Standard Waiver Priority...No Thanks (The Case for Blind Waiver Bidding)

In this article we'll be discussing waiver priority. A large percentage of fantasy footballers would say that your season's success it tied closely to your success during your draft. If you draft poorly your team will likely perform poorly. Without a doubt a poor draft is going to make it more difficult for your team to win, but a great fantasy draft can be ruined quickly by poor in-season management. You need to be able to act quickly when it comes to identifying player about to breakout, or maybe an injury has opened the door to another player that has talent, but until now didn't have the opportunity. The ability to pick players up off the waiver wire is determined by your league's settings and most leagues by default will use a method that I find frustrating and somewhat arbitrary.

Let's discuss some of the common waiver priority methods

  • Reward the Loser - Ok, this isn't its official name, but that's the way I view it. Basically every week the waiver priority is determined based the fantasy team's record. If you have a bad record you get a better waiver priority. In other words, if your team has been doing too well you can forget about getting any of the hot waiver pickups. Your only hope may be that the teams with bad records are not paying attention and they won't put in a waiver request, but do you really want to play in a league where you have team owners that are checked out?
  • Use it and Lose it - this waiver priority method is where you are moved to the worst waiver priority when you pick someone up off the waiver wire. This method is a little better than the previous method because it does allow for some level of strategy as you have to decide when it is the right time to use your waiver priority. Do you only pick up players via free agency all year and hope you can move up the waiver priority so you are ready to strike on that hot commodity waiver pickup? Or do you benefit from your league mates trying to move up in priority? So it is a little better, but still there are too many times, especially in larger leagues, where you will never have a chance at the players you want because of that damn waiver priority
  • Blind Bid Waivers - this method puts strategy at the forefront. Every team gets a pre-determined amount of virtual waiver transaction dollars at the beginning of the season. To put in a request for a player you place a bid from your waiver transaction dollars. When the waiver period comes if you are the highest bidder you get the player. What I love about this method is there are endless strategies you can use, and as long as you have waiver transaction dollars you have a chance at every player on the waiver wire. Not only do you have to determine how important a player is to you, but you have to guess how important they are to your league mates. You may want the player, but you don't want to overpay for them because once your waiver transaction dollars are gone your limited to picking up players via free agency. Checking the transactions in the morning has an extra level of fun when you realize you got the player you wanted, and just barely outbid your friends. Trying to make multiple transactions, you no longer have to try to figure out the perfect order just enter the amount you're willing to spend on each player and you're done. The only downside is there is a learning curve for those not used to this method. Some people may be afraid to change for fear of the unknown. In my 12 team league last year we voted Blind Bid Waivers in with a slight majority, but by the end of the year there was only 1 person that didn't think it was an improvement.
  • Overall, I assume most people that are into fantasy football enjoy the strategy of trying to draft the perfect team to selecting the perfect lineup each week or trading away a player right at their peak value. So why would we want to use a waiver system that basically guarantees that you will not have a chance at obtaining some of the best waiver players. The reason fantasy football is legal is it has been classified as a game of skill, and not a game of chance. So why would we want to remove opportunities for skill to be rewarded by using a legacy waiver priority system