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Editorial: Lessons from the Fantasy Football Waiver Wire

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I’ll admit I’m way too invested in fantasy football, particularly when you consider my league is named the Frugal Fantasy Federation. We’re not exactly competing for midlife crisis sports car money; it’s more like bragging rights and enough cash for an oil change and maybe a tire rotation. Maybe.

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The appeal of fantasy football is trying to collect and manage a group of players from around the NFL who can consistently deliver points based on game performance. Your league may award points, for example, for the number of yards (rushing, receiving, passing), catches, touchdowns, etc. that a player collects during the game.

football player

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What adds to the fun is that you’re invested in more than just your favorite team every season. Now, the performance of a running back from a team you’ve never cared about can help you get the “W” for the week or drop you out of the playoff hunt.

If you happen to start someone playing against your favorite team, the mental gymnastics can get complicated in a hurry. Your inner dialog sounds something like: “OK, I want my team to win, but I want them to let my fantasy QB throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns, but not to that wide receiver who is on the other guy’s team.”

Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of fantasy football success. I won’t give away all my strategies, of course, but when you’re unsure of who to draft, pick the guy who went to Alabama. Yes, as an alum I am biased, but the numbers usually back me up. Roll Tide.

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Last season, I just missed the playoffs in one league and was decimated in the playoffs in another. Injuries to my top wide receiver and tight end sealed my fate. My bench—the players you keep in reserve in case of bye week or an injury—simply couldn’t replicate the game performance of my starters. By the time the injuries happened late in the season, the waiver wire—the pool of players not claimed by any teams in the league—had been picked clean of any reasonable replacements.

Does your company have a waiver wire strategy? For months, AVIXA has been reporting on the growth of employment (opens in new tab) in the Pro AV industry, but it’s a tough hiring market. What happens when someone on your team goes on injured reserve (IR) because of COVID-19 or another medical or family emergency? Who’s waiting on your bench when members of your team are on a bye week (aka vacation)? And in this market, what’s stopping another company from poaching your top performers?

Perhaps now is a good time to evaluate your lineup. Make sure you have the players you need to remain competitive—and you have the corporate culture in place to keep your players on your team. Unlike fantasy football, when it comes to your company, there’s a lot more at stake than just bragging rights.

Mark J. Pescatore
Mark J. Pescatore

Mark J. Pescatore, Ph.D., is the content director of Systems Contractor News. He has been writing about Pro AV industry for more than 20 years. Previously, he spent more than eight years as the editor of Government Video magazine. During his career, he's produced and hosted two podcasts focused on the professional video marketplace, taught more than a dozen college communication courses, co-authored the book Working with HDV, and co-edited two editions of The Guide to Digital Television