Fantasy Football Advice: Patience Over Panic

by Howard Bender on September 11, 2013

davidwilsonWell now that the fantasy baseball season is coming to a close and the preseason fantasy football work has finally died down, my life is my own again and it gives me time to return to posting here on Apologies for the lack of posting here, but if you’re following me on Twitter and/or Facebook, then you’ve been catching everything I’ve been writing on RotoWire, Fantasy Alarm and FanGraphs. Still going strong on all three, but the schedule is still opening up to afford me some extra time. So in honor of my “return” here, I’d like to share with all of you a little piece of advice that may be helpful to you here in the early goings of the fantasy football season and the start of your waiver wire process. And that piece of advice is for you to step back from your initial Week 1 freak out and exercise a little patience.

Week 1 is in the books and your first match-up of the fantasy season is over. If you won, congratulations. If not, sorry. Better luck next week. But whether you won or lost, everyone likely has someone on their roster who disappointed them with their opening game. At the same time, there are probably a few names that are out there who have now become tempting pick-ups. The knee-jerk reaction is to drop those who faltered and immediately make it rain at Club Waiver Wire, whether it’s through a blind-biding process or just using up your waiver priority. But before you make any rash decisions, you need to really stop and examine your roster before grabbing the flavor of the week.

First, look to see if you actually need the player. I’ve received emails from hordes of people who own Jimmy Graham, Jared Cook and Vernon Davis who, despite a great week from their tight end, are still asking what kind of bid they should lay down on Denver’s Julius Thomas. Sure, the Broncos tight end had a fantastic debut, but if you already have a tight end of high-quality, then why do you need another? For a one-week bye fill-in? So you can sit and unnecessarily fight with yourself each week over which one to start? Trade bait? If it’s for the first two, come on. Is that move really necessary? Your waiver priority/dollars can and should be spent elsewhere. If it’s for trade bait, then you better have something lined up to make it work or you run the risk of getting stuck with the extra player for a few weeks taking up a roster spot you should be using for a different position. Trading in this game can be a bear most of the time and if your league is competitive, you’re going to have an awfully tough time dealing a guy who has dealt with injuries throughout his career and has only one good game under his belt.

If you don’t need to make a move, then don’t. It’s no big deal. There’s really no one out there who is a difference-maker right now and with so few injuries during Week 1, you’re better off saving your priority/dollars for when the sh*t really hits the fan and you actually do need to make a few key pick-ups. I could understand if Rashard Mendenhall went down and you picked up Stepfan Taylor, but just because LaRod Stephens-Howling got hurt and the Steelers picked Jonathan Dwyer back up, it doesn’t mean that you have to go out and spend your waiver funds on him. He still sits behind Isaac Redman on the depth chart and will eventually play behind Le’Veon Bell as well. You’re not being a savvy owner with foresight. You’re being wasteful. Pick up out of need.

Now obviously, if your team is stacked (Eight and 10-team league owners, I’m talking to you) then you may be able to afford making a foresight pick, but only if you have someone sitting on your bench that will absolutely, positively, never make your starting lineup. I’m talking about a random pick you made in the final round off your draft and is unlikely to see much in the way of playing time; someone like Rob Housler who you took a flier on but is dealing with a high-ankle sprain, not someone who just had a bad week.

And speaking of just having a bad week…

People who own David Wilson and Stevan Ridley, pay attention. Yes, both guys sucked in Week 1. Yes, both were benched and are currently residing in their respective coach’s doghouse. But to give up on these guys is a huge mistake. The Patriots lost Shane Vereen to a broken wrist and no matter how angry Bill Belichick is with Ridley, neither LeGarrette Blount nor Brandon Bolden have the talent to supplant Ridley for the starting job. You know it, I know it, and Belichick knows it. If they did, then it would have happened already during the preseason. As for Wilson, we already saw the mediocrity of Da’Rel Scott and while the Giants brought in Brandon Jacobs, Wilson is still the best running back on that roster. You know it, I know it and Tom Coughlin knows it. So while both guys may lose a few carries here and there to their handcuffs, neither is going to be benched on a permanent basis.

Now while cutting either of them would be a totally bonehead move, I doubt (and I’m being hopeful here) anyone actually did it. But that doesn’t mean that people haven’t done it with others. Take Kenbrell Thompkins for example. Did he suck in Week 1? Yes, yes he did. But this was a kid whom Tom Brady lauded throughout the preseason and has tremendous talent. Could it be that this undrafted free agent simply had opening night jitters here in his rookie debut? Yes. It’s more than possible. The guy saw 14 targets throughout the game. Despite the miscues, the misplays, the slips and the drops, Brady continued to go back to him. Why? Because he has confidence in this kid’s abilities and you should too. Be patient and watch. He’s going to improve and with Danny Amendola likely out for Thursday’s game, Thompkins is going to get a shot. You can blah blah all you want about Julian Edelman, but he failed in his bid as a starter last season and just doesn’t have the tools that Thompkins has.

Other players you should exercise patience with include: Chris Givens, Mike Wallace, Danny Woodhead, Mark Ingram, T.Y. Hilton, Ahmad Bradshaw, Lance Moore, Montee Ball, Dwayne Bowe, Eric Decker, Quinton Patton and C.J. Spiller

I know it’s difficult to sit on your hands here in the first week of free agency, but for the sake of your team and the rest of your season, be patient. If you jump too soon, you’re liable to falter down the road. If you don;t have to make a move, then don’t. It’s as simple as that. Besides, there’s nothing worse than needing waiver dollars /priority and not having it.


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