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How do I cover bye week players using waiver request in my fantasy football league?

This information applies to waiver request at FanaticFantasyFootball.com specifically, but can be useful for other leagues.

Managing your team roster is critical in many facets of the fantasy football game. The league waiver request is one key to your team being competitive each week. The number of players you keep at each position dictates how often you will need to drop/add players via your league waiver wire. You divide your roster into divisions of importance in an attempt to keep as many studs as possible during the year. Twenty players are allowed on our total keeper league rosters. Keep that number in mind for the examples that follow.

Roster Management, Keep all studs at any cost:
You've decided to keep as many skilled position players as possible throughout the year. Your skilled positions might include quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers or just running backs and wide receivers. In some scoring formats you might even include the tight ends in that group. It's all up to you. Let's say you keep one player each at the not-so-important positions of tight end, place kicker, and team defense. This means you will probably be able to cover any skilled position bye week player(s) with players already on your roster. You probably won't be dropping or adding skilled position players often but, if you see a diamond in the waiver pool you might want to replace a player you've become unhappy with. During NFL bye weeks you will need to be on your toe's replacing your other three positions (TE, PK, TEAM DEF) with waiver wire replacements. Another choice you might make is to play your bye week player(s) and take a zero score. Doing that, you are trusting the rest of the players in your lineup to out score your opponent who has a full lineup.

Roster Management, Bend but don't break
The strategy here is to keep 4, 5, or 6 players in positions reserved for the tight end, place kicker, and team defense. The idea is to have players at the same position but who have different bye weeks. Thus you can switch between players without worrying about getting a player from the waiver pool. The number of players at each position can vary from coach to coach depending on his roster preferences. Maybe you have 2 TE's, 2 PK's, and 2 TM DEF's. Another coach might want 1 TE, 1 PK, and 1 Team DEF and he'll keep one or two player positions open for what I call floaters. The floater(s) are flexible and can be used on any position of need at any time. They aren't of great value other than to be used as an avenue to pick up a needed player during a bye week. The bend but don't break option doesn't allow the owner to stock as many QB's, RB's, and WR's but he doesn't have to worry about the not so important players on bye weeks. The trade off? You will need to be aware of skilled position player byes a little more since you're keeping more TE's, PK's, and DEF's, thus limiting the number of skill position players available during bye weeks.

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So you've decided how many players you intend to reserve for each player position. NFL bye weeks have begun and you need to drop/add players to substitute for your bye week player(s).

Waiver Order
Let's say you want to replace your kicker. First you need to know what position you're in in the waiver request order. If you're number 1, then you only need to place one kicker at the top of your list and you'll receive him. But, if you're 10th in the order, how do you know you will get a replacement kicker? If you only place one kicker on your list of requests for a round your chances of getting that kicker are 1 in 10 (10%). That's not a very good percentage. Here's how to make sure (100%) you get a kicker if you want one. You know you get the 10th pick in each round. Place 10 kickers consecutively on your list.

Example:
  1. Add Kris Brown Drop Josh Brown
  2. Add Shane Graham Drop Josh Brown
  3. Add Matt Stover Drop Josh Brown
  4. Add Jason Hanson Drop Josh Brown
  5. Add Olindo Mare Drop Josh Brown
  6. Add Jay Feeley Drop Josh Brown
  7. Add Josh Scobee Drop Josh Brown
  8. Add Jeff Reed Drop Josh Brown
  9. Add Nick Folk Drop Josh Brown
  10. Add Jason Elam Drop Josh Brown

Place them in order of preference 1-10. When the computer comes to your pick if the top two on your list have been taken then you'll get the player you have ranked #3, Matt Stover. If no kicker was taken ahead of your choice then you'll get your #1 request, John Carney. But, if 9 kickers are chosen ahead of you then you'll at least get the #10 guy on your list, Jason Elam. Do that for any player position if you want to be sure of getting a player. Now you know how to make sure you get a needed player. He may not necessarily be your top choice, but at least he fills the need at a position.

The next consideration is the number of rounds you have to request players from the waiver pool. Why is that important?

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Number of Rounds
You know you're allotted 4 rounds to request players. Let's plan to use all 4 rounds to get replacements. You know you need a kicker and you know you need to place 10 kickers in your list because you are 10th in the order. Now you must use your better judgement to figure out which round or rounds you need to use to get the top kicker on your list. Even with excellent judgement you might not get your man. Taking a look at the rosters of owners ahead of you in the waiver order might reveal they don't have kickers on a bye week. You determine they won't be placing kickers high on their list this week so you can, maybe, wait until round four to get your kicker. So you place 10 or more kickers in the round 4 list knowing you'll get one of them. That allows you to make more important requests in the earlier rounds. Let's say a wide receiver or running back you just can't do without. On the other side of that thinking, if you think a couple of other coaches might be needing a kicker and there is one good kicker available and a few average ones, you might request your kicker in the first round hoping the other coaches go for another position of need early leaving you the top kicker. It's a little like playing chess, trying to out maneuver your opponents. In the case of fantasy football waiver requests it's always better to load your request list with extra player choices.

These are only examples. You can apply them to any player position on your roster.

Now you know how you want to manage your roster, what position you have during the waiver runs, and how many rounds you have to get the player you want. It's time for you to start chopping some wood to get those players.

Article provided by: J. Piatt
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