There is nothing quite like waking up to a fresh batch of waiver pickups come Wednesday morning. You finally dropped the bum that was killing your team, and you managed to pick up the player your league was sleeping on. With all things in Fantasy Football, each move should be calculated, waivers included. The following are not boxes one must check before submitting a claim, but rather guidelines to ensure you are receiving maximum value for your pickup.
Just because you can pick up a player, does not mean you should.
Think of waiver adds as trades, in the sense that you must give up a piece in order to hopefully improve your team. If what you are giving up does not benefit your team in the long-term, I would put some more thought into the claim. Furthermore, just because you can start a recent waiver add, does not mean you should. I understand they most likely came off a good week, and recency bias is a killer in Fantasy Football, but always make sure the players you have in each spot are in fact the best players for the week (not just the newest).
Think longer term if possible, as opposed to one-time-use bye-week fill-ins. Always check your speculative add’s schedule and see if there are multiple weeks you can use him for a current starter on your team. Extracting long-term value from an undrafted player is key to a successful season. For example, what if I were to tell you the #1 QB and #12 WR (in Yahoo PPR scoring) went widely undrafted. Furthermore, what if I were to tell you these players are now absolute staples of lineups, winning games for players every single week. Deshaun Watson and Will Fuller did not start until weeks 2 and 4 respectively. Since that point, Watson has shocked the league, putting up more fantasy points than the likes of Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Fuller has a total of 13 catches since his return, with 7 of those going for touchdowns. Even with missing the first 3 weeks of the season, he has more fantasy points than such names as Amari Cooper, T.Y. Hilton, and Michael Thomas. This goes to show the waiver wire contains not only temporary solutions but season-long roster studs.
Besides the obvious use of waivers to improve your own team, they can be used to significantly reduce your opponent’s options for the week. Yes, defensive waivers are a thing and extremely helpful when used correctly. If, and only if, you have the roster flexibility to do so, it can be beneficial to scout your opponent’s team and take note of who he has on bye.
Then, hit the waiver wire and take away the best available player, according to your opponent’s needs. The results will be a frustrated opponent, forced to pick from the heap of fantasy bums. Again, this is only if you have the necessary roster flexibility. There is no need to drop a useful player so you can increase your chances of victory for only one week.
With these tools in hand, you should be able to make the most educated waiver claim possible. Now go out there, claim, and win!