Some of the same reasons we have auction drafts apply to auction waivers. It allows all teams the ability to bid on the services of a player, not just the team who is in last place. We don’t want to reward owners who do not pay attention enough to field a decent team or forget to change their lineup with first waiver wire choice. If you draft and lose a stud Running Back and that player’s backup is on the waiver wire, why should the last place team have an advantage in picking that player up? I think most owners who use auction drafts agree you should use auction waivers; it just makes sense to at least allow everyone an opportunity to bid on the services of free agent players. Now that I hope we all agree that auction waivers are the right way to go, we need to discuss the strategy of how to pick up these players, and how much to spend on them.
Second, is where your personality and strategy come into
play; whether you want to be an aggressive owner, or if you prefer to be more
conservative and not miss players later in the year. Often times, there are some popular names on
the waiver wire at the beginning of the season, and some owners jump on these
players and spend all of their free agent dollars early. Or a top player goes down, but is only going
to be out a week or two, but an owner puts in a large bid for their backup who
is only going to start a week or two.
Other owners prefer to sit back and wait for injuries to occur and for
opportunities to happen later in the year that they can take advantage of. There is not necessarily a right or wrong way
to do this, but the key is to handling this correctly is to...
6. Understand Value. All Players Value are
Not Equal to All Owners at the Same Time.
In addition to being an auctioneer, I am a certified real estate
appraiser. There was a mini crisis in
the real estate market in the 2000’s in regards to Manufactured Homes. The foreclosure rate on these homes was much
higher than any other type of housing and so the government needed to figure
out why. It turned out, when buyers went
to a manufactured home dealer, before they would tell them the price of the
home, they asked if they had any auto loans, credit card debt or other
obligations they wanted to roll into the price of the home. Based on what they buyers said, the price of
the home fluctuated. If you were a cash
buyer, the home might sell for $50,000.
If you had $20,000 in debt you wanted rolled into the purchase, the
price magically went up to $70,000 or $75,000.
(In case you were wondering, appraisers now have to see the full invoice
for the cost of a manufactured home to make sure other debt is not included in
the purchase price of the home).
The point here is, if you have just lost a starting player to injury, the price you need to pay for a free agent player is going to be higher than for someone who is just looking to improve their bench for bye week replacements, or upgrade their second RB or WR. It is the same player, but their value is different depending on your situation. The value of a player on which you spend your free agent waiver budget, should correlate to how many games that player is going to start for your team. If you lose your #1 running back the first week or two of the season, like Jamal Charles in 2011, then it is most likely going to be worth it for you to spend a lot on a running back. If it is week eight, and you have three great running backs on your team and are only going to play someone one week, then it is not worth it to you to spend very much of your waiver budget on a running back. To reiterate, the amount you pay for a player on waivers, should correlate to how many games that player is going to start for your team. If you are looking for a bye week replacement, then you should be spending a maximum of 10% on this type of player, and hopefully getting them for near the minimum. If you have just lost a top RB in week 1 and they have a backup that is solid that will start for your fantasy team, then you should be paying 50% of your budget, or more, if that player is going to be starting for your team multiple weeks. A good rule of thumb is to spend 5% of your waiver wire budget for every week that player should start for your team. Conversely, if you did not lose a player and a backup becomes available, if they are not going to start for your team, or only do so during a bye week, it would not be wise to spend 50% of your FAAB on that player.
7. Values Fluctuate. How many times do you draft or pick up a player early in the season, just do drop them later, and then watch them blow up and have to pay a lot to get them back? You hear a fantasy expert say you should stash a player, and so you do. But then you hear about another player everyone is saying you should get, or you have to have someone to play during a bye week, so you drop the first player and pick up someone else. You had next to nothing invested in the first player and think you will not lose picking up the latest waiver wire star. Then the player you dropped has a big game and becomes the waiver wire flavor of the next week. It is hard to predict injuries and opportunity for backup players, but don’t be afraid to pay for someone that you dropped, that you think now has a better opportunity.
8. Anticipate Players with Potential Values on the Rise, or at Positions you Need. I try to look at the roster of each of my teams on Sunday morning before games start each week. I pay special attention to bye weeks and the players on the end of my bench. If I know I am going to need a player for the following week at a certain position, I look at the players who are not going to start this week for my team. If I know I have to drop someone the following week, and I am not playing them the current week, it is smart to go ahead and pick up the player at the position of need the week before you need them. This way you can get in your waiver claim at the minimum number, and not have to worry about going through waivers the following week, when everyone else figures out they need players at those positions too. Looking ahead one week, or even two weeks, at a time will allow you to have a better selection of bye week fill-ins than owners who wait until the week they actually need the player. I also love to try to do two-for-one trades, where I give up two solid players for one good one, as this allows me to pick up one more flyer who may be needed in subsequent weeks. If there is a player on your waiver wire that you feel is about to break out, drop the disappointing player on the end of your bench Sunday morning and if the break out occurs, you will be in a great position, and if they don’t, you haven’t really lost anything. Just as in real football, you should always be churning the bottom of your roster looking for the next breakout player. Also, don't forget about Kickers and Defenses.