Taking a look around training camps is a necessary first step before your fantasy football draft. Training camp notes will highlight up-and-comers flying under the radar of some of your opponents, as well as give you a chance to evaluate potential waiver wire pickups during the season.

Every year, whether due to injuries, underperforming play, or bye-weeks, the waiver wire can make or break your roster. Therefore, in order to manage your roster, you need to understand how to utilize the fantasy waiver wire (NFL) for your fantasy league. 

Once your draft concludes, the remaining players are placed on the waiver wire as free agents, meaning you have the opportunity to add any number of them that your league allows and doesn’t go over the allotment of your total roster. 

The beauty of the waiver wire is that it can allow you week-by-week roster changes. The flexibility that the waiver wire provides, if done strategically, can give your team an advantage over others in the league. 

There are a few different ways to set up your waiver wire, and the various benefits to each of the categories are listed below: 

Waiver Order

As you analyze players throughout the NFL, understanding your league’s waiver wire procedure is crucial. Some leagues change the waiver priority weekly, and other options are that the waiver priority is given to the worst record and progresses from that starting point, while other procedures lock in the waiver order based on draft position from the beginning of the season. Knowing when you may pick will help you decide between the waivers you put on a player or position of need.  

Players To Watch

Most leagues allow you to set up a “players to watch” on the waiver wire. This is an automated way to follow specific players and positions weekly, giving you an advantage as you enter each week. 

The insights you get from setting up a “player to watch” feature lets you see how a team utilizes the athlete, how other teams may defend similar positions, and who may outperform other players in the league. These insights are strategically crucial as you build your roster week-by-week, and every year, some players exceed their pre-draft rankings. By tracking those players, you can find a game-changing position to add quality depth to your roster. 

Streaming Players and Defenses

It’s not uncommon for teams to draft skill positions and leave defense and kickers to weekly streaming options. When a team manager does this, utilizing the waiver wire is critical to the overall strength of their roster. You can find horrible offenses and snatch up a defense weekly or find a kicker that is outperforming and on a hot streak to get you crucial points. 

Matchup Dependent

Is there a player or offense that dominates certain defenses, but you don’t have them on your roster? Utilizing the waiver wire to select players that exploit a team’s defensive weakness is a good strategy to consider. For example, perhaps a defense lost their top cornerback or linebacker play and can’t stop the run to save their lives. Next, consider picking up a player that has a favorable matchup against that defense for high-upside points. 

Bye-Weeks and Injuries

Another critical reason that the waiver wire is crucial to your team’s success in fantasy football is that there are always injuries that can limit your roster. Every year a fantasy stud gets injured and while the impact of that player on your overall team scoring can be challenging to replace, finding weekly replacements or fill-ins during a bye-week is essential for the continued success of your fantasy season. 

One’s Trash, Another’s Treasure

Every year and in every league, there’s a fantasy owner that overthinks things and scrambles to shift their rosters around. It could be because of injury, bye-weeks, loaded at one position, and a serious need at another position that requires dropping a player; however, it happens, and one team’s trash could be another team’s treasure. 

The value of the waiver wire is that once the draft is completed and the season gets underway, keeping your roster competitive by scanning the waiver wire for hidden gems and players that one owner jettisoned but proved valuable to your team’s needs is an excellent strategy to consider.