Week 2 Waiver Wire Mistakes to Avoid (2020 Fantasy Football)
We get it: Your “perfect” draft roster suddenly isn’t so perfect.
Maybe you had an underachiever wreck your chances of a Week 1 victory. Maybe the player you thought had a starting RB job to himself is now in a time share, or a WR you had high hopes for is locked into a single-digit target share. Week 2 is a great time to fix what’s ailing your roster – but our experts want to help you do it the right way, and avoid some of the biggest waiver wire mistakes other fantasy players might make this week.
Q1. What one waiver wire mistake should fantasy football players avoid in Week 2?
The one thing you want to do is make sure you do not read too much into Week 1 performances, especially this year. This was the first game action for these teams since their season ended in 2020. Sometimes great players have bad games and sometimes bad players have great games. You do not want to jettison players that were expected to have big roles in the offense for players that had one good week.
It is tempting to drop Odell Beckham Jr. after he had 10 targets, three receptions, and 22 yards receiving. It is tempting to pick up Robby Anderson in his place, who had eight targets, six receptions, 115 yards receiving, and one receiving touchdown. The problem is that the Browns went against the Baltimore Ravens on the road, one of the toughest teams in the NFL. The Panthers were at home against an easier opponent, the Las Vegas Raiders. OBJ is going to do better than convert on 30 percent of his targets and Anderson is not going to have an opponent like the Raiders every week nor is he going to score a 75-yard touchdown every week.
You want to be smart on the Waiver Wire in Week 1, not reckless. Look at usage rates, make moves on players that you drafted late that did not have the role you hoped for, and allow the season to play out for another week or two before you make major moves with your key players. The last thing you want to do is weaken your team making a panic move after one week.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
There are no victory laps after Week 1. Don’t drop a stud who no-showed or a breakout candidate who flopped in Week 1 for what might be a one-week wonder. However, it’s also important not to dismiss what we saw to open the season either. The key is to chase opportunity and upside, not stats.
Malcolm Brown rushed 18 times for 79 yards and scored two touchdowns against Dallas, much to the chagrin of Cam Akers truthers. However, we know what Malcolm Brown is by now, and if the Rams were sold on him as a lead back, the team would not have invested Day 2 picks on both Akers and Darrell Henderson in back-to-back years. With Henderson ailing, Brown offered a steady veteran presence while the rookie Akers found his sea legs. He offers none of the explosion or upside his younger counterparts do in the backfield.
The same goes for Peyton Barber, who stumbled in for two scores as well, but offers nothing beyond three yards and a cloud of dust. Contrast that with someone like Joshua Kelley in Los Angeles. Kelley will always play second fiddle to Austin Ekeler for the Chargers provided Ekeler remains healthy. However, the Chargers are adamant about playing a run-oriented, ball-control style of offense given their weak quarterback play and strong defense.
Kelley boasts a strong prospect profile, and he turned 12 carries into 60 yards and a score; he brings far more explosion and upside with his opportunity for double-digit carries and goal line work, even if the stats didn’t jump off the page in Week 1. Should Ekeler ever go down for an extended period, then Kelley would have league-winning upside. The lesson here is to target ceiling plays, not floor plays after Week 1. Raheem Mostert, D.J. Chark, Terry McLaurin, Marquise Brown, and Michael Gallup were just some of the Week 1 waiver wire adds that became season long starters last season.
– Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs)
The waiver wire can be extremely beneficial week in and week out, especially if your team was unfortunate enough to get hit by the injury bug. In a perfect world, we’d get out ahead of these injuries and stash guys that could produce as a result of a player going down. But sometimes our rosters aren’t deep enough to hold onto these “handcuffs.” Guys that come to mind heading into Week 2 are Benny Snell Jr. and Nyheim Hines, both of whom figure to see significant work given the injuries to James Conner and Marlon Mack. These are two examples of guys you should be targeting.
While Snell (given Conner is out for an extended period of time) and Hines are likely to have roles moving forward, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of putting in a waiver claim on guys that had above average performances in Week 1 that won’t have much opportunity moving forward. Guys that might catch your eye, but should be avoided include Peyton Barber and Willie Snead IV, both of whom performed “admirably” in Week 1. The output might make it seem like Barber had a great day, but he rushed for just 29 yards on 17 carries, for an average of just 1.7 yards per attempt.
While it was good to see him get the goal line carries and fall into the end zone twice, his 41% snap count in a full-blown Running Back-By-Committee (RBBC) with Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic doesn’t get me excited. If you filter on available players, you’ll see Barber at the top of the list with 14.9 fantasy points. Folks, this is his ceiling. When spending precious FAAB $ on the Waiver Wire, you want guys that you can feel good starting on a weekly basis, and Barber is not that guy – stay away. Snead is another guy you can feel free to overlook when making your waiver wire claims.
