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Does playing the waivers even matter? Or is the draft everything? (1 Viewer)

JohnnyU

Footballguy
Same, I'm talking about a private league that's just using Yahoo as their platform as we have done for a decade
That is different for sure.  However, since I only play dynasty yahoo doesn't provide a year round platform for it.  Or at least they didn't when I was paying attention to them.

 

Banger

Footballguy
The WW is absolutely important...you need to play it differently than in years past due to the amount of available information.  Preemptive pickups are a must and some flame out and others work out...you need as many darts as possible and every once in a while one hits.  Right now on my roster I have Ingram, Ty Johnson, Gallup, Van Jefferson, Elijah Moore, Jeff Wilson, Alex Collins from the WW who are helping me through the bye week/massive injury gauntlet I'm facing now.  

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
Here's the flip side to the argumenet.

12 team relative "normal" league.

How much disadvantage would you be in if you were restricted from using the waiver wire while the other 11 GMs had full access to the waiver wire?

 

tigerz

Footballguy
Here's the flip side to the argumenet.

12 team relative "normal" league.

How much disadvantage would you be in if you were restricted from using the waiver wire while the other 11 GMs had full access to the waiver wire?


I think that's getting a bit too extreme. Obviously if you lose a guy to injury you should drop him and pick someone up. But what I've been wondering is how many moves to championship caliber teams actually make and is it really a determinant factor in who wins? Or is it more like 90% draft / 10% waivers?

I think I've actually had a team that maybe made 1 or no moves win it all (edit: looked back, he actually made 12. not sure if he ever used them though). That guy historically makes very little moves every year but in years without injury he does make playoffs quite often. 

Granted, settings types matter and I'd think more moves are made on shorter benches but:

2020
championship winner made 31 moves (2nd most)
2nd place made 10 moves (3rd to last in moves)
3rd place 13 moves (6th in moves)

1st in moves was 7th place

2019
1st place - 17 moves (5th in moves)
2nd place - 26 moves (3rd in moves)
3rd place - 7 moves (last in moves)

1st in moves was 5th place

2018
1st place 31 moves (5th in moves)
2nd place 8 moves (2nd to last in moves)
3rd place 32 moves (3rd in moves)

1st in moves with 42 was 6th place

2017

1st place 12 moves (3rd to last in moves)
2nd place - 29 moves (4th in moves)
3rd place - 26 moves (5th in moves)

1st in moves - 35 moves - 4th place

Small sample size, but people who make the most moves seemed to do it out of need and don't end up well. Playoff teams vary between those who make a lot of moves and those who barely made moves. Which leads me to think draft is the overbearing factor or its moreso the quality of the picks vs the amount of picks. Not sure how anyone becomes a good WW player without volume though unless they are just very lucky.


 

 
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titusbramble

Footballguy
Here's the flip side to the argumenet.

12 team relative "normal" league.

How much disadvantage would you be in if you were restricted from using the waiver wire while the other 11 GMs had full access to the waiver wire?


The main disadvantage I could see is probably needing to keep two QB/TE/K/D in leagues where all those positions are relevant which is going to severely limit bench depth. You could always stack the bye week for this and just write a week off as an alternative, would be tricky to weigh up how much punting a week is going to cost against what you lose from having less bench depth.

You're also probably going to have to look more into handcuffing your main RB. Not being able to work the wire for replacements if you have the main guy go down is going to hurt and we've seen basically all first round RB's except Taylor and Zeke miss time already. Maybe going zero RB might minimise the risk given the relative number of injuries to receivers, but it'd still kind of suck if you took Ridley this year and then waited to pick up Sanders, CEH, anyone from Baltimore etc.

Can we trade in this situation?

 

Chaka

Footballguy
I think that's getting a bit too extreme. Obviously if you lose a guy to injury you should drop him and pick someone up. But what I've been wondering is how many moves to championship caliber teams actually make and is it really a determinant factor in who wins? Or is it more like 90% draft / 10% waivers?

I think I've actually had a team that maybe made 1 or no moves win it all (edit: looked back, he actually made 12. not sure if he ever used them though). That guy historically makes very little moves every year but in years without injury he does make playoffs quite often. 

