Collinsworth Invitational: Using PFF tools to survive the byes
(Pro Football Focus gave subscribers the opportunity to win a team in the Cris Collinsworth Fantasy Football Invitational, playing alongside celebrities such as Warren Sapp, Jenny McCarthy and of course Cris himself. As the lucky winner of that contest, I will be writing a weekly piece that provides a view into what it’s like playing in a celebrity league and how I will use the PFF tools to give me an edge.)
For the second week in a row, six of the NFL teams have a bye. That means another active week of looking at the waiver wire, both for one week fill-ins and also for potential starters in the push to the playoffs. In the Collinsworth Invitational, it is a particularly painful one for me when it comes to roster needs. My starting running backs are Lamar Miller and LeSean McCoy. Miller is on bye this week and McCoy is dealing with a nagging injury that will likely keep him out again so he can recover during his Week 10 bye. I have Dion Lewis stashed, but even if he was activated to play, the Patriots are on bye this week. Thankfully, Pro Football Focus has me covered when it comes to uncovering waiver wire gems for the week.
Getting in those claims
In the Collinsworth Invitational, waiver wire claims run early on Wednesday morning. That means all the claims have to be submitted by Tuesday night. In order to prioritize my claims, I turn to Jeff Ratcliffe’s weekly waiver wire article. What makes this article really useful is that Jeff breaks it down by size of league (shallow 8- to 10-team leagues, regular 12 teams, and 14-plus-team deep leagues), as well as position. On other sites, they list players that have not been available in my leagues for weeks, yet they call them a hot waiver wire pickup. For this week, I went straight to the running back position to see who Jeff recommended. Picks included Derrick Henry, Charcandrick West and C.J. Prosise, so all three three went on my list.
However, PFF recognizes that just because waiver wires run once a week, there is still an opportunity in many leagues to acquire players after that. Furthermore, some situations require more explanation than just a few sentences and are best settled in a debate/discussion. For that, the PFF Fantasy Slant Podcast has a waiver-wire edition where Mike Tagliere, Brandon Marianne Lee, Nathan Jahnke and Daniel Kelley break down the players you should be targeting.
The waiting game
One of the surprises in this league has been the activity level of my fellow competitors. I had the misconception that “celebrity” league participants would see their interest level fall off after a few weeks. In the Collinsworth Invitational, that could not be further from the truth. In fact, this week there we actually 18 different transactions that took place. Those moves took a variety of shapes. For instance, being the Jets fan that he is, Gary Vaynerchuk was quick to grab Bilal Powell, who I dropped last week to start Ryan Fitzpatrick. Warren Sapp was very active with four moves, beating me on the waiver wire to Derrick Henry as he dropped Jamaal Charles. Even with all of this movement, I was able to fill my holes in RB this week, landing both Charcandrick West and C.J. Prosise. With Prosise, I also have the flexibility to plug LeSean McCoy back in Monday night if he is surprisingly active. Beyond RB, I added back Ty Montgomery, who I was forced to drop last minute on Sunday when he was surprisingly inactive and I needed a replacement.
Waiver wires can be stressful in weeks like this where half your team looks to be on bye. But with the tools of Pro Football Focus at your fingertips, navigating these treacherous weeks becomes much easier.