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!
When we get to Week 16, redraft and dynasty managers alike are making that final push in the playoffs, but something that gets lost in the shuffle of a busy schedule is the habit of stashing upside for the following year in dynasty. Finding those gems now that could see increased roles through offseason roster moves could prove to be difference-makers by providing additional trade bait, roster depth, and hidden upside. We’ll go over a few such possibilities below!
Managers who are able to keep up with the multitude of COVID list additions for the remainder of the season better than their league-mates are going to have a significant advantage for the championship push. As I mentioned on Twitter earlier this week, over 100 players were added to the COVID list last week, with 47 new cases popping up on Monday, more on Tuesday, and likely even more set to come through the rest of this week. The NFL is in a stretch of the season where postponing games is difficult to do (for a number of reasons), meaning we’re likely to see teams playing extremely shorthanded over the remaining three weeks of the regular season. Keep an eye on news around the league and turn notifications on to stay ahead of the curve!
Absolute priority waiver additions should they be available on your wire still. Not only are Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette (likely to be placed on IR) done for the season, but they’re also unrestricted free agents this offseason, adding to the chances that AB, Johnson, and Jones carry increased value through the offseason. Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette are currently week-to-week with hamstring injuries, the latter of whom is likely to land on IR, and, when paired with Godwin’s absence, could leave gaping holes in this offense beset by a rash of injuries late in the season. Brown provides the likeliest path to offseason value but comes with significant off-the-field baggage, while AB and Jones are likeliest to help you win your fantasy championship this year. Consider Johnson an upside stash that is less likely to help you this year, but who could see his offseason value skyrocket should Tom Brady come back for another year and/or the team move on from perennial headache Antonio Brown, who is also an unrestricted free agent.
Mike Williams is an unrestricted free agent in 2022 and there have been swirling rumors that he will not be back with the team next year. Guyton is the player most likely to assume Williams’ downfield role, while Palmer is the player most likely to step into a prototypical “X” wide receiver role in a Joe Lombardi offense, giving significant upside to each wide receiver that is tied to one of the league’s best young quarterbacks.
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill both landed on the league’s COVID list this week, possibly removing two members of one of the league’s best offenses for a home tilt against the floundering Steelers. If you have the space, both make interesting speculative upside adds for your semi-final matchups.
Game-managing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater left last week’s game following a scary hit to the head, an injury that is highly likely to lead to his absence for at least Week 16. In that game, with Drew Lock at quarterback, Sutton saw his most targets since all the way back in Week 6. The matchup against the Raiders this week tilts expected production to the backfield, but those managers in a strap for production could do worse than the team’s alpha wide receiver on the road in Las Vegas.