The 49ers wanted to move Jimmy Garoppolo all offseason, but they couldn't find a serious buyer. So they had to keep him, albeit grudgingly. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins were considered front-runners for Deshaun Watson at one point, and were even linked to Tom Brady in the offseason. The end result was no Watson, no Brady and they even lost 1st and 3rd-round picks in 2024 for tampering with Brady. Headed into week 1, both teams looked like they would suffer for not getting a deal done.
Now, two weeks later, they look like the best deals they never made. It happens in the NFL, and in your league, too.
The 49ers avoided a lost season when Trey Lance went down because they just happened to have a starting-caliber quarterback hanging around for another season. And the Dolphins are riding a 2-0 start and renewed affection for Tua Tagovailoa after he threw six touchdowns against the Ravens. Tagovailoa threw 16 touchdowns all last season.
But that's how it goes sometimes. The trade you don't make actually helps your team. The guy you didn't get to draft is a bullet you dodged. And the waiver claim you don't get might be what saves your season. It doesn't feel like that in the moment, of course. Keeping Garoppolo wasn't what the 49ers wanted, but it's given them new life. The Dolphins wanted to make a change, but feel a lot better about being "stuck" with Tagovailoa now that they share part of the division lead and have seen him take advantage of their potent receiving weapons.
That's going to happen to you with your waiver pickups, too. If you missed out on Darrell Henderson last week, was it really the worst thing in the world? The touchdown is the only thing that saved his day. And if you wanted Cole Kmet or Darnell Mooney but didn't get them, do you feel all that bad now? The same might hold true for the waiver flavor this week, and the one after that. Not getting what you want might be exactly what you need (to paraphrase Mick Jagger, who definitely wasn't talking about fantasy football).
I think the real lesson comes when you're looking at trades. For some fantasy managers, it's never too early to start shopping a potential sell-high candidate or purchase a buy-low prospect. A couple of weeks might be just enough time to get rid of a player who's playing above his ability, and maybe get some sucker to give up on a star. In many leagues, trade conversations are already starting.
Hopefully, you learned something from the 49ers and Dolphins. Don't be too eager to get rid of your depth. You might be giving up too early on a starter who doesn't really need to be replaced after all. And the "sucker" who gives you that buy-low opportunity might really be selling high at your expense. Maybe you're the sucker if that trade goes through. Sometimes you get the player you want, and he ends up hurting you. So be careful when trying to make moves this early in the season.
Besides, just as things look different after a couple of games, they might look equally different in week 4. Maybe Garoppolo doesn't do much with the job. Maybe Tagovailoa falls back to Earth. Maybe Cooper Rush dominates and Jerry Jones doesn't even want Dak back. That last one won't happen, but with the Cowboys, you never know. What I do know is that San Francisco and Miami are currently happy they didn't get the trades they wanted. And if you aren’t careful with your own drops and trades, you might not be as lucky as they were. Good luck this week.
Have you ever missed out on a player or trade, and ended up thankful? Did you ever “buy low” and bought a dud, or “sell high” and gave away a great player? Share your thoughts below.