Week 3 Waiver Wire Mistakes to Avoid (2020 Fantasy Football)
Welcome to what will (hopefully) be the busiest and most critical waiver wire week of an already-crazy 2020 season.
With more than a dozen notable fantasy players lost for anywhere from one week to the remainder of the season due to a litany of injuries, there’s a good chance your roster has been impacted in some form or fashion. But while it’s easy to decide to crack open your FAAB vault and go wild, our experts caution against making some of the biggest mistakes you’ll see made heading into Week 3:
Q1. What one waiver wire mistake should fantasy football players avoid in Week 3?
My favorite example for not panicking after two games goes back to the 1997 season when Barry Sanders started the season with 25 carries for 53 yards. He ended up finishing that season with 2,053 yards rushing, as he had at least 100-yards rushing in every game the rest of the way. This is not the time to be jettisoning underperforming players at will.
This week the theme is a little different though than Week 1. You do need to start questioning whether a slow start is an anomaly or if you were overly high on players that are not going to meet expectations. What you need to do in this situation is to look at usage rates to make tough decisions.
A player that fits into the concerning category to me is A.J. Green. When a player of his caliber starts off the season eight receptions for 80 yards, that could be just a slow start. When he is targeted 22 times and has just eight receptions for 80 yards, that starts raising huge concerns. Why is a player that has been targeted 22 times this season struggling to put up anything close to solid fantasy numbers?
I do not think it is time to cut players like that, but the Bengals are not going to keep targeting him 10 times per game if that is his production.If you have solid options on the waiver wire that have shown well for two weeks, you need to start making tough decisions. I might not cut A.J. Green to pick up Russell Gage, but I certainly would consider starting Russell Gage over A.J. Green in Week 3.
Also, if I was 0-2 and depleted at wide receiver due to injuries and my choice was to keep rolling with Green or waive him and pickup Gage, I might make that move to save my season. Week 3 is when I become more ruthless on underperforming players and start making bigger changes. Week 2 is when I try to make sure I am exercising caution without being foolishly optimistic.
The biggest mistake you can make in Week 2 is not finding the equilibrium between those two mindsets when you start making waiver wire decisions. You do not want to dig a hole too deep to dig out of early in the season, but you do not want to compound a slow start by jettisoning players that will help your fellow league mates win this year.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
The biggest mistake you can make after the carnage that was Week 2 is over-investing in situation at the expense of talent.
Case in point, you will see players like Dion Lewis, Keelan Cole, and even Corey Davis (27% owned in ESPN leagues) populating the waiver wire advice articles of whatever sites you follow for fantasy football. I’m not suggesting players like this don’t belong on anyone’s rosters. I’m saying that the upside players like this offer is severely capped by their limitations, and opportunity alone won’t fix that.
The Jaguars thought so highly of Cole that they made Laviska Shenault Jr. their highest drafted offensive player with the 42nd overall pick. Keelan Cole has had three years to ascend beyond WR4 status, and at best, he might occasionally offer WR3 value moving forward.
The Giants made Wayne Gallman inactive in Week 2, but with Saquon Barkley out for the year, career committee member Dion Lewis will not be thrust into the same bell cow role Barkley had. In fact, Lewis has looked washed for a few years now, and he’s likely nothing more than an RB3 in PPR leagues moving forward. It would surprise no one if the Giants sign Devonta Freeman, or another free agent back before Week 3.
Corey Davis has been the apple of many a dynasty player’s eye for years now, and it’s a direct result of the pro production not living up to the hype of an elite collegiate prospect profile.
Many will cite Breshad Perriman and DeVante Parker‘s late breakouts as reasons for optimism for Davis, but Perriman and Parker never had trouble separating. Perriman was an elite speciman but raw technician, and Parker was equally as physically gifted but displayed questionable effort and struggled to learn the playbook.
Davis can be effective as a Z-receiver running routes off press while motioning in and out of the formation to get him in space. He’s a complimentary flanker, nothing more. In a shootout against Jacksonville, Davis did score a TD, but he only mustered 3 catches for 36 yards on five targets. Tennessee will remain a run-heavy offense that likes to spread the ball around in the passing game.
You’re better off investing in players like Joshua Kelley and Laviska Shenault Jr. even if their situations don’t seem as appetizing. Chase upside unless absolutely desperate.
– Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs)
What happens when you assume? You make, uh, mistakes. For example, those who assumed that Conner was on the way out Pittsburgh made the mistake of adding Benny Snell.
The better process is to wait for some answers, either from on-field snap usage or from coaches themselves. This week, people may assume that Dion Lewis is the best back in New York, that Zach Pascal is the receiver to own in Indy, or that Mike Davis will get workhorse-level work in Carolina.
Sure, waiver-wire adds are inherently speculative, but you have to weigh an element of variability when crafting your priority list. None of those three players’ Week 2 usage was planned — they all just got more reps because their teammates went down.
While we know that they got more opportunities as a result, we don’t know what their offenses will look like after a full week to game plan around their injuries. Remember that teams can sign free agents or bring players up from their practice squads before you get carried away about your shiny new toy.
– Isaiah Sirois (@is_sirois)
We saw a ton of injuries in Week 2, which causes an absolute frenzy of waiver-wire adds. With the season so young still, it’s essential to think long-term still with your adds.
The most significant mistake people make at this point in the season is spending their top picks or blowing their FAAB on a player like Mike Davis, whose window of opportunity is just a few weeks long. Once McCaffrey is back, Davis returns to being waiver fodder. Meanwhile, there are a few players you could turn to that can offer weekly value for the remainder of the season like Russell Gage or Joshua Kelley.
This all boils down to the needs of your team, but think of the long haul early in the season and not just the top pick on the transaction trends.
– John Ferguson (@FantasyFerguson)
The theme of the week was injuries, right? I don’t need to rehash the brutal week of carnage we saw across the NFL, but those injuries impact how we play the waiver wire ahead of Week 3. And so, the theme of Week 3 is … make a move.
Yes, I know the first thing to do is overreact (but remember, this article cautioned against doing that in Week 1). Then, you take a deep breath, regroup, splash some cold water in your face, look in the mirror, and promise yourself you’ll only allow yourself to cry for two hours after your rock solid tandem of Christian McCaffrey and Raheem Mostert left the field. Seriously, it will all be okay.
But now that the injury bug has struck, you’ve got to move forward. The old saying goes, “The best thing to do is the right thing, the next best thing to do is the wrong thing, and the worst thing to do is nothing.” I’m paraphrasing, but the adage lands true here.
You don’t need to blow $100 FAAB on Mike Davis this week with CMC set to return in 4-6 weeks. The same is true for Dion Lewis who may find himself in an RBBC as soon as next week. But should you invest some money into your bids for these guys? Sure. Put in all kinds of bids this week so that your bases are covered if you don’t land your first or second choice.
There are plenty of players available who can help you win now, and you don’t need to overreact or reach to find them. But you do need to do something. Now hit that waiver wire, and bust a move!
– Zak Hanshew (@ZaktheMonster)