Again, because of the touchdown, he’s going to show up at the top of the available players list, but touchdowns aren’t a good predictor of future success. Snead played all 16 games a season ago for the Ravens and never registered more than five targets. He also had fewer than 20 yards in 10 of those 16 games. It could be tempting based on his Week 1 output, but Snead is not a viable fantasy asset for your roster.
– Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler)
Following Week 1, don’t be afraid to place a hefty FAAB bid on a player you truly believe in. While it’s important not to overreact after one game, there are 3 reasons it benefits fantasy managers to spend aggressively on Week 1 breakouts. First, this might be your only shot at adding these potential studs to your team. Guys like Marquise Brown, Terry McLaurin and Darren Waller were all popular Week 1 adds in 2019.
Many managers wrote off their Week 1 performances as “flukey,” but those are the managers who missed out on valuable talent while it was available. Aggressively pursue the players you believe in with FAAB money, or you may find yourself having to cough up a player or two in a trade for them down the road. Second, when you claim a player off the waiver wire after the season opener, you reap the benefits of having that player on your roster for 12-15 weeks. Fantasy managers who snagged Darren Waller after Week 1 locked up a weekly top-5 tight end option to elevate their starting lineup from Week 2 on.
The earlier you start stacking up wins, the better shot you’ll have at making playoffs and consequently, bringing home that championship trophy. Finally, as the season goes on, the price of free agents goes up. While many managers will lean conservative with their FAAB dollars early on, they’ll blow the remainder of their budgets on top waiver adds in the weeks leading up to the fantasy playoffs. As a result, the bidding war for high-impact players gets more intense as the season goes on. The first couple weeks of the season are when you can grab budding stars at a bargain. While the rest of your league sits on their FAAB waiting for the “next” breakout, don’t be afraid to spend some serious cash on the Week 1 star you believe in.
– Stephen Krupka (@BallStreetFF)
The number one mistake to avoid in Week 1 waiver wire bidding is being afraid to be extremely aggressive. Each year the line of what constitutes an aggressive Week 1 bid continues to be pushed forward. 25 percent or 30 percent bids simply may not get it done anymore, especially if you play in a league with people who are used to your FAAB bidding practices.
The general rule is to bid high enough that you will not regret missing out on the player in question. Getting a value FAAB add is ideal, but missing out on a player that could put your team in championship contention simply because you are seeking value can be a make or break decision. Have no regrets, and bid as high as you would be comfortable losing at.
– Raju Byfield (@FantasyContext)
A general rule of thumb for playing the waiver wire is to not overreact. That’s especially true in Week 1 of the NFL season, and particularly apt for the most unusual Week 1 we’ve ever seen. It’s unusual because of the unique offseason, which prevented teams from getting in as much work as they had in previous seasons – in training camp and preseason. That means that teams with new skill-position players may not be as sharp in Week 1 of 2020 as they may have been in seasons past. A new quarterback on a new team? There are bugs to work out, and throwing in the towel on guys like Tom Brady. Guys coming back from injury and getting on the same page with teammates? Yep, that will take some time too. What we saw in Week 1 meant something, but it doesn’t always mean everything.
Guys like Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas look like busts after bad weeks, while Malcolm Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are fantasy studs. Week 1 is always a bit funky, but typically things normalize. On the other hand, make sure to recognize players who could be league-winners, prioritize them, and go get them. Guys like Benny Snell (who could be a work-horse), Parris Campbell (who could be his team’s top WR), and Nyheim Hines (PPR darling) are worth spending up for, but don’t give up on consistent talent for a flavor of the week. In summary, it’s all about balance. Take an honest look at what happened in Week 1, understand why it happened, don’t overreact, and make sure to pick up players with huge upside.
– Zak Hanshew (@ZakTheMonster)
My advice for the Week 1 waiver wire is to be deliberate, not impulsive. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aggressive — some of the best waiver-wire adds from last year, D.J. Chark and Terry McLaurin, were probably long gone by Week 2. What it does mean is that you should make a plan based on your team’s needs.
For example, if you need help at wide receiver, it makes sense to prioritize getting a player who tied for the lead in his team’s target share, like Parris Campbell. You might drop a lottery ticket at running back or an alternative bench option at receiver for him. But you shouldn’t commit to dropping a player you drafted for just anyone, as there’s a big drop-off from teams’ WR1s to role players like Robby Anderson and Russell Gage. Don’t overreact. You made your draft-day investments for a reason, and while there are capable players on the wire, you shouldn’t give up on most players after one bad week.
– Isaiah Sirois (@is_sirois)