Too many owners in fantasy football ultimately fail to
reach their league playoffs for the simple reason that
they think their terrific draft is enough to take them
to the title game. In reality, it is usually the owners
who refuse to cruise through the season that construct
a team ready to dominate in the big games at the end of
the year. Trades aside, adding a player via the waiver
wire is the best way to instantly, and constantly, upgrade
your team. The best part of this practice is that if you
do it well, you decrease the talent base for your opponents
at the same time your team gets stronger.
There are usually two parts to a waiver wire system.
The first part involves a priority order for choosing the
top players who are available that week.
Everyone who pays attention to the games, or even box scores, knows who the
hot pickups are going to be. You will get your man only if you are slotted
high enough in that week’s pecking order. The second portion of the waiver
system is that time during the week after the priority waiver selections when
all remaining players are available to anyone. This is a critical period when
you can separate yourself from the competition if you add wisely. Remember,
you don’t need to win every waiver wire battle to win the overall 17-week
The first thing to do is figure out who you can cut on
your team to add other players. The place to start is by
dropping all but one tight end, kicker and
defense after their bye weeks. Put every other added player into taking wide
receivers, quarterbacks and running backs. Not only does this give you added
depth to deal with injury, and increase your odds of hitting it big with
a suddenly stellar fantasy player, but it also depletes
the pool of talent for
other owners looking to replace injured starters, or looking to replace name
players who aren't cutting it. Just by maximizing the talent on your bench
you can hurt other owners. If you have Jeremy Shockey for instance, you aren’t
going to start anyone else anyway, and he won’t need to be replaced unless
he is injured.
The second place to make cuts involves bench players
who aren’t keeping
up statistically. Look for guys who are scoring touchdowns. If your last wide
receiver or running back doesn’t play much and doesn’t score either,
cut him. You can find someone better.
By adding players at this time, you are able to accomplish
one of three things – adding
a key player who may become a starter for you in future matchups, adding a
player to use as trade bait in a big deal later in the season or adding a player
simply to take him off the market for other owners.
When you are adding a player who has potential to be
a starter for you, look for backups with talent who may
get the opportunity to star if a veteran goes
down. Picking up DeShaun Foster a few weeks ago would have been exactly this
type of move.
For trade bait adds, find players who have been hot recently,
especially quarterbacks and receivers. These are players
you would be willing to throw in on a multiple-player
deal to get a talented player in return. A good example would be Redskins
wideout Darnerian McCants, who has four touchdowns this
year for Washington.
To Add players that you want off the market, find that
last running back or receiver who might just eke out a
touchdown to help an owner who is desperate
defeat you in a fluke week. Players like Najeh Davenport or Ricky Proehl
fit this description.
Below are some players who may be available in your league
for pickup. Scour through them and find one or two you
have the room to add, building depth for your team and
making it harder for other owners to succeed.
Kurt Kittner, Falcons – Why not take a chance on
him if your quarterbacks are average? New starters often
rally a team, and Brian Finneran is back at wide receiver.
Robert Holcombe, Titans – Eddie George is still
the main back on this team, but Holcombe gets his fair
share of touchdowns, and if George gets hurt, guess who
will be the man.
DeShaun Foster, Panthers – It looks like Foster
is all the way back from his serious injury early last
year. Don’t hesitate to stash him away for a rainy
day trade. His 85 yards on 16 carries in relief of Stephen
Davis are no joke.
Mike Cloud, Patriots – For the second straight week,
Cloud scores. The fact is he is fresh and able to elevate
the Patriots’ running game. If he should beat out
both Faulk and Smith for the majority of the carries, then
you will find yourself with a valuable fantasy runner.
He is already a serviceable substitution.
Chester Taylor, Ravens – Taylor is getting involved
in the rushing and receiving game. Those opportunities
mean he could be a decent play in yardage leagues.
Najeh Davenport, Packers – Davenport is a lot like
Holcombe from above. He gets the odd yards and a decent
number of scores.
Adrian Peterson, Bears – If Anthony
Thomas is out this week, Peterson may get the carries he
needs to make
Darnerian McCants, Redskins – Even the third receiver
in DC is receiving enough looks to warrant a second look
from fantasy owners.
Dez White, Bears – White almost topped 100 yards
and did catch a touchdown in the recent loss to New Orleans.
Even without Stewart, the windy city may have found a decent
David Patten, Patriots – Now that David is healthy,
look for him to make some big plays for the Patriots during
the stretch run of the season.
Bryan Gilmore, Cardinals – Bryan scored a touchdown
this week for the Cardinals. Wait until he starts getting
more receptions to add him, but remember that he was penciled
in to be a starter before the rookies got hot. If one or
both of them start to cool down, he may pick up the slack.
Tyrone Calico, Titans – Calico seems to get better
by the week, and Steve McNair has no reservations about
going to him during a key down. Grab him if you have a
slacker wide receiver.
Joe Jurevicius, Buccaneers – He was playing well
before he was hurt. He’ll be catching balls again
Steve Smith, Panthers – The running game is all
that is mentioned about the offense, but Smith is a playmaker
who is quickly becoming Delhomme’s favorite target.
Anthony Becht, Jets – Becht scored twice last Sunday,
and will probably be a bigger part of the offense once
Chad Pennington returns.
Jabari Holloway, Texans – Holloway has always been
a talent, and now he is getting some looks in Texas.