Fantasy Football 101: The Importance of the Waiver Wire

For many the highlight of their fantasy football season is the draft. Some do the research weeks in advance, they do a few (or dozens) of mock drafts, they have their list of players to target and those to avoid. The flipside are the individuals who tend to “wing-it”, they stick to the ADP (average draft position) and they fill out their roster that way.  

While the draft is a great start to the season it does not determine who will win your league’s championship.

I will say this many times, “Fantasy football is a weekly game”. You have to beat your opponent each and every week.

How do you do that when combatting injuries, bye weeks, and players who do not meet your expectations? The WAIVER WIRE.

Each week on Tuesday morning the waiver wire becomes available to the league. Players can drop a player from their team and pick up another from the waiver wire to join their team.

But what if two people want a certain individual? Well there is a thing called waiver priority which lists the order in which teams get to claim a player off of waivers. Each week the waiver priority changes based on team records, and/or last week’s results depending on your league’s settings. If multiple teams want to pick up an individual player after that add/drop is completed the team with the highest wavier priority has his transaction completed and is then  moved to the bottom of the waiver priority for any remaining add/drops that they would like to complete that week.

So the waiver wire is just for picking up players for a short time because you are going to keep the players you drafted, right? Wrong. The players on waivers are often super important to teams that make the playoffs and eventually win the championship.

If you don’t believe me, look at these statistics.

In 2015 season, there were 10 players who were most commonly owned by championship winning teams. Tim Hightower who was the most popular went undrafted in nearly all leagues, and in week 14 rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown. That was the start to a great finish to the 2015 season, and he helped many fantasy owners win a championship.

David Johnson only began starting for the Cardinals in Week 13, and he became a fantasy football must-have.

Three more players in the top 10 went undrafted including Gary Barnidge, Charcandrick West, and Doug Baldwin.

5 out of the ten most common players on espn championship rosters went undrafted in 2015. Which means, if you don’t use the waiver wire you are going to miss out!

- Patrick Asdell

Kyle Yates