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!
The league has renegotiated the standing COVID protocols with the NFLPA to reduce the quarantine timeline down to five days (as opposed to the previous 10), which includes both vaccinated and unvaccinated players. As such, players that hit the list on Monday or Tuesday of this week theoretically could return in time for Sunday’s games, assuming they are asymptomatic. Keep that additional layer in mind when targeting your Tuesday and Wednesday waiver additions for Championship week.
These two are both Week 17, 2021 Championship round additions only, and are highly unlikely to provide any fantasy utility beyond this week (as in, for dynasty purposes), but both are likely to handle the lion’s share of each individual backfield this week after James Robinson suffered a torn Achilles and Clyde Edward-Helaire avoided a collarbone injury, which was eventually found out to be a bruised shoulder. The shoulder issue makes it possible for CEH to play this week, but it currently appears to be a longshot. Williams is likely to split time with Derrick Gore against the Bengals while Ogunbowale is likely to have the backfield largely to himself against the Patriots. Consider both moderate floor, moderate ceiling plays this week and viable depth additions as both blockers and insurance for any late-week COVID issues that may arise.
Another emergency option or roster blocker for those of you playing in Championship week. I wouldn’t be looking to grab him as a viable starter against a Saints defense likely to get most of their defense back from the COVID list this week.
Another roster blocker that would have a “rosterable ceiling” should Marqeuz Valdes-Scantling miss his second consecutive contest. EQSB played 81% of the offensive snaps last week and the Packers could lock up the NFC’s only bye with a win on Sunday Night Football.
Cox saw an absurd 90% snap rate last week after Jack Doyle left after only two offensive snaps with knee and ankle injuries. Consider Cox a desperation play at tight end considering he saw only four targets on those snaps last week, and the Colts play a Raiders team that shouldn’t force increased pass volume.
Thielen managed only 27 offensive snaps last week before leaving the game for good and should be considered questionable for a must-win game this week. Against the Packers, we can safely assume Kirk Cousins will be charged with increased pass attempts, paving a path to valuable volume for both Osborn and Westbrook, should Thielen miss.