Commish HQ: Yes Virginia, There are Wednesday Waivers

By Reginald James
Reginald James

A lot of fantasy leagues run waivers on Tuesday. We’re going to discuss the reasons why some commissioners might want to consider processing their league’s waivers on Wednesday night instead. For the uninitiated, I’ll quickly give a very simplistic breakdown of the waiver process:


• The “waiver wire” consists of players who are not currently on a roster.


• During a specific time period, managers can make a bid to add these players to their roster.


• At the end of the waiver period, managers are rewarded players based on a winning bid.


• Most times, a manager will drop a player on their roster in order to make room for any new additions.


Players who are not claimed during the waiver process become free agents. Managers can then add these players to their roster on a first-come, first-served basis.


• Some leagues will have continuous waivers where all unclaimed players are on waivers all the time.


This all seems pretty simple enough, right? So, what’s the difference between running waivers on Tuesday versus Wednesday? Most waivers run some time after midnight. For the sake of this discussion, we’re going to use this scenario as our default. For example, league managers will usually have until 12:00 a.m. Wednesday to make a claim for a player. Waivers will be processed some time after that. So yes, in actuality, while we may say “Tuesday waivers,” we’re talking about a process that activates early Wednesday morning.


Doctor, Doctor, Give me the News


Even if a player is injured on Sunday, it’s not necessarily a given they won’t be available for their next game. Tuesday waivers usually clear before most NFL teams release their team’s injury and practice reports for the week.


With such limited information, and the lack of time to assess whether or not they have to actually make a move in the first place, it’s hard sometimes for managers to make an informed decision regarding a player claim. They might not need to make a claim for anyone. In some cases they’re basically guessing. They’re hoping that their choice works out. While some may argue that’s the cost of doing business in fantasy football, others may suggest there’s room for improvement.


Manic Monday


The last NFL game of the week is played on Monday Night. Now, the NFL has decided to scatter a number of Monday double-headers throughout the season as well. Sometimes it’s bad enough trying to make a decision for a waiver pull for a player that was injured on Sunday, much less in a Monday night game.


While it’s true that in some cases, extending the waiver period for one more day, might not make much a difference, there are times where a particular waiver pull has the potential to make or break a season. Allowing for one more day of breaking player news and updates, can be pivotal in determining the fortune of a manager’s fantasy season.


Paying The Cost to Be The Boss


The more efficient league members can be in their roster management the better. If their waiver moves come at a cost in some form, the stakes can be high.


• Some leagues put a limit on the number of waivers claims

• Some leagues charge actual money per claim

• Managers can waste FAAB resources on unnecessary claims


Thursday’s Child


Before you take the plunge, there is one issue that you need to take into consideration. The first game of the NFL week begins on Thursday. If you move waivers to Wednesday, any players dropped for Wednesday claims will not clear the next waiver period by the Thursday night game.


This situation isn’t a big deal for some folks, because it only affects players on two teams. In any given Thursday game (barring IDP leagues), we’re talking about less than 10 players. The tradeoff for longer access to information for a greater pool of players, versus strategizing for the unavailability of a handful of players isn’t an issue.


Any Time At All


NOTE: On some platforms (e.g., Yahoo), after a player is released, the “timer” doesn’t start until a new day begins (12:00 a.m.), not at the moment of release. This means a “one day” waiver period actually lasts two days.


There are two ways to circumvent the short processing turnaround issue that Thursday games create:


• Change the common waiver processing time from 48 hours to something shorter.


• No waivers: All dropped players become free agents.


The first adjustment decreases the time people have to gather information on a player once again. We’re kind of right back where we started. Is decreasing the waiver processing time worth it?


A common request among commissioners is for their platforms to offer the option for a “true” 24-hour waiver period. Yet, words matter. A “true,” or actual one-day drop would technically still make a player unavailable - until early Friday AM. In other words, what we’re really talking about is being able to set a shortened waiver period to say, 12 hours, not 24.


The second, no waivers modification, will dramatically change the gameplay and strategic maneuvers of the members in your league. Making a switch like this is a pretty big deal. It’s akin to a facelift. Playing in a league with continuous waivers, no waivers, or with set waiver periods all require different strategies. How would league members react having to change from one of these modes to the other? Once more, seriously consider if making the change is worth it?


Either of these variations just might be the solution for some leagues. That’s for you to decide, but tread carefully and really think about it.


Love You Til’ Tuesday


For argument’s sake, let’s touch upon keeping things as is, for leagues that still run waivers on Tuesday. All managers are in the same boat as far as having the same, or lack of, information. They all have to navigate their way around the informational hurdles just like everyone else. Even with Tuesday waivers, there are still players that may not be available for the Thursday game: some people might drop a player on Tuesday. Remember, keep in mind when the “timer” begins. If a manager drops a player on Saturday, that player will not be available for other league members to claim in time for the Sunday game. That’s the way it goes in fantasy football, and everyone has to plan and strategize for those possibilities.


So What’Cha Want


A lot of leagues run waivers on Tuesdays, with commissioners and members who may even prefer it that way. At the end of the day, commissioners have to decide if Tuesday waivers is an issue in the first place. Does anyone in the league really care? Have there been complaints? Do you believe it will really change the competitive dynamics in your league for the better?


Not all platforms allow you to select Wednesdays for waivers, so unless you switch, or until they make that an option, you’re stuck. If you really feel strongly about changing, I would encourage you to send letters. Rally your league members and others to fire off those emails, and let your platform know what you want.



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