Getting the right players off the waiver wire can give a great boost to your fantasy baseball team or plug a need in your roster. All the cool kids are hitting the waiver wire, so if you aren’t doing it then you need to get in on the action.
For those new to fantasy baseball, let me give you a Waiver Wire 101.
- What is true in the majority of fantasy baseball leagues is that when a player is dropped from an owner’s team they are placed on the waiver wire for a period that is typically 3 days.
- These players are commonly designated with a “W” and ultimately will become free agents unless they are claimed by a team.
- Each team had a priority level for waivers. Immediately after the draft, the first team that drafted will have lowest priority. After a team makes a waiver claim they are in turn given the lowest priority on the next claim. For example, if you have a 10 team league and you make a successful waiver claim then you will drop to the #10 in line for your next claim.
- As other teams make claims they are dropped to the bottom of the pile and your team is then bumped up a position. If enough different teams make a claim on a player from the waiver wire in the time since your last pick, then your team will slowly climb toward waiver priority #1.
I know some fantasy baseball owners that will be extremely judicious in using the waiver wire. They’ll let some pretty solid players slide by, hoping they will clear waivers and become free agents, so they don’t need to burn a waiver claim on them. These owners will patiently wait for their team to slowly climb to a top position waiver spot, in hopes that if a really coveted player is unexpectedly dropped to waivers that they can be sure to get them.
Other fantasy baseball team owners will argue that if you save your waiver pick for the perfect opportunity, you neglect to factor in that that allows several good enough opportunities to pass them by. They’ll claim whatever player they want, disregarding the fact that they most likely have little shot if a truly valuable player happens to show up on waivers. I began this post with the picture (by Keith Ellison, who has the absolute best collection of baseball photography on Flickr) of Nick Markakis and Ryan Raburn because I’ve seen those guys claimed off waivers about a dozen times in the leagues I play in.
Do you hoard your high waiver pick, waiting for just the right player to hopefully by available, or do you lay claim to every player that might tickle your fancy? There is a cost involved in burning your waiver claim, so when should you use yours?
- You should burn your waiver claim on a player that will help your team. If a player is available that would offer a legitimate upgrade and would start right away on your team then you should lay a claim on them. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity when a good opportunity can be adding stats to your team right away.
- Burn your waiver claim if you feel lie the odds swing greater than 50/50 that you won’t be able to snatch them as a free agent. I, personally, play the odds all the time. If the player is marginal (like a pitcher you would just be claiming for a spot start or two) then I’ll often take my changes that they will clear waivers and I can grab them as a free agent. Occasionally I’ll lose the clim, but I didn’t lose my waiver position. If the odds are pretty good that he won’t clear waivers though, then you might not want to gamble he becomes a free agent, and just make a claim on him already.
- Burn your waiver claim if you are at the bottom of the order. If you are claiming 9 out of 10, then you might as well go for it. You aren’t falling that far, right?
- Burn your waiver claim regardless of your position if the player is just too good to pass up. This is the player you were waiting for. Claim them and stash them even if you don’t quite know what to do with them yet. Other fantasy baseball owners will occasionally make a poor decision and drop a solid player. This is where you have to take advantage of the opportunity.
Fantasy baseball owners play the waiver wire differently. Some seemingly never make a claim, waiting for that perfect haul. Others seem to grab a guy once a week. Ultimately, it’s your team, so roster whoever you want to. I do hope, however, that this helped you think about your waiver wire strategy at least a bit. Then lay claim to your sweet pick-up.