Commandment IV –
Thou shalt scour the waiver wire and Free Agent market.
While I believe you need to start your starters, or play your players, I also believe you need to keep your eyes firmly on the free agent market and waiver wire. It is here you will uncover the hidden gems, overlooked or undervalued by the public at large. And, while this is less common with quarterbacks and running backs, it is fairly common with wide receivers.
Every season, wide receivers emerge from the depths of the draft order to rise to the top of the heap. Top players in every position get injured, either temporarily or longer-term, and need to be replaced. These replacements can, in many circumstances, be plugged straight into your lineup and provide much-needed points. This situation is especially true when you are the owner of one of the injured players.
In your mind, you should have an idea of which players from your roster you would drop if necessary. In fact, although the specifics might change slightly from week to week, based on injuries and performance, you should know in an instant which player to drop if a much better prospect becomes available on the waiver wire.
You’d be surprised. For many reasons, owners will drop a stud or maybe a second tier near stud onto the waiver wire in order to fill a perceived need on their rosters. Go ahead and put in a waiver request, if you really want that guy. Waivers are processed at night, while most people are sleeping. In the morning, you wake up and find out you have a great addition to your roster. If someone else grabs him first, you haven’t lost anything. He would have been grabbed anyway.
Things such as injuries can sideline a star player. That provides opportunities. Pounce on those opportunities. Be quick to drop a dud for a stud. One of the keys to winning is being the first and fastest to recognize new talent, and to have the wherewithal to snatch that player off the waiver wire or free agent pool.
From time to time, go onto the free agent market and check who’s available. Again, you’d be surprised. It’s here, in the vast pool of free agents, you will find second- and third-tier players (and, rarely, top tier studs) floating around, waiting to be snapped up. The trick is, through research, to identify which of these players will outperform the guys already on your roster. It’s all about identifying trends in individual performance, and team trends. For example, if you’ve got a good wide receiver, but the star quarterback gets injured, you might want to consider dropping him and picking up a solid replacement out of the free agent pool. Perhaps the replacement quarterback will be fine, and perhaps he will still get the ball to your original wide receiver, but if he was so good at quarterback, he’d probably be starting rather than backing up the starter.