Waiver Watcher: Week 9

Learning from the past to make smart moves in the future.

Now that Memorial Day has passed, 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 it’s 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 by 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 30. 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

 

Category Juice

With the figurative “no turning back now” point of Memorial Day now passing us by, fantasy managers can solidify their true needs and focus heavily on them. Whether that be stolen bases (Jon Berti), saves (Greg Holland, Kyle Zimmer, Keynan Middleton, Paul Fry, J.P. Feyereisen), or anything in between, teams will be more focused on their needs moving forward than they were for the first two months. If you’re paying attention this will allow you to adjust your bidding to be as efficient as possible, keeping an eye on the standings of each category, the available players on your league’s wire, and the budgets of your competition. Sure, this will take a bit more effort and time each Sunday, but it could be worth it as you try to stretch whatever FAAB you have left over the course of the next four months.

 

Hammer Time

To the surprise of no one, top pitching prospect Alek Manoah set the high water mark for bids across just about every league that ran FAAB this past weekend. The only question is, will he be worth it? Of course, this cannot be truly answered until the season concludes, but it begs the question as to when do you decide to use “the hammer” if you have it? What sort of impact are you hoping it will have? Just like in draft season, your FAAB is your capital. You have to spend it in ways that make the most sense for your roster construction. Knowing that if/when you spend 40% of your annual allotment on one player is a lot like drafting someone in the top 15 rounds – you expect them to produce for your team for the remainder of the season. Manoah very may be the last of his kind – an impact player entering the player pool that could stick in your starting rotation/lineup for the majority – if not the entirety – of the season. We’ve come to a point in the season where you have to ask yourself who else are you waiting for?

 

Most Added Players
NFBC Main Event Most Added Players – 5/30
TGFBI Most Added Players – 5/30

 

Being Demoted

 

Don’t Be Scared

With a third of the season in the books, there’s only so much impact any one player can make for the rest of the season. So, when there’s no chance of putting up any production for at least a few weeks, said player becomes very expendable very quickly. Any sniff of an extended injury makes for a drop candidate from here on out, especially in formats that don’t allow for IL stashes on dedicated roster slots (like NFBC). Noah Syndergaard was already a risky stash working his way back from Tommy John, so once the word came down of his setback during his rehabilitation he was an obvious cut across various formats. Those stashing Luis Severino and Chris Sale should consider themselves on notice.

Try Not To Help Others

As I mentioned earlier in this article, at this point in the season it’s becoming more and more important to start focusing on particular categories that you can make up ground. This may mean making difficult decisions to sit or even cut players that on the surface shouldn’t be under consideration for such moves. Knowing that every drop is being watched by your league mates, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to sneak a drop by a team that could use the production they may provide. Consider stashing players that could be helpful to others but may not be helpful to the categories you need to focus on. Helping those around you can come back to haunt you this early in the season. Post-All-Star break this becomes less of a concern, as long as you feel you have enough of a cushion.

Watch Your Drops

Some interesting single league drops from the Main Event this past weekend included Marco Gonzales, Edwin Díaz, and Zach McKinstry, while in TGFBI we saw Jesus Luzardo, Nick Pivetta, and Hansel Robles 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

NFBC Main Event Most Dropped Players – 5/30
TGFBI Most Dropped Players – 5/30

Photos by Kiyoshi Mio and John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)

Adam Howe

Adam resides in Indianapolis after spending the better part of a decade in Oakland, CA and growing up in Massachusetts. He co-hosts the On The Wire podcast with Kevin Hasting, analyzing your weekly FAAB options before your bid deadlines every Sunday.

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