players to go from the waiver wire to starting in your lineup, and producing.

In 2010, my first year playing fantasy football, the no. 1 fantasy WR was Brandon Lloyd, of the Denver Broncos, according to FantasyData. Lloyd was a guy most fantasy football analysts didn't project to play as good as he did, and was on the waiver wire. Also, the same thing could be said for Steve Johnson, the no. 10 fantasy WR for the Buffalo Bills that year. To round things out, Arian Foster broke out of nowhere, RKO style, finishing as the no. 1 fantasy RB.

In 2011, Jordy Nelson, of the Green Bay Packers, and Victor Cruz, of the New York Giants, both finished as top five fantasy WRs after having low projections going into the year. Because of an injury to the starter, CJ Spiller, of the Buffalo Bills, finished as the no. 7 fantasy RB in 2012, and started the season on the waiver wire. And, Alfred Morris, of the Washington Redskins, topped that, finishing as the no. 5 fantasy RB after going un-drafted in the majority of leagues.

Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins

In 2013, Zac Stacy, of the St. Louis Rams, finished as the no. 18 fantasy RB after becoming the starter midway thru the season due to injuries. Amazingly, Josh Gordon, of the Cleveland Browns, finished the season as the no. 1 fantasy WR after missing the first two games. In 2014, Odell Beckham, of the New York Giants, followed Gordon's performance with his no. 5 fantasy WR finish, after missing the first four games.

In addition, Matt Asiata, of the Minnesota Vikings, finished as the no. 16 fantasy RB after taking over the starting job for Adrian Peterson after the first game of the season. In 2015, Devonta Freeman, of the Atlanta Falcons, broke out of nowhere as well, finishing as the no. 1 fantasy RB. Ronnie Hillman, of the Denver Broncos, finshed no. 19 at the same position after taking over the starting job due to injury.

In 2016, Tyrell Williams, of the San Diego Chargers, finished as the no. 13 fantasy WR after being thrust into the no. 1 WR role for his team due to injuries to Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson. Tyreek Hill, of the Kansas City Chiefs, finished two spots behind Williams after being thrust into the same role, because of an injury to Jeremy Maclin.

Essentially, there's at least two players to add off of the waiver every year that'll make a huge impact in your starting lineup. Hopefully, now you know the significance of the waiver wire. Moving forward, we'll be examining the skills of trading players and knowing who to start on a weekly basis.