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A Quick Guide to the Waiver and Trade Dominator

A quick guide to the Waiver and Trade Dominator, from getting it set up to digging into the deepest and most compelling features.

Congratulations! You've had your draft, and you're ready for the 2017 season. You researched and prepared, perhaps you invested in the best drafting tools and advice on the market. You did the hard work, and now you have your team.

Only you don't— not really.

You see, football is unpredictable. No matter how much research and analysis and preparation you do, it's likely that around a third of your picks wind up being disappointments, and another third on top of that become outright busts. Your roster has gaping holes, whether you know it yet or not, and all you can do right now is sit and wait to discover where they are.

Thankfully, there's help available. Every year new stars are born to take the place of the injured, aging, and ineffective stars of years past. Every year, players available on waivers come out of nowhere to become league-winners.

And while every other team in your league is likewise being revealed as 1/3rd disappointments and 1/3rd busts, those letdowns aren't distributed evenly. Some will find themselves stocked at running back, others at wide receiver, others at quarterback, others at tight end.

Your team has holes, but help is out there. It's on the street, and it's on other teams' rosters. You just need a way to get it onto yours.

Drafting your team was just the first step. Building a champion is a year-round effort.

Waiver and Trade Dominator

Footballguys' new Waiver and Trade Dominator app aims to do for in-season roster management what the original Draft Dominator did for drafts. It uses detailed, complex algorithms to translate Footballguys' industry-standard projections into simple, actionable recommendations for you. Not for a generic owner in a generic league, but for your league, for your team, for you.

But before I show you what I mean by that, let's walk through setting things up. Like all Footballguys apps, the first time you boot it up it's going to ask you to log in to your Footballguys account or, if you don't have one, walk you through setting one up.

The reason for this is keeping things as simple as possible for you. You enter all of your leagues into your Footballguys account, let it automatically link up with those leagues to populate your rosters, and from then on every single Footballguys app and tool will automatically sync with that account. This means everything we do is tailored to you and your league.

Once you log in or create your account, the Waiver and Trade Dominator will sync with that account to automatically pull up a list of your fantasy football teams. And just like that, you're all set up and ready to start improving your roster.

Improving your roster starts with understanding your roster, so the first tab you're going to land on when you open the app is your current roster tab, represented by the blue notepad icon in the bottom left corner in this screenshot. At the top of this screen, you can use the dropdown menus to switch between leagues and teams quickly.

Once your team is selected, the last order of business is setting your weekly weights by clicking on the wrench icon in the top right of the screen. The weekly weights allow you to tell the app how important each week of the season is. By default, every week receives the same weight, but you can vary that to make a week anywhere from twice as valuable to worthless.

You probably won't need to do too much tweaking here, but I have three recommendations before you leave. First, if your league has a week 16 championship game, set the weight on week 17 to zero. Second, I like to set the weights on all playoff weeks to 2 to highlight the heightened importance.

Finally, if you are in a league that uses head-to-head tiebreakers to determine playoff seeding, I would assign a little bit of extra weight to every team in your conference, because a win against those teams counts for a little bit extra. Something around 1.2 should suffice. As the season goes on, you can update these weights to match the current standings, especially if you're in a league that uses head-to-head tiebreakers where some late-season games become virtual must-wins.

Here's an example of what my league's weekly weights look like after my tinkering.

As soon as you get your weekly weights set to your liking, the Waiver and Trade dominator will automatically recalculate all projections, dynamically update player values, and return you to your roster summary. This page is a very powerful tool for understanding your roster, so let's walk through all the information it provides.

By default, you will see a list of your players, how many games they are projected to start for you, how much surplus value they will produce in those games, and how much surplus value they will produce in games where they are on your bench.

This should give you a good indication of your team's strength and its depth at a glance. But if you want more detailed information, it lies just a tap away. If you tap on the blue “<>” symbol in the top center, the display will cycle to show you your players' projected point per game averages, as well as how their total production compares to the best available free agents and the worst projected starters.

