Monday, Nov 28th

Wired to Waivers 13.21

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!

FORWARD-THINKING WAIVERS (Week 13)::

First off, the clear best waiver adds this week involve high-profile running back injuries. If someone dropped Chuba Hubbard or Alexander Mattison after Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook came back, add them with as much FAAB as you’re comfortable spending this late (it should be most of it!), or burn that high waiver priority. Likewise, if Tony Pollard is somehow out there, grab him now. Now for the under-the-radar adds that could prove vital down the stretch for your championship runs!

AUSTIN HOOPER / DAVID NJOKU (Cleveland Browns):

We kind of have a whirl of things coming together to make both of these tight ends extremely solid adds late in the season. Odell Beckham, Jr. is no longer in town, fellow tight end Harrison Bryant left Week 12’s contest with a high ankle sprain, and probably most notable for this team’s outlook overall, right tackle Jack Conklin is done for the season after tearing his patellar tendon. That last bit is most interesting to me as Cleveland running backs have averaged over a yard less per carry with Conklin out of the lineup over the last two seasons. That is absolutely massive for a team that would like to run the football. The Browns play one of the highest rates of multiple-tight end snaps and are hurting for viable pass-catchers. When you then consider the likely dip in rushing efficiency, we’re left with a situation where these two tight ends are likely to see a spike in utilization over the coming four weeks (championship weeks). The best part is that nobody will be looking to add either of these two and they should come extremely cheap at a difficult position to fill.

MARQUEZ VALDES-SCANTLING (Green Bay Packers):

We didn’t do a waiver piece last week but MVS would have headlined it. He proceeded to see 10 and nine targets in the next two weeks and Randall Cobb left Week 12’s contest with a groin injury. The Packers head to their bye this week and I’d expect MVS to see heightened snap rates coming out of the bye as the team continues its quest for the sole playoff bye out of the NFC (currently 0.5 games back from the Cardinals for that honor).

KENNY GOLLADAY (New York Giants):

Kenny G has been dropped in a lot of leagues after flopping for most of the season. The good news is that we saw a bit of the squeaky wheel treatment in Week 12, and the Giants lost two corners last week, which is likely to affect their game scripts moving forward. On deck, is a matchup with the Dolphins, and we should expect the Giants to be airing it out.

CAM NEWTON / TAYSOM HILL (Carolina Panthers / New Orleans Saints):

If anyone dropped either of these two (Cam after a disappointing performance and Taysom after his injuries), grab them post-haste. We’ve always talked about the “cheat code” nature of rushing quarterbacks in today’s NFL game, and these two are super cheap exposure to just that. Taysom should return to the starting lineup this week and Alvin Kamara is still questionable to return on a short week. Cam lost Christian McCaffrey, which does dampen the outlook of this offense overall, but his red zone rushing prowess gives him one of the league’s higher weekly floors. Both are particularly necessary for teams who just lost Jalen Hurts for one to two weeks (terrible timing).

FOSTER MOREAU (LAS VEGAS RADIERS):

Darren Waller left Week 12’s contest with a knee injury and it’s currently unknown how much time he’ll miss if any. Foster Moreau filled in well for Waller when the latter missed time earlier this season and fills a difficult position on playoff rosters. Considering the state of the Raiders, we should expect solid volume and production for as long as Waller is out.