Granted, settings types matter and I'd think more moves are made on shorter benches but:

2020
championship winner made 31 moves (2nd most)
2nd place made 10 moves (3rd to last in moves)
3rd place 13 moves (6th in moves)

1st in moves was 7th place

2019
1st place - 17 moves (5th in moves)
2nd place - 26 moves (3rd in moves)
3rd place - 7 moves (last in moves)

1st in moves was 5th place

2018
1st place 31 moves (5th in moves)
2nd place 8 moves (2nd to last in moves)
3rd place 32 moves (3rd in moves)

1st in moves with 42 was 6th place

2017

1st place 12 moves (3rd to last in moves)
2nd place - 29 moves (4th in moves)
3rd place - 26 moves (5th in moves)

1st in moves - 35 moves - 4th place

Small sample size, but people who make the most moves seemed to do it out of need and don't end up well. Playoff teams vary between those who make a lot of moves and those who barely made moves. Which leads me to think draft is the overbearing factor or its moreso the quality of the picks vs the amount of picks. Not sure how anyone becomes a good WW player without volume though unless they are just very lucky.


 
You are using a self selecting data set. Assuming owners are reasonably competitive (and don't just quit trying mid season) teams that are hit hardest with injuries and/or a poor draft will of course make more waiver moves.

Those owners will also be less likely to achieve season long success because 1) they drafted poorly and/or were hit with major injuries 2) there are very few players who come off the wire and provide sustained production in any given year 3) competition to acquire those players is often steep. There are no guppies anymore.

Waiver players are typically rentals to get an owner over a tough bye week situation or short term injury to a starter (ala Damien Williams & Khalil Herbert). Their primary purpose is to keep you afloat in times of need.

You really need to look at cases where people felt forced to start waiver players and the owner won or lost their matchup by the margin covered by the acquisition's output.

You then see if that owner had an existing bench player that would have achieved the same result or better (or worse).

Those are objective measures, you then need to subjectively assess whether it was the "correct" decision at the time to start the waiver player over the player that was already on your team.

I thought I made a great move acquiring Damien Williams and starting him week 5 against the Raiders. And he played well, but I also left Pitts, who I drafted, on the bench and he had a monster game against the Jets. If Williams helped me win, was it the wrong move?

Pitts had done very little to that point. Williams had done nothing too but was possibly in line for a significantly increased workload. Did the acquisition help me?

 
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tigerz

Footballguy
You are using a self selecting data set. Assuming owners are reasonably competitive (and don't just quit trying mid season) teams that are hit hardest with injuries and/or a poor draft will of course make more waiver moves.

Those owners will also be less likely to achieve season long success because 1) they drafted poorly and/or were hit with major injuries 2) there are very few players who come off the wire and provide sustained production in any given year 3) competition to acquire those players is often steep. There are no guppies anymore.

Waiver players are typically rentals to get an owner over a tough bye week situation or short term injury to a starter (ala Damien Williams & Khalil Herbert). Their primary purpose is to keep you afloat in times of need.

You really need to look at cases where people felt forced to start waiver players and the owner won or lost their matchup by the margin covered by the acquisition's output.

You then see if that owner had an existing bench player that would have achieved the same result or better (or worse).

Those are objective measures, you then need to subjectively assess whether it was the "correct" decision at the time to start the waiver player over the player that was already on your team.

I thought I made a great move acquiring Damien Williams and starting him week 5 against the Raiders. And he played well, but I also left Pitts, who I drafted, on the bench and he had a monster game against the Jets. If Williams helped me win, was it the wrong move?

Pitts had done very little to that point. Williams had done nothing too but was possibly in line for a significantly increased workload. Did the acquisition help me?


Yeah, I agree, my data is overly simplistic, but it was moreso aimed at generating a talking point rather than stating anything conclusive. You definitely need to dig in more to understand the value of the WW and if it helped or hurt people.

I'm a very practical person though so what I was trying to get out of this thread isn't just "is waiver wire useful" but how do you extract the most value out of the waiver wire. What are the strategies that work well and don't work well.

From reading the thread, I'm seeing some patterns:

1. A team that drafted poorly / plagued with injuries will be more active on waiver but will most likely not make it far based off waiver wire alone. You cannot make up for a poor draft with waiver wire picks by themselves. You have to try and trade. You can trade using waiver wire players, but the point is you need to do more than pray to get lucky on the waiver unless you have very short benches and very deeper waivers.

