Can you smell the panic in the air? Coaches are getting fired, other coaches are being asked about their job, and worthless "votes of confidence" are being cast. We're only headed into week 6, but these are tough times for many employed by the NFL.
There's panic in your league, too. That 0-5 team didn't envision this kind of start on draft day. The 1-4 teams didn't, either. Reliable players aren't reliable anymore. They play on Thursday, or Sunday, or Monday, or Tuesday. Dogs and cats living together! Nothing makes sense anymore.
Well, it does if you remain calm, and take advantage of what's happening.
Headed into week 6, members of your league are in trouble. A bye week was switched, and they don't have adequate coverage for their starters anymore. Players are hurt, and the one-week wonder they picked up on the waiver wire became a second-week blunder. Big names are putting up small numbers, and it seems like everyone else is in better shape than they are.
That's panic, and you'll see the first signs of it when your waiver wire runs.
If there's one thing a team with a losing record can't resist, it's a big week 5 stat line. It doesn't matter if they fell for it before week 5, and 4, and 3. You're always going to have fantasy GMs who will race toward the next big thing, and they'll usually ditch the last big thing that disappointed them to do it.
But not always. Sometimes circumstances (or panic) causes them to drop someone who shouldn't be on the waiver wire at all. And while everybody pays attention to when it runs at the beginning of the week, not everyone follows up to see who was dropped. You can do your shopping on the waiver wire later (and get a better priority by not picking anyone up the first go-round).
Let me give you an example. This week I'm dropping Justin Herbert. It's not that I want to do it, but I have no choice. We can only keep two quarterbacks, I have Russell Wilson, and thanks to creative Covid scheduling, the Chargers now have the same bye week as the Seahawks. I have to drop him, and at least half the league will want him, if not more.
They'll all be watching when ithe first claims run, but fewer will be watching afterward. And one of them will end up with a fantastic steal. The team that didn't make any claims will get better priority, meaning they'll be better off by not jumping into the waiver wire fray. Not panicking will definitely pay off in my league this week.
Other teams will let go of players because bye weeks are forcing their hand. Maybe it's just a kicker, but Will Lutz has saved me a couple times this year already, including this past week when he out-scored his teammate (and my opponent) Alvin Kamara. Whoever it is, they could be a big upgrade to your own team. It might pay off to wait and see who surfaces after waivers have run the first time.
If you have that luxury, of course. Many people won't. But your job isn't to worry about their team. You have to worry about yours, and if you can improve your roster with a player (even one headed for your bench at first) you don't care how you get them. After all, nobody will care when you have to drop someone you really like.
And the waiver wire isn't the only way to improve your team. A poor record leads to poor decisions. Let me write that again. A poor record leads to poor decisions. The teams in your league that are already a couple games back might be interested in talking trade. I mentioned it last week, and I'm going to keep mentioning it, because you don't want to wait until the deadline is close. Look at your league's standings, and reach out to the ones at the bottom. See who might be looking to deal. You never know who's available.
This is a time of panic, but it's also a time of opportunity. Even if you're not where you want to be in the standings, please stay optimistic and look for those opportunities. I promise it's a lot more fun than looking for excuses. Good luck this week.
Have you found anyone great on the waiver wire? Are panicked owners in your league considering any trades? How do you avoid panicking in times of adversity? Share your thoughts below.