If you tap the “<>” symbol again, you get information on a player's season-to-date production. At the moment, this tab will be blank, but during the season it will populate with each player's average to date, average over the last three weeks, and score last week, so you can quickly assess who is trending up and who is trending down.

Above the “<>” symbol are three more tabs to give you an overview of your entire roster at once. If you tap the “points” tab, you'll see something that looks like this.

This tab shows you a green line representing your team's projected score by week compared to a blue line representing the projected league average score per week. It also shows green and blue shaded fields representing your bench scoring vs. league average bench scoring. If you scroll down, you can get a detailed week-by-week breakdown of that information.

Finally, there's the “By Pos” tab.

This tab shows you a spider chart of how strong your team is by position. Scrolling down reveals a similar chart breaking down your depth, as well as detailed positional breakdowns.

Finally, if you return to your roster and select one of the players, you get a much more detailed analysis of that player's production and prospects.

The first tab provides a summary of the information we've already walked through. Scrolling to the bottom of this tab, however, shows a nice visualization of how much the player scores, how much of that is surplus value, and how much comes on the bench.

The tabs across the screen provide more detailed information on the player. The “Year” tab shows his upcoming schedule and projections alongside his past schedule and results. The “vs. FA/Starter” tab again provides a visual representation of how much value the player is providing, along with a numerical breakdown by week. Finally, the “News” tab will contain all recent news updates concerning that player.

When you are done looking at the in-depth information on your roster and you're ready to start improving it, navigate to waivers tab, represented at the bottom of your screen by an icon of a person with a “+” sign on top.

This tab will display the same information as your Current Roster tab, (including the ability to tap on the “<>” icon to cycle through more results), but for players who are currently free agents. At a glance, you can see what players would be projected to start for you, how many times they would be projected to start, and how much surplus value they would add to your roster.

By default, this list is sorted by which players do the most to upgrade your bench. The lists are fully sortable, though, so you could instead look to see which player is projected to earn the most starts on your team.

Sorting by projected starts will likely clutter the top of your list with defenses and kickers, but don't fret; if you select the blue wrench icon on this screen, not only can you alter your weekly weights again, but you can also filter free agents by position.

Do you specifically want to improve your flex position? Select running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, while deselecting quarterbacks, kickers, and defenses. Want to look ahead and play matchups at quarterback? Remove everything but the passers from your list with a few taps.

Finally, once you've made any waiver decisions, it's time to move on to the real heart of the app, the trade dominator. Select the handshake icon at the bottom of the screen.

If you're like me, trades are an infrequent occurrence in your redraft leagues. This isn't because everyone is opposed to trading, per se, it's just that it's tough to find a deal that leaves both parties feeling like their team is better off.

The Trade Dominator makes that as easy as tapping a few buttons.

At the top of the screen, there's an option to set the maximum number of players per team the Trade Dominator considers. The Dominator works by comparing every possible combination of players to pick out the ones that meet certain thresholds.

If you have 20 players on your roster and allow a maximum of 1 player per team, this results in 400 possible deals for the Trade Dominator to evaluate.

If you allow a maximum of 2 players per team, this allows all 400 of those previous 1x1 deals, but also adds an additional 144,400 possible 2x2 deals for the Trade Dominator to evaluate, plus 15,200 more 2x1 deals.

If we allow a maximum of 3 players per team, the Trade Dominator will consider: 400 1x1 deals; 15,200 2x1 deals; 273,600 3x1 deals; 144,400 2x2 deals; 5,198,400 3x2 deals; and 20,793,600 3x3 deals, for a grand total of 26,425,600 possible deals. (When I say it's hard to find a trade that leaves both parties satisfied, this number should put that task into a bit of perspective.)

Given how quickly the numbers spiral out of control, the Trade Dominator does not allow consideration of 4x4 deals or higher; the calculations would likely bring even the most powerful of phones to their knees. But if you select the 3-players per team, the Trade Dominator will quickly sort through the 25-million-and-change possible deals available to you and select the handful that meets your minimum requirements.

