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!
Adam Thielen suffered a high ankle sprain early in the Vikings Week 13 contest, paving the way for Osborn to see his largest snap rate of the season (92%). He provided four receptions on seven targets for 47 yards and a score, and I’d expect him to serve as the de facto number two receiving option in this offense for the next three to four weeks (which could be through the championship round in fantasy). Consider him a viable depth option at the wide receiver position for the remainder of the fantasy season.
Change of pace/ third-down back Kenyan Drake was lost for the season in Week 13 after suffering a broken ankle. With Richard out of the contest while on the COVID list, Josh Jacobs went on to set a career-high in targets and receptions with nine, on 85% of the offensive snaps. Jacobs has typically played between 52% and 69% of the offensive snaps but was forced into a higher snap rate with Richard inactive and Drake leaving with his ankle injury. Many will assume that Jacobs will see his responsibilities increase with Drake out of the lineup, but I would contend that he is likeliest to fall back into the 52-69% snap rate range weekly, with Richard now the back to own in the change of pace and third-down role. Kenyan Drake scored double-digit fantasy points in five of 11 healthy games this season, and I’d project Richard for similar production down the stretch.
It’s highly likely people jumped ship on Parker after his extended absence, but DP returned to a 71% snap rate in his first game back, and should run with Jaylen Waddle as the top two wide receivers for the Dolphins the remainder of the year. In that Week 13 game, Parker continued in his moderate-to-deep, perimeter role, catching five passes for 62 yards. Consider Parker a player with a solid eight-to-10-point floor and ceiling for 25+ on a weekly basis down the stretch.
There is a good deal of speculation surrounding this one, but Hasty is exactly the type of player we look to target in this space. Lead back Elijah Mitchell briefly left Week 13’s contest after a scary hit to the head but was eventually cleared to return. He then reported concussion symptoms on Monday and was placed in the league’s concussion protocol. Jeff Wilson, Jr. also left the game with an undisclosed injury, which was later described as a “knee flare up” by head coach Kyle Shanahan. With the team clearly not ready to anoint Trey Sermon with any real responsibility out of the backfield, Hasty could be in line to see the lion’s share of running back opportunities for the first week of fantasy playoffs.
If anyone dropped RSJ following Logan Thomas’ return to action, now is the time to add him back onto rosters (before he returns fully to health). RSJ averaged just under six targets per game over the six games that Thomas missed earlier this season and should return to a near every-down role once healthy.
New York’s alpha wide receiver, Corey Davis, was lost for the season in Week 13 after reaggravating his groin injury, causing him to require core muscle surgery. Although Elijah Moore is the player to own on this team for the foreseeable future, the absence of Davis opens up significant snaps for the remaining healthy pass-catchers. Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, and Ryan Griffin are how I would prioritize them for waiver adds.