Now that April is far in the rearview mirror and Memorial Day is just around the corner, it’s time to get down to the real business of spending our FAAB — wisely this time. Sure, it’s fun to throw around 50% of your budget in the first month, but what do you have to show for it after its all said and done? An injured reliever and a fourth outfielder? Perhaps. If that doesn’t sound like you, congratulations on resisting the urge and perhaps congratulations on fielding the only team out there not riddled with injuries.
I’ll be continuing to look over weekly trends in waiver pick-ups and FAAB spends across a series of leagues, with a focus on National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) 15-team leagues, including the Main Event (ME) and The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI). The ME sports 43 different leagues (645 teams), while TGFBI has 29 leagues this year (435 teams). If you don’t play in these leagues, don’t worry, there’s useful info coming your way here as well. The trends from these leagues give all fantasy managers insight into the value being put on both long-term and short-term production, while bringing light to some of the tough decisions that have to be made to get the most out of your roster, whether it be a 40-man roster or 20-man roster.
To put things in perspective, all NFBC rosters have 30 spots with no Injured List (IL) spots, so in a 12-team league like the Online Championship (OC), the “best” 360 players are rostered at any given time while in a 15-team league like the ME or TGFBI you could assume the “best” 450 players are rostered, making scraping the free agent barrel a bit more difficult. Of course, I put the word best in quotations, as the players rostered will fluctuate based on not only the managers that play in the league and their own evaluations, but also the roster construction and needs of the teams involved. With no spots to stash injured players, NFBC leagues force managers to make tough decisions when it comes to when to cut players not performing and how long to stash both prospects and injured players, giving everyone else watching an eye into the potential production of players on the edge of your watch list. You don’t have to play in an NFBC league to make use of the information provided from those who do.
Ok, now that formalities are out of the way let’s get to work pointing out some of the most interesting trends, pick ups, and drops I noticed in the latest FAAB period, which concluded on May 16. I’m going to keep my focus on the 15-team leagues this week as the pick ups here may still be readily available in your 12- or 10-team leagues, so keep an eye out.
Getting the Call
Closer Carousel Returns
Perhaps it never left, but this week it was front and center once again in the bidding. At least the excitement was a bit more subdued than we saw in April, with Michael Fulmer of the Tigers and Hansel Robles of the Twins making headlines as they were added in 67% and 71% of combined TGFBI and Main Event leagues, respectively. Though there were at least two teams who went a bit aggressive in TGFBI, setting the max winning bid for Robles at $198 and Fulmer at $216, perhaps still feeling the pressure from past closer speculators triple-digit bids, the overall average winning bids for the closers stayed under $50 (5% of original FAAB). The Main Event, on average, was slightly more aggressive on the possible save opportunists, though kept the ceiling much lower with max bids of $151 and $141 for each. It was impossible to sneak either reliever by with a minimum bid, as each of them went for at least $10 in every league in which they were added this week.
Watch Those Line Ups
Playing time continues to rule over everything, just ask Rockies’ outfielder Yonathan Daza. Daza was a top addition back on April 25th, being added in 30 of the 43 Main Event leagues, after seeing an increase in playing time. Having that playing time come in Denver doesn’t hurt after Daza made the most of it. Then, he simply stopped playing and became almost everyone’s first drop two weeks later, being dropped in the same 30 out of 43 leagues on May 9th. Daza went on to start in six of the seven games for Colorado, with the only game he didn’t start being the first game of their Wednesday doubleheader in which he still appeared as a pinch hitter. In that stretch, Daza collected 14 hits across 25 plate appearances and stole two bases for good measure. It’s not too much of a surprise to see him back on the most added lists, though this time he was acquired at a much lesser cost, averaging under $20 in both TGFBI and the Main Event, compared to the $30 average winning bid we saw three weeks ago.
Injuries Hurt Some, Help Others
Yes, I get it, everyone’s hurt. And no, the superstars can’t be fully replaced on the wire, but someone has to fill in and you’re seeing fantasy managers take advantage of expected playing time increases across the board. Dodgers’ Matt Beaty and Angels’ Taylor Ward are this weeks’ poster children for such speculation. Beaty is expected to see a run in the Dodger’s line up with Edwin Rios set to miss the remainder of the season, along with the other injuries in Los Angeles, while Taylor Ward was given the opportunity to take over in right field while Jared Walsh moved to first base for the Angels after the release of Albert Pujols. Ward has the added the benefit of leading off some/most days for the Angels as of late, while expected to start in eight games this week for the Halos. The volume alone seems like a steal at a $18 price tag in the Main Event.
Pick Your Battles
If everyone’s injured there’s always going to be decisions that need to be made. You can’t keep them all, at least not in the NFBC format where IL slots are nonexistent. Sometimes those decisions are easy to make. Once the Braves announced the unlikely nature of Mike Soroka returning to the mound in 2021, fantasy managers actually could breathe a sigh of relief as they could finally feel comfortable turning that roster spot over for someone that might actually produce. When a reliever like Drew Pomeranz hits the IL, you can feel pretty comfortable sending him packing and filling that roster spot with a similar player off the wire, especially with the closer situation locked up in San Diego. Fantasy managers should be anything but shocked at this point when Aaron Hicks hits the IL and can easily move on. When you’re already holding a spot for the likes of Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich, and Jacob deGrom, you have to pick your battles when it comes to your stashes and being aggressive with your cuts in favor of immediate production should weigh heavily on your decisions, especially when it comes to, at best, fringe players taking up a spot on your already thin roster.
Watch Your Drops
Some interesting single league drops from the Main Event this past weekend included Justin Upton, Corey Seager, and Luis Castillo, while in TGFBI we saw Daniel Bard, Michael Fulmer, and Ryan Weathers hit waivers in a single league. It will come as no shock to anyone to see each of them get bid on this Sunday, especially in such deep leagues. A helpful tactic to consider: as you’re looking over your league FAAB results, simply add the interesting dropped players to your watch list. That makes it easier to remember to consider a bid on them come the end of the week.
Most Dropped Players
Photos by Kiyoshi Mio and John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)