Last Week's Question: How long should
players remain locked on waivers?
My column for Week
4 featured a question from Dan, who wondered how long players
remain locked on the waiver wire in "most leagues."
I wasn't sure whether one approach would emerge as typical because
I've played in multiple leagues for a lot of years without encountering
much consistency when it comes to waivers. And if the answers
I received via comments and email are any indication, there doesn't
appear to be a "default" method for determining how
long players remain locked on waivers.
Even the simplest methods are highly variable, as these four responses
#1 (from King): As for waivers players are locked at that player's
game kickoff and locked until the following worst-to-first waiver
#2 (from Gary): We put a one-day (24 hour) [lock] on players cut.
Otherwise the rest are free agents and can be picked up whenever.
#3 (from Bill): All leagues I have participated in, players are
available immediately, as long as they haven't played yet.
#4 (from Frustrated): In all of my leagues players that are dropped
are on waivers for 2 days, then are available. I see no reason
to hold a dropped player out until waivers after the weekend.
Using a player's kickoff as the beginning of a lockdown period
(as King mentions) sounds reasonable. But Scott's league has discovered
that allowing free agent acquisitions during games intensifies
waiver wire competition in a way his peers enjoy:
[My league] has a different approach to waivers: We don’t
have any. All players are considered free agents except when they
are dropped by a team after 24 hours of ownership. At that point,
they enter a 48-hour waiver period before going back to free agency.
When games start on Sunday, all unowned players stay unlocked
and available for pickup. This results in a league where the owners
are *very* invested in watching the games on Sunday, lest one
of their stars goes down and another opportunistic owner scoops
up the replacement.
We have loads of fun with this since most of the managers are
close to a device of some kind and we all trash talk each other
while the games are going on. It also makes waiver claims interesting
by reducing the potential usage of them strictly to owner-dropped
players. If you see somebody burn their waiver position to claim
a player you just dropped, it can be a heartburn-inducing moment
while you second guess your decisions. It also has the side effect
of making our rolling waiver priority very static. Owners value
their spot and will do everything they can to avoid using it.
I’ve seen some owners go an entire season without ever burning
their position and I’ve personally woken up at 3:30 in the
morning just to grab somebody I wanted without using my waiver
spot. It’s unusual and it’s a blast!
It's easy to see the upsides and downsides of the approach Scott
describes. How many Dalvin Cook owners could have taken the sting
out of his ACL injury in Week 4 by snapping up Latavius Murray
before the game even ended? Then again, if you owned Cook but
happened to be mowing your yard (instead of dutifully watching
football), then you could come back indoors an hour later for
a cold beer along with the news that your star running back was
gone for the season and that before you had even learned of the
injury, your opponent for next week had already rostered Murray—just
to keep you from getting him.
Different leagues have different sensibilities about how vigilant
owners should have to be in order to reap their waiver wire rewards.
Bruce's league probably wouldn't respond well to the rule from
Scott's league that encourages such Johnny-on-the-spotism:
Our waivers run once per week on a 4-round request basis worst-to-first
and a 1-transaction per team per week FCFS waiver. (This was enacted
to compensate for late kicker injuries etc., but is not restricted
to [such cases].)
Dropped players lock until the next waiver request round and players
lock at the kickoff to their respective game. All this is in place
to ensure all teams get an opportunity on dropped players and
take away any advantage from owners that hover over their computers.
Since simplicity varies so much from one context to the next,
my takeaway is that simplicity matters less than tailoring your
league's waiver schedule to the temperament of the owners. For
this reason, my guess is that most leagues have developed schedules
that sound complex when written down, but quickly become second
nature for most participants, as in Dave's league:
I've seen this done many different ways, but in the IDP keeper
league I run, we do the following:
Waiver requests open from 1 a.m. Tuesday (after MNF) to Wednesday at 9 p.m. (waiver order inverse of total points each week)
Waivers auto run at 9 p.m.
First-come/first-serve opens at 10 p.m. Wednesday through game time/1 p.m. Sunday
Players that are dropped are immediately available
Everyone knows when the waivers will run and when the pool opens
up, and everyone gets immediate email notifications on transactions.
We love it and wouldn't change it.
Mr. Squeeze's league follows an even more complicated schedule
that doesn't seem to cause problems:
We have constant waivers with a clock. 1st WW period is noon
on Tuesday - noon Wednesday; any players dropped during that period
are immediately eligible for the next period that runs from noon
Wednesday until 5 pm Thursday. Then the clock starts again with
waivers processed at noon Saturday, and then again at noon on
Sunday. The waiver order is reset each time waivers are processed,
except for the last hour before kickoff on Sunday, which is a
first-come/first-served process. We charge $5 to drop, and $5
to add a player in our league, so at $10 per transaction the kitty
gets fat and happy.
