Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice – 2017 Introduction

The 2017 fantasy football season is (almost) here. As we head into the final week of the preseason, we need to make sure we’re ready for the regular season grind. The most important part of in-season roster management is working the waiver wire. This season, I’ll be sharing our advice. Here’s what to expect.

Waiver Wire Advice

Duh, right? Obviously. But what exactly does that mean?

  • Available players – I’ll use ownership tools at ESPN (now a full PPR site) to get a sense of players that are likely to be available in most leagues.
  • Prioritizing players – I’ll present players in the order I would prioritize adding them. That means I’ll be recommending players that I think have the best opportunity to make a significant and lasting contribution to your fantasy team.
  • What to expect from those players – I’ll do my best to define what that contribution looks like in terms of how many fantasy points you can expect, and for how long.
  • Roster management – I’ll also offer some general advice around what players (specific players and types of players) you might want to consider dropping or holding.

Your Mileage May Vary

  • My advice will be focused on single quarterback, PPR formats.
  • My advice will also skew towards redraft leagues, although it should also be very actionable in dynasty leagues, particularly if you’re trying to win this year. I’ll often provide both redraft and dynasty angles.
  • I won’t offer specific advice about how much of your Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) you should spend. I’ll talk in general terms, but realistically, how much FAAB you should spend on a given player is an extremely league-specific question. It’s like asking “How much should I spend on groceries?” In order to give a specific answer, I’d need to know how big your family is, what ages are your kids, what part of the country do you live in, what are your health and wellness goals, and much more. And the answer I give you wouldn’t help another reader very much.
  • Here’s what I can do, however. I can encourage you to put specific questions in the comments to each week’s article. Those comments automatically go to our Message Boards. I’ll try to chime in on as many questions as I can, and other writers (not to mention our community of well-informed readers) will jump in as well.
  • I’ll also encourage you to make use of our Apps. Our in season apps will help you identify teams with great upcoming schedules, as well as insight into player-specific match ups.

Practice Run

Now that the formalities are out of the way, here are a few players to consider right now, if your league’s waiver wire is already open. Percent of ESPN leagues where the player is available is in parentheses. 

Charles Sims (91%)

I’m surprised he’s available in over 91 percent of ESPN leagues. Doug Martin is suspended to start the year, and draft pick Jeremy McNichols might not make the team. He’s been singled out for criticism by the coaching staff and played just two snaps in the third preseason game. Sims will have a season-long role as the team’s change of pace and receiving back, something he’s done very well at throughout his career. He’s averaged about 11 points per game over the past two seasons. That’s a number you can plug into your lineup in a pinch and feel okay about. Sims is a great addition at a volatile position. I’d pursue him above any other player this week.

Kevin White (60%) & Kendall Wright (99%)

The Bears lost Cameron Meredith for the season, so someone is going to get some major opportunity. Chicago won’t have a great offense, but volume is king. Meredith tallied 97 targets a year ago, which gives you a sense of the available workload. Kevin White has the draft pedigree and I’m sure the Bears want him to seize the No. 1 wide receiver role. White averaged nine targets per game last year,1 and I think Chicago will be inclined to give him that amount of work again. If White gets just half of Meredith’s expected workload, he’ll be a high-end WR2.

Kendall Wright flamed out in Tennessee. On the other hand, he’s proven that he can be a viable fantasy asset, which is not something White can say. Wright is playing ahead of Victor Cruz, so I expect Wright to be a starter. In limited action over the last two preseason games, Wright has totaled five receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown. He was also targeted in the end zone on another play.

White is higher profile, so he’ll cost more. He has a higher theoretical ceiling than Wright, but Wright should cost very little to acquire and arguably has a safer floor. If you think your team needs White’s ceiling, make a decent-sized bid on him. If you’re looking for a guy you can probably plug in for some safe points, make a small bid on Wright.

Sam Bradford (93%)

We’ll have advice about streaming quarterbacks too, so make sure to watch for that. Bradford is a nice pickup if you’re an Andrew Luck owner who’s worried about Luck’s early season availability. He’s got good receivers and a quality tight end and opens the season with four games that should require a lot of passing: New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Detroit. Because of his past reputation, he should cost little or nothing to acquire but offers decent upside early in the year.

Charcandrick West (98%) & C.J. Spiller (99%)

Kareem Hunt is already 100 percent owned, and if you were thinking of trading for him, his price just went way up. Hunt’s ascension to the lead back role, however, means West and Spiller both get a bump up the depth chart too. I’m not sure which of these two will end up with the bigger workload, or if that workload will be fantasy relevant. Still, it’s worth taking a very small shot at either. If things break right, one or the other could be a useful asset. Of course, it’s just as likely that neither is fantasy useful, which is why I wouldn’t make more than a token offer. Neither player makes sense in a shallow league, and in a deep league, I’d only target one, not both. And don’t hesitate to drop them if a better opportunity comes up next week.

Patriots Wide Receivers (and Maybe Running Backs)

Yes, the Patriots are one of the very best offenses in the NFL, and it’s always nice to have a piece of that. But frankly, there’s very little clarity yet as to what will happen to Julian Edelman’s targets. They could easily get split among several other receivers and runners in such a way that nobody’s fantasy outlook really changes. Even if the bulk of his work were to go to one player, it’s tough to predict which player that will be. I’m sitting this one out and letting someone else burn their FAAB. That’s good general advice, in my opinion. You don’t have to bid on every free agent. Unless you’re desperate — and you shouldn’t be in the preseason — avoid the murkiest situations and save your FAAB for clearer opportunities.

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  1. Sadly, he only played four games.  (back)
By Charles Kleinheksel | @Spidr2ybanana | Archive

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