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!
Before we jump into the waivers this week, let’s have a quick discussion on roster blocking, which is the act of adding players in order to block them from being added by your opponents. This practice gains increased importance late in the season and into the fantasy playoffs, as any player on your roster can’t be used against you. Knowing your league settings is of the utmost importance here, as oftentimes players that are dropped during the week can’t be added in the same week. If this is the case, you can double your roster blocking efforts by adding two to three players on Tuesday or Wednesday, dropping them, and adding more players on this list, effectively blocking four to six players from your opponents. This practice also gains increased credence this season, where we’ve seen countless players miss weeks with late-week positive COVID tests, for which teams could be left without options should you utilize these roster blocking methodologies. It sounds silly, but this could be the difference between a championship and a narrow defeat!
Emmanuel Sanders suffered a knee injury in Week 14 that is reportedly likely to keep him out for Week 15. Enter Gabriel Davis, whom I’ve hyped all season as one of the league’s top WR4. Gabe Davis played a solid 83% snap rate after Sanders left last week, turning eight targets into five catches for 43 yards and a score.
Terry McLaurin suffered a concussion in the second half of Washington’s Week 14 game, and now enters the league’s five-step concussion protocol. With so much of the league impacted by both injuries and COVID, any player with the chance to see 85%+ of their offensive snaps in a matchup with the Eagles warrants consideration. If nothing else, grab him early (before any Terry McLaurin news pops this week) as a roster block from your opponents.
Man, waivers sure don’t always have to be pretty, particularly this late in the season. Rex Burkhead is expected to miss time with a groin injury sustained in Week 14, leaving the Texans backfield to David Johnson and Royce Freeman in a matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. I’d tentatively expect both to operate in a strict timeshare with Johnson recently activated from the COVID list, but my money is on David Johnson to be of greater utility this week.
If Foreman is still out there on the wire, I would grab him as a roster block for the stretch run. Foreman saw the first nine running back touches for the Titans this past week and ceded backfield work to the remaining members once the game was largely in-hand. Although we can’t necessarily start him with confidence moving forward, we can block our opponents from his services as we march to the fantasy championships!
Both Corey Davis and Elijah Moore are on the IR, likely holding them out through the fantasy playoffs. Cole returned after a one-game absence last week and immediately entered the starting lineup, playing 83% of the team’s offensive snaps. Consider Cole a roster-blocker.
Greater than 60% of the offensive snaps for the Titans two weeks in a row. With AJ Brown still on IR, consider Hollister a viable roster-blocker for the immediate future.