How To Waiver Wire

If you’re in a fantasy football league and you’re not using waivers, you probably already lost. Waivers are how you win the game. Last year I turned my 1-3 team around to make it to the championship round only to narrowly lose, all from waiver wire pickups. Players like D’Andre Swift, JK Dobbins and Justin Jefferson helped buoy me up throughout the 2020 season.

But to use it right, you have to know how it works.


Waiver Order

First, you should know how the system processes waivers.

It processes them according to waiver order, starting from the first all the way to the last.

“” will be processed first, then “Stepbro you stuck?”, and so on. Once your claim is processed, you drop to the bottom in waiver priority. (Side note, my team is “It’s a Hard Knox Life”)

Seems simple enough right?

Just keep this in mind as the computer goes down the list. You must set your waiver order based on this.


Waiver Claims

Below is a screenshot of my waiver claims before week 7 (yes I know I shouldn’t have dropped Khalil Herbert. I thought Damien Williams would get the starting job back).

Question: What happens with JD McKissic? If you notice both he and Elijah Mitchell select Khalil Herbert as the dropped candidate.

Answer: Simple. If Elijah Mitchell is still available then I get him. If not, then it goes to McKissic. If neither, then I keep Khalil.

The main thing to remember is how the waivers are processed. It goes from top to bottom, and if you drop a player (Khalil Herbert in this case), it will remove all other claims that drop said, player. This can be used for an “If this/then that” case breakdown. Take the above example. If Elijah Mitchell is available, pick him up. If not, pick up JD McKissic.

Joe Burrow has the lowest priority. According to this, it means I’d like to have him, but not the highest priority. I needed a running back way more than a QB.


After Processing

Another thing to remember is that when a waiver claim is processed, you drop all the way to the bottom.

Below is what the waiver order looked like after processing.

(FYI “Don’t Call Me Taco” is the same as "Team San" from the first screenshot. He changed his team name)

I fell down to the 3rd lowest waiver priority after processing.

Now that begs the question: Was it worth it?

I have a very low waiver priority now, gaining a starting running back in the process (I got Mitchell *yay*). I also did in fact get Joe Burrow, which will be a starter for me going forward.

I would say the answer is: Yes.

But, if I didn’t get Mitchell, I’d be unhappy to have dropped Khalil Herbert for JD McKissic and lost a good waiver priority.

This leads me to the next tip.


Be Cautious With Waiver Claims

Having a high waiver priority can really help you later in the season. Only use it for when you really need it. This is why I only put a claim for Burrow in. If Burrow wasn’t available, I’d rather just pick someone up after waivers are processed, meaning I won’t lose waiver priority picking someone up after that. I’m not interested in losing waiver priority for picking up someone like Ben Roethlisberger or Zach Wilson.

After Waivers process (usually Wednesday morning), you don’t lose waiver priority for picking up players. This is because they have already cleared through waivers, so they are now free agents. Remember this. Take advantage of this to maintain waiver priority when possible. Only use the priority to fill a hole you need immediately and can’t easily be filled elsewise.

None of these claims affected waiver priority, because these were all free agents when claimed.

I hope this helps you dominate your league-mates through the waiver wire. Go get ‘em.

Twitter: @EvanSolom


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