Regardless of your record, the gap between weeks 2 and 3 can be one of the most critical in a fantasy football season. Some owners are going to sever their ties with underperforming stars too quickly. Others are going to hold off on picking up promising free agents too long. The result is that owners have a tremendous opportunity to remake their teams–for better or for worse–via the waiver wire. The key is to navigate through the churn and come out the other side with the best team possible.
Rule #1: No team is too good or too bad for improvement
For at least the first two-thirds of the season, the goal for every team in any league is exactly the same: assemble the best players at every position from top to bottom. However unsporting it might seem, it’s a matter of simple math.
If you have a selection of the top players at every position, it limits the impact of week-to-week indiscretions in terms of your sit/start decisions. Each owner ultimately wears two hats–one as coach and one as general manager. The better you are as a general manager, the easier you make life for your self as a coach.
Creating a deep bench of equally viable options also insulates your team from the impact of injuries. So you can’t rest on your laurels just because a handful of your starters have been putting up big numbers.
Rule #2: Where possible, collect the best player rather than to fill a position
No matter how many spots your bench includes, you can’t afford to waste any of them. But think creatively when filling those slots. If the best available player is a RB or QB, consider taking him even if your area of greatest need is at WR. The idea is to flip that RB/QB for a better WR than you might find on the waiver wire. Even if you can’t quickly arrange a trade, you’re still better off with the 17 th best RB on your bench rather than the 78 th ranked WR.
Rule #3: Collect players based on intrinsic value rather than the schedule
Certainly, you need to have bye week coverage for your starters. And match-ups can be a major factor in who you deploy–especially in the final weeks of the season. However, many of the pick-ups you are making in weeks 2 and 3 should be made for the long haul. Over the course of the season, talent on the waiver wire will thin out even in the shallowest of leagues. Remember that any of the players you are adding today could end up as your starters for as much as half of the season.
The takeaway: Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. Continue to monitor the waiver wire as well as your opponents’ benches for undervalued players. It’s entirely possible that your Week 8 and Week 9 MVPs are just waiting to change jerseys.