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    What Is FAAB? Fantasy Strategies, Tips, and More

    What is a free agent auction budget, and how is FAAB strategy important to your success in fantasy football leagues?

    When fantasy football first started becoming popular, just about everyone used the continual rolling list waiver system. As with many things in this world, over time, participants started thinking of ways to improve it. Thus, FAAB was born. For those new to the game, what is FAAB, and how do managers use it to benefit their rosters?

    What Is FAAB in Fantasy Football?

    The continual rolling list is the default waiver system on Yahoo and about as easy to understand as it gets.

    When your league begins, there is a predetermined order of teams (usually based on the reverse order of the draft). This is your waiver priority. When you place a claim for a player, that player is awarded to teams in order of their priority. Once you make a pickup, you move to the back of the line. As teams in front of you claim players, you move back up.

    With a continual rolling list, you can only realistically pick up one key player from waivers every week. FAAB, however, gives every manager an equal opportunity to add players from waivers.

    FAAB stands for Free Agent Auction Budget. It’s a blind bidding system in which each manager submits a bid or offer for a player in the form of a fake dollar amount.

    Managers organize those bids based on preference. Then, the system awards the free agents to the highest bidders.

    How Does FAAB Work?

    Following your league’s draft, each team starts with the same amount of FAAB. The default is $100, but you’re free to set it to whatever you like.

    Typically, waivers process on Wednesday mornings. Once your fantasy platform runs its waivers, players go to the teams that bid the most. Once all transactions are complete, each team’s remaining budget is reduced by the amount of FAAB spent.

    Once waivers are complete, unclaimed players become free agents, eligible to be added at any time without having to go through waivers or spend any FAAB.

    Some leagues implement continuous waivers, which is a system where players are never free agents. Instead, waivers process every day (or on specific designated days). However, this is not something you need to concern yourself with for now.

    Managing Your FAAB

    The great part about FAAB is it is a skill — and a very important one at that.

    Fantasy football is a game with a lot of variance and randomness. There are very few things we as managers have direct control over. But with FAAB, waivers become one of those things.

    The key to effective FAAB management is balancing the upside of adding a player against negatively impacting your ability to add players in the future. Every time you spend some FAAB, you’re reducing your buying power for the future.

    Ideally, it will be worth it. The 2023 season provides a perfect example of this. If fantasy managers could go back in time, every single one of them would say that guys like Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams were worth 100% of FAAB as early as Week 2 or 3.

    There are significantly impactful players who emerge on waivers every year. However, guys like Nacua and Williams are once-a-decade type players. It’s rare we get season-long first-round caliber talent off waivers. But when we do, those players end up being league winners.

    At the same time, there are always flash-in-the-pan players. These are guys that look like the Nacuas and Williamses, but they’re not. Managers may spend 30-40% of FAAB on these types of guys, only to drop them a few weeks later.

    The key to effective FAAB management is only spending what you need. Oftentimes, the top waiver adds go for 50-60% of your total budget, still leaving you with plenty of FAAB to maneuver throughout the season.

    Of course, the challenge is the blind-bidding nature of the FAAB waiver system. Ideally, you would bid $1 more than the next-highest manager for every player you want — but this isn’t eBay.

    Your bid isn’t a “max bid” that automatically gets reduced to $1 more than the second-highest bid. It’s the actual amount you will pay.

    That creates a virtual game of chicken. You need to balance bidding as much as you’re willing to spend on a player against bidding as much as you think it will take to get him.

    A helpful task can be asking yourself the following question: What would bother you more when checking the FAAB report — seeing you spent $62 on a player when the next highest bid is $43? Or seeing you bid $42 on a player when the highest bid was $43?

    Know Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses

    This part is crucial to properly allocating your FAAB. Early in the season, positional need isn’t a thing. It’s too early to know, and too much has yet to happen. If there’s an impact player potentially available, try and get him.

    As you get deeper into the season, it becomes clearer what your team needs. Once we’re into October or November, you can more confidently spend on players at positions you need. Early in the season, this can be much more challenging.

    Sometimes, after your draft, you’ll know what your team needs to improve. If you went with a Hero RB approach, then you should be more inclined to shell out for a backup running back who just saw the starter go down or a committee back who shows signs of breaking out.

    FAAB Depreciates in Value

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression that a new car decreases in value the moment you drive it off the lot. Think of FAAB the same way.

    Some fantasy managers take a more frugal approach to FAAB spending. They want to save their budget as best as they can in order to have buying power later in the season.

    There’s certainly merit to this approach. In fact, you want as much leverage late in the season as possible. However, the potential for this is nowhere near as beneficial as adding an impact player in the first month of the season.

    FAAB is most valuable early on. The sooner you add a player, the more games he plays for your team. Therefore, the more matchups he can help you win.

    It’s great if you have the FAAB to spend after a starting RB goes down in Week 12. But that running back does you no good if you’re already eliminated from playoff contention. Even if you’re still in it, he’s only helping you for a maximum of five weeks.

    Yet, when you add that same type of player in Week 4, he can contribute for 75% of the season, which is far more valuable to your team.

    This is not to say you should spend your FAAB early on with reckless abandon. Rather, if there’s a player you genuinely believe has a chance to go from a free agent to a startable RB2 or WR2, don’t be afraid to shell out a large chunk of your budget to get him.

    In my experience, I’ve found an unwillingness to spend to be far more detrimental than overspending.

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