Picture this: It’s Week 2 of the NFL season, and suddenly … CHOP! Someone’s team is cut from the league, with their whole roster going to the waiver wire. Now it’s time to blind bid against everyone else. There are going to be at least two studs and a lot of serviceable players to choose from.
In such a scenario, it’s difficult to say exactly what amount you would spend on any particular player with every situation being different (such as what week it is, what your roster looks like, how many of the same positional players are out there on waivers). Be that as it may, here are three FAAB strategies that I’ve found helpful to catapult me way ahead of the competition in my leagues at GuillotineLeagues.com.
SAFE AND SOUND
A few weeks into the season, we should have a lay of the land for which fantasy rosters look great and which ones are in jeopardy. If it looks like your team is near the top, congratulations, but we can’t take a victory lap just yet. With this strategy, we’re game-planning (and risking) having more money later to get better players for cheaper. Look to bolster the bottom half of your roster with very low bids - less than five percent of your budget.
‘PERFECTLY BALANCED, AS ALL THINGS SHOULD BE’ - THANOS
You’ve determined your team is in the middle of the pack with some holes, but they’re not too glaring. If you’re weak at a particular position, look to fill in those spots with players on waivers. There is no need to overspend or underspend on players. (A player like Diontae Johnson becomes availabe – you’re not breaking the bank for him.) This is my favorite strategy, but things change quickly during the season.
It’s an 18-team league, so rosters will be slim initially. Let’s assume you made it to Week 2, but you lost expected starters because of injuries (or because they’re just not very good). We’ve officially entered DEFCON 1. Budget conservation is out the window because you’ve now got to get those key players from the chopped roster off waivers. You need to be aggressive with your bids to be sure that you get the players you need. This helps you immediately, but with everyone else now having a better budget, their depth should begin to overwhelm yours later on. I like to save just a little bit of FAAB, give or take 5 percent if possible, to have for bye week fill-in players such as quarterbacks.
FAAB doesn’t carry over to the next season, so don’t be afraid to use it. You’ll get an idea of what people’s spending strategies are early, so if you see trends in their spending, keep that in the back of your mind.
Remember bye weeks. Weeks 7 and 13 have six teams on bye. If you’re conflicted between two players and one of them has already had their bye week, think about siding with the player providing you an extra week.
Later in the season, if you’ve got the bankroll, you can play keepaway. It’s a pretty next-level move, and the opportunity to do this doesn’t always happen, but if it does, maybe give it a try. For example, let’s say it’s Week 13 and two of the remaining teams have little or no FAAB left but need a starting quarterback or running back. You can nab those players because you’ve got more FAAB. Remember, at the end of the day, we want our team to be the best possible, so if it hurts your team more than it would have benefitted their teams by dropping a viable player to waivers to pick up someone they surely would have played, probably avoid doing this.
Waivers are a two-way street. In order to pick up a player, you have to drop one. Pay attention to who is getting dropped, because occasionally there is gold.
I’ll be doing a weekly waiver wire article at the beginning of each week of the season to help you determine which players should be your top priority. In guillotine leagues, this won’t necessarily be as applicable because franchise players will be shaking free every week. To help with those questions, you can hit me up on Twitter and/or ask me your questions in the comments section of the article.
Williams is working towards a degree in economics and statistics at Sonoma State. A United States Air Force veteran, he’s been playing fantasy football since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @_ColtWilliams
For an overview of this style of game, see his Introduction to Guillotine Leagues article.