Waivers went through for most fantasy leagues last night, and many playoff teams were certainly disappointed they were unable to grab the player they put a claim on. The culprit in some cases? Another team in the league not in the fantasy playoffs. So, is a non-playoff team playing the waiver wire fair game or foul play?
The argument against non-playoff teams using waivers is that they are out of it and have no shot at a championship, so they should not be participants. But that’s basically the gist of it—the argument ends there.
Now, going out of your way to attempt a sabotage of another team owner you personally don’t like in an effort to prevent that person from winning a championship is not cool. Don’t try to pick up a bunch of defenses for future weeks (potential streaming options for playoff teams) just because you don’t want a rival to win a title. However, those are extreme cases. Overall, non-playoff teams should remain in the waiver wire mix.
The primary logic in favor of non-playoff teams playing the waiver is simple. Why should the lowest seed in the fantasy playoffs suddenly get top waiver priority?
Let’s say Antonio Brown was a free agent in your traditional waiver-wire (non-FAAB) fantasy league and suddenly re-signed with the Patriots yesterday. So, for those that believe only playoff teams should be allowed to play the waiver wire, the lowest playoff seed automatically gets to add Brown to their roster?
Also, at the end of the season, even teams that aren’t in the playoffs don’t want their end-of-season rosters looking very bad. It just looks better to have a full lineup running throughout the consolation ladder and throughout the final week of the season. League history pages usually show final rosters, and waiver claims might be necessary to have a respectable roster to conclude the year.
It’s understandable if non-playoff owners want to keep a distance and not make any drastic moves on the waiver wire or otherwise (dropping legitimate starting options should not happen). But to ask them not to participate in the waiver wire (especially if there’s a FAAB or keeper settings that include potential waiver additions) as a rule—as crazy as it sounds, some leagues even have rules disallowing non-playoff teams from putting in waiver claims—is absurd.
And in the end, it comes down to competitiveness. Even if there’s no last-place punishment or consolation bracket reward, no one wants to come in last place in their league. While your fantasy season might not end in a championship, the NFL season is still 17 weeks. There are still games to be played.