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Managing Early-Season FAAB Budget (Fantasy Football)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Aug 23, 2019

Alvin Kamara was a top waiver pickup in 2017

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During the fantasy football season, there’s one four-letter word many managers will use frequently – FAAB. Free agent acquisition budget, or FAAB for short, refers to the pot of money used to bid on players who are on the waiver wire. In most leagues that use FAAB, each manager is given a set amount of money (typically $100 or $200) that they can use to bid on players. The high bidder wins, and bidding is done blindly. This money is to last all season, and managers must determine how to spend a set amount of money over the course of 16 weeks. The first few weeks of the season can be especially difficult when managing FAAB, but there are some tips to keep in mind when tackling your fantasy budget. Let’s dive into some of those today.

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Don’t Overreact

When managing your FAAB budget, it’s important not to overreact to big games. Many players will have a big game or two throughout the season but never attain weekly fantasy relevance. Temper expectations for every player who has a big game or strings together a few great performances, as there are plenty of one-offs in fantasy each year. Pay close attention to why a player may be on a tear, particularly that player’s place on the depth chart, who may have been injured ahead of him on the depth chart, and if his production is sustainable for the long haul.

Conversely, stay up-to-date on players who haven’t taken the leap into fantasy relevance but may be poised for larger roles – identify trends early. In 2017, it was a prudent move to snag Alvin Kamara off of waivers when Adrian Peterson went to Arizona. Kamara found himself the backup to Mark Ingram and suddenly in line for a big workload, especially given his pass-catching prowess. He went on to a breakout campaign and rewarded fantasy owners who were smart enough to snatch him off waivers before the hype train really got rolling. Identifying and claiming players before a breakout allows you to get quality production at a steeply discounted price. Managing FAAB effectively is all about balling on a budget.

Know Your League

It’s a mantra that’s been beaten into the ground for many aspects of fantasy football, but it’s certainly applicable here. Your league mates all have tendencies when bidding, and it’s crucial to understand what these are and how you can use them to your advantage. Some guys love to spend their money freely and will jump at the chance to grab the flavor of the week off the waiver wire. Let them. In fact, since FAAB bids are blind, it doesn’t hurt to talk up a hot waiver player to try to drive up his price. Don’t overspend to get a guy who you know will be expensive. Instead, budget your money accordingly, and save while fellow owners spend. Some owners will spend all of their money in just a few weeks, leaving them in a precarious position for the rest of the season.

If there’s a guy you really want, be aware that certain players are highly regarded by other managers in your league. You’ll likely have to spend a little more than you would likely to acquire them. Go get your guy, and don’t be afraid to spend a little more for the right player. On the flip side, if you know fellow managers don’t keep up with the news as much as they should, you can snag some priority waiver adds for a bargain, saving some more FAAB.

Be Frugal if You Can

No matter how valuable a player seems in Week 3, you’ll be wise to save some money until the end of the season. While it is important to make the fantasy playoffs, blowing your money early can have some very negative consequences for a title run. You don’t want to go into Week 14 with no money and the fantasy postseason looming. Chances are, you’ll be dealing with an injury or two or a player who has disappointed, and you can’t grab a serviceable replacement without some cash on hand. It’s recommended to save at least 25% of your FAAB budget for the fantasy playoffs in case of team need or simply to snipe a player off the waiver wire that your opponent needs.

It’s an under-appreciated aspect of spending FAAB, but keeping enough money available means that you can grab guys just to make life difficult for your opponent. Spend accordingly during the season, but don’t empty the coffers for a fly-by-night receiver who has a 100-yard game in Week 4 and disappears for the rest of the year. You should still take chances on players who may be gems, but bid accordingly.

If you can’t be frugal, spend the least amount of money possible to get a stud. Part of budgeting your FAAB effectively is spending cheaply when you can and knowing when to drop some coin. A major injury to a star player may leave a big role for a backup, and you don’t want to miss out just for the sake of saving. A league-winner is worth a little extra.

Timing

This option isn’t viable for everyone, because hey, we all have lives outside of fantasy football (who am I kidding, no we don’t). You can take a look at the list of transactions in your league to determine exactly when waivers process. For Yahoo leagues, waivers typically run at 3:00 AM EST, so if you’re able to hit the wire at that time, you can pick up players who went unclaimed for free and gain a sizable advantage over other managers who value sleep or work over fantasy football (crazy, right?). Jumping on the waiver wire early means you don’t have to spend as much of your FAAB as you might otherwise have to, and it’s a great budgeting strategy to keep in mind.

Conclusion

Managing your FAAB budget effectively early in the season can set you up for success throughout the year. Differentiating between sustained production and a flash in the pan will help guide informed decisions about when to throw down and when to hold off. Knowing your league is a vital part of this process, too. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can better understand how to manage your FAAB early in the season and beyond.

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Zachary Hanshew is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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