Waivers- A Rookie’s Guide

Waivers and Free Agency can be one of the more complex concepts for new fantasy players to get their heads around. In fact it’s all pretty straightforward, but not always explained very well.

I’m going to try and tackle the subject using the EFFL’s transition between weeks 8 and 9 using the players we’ve transacted on over that period. All transactions are real and we haven’t attempted to hide any of our dumb ass or knee jerk reactions.

Lets start with a brief overview of how the weekly timeline unfolds. This week (week 09) began (for us in the UK) around 0600 on Tuesday morning almost immediately after the final whistle went for the Cowboys loss to Washington on Monday Night Football. This means week 09 runs from then until the finish of the Colts-Giants game. It’s important to have this timeline in your head as we’ll come back to this later.

waiverstimeline

Weekly timeline

The next thing to note is the status of a player. In our league a player can only exist in 4 states;

  • On Roster
  • Free Agent
  • On Waivers
  • Locked

On Roster is self explanatory. The player is on the roster of one of the teams in our league. That player is the property of the team owner and only they can decide what happens to that player.

Free Agents, again, is a self explanatory term. These are players who are not on a roster, are not in a game and are free to be added to your team roster. This is an important note as when you add them they’re immediately added to your roster.

The next two states are the ones that cause the greatest confusion. Waivers and Locking are very similar concepts and i’ll try to explain them together.

Waivers exists to ensure fairness in the league and give everyone a chance to select players that become available from someone else’s roster. It’s really there to stop fastest finger wins and because we all work, live in other time zones and have families it means we can be a little less immersed in everything that happens on rosters (yeah, right).

Waivers in our league last 1 day. That means when a player is released from a roster or placed there automatically at the start of a new week then claims must be placed on the player before he can be assigned to your roster. If you’re the only person who puts in a claim then you get him. If there are other Coaches who’ve tried to claim the player then the successful Coach is decided by the waiver order. Any players not claimed on waivers automatically become Free Agents after the 1 day limbo.

The Waiver order is an order of preference, which in our league is always the reverse order of the standings at the beginning of the week. This is an important point. It doesn’t matter what the waiver order was at 0330 on Wednesday morning because when the new week begins the waiver order is always reset. When you submit a waiver claim you’re are always placed to the back of the waiver order. e.g. if you are waiver order 1 and successfully or unsuccessfully claim a player then you immediately go to back of the waiver order. As claims are processed you then begin to move up the order.

“What!” i hear you cry. “I didn’t pick any players on Tuesday so that i could be at the front of the queue for Wednesday”.

That’s an important point and unfortunately a misunderstanding of the weekly changeover.

This is where our next player status comes into play. The locked status happens to every player when their game begins. For thursday night players that’s at kickoff on thursday night (or early friday morning for us), for sunday afternoon players that’s sunday evening for us and so on. When a player is locked they are unavailable for selection until the new week begins.

When that new week begins they are automatically passed through the waiver process. i.e. 24 hours after the end of Monday Night Football. For us that’s generally early Wednesday morning and that’s also why the time of waiver claim processing can sometimes change from week to week.

So let’s run through that process again.

When a player is placed on waivers any number of owners can place a claim on that player. After the waiver period ends the team with the higher waiver priority is awarded the player. Each time a successful waiver claim is completed, the team awarded that player is moved to the end of the Waiver Priority list for their next transaction. You can view the results of your waiver claims by selecting the Waiver Report from within the navigation on your My Team page.

If there are no claims on a player during the waiver period, the player becomes a free agent (i.e. can be picked up at any time). Note that if you drop a player and place him on waivers, you are unable to add that player to your roster again until after the waiver period has expired.

So lets see how this works in practice. This week we had 10 players claimed from waivers on Wednesday morning. Now as Commissioner I don’t have access to league manager claims or when those claims were made,but with thanks to Coach Rab, Coach Richie and Coach Stuart we’re going to use three teams who were at No 1 , No2 and No3 of the waiver order as Week 09 began; The Pilton Panthers, SanFran- Gordon 69ers and Fog on the Tyne.

Coach Rab put 3 waiver claims this week in the following order:

  1. Add B LaFell WR Patriots       Drop A Dalton QB Bengals
  2. Add A Hawkins WR Browns   Drop D Martin RB Bucs
  3. Add M Nugent K Bengals       Drop M Bryant K Falcons

Coach Richie put 2 waivers claims in:

  1. Add B LaFell WR Patriots      Drop J Kearse WR Seahawks
  2. Add M Bryant WR Steelers   Drop M Prater K Lions

Coach Stephens put in 4 waivers claims in the following order:

  1. Add J Stewart RB Panthers    Drop C Johnson RB Jets
  2. Add B LaFell WR Patriots      Drop C Johnson RB Jets
  3. Add B LaFell WR Patriots      Drop A Bolden WR 49ers
  4. Add S Graham K Saints         Drop Bears DST

From these claims we can  easily see both the strategy and reasoning behind their claims and why they’ve set the order the claims have been put in.

