and Jon Millman
Last Updated: Aug 02, 2011 4:19 PM
Fantasy Football University – Class VI
In-Season Roster Management – Part I
Once you have drafted your team, those are the guys you are going to war with. However, you are going to try to improve your team each and every week. The easiest and most likely (as well as impactful) way to improve your team is through the waiver wire. Many leagues allow trading, and this is another of the truly strategic and fun aspects of fantasy football. We will cover both in this class.
Scouring the Waiver Wire
The Waiver Wire could be the most important thing in winning your league. We told you how to pick keepers. We told you how to rate the players. We told you how to draft the players. Now we are going to tell you how to maximize your roster. Your league will be won and lost on the waiver wire. Inevitably your players will get hurt. Also, players on the other guy's team will get hurt. Some of your players will get benched. Also, some of the other owner's players will get benched. Your job is to scoop up all the players that you can and stash them away for when you might need them. This will serve several purposes.
1. You will fill the holes that have been created on your roster.
2. You will block the other owner from filling the holes on his/her roster
3. You will build valuable depth to either allow you to play matchups with your firings players, or group a basket of players in a trade for another stud player.
All of these things are equally important. The first one is a no-brainer because you are always going to try and fill holes on your team. Many owners overlook the second purpose. They stay with their current team because they are lazy; they have no need for a fourth-string runner, or whatever their reason is. What they fail to do is block the other team from getting a player.
My saying with waiver wires is that they are like the Wild West, you have the “Quick and the Dead”. Shoot first and look to grab guys, and ask questions later as you can drop them the next week for someone else.
Often the best waiver wire picks of the entire season, are guys that emerge within the first few weeks.
Go back and read that line again, then go pick up anyone you see coming out of nowhere the first few weeks of the year, and thank me at the end of the season.
What to Look For On Waiver Wire
CFG Waiver Wire Report – The CFG staff scours the landscape each weekend and produces a handy report that outlines the players we’re considering adding to our teams. Be sure to read this report each and every week prior to your waiver wire deadline.
News - The CFG player news section will provide additional clues as to what player might make a good waiver wire selection. Look for injuries to players that might give another player an opportunity. You can also look for quotes from an coach about a particular player. These are helpful because usually the coach will follow through on what he says. Either he will say that he wants to get a young player more involved or he will say that a particular player isn't working hard enough.
Box Scores - The box scores are one of the most overlooked sources of information. We’ll have the stats from each game, for each player, ready for your review.
Spring and Fall Camp - We all follow spring and fall camp closely and there are always guys that stand out but are not used as starters once the season starts. It could be that they have a star playing in front of them or they are just too young. Either way, take note of these guys and if you get a roster spot, or you see something developing on their particular team, you might want to go ahead and take a chance.
Kickers and Defenses - This pertains mostly to the Bye weeks of your kickers and defenses. During the season you get a feel of who is doing well (kickers and defenses) and who is not. Inevitably your kicker and your defense will have their Bye weeks. We like to analyze all the K's and D's that are not on a roster to see which one we think has the chance of having the best week. We will then pick them up for that week, the week that are guys are off. I very often will find my season long Kicker or D as well in the first few weeks on the waiver wire. This is a VERY important position to jump on early on the wire.
When to give up
The business of using the Waiver Wire is a short term one - If a player that you picked up doesn't start performing like you thought he would then you cut him and move on. (Sometimes you pick up players for different reasons like as a keeper for next year, don't drop these players until sometime next year) Do not hold on to a waiver wire pick up with the mentality that he will come on strong. This doesn't work for players you draft, let alone waiver wire pick-ups.
When a better opportunity arises - The roster spots you use for waiver wire picks can be rotating. By this we mean that when you think that something better comes along grab it, and don't be afraid to be wrong. It is a short season and you want to try to do as much as you can. Don't get stuck playing the waiting game.
Be Proactive: The most important thing about the waiver wire is to use it. The only way to win is to use the waiver wire. So many things happen during the course of the year that you guarantee failure if you don't make changes.
How to Spot Rising Talent
What to Look for
Be on the lookout for quarterbacks who annually improve their touchdown-to-interception ratio. Another point is to look for players who had strong averages before missing time with injuries or starting a limited number of games off the bench.
Let's say a running back racked up just 800 yards over 12 games. Nothing special there on paper –- but this runner topped 100 yards four times before suffering an injury that went on to end his season. He qualifies as a player with rising talent, who will likely slip under the radar the following year.
Also, let's say another running back started the year with 460 rushing yards over four games before going down with a season-ending injury. Extrapolate his numbers over a full season. That is a good way to spot rising talent.
Lastly, look for players who come on strong down the stretch of a season. The odds are often good that they will pick up where they left off the following year.
We definitely overweight how a guy finished the second half of the year before when analyzing who we like for the upcoming season. We like guys who finished strong to improve the next season.
Again, be sure to back up your studs and make the essential handcuff moves. You can also beat other owners to their handcuffs, and in turn hold that backup player for a lofty ransom in trade talks when that owner's star player goes down with an injury. Be prepared for injuries, because at least one star player will miss significant time this year –- it is a fact of life in the grueling habitat of college football and if you don't prepare for injuries to your team you will likely be beat because of it.