2. A team that drafted well can benefit from the waiver by blocking other teams. Being active is important because you already have an edge so increasing it by a few percent matters a lot as opposed to a team that is likely to lose and only getting a few percentage points of advantage.

3. Most waiver wire picks bust. This year there are not very many league winning picks yet. Those that often find them are the types who are very active as opposed to savers? (Not sure about this yet. Haven't really heard much about whether people have more luck saving FAAB vs spending it weekly).

4. Streaming defenses works very well. This is one of the best ways to use the waivers. I'm not sure how valuable streaming other positions is though as I don't seem to see many people here talk about success streaming other positions.

5. How valuable is spending FAAB on a few week rentals like Herbert / D'ernest vs saving up for guys like Cordarelle Patterson / Mitchell (up for debate / inconclusive. Not sure if priority is on winning the week vs playing long run is more valuable).

6. WW is great for getting trade bait. Maybe more so than finding startable players as handcuffs become valuable to owners through injury.

 
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tigerz

Footballguy
TheWinz said:
If I could predict beforehand, I would be the best FF'er the world has ever seen!


TheWinz said:
I play in a 10-team redraft with 16 roster spots

As an exercise, I tried to make the highest scoring team using only waiver players each week.  Not only would the waiver wire be in first place, it would have THE highest scoring team every week except one, where the wire came in second.


Interesting exercise. So I think where this has practical value is daily fantasy right. Every week random guys off waiver go off. If you had some kind of super computer algorithm and could predict these you should be able to make bank on fanduel or draft kings.

 

Chaka

Footballguy
I'm a very practical person though so what I was trying to get out of this thread isn't just "is waiver wire useful" but how do you extract the most value out of the waiver wire. What are the strategies that work well and don't work well.
To every season

Churn, churn, churn

There is a player

Churn, churn, churn

And you must try to acquire him

On the wire

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
The main disadvantage I could see is probably needing to keep two QB/TE/K/D in leagues where all those positions are relevant which is going to severely limit bench depth. You could always stack the bye week for this and just write a week off as an alternative, would be tricky to weigh up how much punting a week is going to cost against what you lose from having less bench depth.

You're also probably going to have to look more into handcuffing your main RB. Not being able to work the wire for replacements if you have the main guy go down is going to hurt and we've seen basically all first round RB's except Taylor and Zeke miss time already. Maybe going zero RB might minimise the risk given the relative number of injuries to receivers, but it'd still kind of suck if you took Ridley this year and then waited to pick up Sanders, CEH, anyone from Baltimore etc.

Can we trade in this situation?
'

Yes, you could trade. How much of a disadvantage do you think it would be?

 

titusbramble

Footballguy
'

Yes, you could trade. How much of a disadvantage do you think it would be?
I think in order to be competitive, you would need to run extremely well in terms of injuries, as well as likely hitting on some lower round picks that outperform their ADP. You'd also need to be in a league where other owners are open to trading. It'd be a pretty huge disadvantage but hard to quantify how much

 

joeschmo

Footballguy
'

Yes, you could trade. How much of a disadvantage do you think it would be?
I think it would be pretty massive.  As titus said, you'd most likely have to draft 2 of several positions you wouldn't normally.  And that would make your flex positions that much thinner.  It would be way too easy to have to eat some zeros and/or at least have some bad players starting some weeks.  Also, it would probably take some options away from you at the draft.  Like this year, drafting Lance or Fields as a backup QB probably goes out the window with no waiver wire to fall back (not that those guys have helped anyone this year, but you get what I'm saying).

And finally, I'm guessing your leaguemates would assume this as well.  And it would make it difficult to make any trades without blowing them away.

 

-OZ-

Footballguy
Agnew is the closest I've had to real production off the wire. 
I’ve had a little luck with QB in a super flex and D Johnson from the Browns but Agnew is the only guy consistently starting for me from waivers. That he’s a WR with zero catches last week but still put up starter caliber stats reflects how odd this season has been imo. 