What kind of minimum requirements do I mean? Scroll down and you will see. Further down this page, there are two boxes, one for your goals and one for your partner's goals, (as well as a drop-down box for you to select your desired trade partner).

Each team can choose to focus on improving his starters, his bench, or his overall roster balance. You can look for trades that improve your team without hurting your opponent very much, (assuming his or her player valuations might differ enough to get a deal done), or you can even look for the white whale of fantasy football, the win/win trade.

Once you have your minimum goals set, select “Search for Trades” at the bottom of this page and wait while the Trade Dominator calculates. (The larger the trades it is considering, the longer this step will take.)

Once the calculations are complete, the Trade Dominator will list out all trades that meet your criteria. Tapping on a trade will bring up a more detailed breakdown.

The trade breakdown should make it clear just how many factors the Trade Dominator took into consideration. For instance, it considers the weekly weights you set to try to get you players who help you when you most want it, (and it's smart enough to ignore your weekly weights when evaluating your opponent's side).

The Trade Dominator also tailors its advice to where you are in the season. Early in the year, it will bias you more towards improving your depth and balance to protect against inevitable injuries. Later in the year, it will shift more of your value into your starting lineup in anticipation of the fantasy playoffs.

While evaluating the trade, you can tap on the tabs across the top of the screen to get a visual breakdown of more information. The “Points” tab will show you your team's projected starter and bench points before and after the trade.

The “By Pos” tab gives you a now-familiar spider chart of how many points you'll score at each position both before and after the trade.

Sharp-eyed readers might notice that the trade I'm evaluating didn't include any tight ends, but the “By Position” breakdown shows an increase in my tight end scoring. This is because the Trade Dominator is smart enough to evaluate the impacts of a trade on my entire roster at once.

In this case, before the trade my team had so many quality wide receivers that I was frequently starting one in my flex position. By shipping off Odell Beckham, I'm not only taking a hit at wide receiver, but I'm also less likely to use one as a flex. Instead, I wind up flexing a tight end more often, increasing the amount of starter points at tight end and decreasing the amount of depth points. Trust me when I say that no stone is left unturned.

The final tab is again familiar, a quick news breakdown of all players involved which serves as one last check in case there are breaking reports of a new injury or something which might impact the values.

The Trade Dominator doesn't just suggest trades that fit your parameters, though. It also helps you analyze any trade offers you might receive from your leaguemates. From the “Suggest Trades” screen, select the “Analyze Offer” tab at the top of the screen.

Select the players involved and you'll get access to the same data and presentation we just went over. From this screen you can select any number of players, so those of you who were disappointed that the Trade Dominator couldn't suggest a 10-player blockbuster, you can still use it to evaluate the blockbusters you come up with for yourself.

Just for fun, here's a screenshot of what it would look like if Chase and I agreed to trade our entire teams.

Again, the Trade Dominator is not just considering the trade I'm proposing, but also placing it in the context of the available free agents. Really, it's not leaving a single stone unturned in its quest to improve your roster.

That's it for the Trade Dominator. The last two tabs in the app are largely references. If you select the numbered list icon at the bottom of the screen, you're taken to the overall rest-of-season projections list.

This is a good tool if you want to see where your players stack up against the rest of the league, and if you select the wrench icon in the top-right corner, you can even highlight players on other teams for comparison.

Finally, the ellipsis icon in the bottom right corner takes you to the app settings.

All data in the app is updated automatically— you've probably noticed a few updates just while tinkering around with it— but for peace of mind, you can force an update at any time on this screen.

While you're here, you can also find links to several of Footballguys' most popular resources, such as our always-current depth charts and our newswire. Finally, this is also where you'll find access to the help desk should you need any support with this, or any other, Footballguys app.

And that's the Waiver and Trade Dominator app, a tool that recognizes that building your team doesn't stop the moment your draft ends. You can use it on its own to keep your roster in top-top shape, or you can pair it with our Draft Dominator and Lineup Dominator apps to use industry-leading projections and cutting-edge algorithms to dominate every aspect of your season with advice tailored specifically to you.