Coming into Week 7, many fantasy owners are reaching a critical point in the season. The league standings are starting to shake out and every matchup starts to mean a little more. Meanwhile, NFL squads are starting to run into their bye weeks, and for the next several Sundays you may be missing some of your best players and there’s nothing you can do about it… or is there?
With holes to fill thanks to bye weeks and the injuries that start to pile up over the course of the NFL season, everyone’s team has holes to fill. This is the time of the season that waiver wire additions and bye-week stand-ins begin to have huge implications for your fantasy team. In order to keep your early season successes rolling or catch up to your competition while they are weakened, it is important to stay ahead of the curve, and the best way to do that is to be informed.
There are plenty of players out there on the waiver wire, waiting for a loving owner to take them home and cherish them. The number one way to know exactly who you want on your roster in a pinch is to have watched them play. Seeing a player’s role in an offense first hand is key to understanding what to expect from them should you give them a chance, so if possible, watching games is a must.
One of the toughest parts of working the waiver wire is looking past hard statistics and accounting for reasonable chance that they will produce in a specific game given the matchup, and game conditions. For example, this past week, some savvy owners probably took a shot on Brandon Stokley, knowing the veteran WR had earned Peyton Manning’s trust in the red zone with 2 TD catches in his last 3 games. With Denver going up against their biggest division foe, the Chargers, in a pivotal Monday Night Football matchup, Stokley scored again and delivered a solid performance to plug the void left by byes and injuries.
The other aspect of success when it comes to waiver wire pickups is knowing when to gamble and when to play conservatively in terms of budget. After a big game, Michael Jenkins’ value will likely be greatly inflated, and he will be a fairly attractive fill-in on paper with the Vikings’ offense clicking as of late. Unfortunately, he lacks any foreseeable value when Jerome Simpson returns, so proceed with caution, careful not to overvalue his Week 6 performance. On the other hand, Felix Jones may not be so strong on paper, but if DeMarco Murray can’t go next week due to ligament damage sustained in Week 6, the Cowboys’ #2 appears ready to put in some solid stand-in numbers. He may be worth the investment for a longer term role.
Some aspects of picking players up to fill in boils down to pure luck, but knowing your league rules and the behaviors of your opponents, playing the waiver wire right is a game changing tool in your fantasy arsenal.