How do you consistently beat opponents in dynasty and season-long settings when you all start with the same amount of FAAB (Free Agent Auction Bidding) dollars, a rotating waiver priority, or a standings-based waiver system? Are some people just luckier than others in nabbing their guy? How do some managers seem to have triple the FAAB budget? If you’ve played dynasty or season-long fantasy football, you’ve probably found yourself wondering these same questions at one point or the other.
The reason some managers seem to assemble stacked rosters is twofold: they draft for ceiling and fill in the gaps through waivers, and they are early to the party on “hidden gems” off the wire. That last point is the whole reason we are here. In order to consistently beat dynasty and season-long fantasy football, you have to not only be aggressive on the waiver wire, but you have to know where to look to find the players your opponents will be looking for NEXT WEEK. Successful waivers do not involve simply scooping as many replacement running backs as possible after an injury occurs. It takes knowledge, planning, foresight, and a little bit of gusto. You don’t need another talking head to tell you to grab Devontae Booker after Saquon Barkley was injured, or to grab Chuba Hubbard after Christian McCaffrey went down, or to grab Elijah Mitchell after the 49ers lost three running backs. So, that is exactly what we will be doing in this piece for the remainder of the season. We’ll scour the league to find the players in the best position to be difference-makers should one thing work in their favor, and we’ll do so weeks before our competition. Your opponents can’t blow their waiver priority or FAAB budget on players already on your roster!
Oh, and since there are enough analysts in the industry telling you who the obvious pickups are, we won’t waste our time with those players here (which isn’t to say they aren’t worth an addition, it simply means those are typically the players you should expect to spend significant FAAB, or waiver priority, in order to acquire them). With that quick introduction into what we will be doing in this space for the rest of the season out of the way, let’s dig in!
Half of the backfield puzzle in Atlanta appears to be out of the picture for the foreseeable future with the injury sustained by Cordarrelle Patterson (seriously, can’t we have anything nice this year?), leaving behind a significant void in snaps. We have to read the tea leaves a bit here because although Gallman paced the backfield in snap rate in Week 10, he did so in an extreme negative game script against the Cowboys. That said, I would tentatively expect Gallman to roughly equal Mike Davis’ snap rate for as long as C-Patt remains out. The upside is not great here, but consider Gallman a viable bye week/injury fill-in. Of note, the Falcons are in rough shape with Calvin Ridley still out, C-Patt injured, and rookie Kyle Pitts forced into extra defensive attention on a weekly basis. If Tajae Sharpe is still out there (likely), he also makes a floor addition to rosters in competitive/deep leagues.
These two are extremely closely related as far as waivers go due to the recent reunion tour by Cam Newton in Carolina. I was chuckling to myself as Robby caught his touchdown this past week, as the way this season is going, it only made sense for it to be Cam freaking Newton that unlocked Robby. We know Robby is on the field almost every offensive play so any boost to the offense overall is a significant boost to Robby. With Cam, we saw his knack for the end zone on full display in Week 10 as he parlayed only nine offensive snaps into a rushing and passing score. High weekly floor play on a now-healthy offense (please be healthy CMC).
Likely scooped already in deeper or more competitive leagues, but all it would take is an untimely injury to Jonathan Taylor (who is on top of the world currently) for Mack to step into a featured role behind a top-five offensive line (assuming Quenton Nelson avoided a major injury last week).
I mentioned Quez before and he returns to the article this week. Watkins’ snap rates the past three weeks: 89%, 96%, 89%, which lead the team over that time. I keep waiting for Quez to pop for more than three freaking targets, which just might not ever happen. That said, this team clearly trusts the youngster with blocking assignments (the three weeks where his snap rate has jumped into an every-down role corresponds to the Eagles shift to a more run-balanced approach on offense) so if the Eagles find themselves in neutral-to-negative game scripts, Quez could be relied on more through the air. Here’s to hope!
The “why behind the how” with Ray-Ray has to do with his role. McCloud stepped directly into the short area, safety blanket role on this conservative Steelers offense in the absence of both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool, which is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future. He played on a solid 70% of the offensive snaps for the Steelers in Week 10, which is a viable expectation moving forward. He’s not going to see double-digit targets every week, but a bankable seven to nine looks as Big Ben’s safety outlet seems highly reasonable, providing a nice weekly floor option moving forward. Although closer to a mainstream add, I can’t imagine people dropping heaps of FAAB or burning a high waiver priority on Ray-Ray, which is why he is included in this piece.