After each week of the NFL season comes to a conclusion, fantasy football owners flood their league’s waiver wire with a bevy of requests for the unowned talent who stepped out Sunday and posted numbers coveted by all. Whether it was an injury to a running back or just a disappointing effort by a wide receiver, the revolving door that connects fantasy rosters with the free-agent pool spins quickly. Unfortunately, too many are chasing yesterday’s points and making rash decisions based on short-sighted analysis, which ultimately results in more disappointing performances ahead.
After Week 1 ended, many chased wide receiver Danny Amendola, who wrangled 104 yards with a touchdown against the Cardinals. He was labeled as the new Golden Tate for the Lions, and those who picked him up off the waiver wire had high hopes for a strong target share. Unfortunately, few realized how bad the Cardinals secondary is and watched in fury as Amendola was held without a catch in Week 2 against the Chargers.
When the dust settled on Week 2, Bengals receiver John Ross was the new waiver darling after back-to-back 100-yard efforts and three touchdowns in the books. Did they analyze the first two matchups at all? No, they just saw the box scores and failed to understand the shortcomings of the Seattle secondary or actually saw the broken coverage that led to Ross’ Week 2 heroics. He was a popular start in Week 3 and gave his owners just two catches for 22 yards. If they went back to the well in Week 4, three catches for 36 yards was all they received.
Taylor Gabriel fooled everyone with his Week 3 performance and Week 4 served up Corey Davis. Neither receiver was heard from in his follow-up game. Simply put, it was a lack of analysis. Few people actually took the time to study why each receiver found success and, as a result, came up short the following week.
We spend so much time studying strength of schedule during the preseason, yet, once you actually have the video to watch or the data to interpret, no one looks back at past opponents. If you are looking forward to see which receiver is actually worth owning, you need to look at how they were able to achieve their success, and that lies with who they played against. Stop looking solely at box scores and leaderboards, and instead study the matchups — past, present and future. It could mean the difference between wasting a roster spot on Byron Pringle and lavishing in the greatness of D.J. Chark.
Howard Bender is VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays at 4 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy football advice and NFL player rankings.