what is waivers in fantasy football?

Fantasy football has become a cultural phenomenon, engaging millions of enthusiasts in a virtual battle for supremacy. Central to the fantasy football experience is the concept of waivers, a mechanism that adds an extra layer of strategy to team management. In this comprehensive guide, we will unravel the mysteries of waivers in fantasy football, covering what waiver is, how they operate, and the best strategies for navigating the waiver wire to enhance your team’s success.

Definition of Waivers

In fantasy football, waivers refer to a system that temporarily prevents team owners from immediately adding unclaimed players to their rosters. This process is designed to create a fair and competitive environment by giving all teams an equal opportunity to acquire new players.

Purpose of Waivers

The primary purpose of waivers is to level the playing field, ensuring that every team has a chance to improve its roster. Without waivers, the team with the highest priority could continuously add any available player, potentially creating an imbalance in the league.

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How Do Waivers Work?

Waiver Order

The waiver order determines the priority of each team in claiming players off the wire. The team with the lowest ranking (highest waiver number) typically gets the first pick, and the order may reset weekly based on various factors, such as inverse standings or a rolling priority system.

Waiver Wire Process

When a player is dropped by a team, they enter the waiver wire. Other teams have a specified window (usually 24 to 48 hours) to place a claim on that player. Once the waiver period expires, the player goes to the team with the highest waiver priority that claimed them.

Free Agents

After the waiver period ends, unclaimed players become free agents. Free agents are available to be added to any team’s roster on a first-come, first-served basis, without affecting the waiver order.

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Types of Waivers

Standard Waivers

In standard waiver systems, the waiver order remains static until it resets based on predetermined criteria, such as inverse standings or a rolling priority system.

Continuous (Rolling) Waivers

Continuous waivers, also known as rolling waivers, involve an ever-changing waiver order based on successful claims. The team that makes the most recent successful claim moves to the back of the waiver order.

Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB)

FAAB is a more dynamic system where teams are allocated a budget at the beginning of the season. Teams bid on players, and the highest bidder acquires the player. This approach adds an extra strategic layer to the waiver process.

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Strategies for Managing Waivers

Prioritize Positions of Need

When targeting players on the waiver wire, focus on positions where your team needs improvement. Assess your roster’s strengths and weaknesses to make strategic additions.

Monitor Player Performance

Stay informed about player performances, injuries, and depth chart changes. Being proactive in identifying potential breakout players or injury replacements can give you an edge on the waiver wire.

Understand Waiver Order Dynamics

Whether you’re in a standard waiver league or one with continuous waivers or FAAB, understanding the dynamics of the waiver order is crucial. Use it strategically to maximize your chances of acquiring high-impact players.

Plan for Bye Weeks and Injuries

Anticipate bye weeks and potential injuries when managing your roster. Use the waiver wire to secure viable substitutes during these periods, ensuring your team remains competitive.

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Waiver Wire Pickups and Strategies

Breakout Players

Identifying breakout players early in the season can provide a significant advantage. Keep an eye on emerging talents and grab them off the waiver wire before their value skyrockets.


Handcuffing involves securing the backup player to a star player on your roster. This strategy mitigates the impact of injuries to key players, ensuring you have a replacement ready to step in.

Streaming Positions

For positions like defense or tight end, consider streaming, which involves rotating players based on favorable matchups. Use the waiver wire to pick up players with advantageous upcoming schedules.

Navigating the waiver wire is an essential skill in fantasy football, and understanding how waivers work is crucial for success. Whether you’re playing in a standard league, one with continuous waivers, or using the FAAB system, strategic management of waivers can elevate your team’s performance. By staying informed, planning for roster needs, and employing effective strategies, you can gain a competitive edge and position yourself for fantasy football glory.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: How does the waiver order reset in fantasy football?

A1: The waiver order may reset based on various criteria, such as inverse standings, a rolling priority system, or a combination of both.

Q2: Can I make multiple waiver claims in a single week?

A2: In many leagues, teams can submit multiple waiver claims in a week. The system processes claims in priority order, and once a claim is successful, the team moves to the back of the waiver order.

Q3: How often does the waiver wire process in fantasy football?

A3: The waiver wire typically processes once or twice a week, depending on your league settings. Common processing days are Tuesday and Wednesday.

Q4: What is the difference between continuous waivers and FAAB?

A4: Continuous waivers involve a changing waiver order based on successful claims, while FAAB (Free Agent Acquisition Budget) allows teams to bid on players with a budget allocated at the beginning of the season.

Q5: How do I know if a player is on waivers or a free agent?

A5: During the waiver period, a dropped player is on waivers. After the waiver period ends, unclaimed players become free agents and can be added on a first-come, first-served basis.

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