Punch Drunk Wonderland

The Waiver Wire Conundrum

Do I use my waiver position to pick up this flavor of the week? Do I set my alarm for 4:30am or not? Will he still be there as a free agent if I wait until 7:00am?

The above conundrum is probably my favorite part about fantasy football in Punch Drunk Wonderland. Each week there is an acquisitions arms race involving the dance of waiver wire acquisitions and hoping for a guy to clear waivers to be available in free agency.

While there are a million standard fantasy football leagues out there, there are also a million with specialized formats. We are in our 7th year of Punch Drunk Wonderland, and in that time it has been slowly overhauled to make it what it is today.

We do Auction Drafts (which make Snakes look like a joke) and our initial waiver order is determined by auction dollars remaining at the end of the draft (most to least). We don’t do that “worst-to-first” bullshit for waiver determination. Instead we do a rolling waiver in which you go to the end once you’ve made a selection. This has created an excellent cutthroat dynamic in Punch Drunk Wonderland acquisitions. At 4:30am every Wednesday waivers are processed and once all waivers process the remaining player pool becomes available in free agency.

This setup means there are essentially two acquisition races going on. There is the waiver claim competition in which you’re using waiver priority to grab a guy before someone else, and then there is the dirty business of snaking guys in free agency while keeping your waiver position. At roughly 4:35am the mad dash starts, and you have to gauge hype on a player to determine whether you really need to be up to grab that free agent immediately after waivers clear.

“Maybe this particular guy can wait until a more reasonable hour.”

“Dammit! I knew I should have woken up before 7!”

In the early years of using this setup in PDW there were only a few managers that played the acquisitions game, but as time has passed more and more have started getting into the fray. It’s one thing to think, “I’m not using my waiver spot on Kevin Ogletree in Week 2, but if I want him I have to try to get him in free agency as soon as I can after waivers clear to beat PDW manager X.” But, it’s something entirely different to know there are a half dozen snarling dog managers thinking the same thing. God forbid some of them are in different time zones. Oh, the waiver carnage!

These are the things that I love in our Punch Drunk Wonderland league, and going to other leagues with standard snake drafts and worst-to-first wires is such a let down. For new fantasy commissioners out there looking to start a league, AUCTION IS THE WAY TO GO. And, use the rolling waiver wire because the meta game of acquisitions is nearly as fun as winning your fantasy matchup….ok, maybe not. But, it’s awesome.

K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...