For Coach Rab it’s relatively straightforward. The first player on his claim list will always be assigned to him as he tops the waiver order. His subsequent requests will more difficult to pick up as he’ll fall to the bottom of the waiver order so he’ll need to rely on no one else making a claim.

Coach Richie is after a wide receiver and he’s put in 2 claims. With Coach Rab in front of him probably needing a WR as well this is a good strategy. Whichever WR Coach Rab doesn’t pick then he should pick up his other choice. If Coach Rab goes really off-piste then there will always be a chance Richie can pick up both players.

For Coach Stephens, as he’s further down the waiver order, he needs to be a little bit cleverer with his claims. He’s decided he really wants J Stewart and he occupies his no1 slot. That means as long as Coach Rab and Coach Richie don’t put in a No.1 claim for him then he should pick him up. His number 2 claim is for B LaFell and because he’s trying to drop the same player he’s also submitted a 3rd claim for LaFell using a different player. Why has he done this? Well if he was successful for Stewart then he’d be automatically unsuccessful for LaFell (because Johnson would be released). That’s why the 3rd claim exists. He’s also added a 4th claim for a kicker.

So how did this all resolve itself?

Waiver Claims for Week 09

First claim of the week was for Brandon LaFell by the Panthers. Being no 1 in the waiver claim order they were awarded the player and all other claims for LaFell were rejected (claims 1 for 69ers and claims 2 and 3 for Fog and perhaps a few others we don’t know about). Next up in the order was M Bryant for the 69ers, followed by J Stewart for Fog. The Tornadoes were next in the waiver order and they selected the Eagles DST followed by the Jaguars who selected the Bengals DST. Mercy Flush were next in the waiver order and had no active claims (as the player(s) they wanted had already been selected). Unfortunately for the Flush this also counts as a transaction and they were moved to the back of the waiver order. The 187s then selected A Hawkins. The Oddities and Bohemians made no claims and passed their selection. This doesn’t move them down the waiver order. Pickaxe have a failed waiver claim and move to the back of the queue, Dodgy Touchdown pass and then the Earthquakes pick up B Hoyer.

The next round of picks then began with the Oddities, Bohemians,  Touchdown passing and then the Panthers picked up M Nugent and so on and so on until L Kendricks completes our waiver claims on Wednesday morning.

ADD DROP TEAM
B LaFell WR Patriots A Dalton QB Bengals Panthers
M Bryant WR Steelers M Prater K Lions 69ers
J Stewart RB Panthers C Johnson RB Jets Fog
Philadelphia DST M Floyd WR Chargers Tornadoes
Bengals DST T West RB Browns Jaguars
A Hawkins WR Browns D Adams WR GB 187s
B Hoyer QB Browns A Jenkins TE Bucs Earthquakes
M Nugent K Bengals M Bryant K Falcons Panthers
S Graham K Saints Bears DST Fog
L Kendricks TE Rams G Escobar TE Cowboys 187s

Hopefully this gives you an insight into player status our rosters and how waivers works. Please don’t hesitate to leave comments or ask me any questions.

Ciao!

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3 thoughts on “Waivers- A Rookie’s Guide

  1. Right, this is causing too much brain ache for me!

    Let’s say there are 2 obvious outstanding players on waivers, and maybe 4 teams that want both of them.
    Waiver pick 1 is guaranteed star waiver 1, that is clear.
    But, if waiver picks 2-4 have also set a claim on star player 1, do they move to the back of the queue to let waiver pick 1 pick up not only star player 1 but also star player 2? Or does waiver pick 2’s whole transaction include a failed pick for star player 1 and the successful pick for star player 2, then they move to the back of the queue? Waiver pick 3 would then have a transaction that maybe included 2 failed claims and a successful claim for someone else? That seems fair, but not how I read your post above, which Implies that waiver 1 might get both of the stars if everyone made a claim for the first star player?

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    • You spotted the artifice in the explanation! There is a subtle difference between successful and unsuccessful claims and claims that haven’t resolved. In your example above, 1 goes to the back of the queue whereas 2-4 have their other claims resolved with everybody else. As soon as they have a successful claim they’re moved to the back. If the have no successful claims it also changes their waiver position after everything is resolved.

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