I'm not sure how helpful this was to Dan, but I hope it's useful
to commissioners who are trying to set up the ideal waiver system
for their league. The place to start probably isn't by determining
that players should be locked at kickoff, but by learning whether
your owners respond better or worse to waiver competition, intricacy,
or the other factors that go into formulating waiver schedules.
As usual, my thanks go out to everyone who wrote in (whether I
had space to include your commentary or not).
This Week's Question: Do you recommend
trading future draft picks in redraft leagues?
There's nothing unusual about trading draft picks in keeper/dynasty
leagues, but the practice is often frowned upon in redraft leagues.
The main argument against it in the redraft context is that permitting
owners to give up players that are productive now for draft picks
in the future only incentivizes the owners of struggling teams
to set their sights on next season. "Off to a 1-3 start?"
asks Wimpy the wily negotiator, "Why struggle? If you give
me Ezekiel Elliott today, I will gladly pay you for him on draft
So what are your arguments for (or against) trading players for
draft picks in redraft leagues? Please email
your comments to me or post them in the comment section below.
Bill Belichick and company seem to have a hard time winning in
the state of Florida. In fact, the Patriots have lost four of
their last six games in Florida, but five of those games were
against the Dolphins. Except for last year’s end-of-season
runaway by the eventual Super Bowl Champions in Miami, the last
time the Pats won a game in Florida was back in September of 2013
against the Buccaneers.
This doesn’t seem like the typical trap game, but New England
has already lost unexpectedly to the Chiefs and Panthers, knocking
many people out of their survival pools. If the Pats can lose
while playing in the cozy confines of Foxboro, you better believe
they can lose while visiting the Buccaneers in sweltering Florida.
Jameis Winston has Doug Martin back at running back this week,
and we can anticipate a game plan that keeps Tom Brady off the
field. Why? Because it will take the Bucs scoring 30+ points to
keep up with Brady and company, and the best way to win is to
keep him off the field. This is a home team that has a lot of
fight and a lot of weapons. As such, look elsewhere for your Survival
#3: New York Giants over San Diego (2-2,
BUF, TB, CLE, NE)
With some of the strongest teams in the NFL taking the week off
(Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans, Washington), this pick indicates
how tough it is to find attractive mismatches in Week 5. The Giants
have been abominably inconsistent this season and are just getting
their offense on track with Wayne Gallman stepping in at running
back to add some iron to an otherwise anemic rushing attack. The
Chargers meanwhile should see large doses of Melvin Gordon to
stymie New York’s attacking defense and keep the G-men off
balance. But that won't be enough for the Chargers to overcome
their identity as the current NFL team with the most one-possession
game losses. This game won't be pretty and will probably come
down to the final play, but the Chargers should find a way to
keep that final play from working out in their favor . . . because
that's what they do.
#2: Philadelphia over Arizona (1-3, NE,
SEA, PIT, ATL)
Are the E-A-G-L-E-S for real? This is the week we find out. The
Cardinals were expected to be a Super Bowl contender with David Johnson, Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald as the core of the
team. Instead, Arizona finds itself relying on Andre Ellington
and CJ2K (who scares defenders about as much these days as Y2K
frightens programmers) to carry the ball. The “other”
Carson lining up under center, Carson Wentz, seems to be in control
in his second year in Philly. With the addition of Alshon Jeffrey
and LeGarrette Blount, the team has the combination of finesse
and brute force in its offense. The biggest question they face
is whether the defense can shut down some of the more proficient
passing teams – of which Arizona is one. If they can, Eagles
fans will be very happy.
#1: Pittsburgh over Jacksonville (4-0,
ATL, OAK, NE, SEA)
The Jaguars are a much-improved team from last year and won very
nicely in Week 1 over division rival Houston. But Week 1 was a
long time ago. In Week 4, the Jags managed to lose to the Jets.
If the most important part of the Jets' success vs. Jacksonville
was home-field advantage, then that should be enough for the hosting
Steelers this week. But if the key to that Jaguar loss was athletic
talent rather than the venue, that also bodes well for the Steelers,
who have at least 3 skill players who are likely to be more productive
in 2017 than the entire Jets offense. Le’Veon Bell is back
in football shape with Antonio Brown showing why he is considered
the BEST wideout in the NFL today, and Big Ben is . . . well,
let's just say he poses more of a threat to the Jacksonville defense
than Josh McCown ever could. As long as the Steelers don’t
fall asleep at the wheel, they should win this one running away.
Mike Davis has been writing about
fantasy football since 1999--and playing video games even longer
than that. His latest novel (concerning a gamer who gets trapped
inside Nethack after eating too many shrooms) can
be found here.