Waiver Claims: The Worst of 2021 Fantasy Football


Over the course of each fantasy football season, making good use of the waiver wire on a weekly basis is an essential part of building a championship caliber team, even in dynasty leagues. While guys like Elijah Mitchell were likely drafted in your dynasty league in the later rounds, and other stashed on your taxi squads, there was still a good amount of talent to go around on the waiver wire this year. There were also an exceptional number of busts as well that fantasy experts offered up as viable for your starting lineup or as a stash on your bench. In this article, we'll use the benefit of hind sight to look at some of the biggest duds and busts that you, or your league mates, claimed off of the waiver wire in 2021.


Yesterday, we took a look at the rosier side of this year's waiver claims, by examining the 10 Best Dynasty Waiver Claims of 2021. Today, we're going to venture into the dark side of the waiver claim world, where we'll see some waiver claims that will truly make you cringe if you started them at the right time this season. For context, much of what made some of these players truly gruesome adds was the amount of FAAB you likely had to bid, or waiver wire priority you had to give up to get them on your roster in the first place. Similarly to the best of article, I wanted to start my search after week one's tilt of games, and narrowed my focus down to players that were likely unowned in your dynasty leagues. This means that we won't be targeting speed demon Henry Ruggs on this rendition of the list. If you want to take a look and see if any of these players ended up on any of our latest dynasty rankings, these have been included below for your convenience.


Dynasty Football Rankings


10. Mike White (QB-NYJ)


I'll admit - it's tough to pick on the Jets. Aside from the emergence of Elijah Moore, there haven't been many bright spots this year with QB of the future Zach Wilson more likely to hit his own linemen than a WR, and the team getting zero Pro Bowl selections. After an injury to Zach Wilson forced White into the game in week 7, he went largely unclaimed on the Waiver Wires for that week after he looked inefficient against the Pats. After a monster game against the Bengals though, White was claimed in many a league, and looked like a candidate for streaming in DFS and 2 QB leagues going forward. What happened next? White failed to accrue 10 points in the next two games as he threw 11 passes in week 9 against Indy, and threw 4 picks against Buffalo in week 10. He was subsequently benched, and remained in COVID protocol until this Tuesday.


9. Derrick Gore (RB-KC)


Look - I hesitated to rank him at all because most of us knew this was never going to pan out. The truth is, with all the injuries at RB this season, some of us started him out of desperation, and were disappointed regularly. After being forced into action in primetime against the Giants when he ran for 50 yards and a score, he was highly touted, and followed that up with 19 yards from scrimmage. He recorded 6 touches in week 10, and didn't see the field again until week 14, when he surprised with 11 touches for 90 yards and a score. If you played him out of desperation last week in the playoffs, you found a doughnut waiting for you. This 2021 season has been one of desperation at times, and desperation breeds contempt for Derrick Gore.


8. Damien Williams (RB-CHI)


Another backup RB finds his way into the rankings, with journeyman Damien Williams assuming spot 8. After a serious injury claimed David Montgomery in week 4, Williams was the popular waiver wire add entering week 5. While he rewarded managers who started him in week 5 with 15.4 standard points, he also split the backfield with Khalil Herbert. Williams subsequently missed week 6 against Green Bay due to injury, and lost the backup job entirely from that point forward as he has managed a meager 9 touches between weeks 7 and 15. For David Montgomery owners that bid heavily on Williams, you paid a dear price this season.


7. Adrian Peterson (RB-TEN, SEA)

This one was a doozy in more ways than one this year. After Derrick Henry was injured, Adrian Peterson was signed, and was immediately elevated to the number one waiver priority in most leagues under the assumption he would lead the Titans backfield, which was already a run-heavy operation, for the rest of the season. Indeed, Peterson was given 10 carries and scored against the Rams in week 9, despite only managing 21 yards. In the two weeks that followed, he took 20 touches for 64 yards, and was summarily cut following week 11. Peterson moved on to the Seahawks and their troubled RB room, but took 11 week 13 touches for 16 yards and hasn't seen the field since.


6. Josh Gordon (WR-KC)


This was another player that I shuddered to add to the list, but we all have a league mate that went out and added him everywhere they could. We all know the narrative around Gordon, who has missed multiple years due to multiple substance abuse suspensions. When he was added to a potent Chiefs attack ahead of week 5, many analysts urged speculative adds of Gordon because he could be the third option in a Mahomes led attack. Since then, Gordon has 4 catches for 27 yards on 9 targets over the last 10 weeks.


5. Bryan Edwards (WR-LV)


In the aftermath of the Las Vegas "Speed Racer" incident, Edwards was a highly touted add in an offense that had utilized Ruggs, Waller, and Renfrow and was now missing it's burner WR. In the week immediately following this, Edwards caught zero of four targets leaving fantasy owners holding the bag. In week 10 he had 88 yards and a score against the Chiefs, but Edwards has failed to accrue 88 total yards in the 5 weeks since.


4. Houston Texans RBs (RB-HOU)


There aren't any good things to say here. Despite trading away his primary competition, David Johnson has failed to top 8 points since week one. Mark Ingram also topped 8 points in week one, but needed to be traded back to New Orleans to have any value. Phillip Lindsay scored in weeks one and two, but has 17.2 standard scoring points in the 13 weeks since. Then there's Rex Burkhead - he scored in week 8, and failed to register one point the following week. While he's carved out a role in the offense, totaling 65 carries over the last 5 weeks, he's also failed to top 41 yards or score. Gross.


3. Sam Darnold/PJ Walker (QB-CAR)

I'll be the first to admit, I was part of the problem with Sam Darnold. He made my preseason top 100 for dynasty as a breakout option with some nice options to throw to. This was made worse by the fact that he scored 18.9 points or more in each of his first four game. Between weeks 5 and 9, he failed to throw for more than 207 yards, and recorded fewer than 12 fantasy points in 4 of those 5 games. Calling P.J. Walker inefficient is being incredibly nice, as he was downright awful completing 3 of 14 passes in relief of Darnold in week 7, and completing 22 of 29 in week 10, but failing to put up more than 167 yards while turning the ball over twice.


2. Wayne Gallman (RB-ATL)


Cordarrelle Patterson has been one of the best waiver claims in any format this year without a doubt. But when Patterson was injured in week 10 against Dallas, Gallman racked up 15 carries and a catch, leading many analysts to proclaim him as the number one RB in Atlanta while Patterson was out. When Cordarrelle missed week 11, Gallman looked again to be the beneficiary against New England in prime time. Gallman took one carry for negative yardage, and has 4 touches since then. This one is downright brutal.


1. Ty'Son Williams (RB-BAL)


Everyone knows all too well what happened this preseason with the Baltimore RB room. After injuries to J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, the Ravens had nobody to turn to but Williams and an army of retread RBs. While one of those retread RBs ended up being one of the top waiver claims this season, it didn't stop Williams from seeing extended usage in weeks one and two when he averaged 6.5 yards per carry and 9 yards per catch. What happened next, I can only speculate is due to his woeful pass blocking skills. Between weeks 3 and 15, Williams has a grand total of 16 touches, (1.25 per game), 78 yards (6.5 per game), and zero scores. I was among many who saw a ton of potential for Williams in this run heavy offense, and the pain of him being written out of the offense entirely after a pair of really nice games made this one sting the most. Hopefully you were able to move him for something before his stock eroded into the nothingness that it is now. Goodbye forever Ty'Son Williams (for now).

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