 

fatness

against the grain
If there was no waiver wire I'd finish last every year. I plan my draft and pay attention and it all goes to hell within 3-4 weeks with underperformance, injury, etc. Waivers during the first 3 weeks are a total crapshoot because there are no patterns to pick up on, but after that I hit them more than anyone in my league, and end up with a much different team by the end of the year. Out of 15 roster spots right now (not counting IR), 8 of my current team were FA pickups. Waivers and FA are the most fun part of the season for me.

edited to add: 10 team league, 15 active roster spots, 2 IR spots, tons of people on the waiver wire all the time.

 
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TwinTurbo

Footballguy
So now, I'm changing my hypothesis from being active on waivers makes a meaningful difference and leads to more wins to:

Playing the waivers doesn't matter that much. It can help, but you are not likely to turn around the fate of your team. Most players on waivers are there for a reason. Good players and handcuffs are often drafted and on benches and wins are more correlated to good drafts while waiver wire activity correlates more with losses as teams become desperate.
 


I think most owners are too reactionary on the waiver wire, chasing last week's points. And as you said, this season there hasn't really been a league winning waiver wire gem yet. Depending on your scoring system and draft results, there are really only 3 WW players in the top 100: Cordarrelle, D.Williams, and Bills D. In many leagues, J.Conner was drafted, otherwise he would qualify as well. Certainly there have been players like Mattison and D'Ernest Johnson that helped win weeks as well when their number was called. 

But in general, I'm not sure if there is any correlation between number of WW transactions and overall success. In my league, the team with the highest number of WW add/drops is in last place. 

 
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TheWinz

Footballguy
Right, that's what I thought.  There are always one off players that put up unexpected big days so in hindsight the waiver wire in a league that size would always win. 
Here is the best team I can come up with that either a) went undrafted or b) was dropped at any point in my league

QB
Kirk Cousins - QB10
(if I wanted to carry 2, I can choose between Carson Wentz or David Carr)

RB
Cordarelle Patterson - RB8
Darrel Williams - RB18
Myles Gaskin - RB22
Javonte Williams - RB24
Eli Mitchell - RB26

WR
Michael Pittman - WR10
Christian Kirk - WR22
DeVonta Smith - WR25
Hunter Renfrow - WR29
Kendrick Bourne - WR31

TE
Mike Gesicki - TE4
TJ Hockenson -TE7

K
Nick Folk - K1

D
BUF - D1

 

fatness

against the grain
Depending on your scoring system and draft results, there are really only 3 WW players in the top 100: Cordarrelle, D.Williams, and Bills D.
By week 3 trends develop and from then on you can pick up good players, if you don't mind swinging and missing. The first 2 of your 3 are waiver picks I picked up this year.

 

habsfan

Footballguy
I’ve had a little luck with QB in a super flex and D Johnson from the Browns but Agnew is the only guy consistently starting for me from waivers. That he’s a WR with zero catches last week but still put up starter caliber stats reflects how odd this season has been imo. 
Should have added that we get points for return yardage, so that was a pretty important omission on my part. He was 27 pts in PPR last week, solid even without the TD.

 

tigerz

Footballguy
Here is the best team I can come up with that either a) went undrafted or b) was dropped at any point in my league

QB
Kirk Cousins - QB10
(if I wanted to carry 2, I can choose between Carson Wentz or David Carr)

RB
Cordarelle Patterson - RB8
Darrel Williams - RB18
Myles Gaskin - RB22
Javonte Williams - RB24
Eli Mitchell - RB26

WR
Michael Pittman - WR10
Christian Kirk - WR22
DeVonta Smith - WR25
Hunter Renfrow - WR29
Kendrick Bourne - WR31

TE
Mike Gesicki - TE4
TJ Hockenson -TE7

K
Nick Folk - K1

D
BUF - D1
this stuff makes me think that you’re better off going after people others drop and hoping they regress than picking up the random flavor of the week and hoping they hit out of nowhere. Which again, feels like people better served sticking with guys than chasing points on waiver.

javonte, Pittman, hockenson, devonta, buffalo should never have been there unless you got like 3 bench spots and 10 team rosters.

 
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tigerz

Footballguy
By week 3 trends develop and from then on you can pick up good players, if you don't mind swinging and missing. The first 2 of your 3 are waiver picks I picked up this year.
agree with this, I always take shot on guys who emerge in first three weeks. There’s so much you learn in first few weeks that change the preseason and draft assumptions immensely 

 
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