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July 28, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

FAAB in Review: Asking the Non-Experts

by Mike Gianella

Every decision influences the next set of decisions that we make. Like a pebble in a pond, what we do today has a definitive impact on what we do tomorrow.

In fantasy baseball, this is true in every facet of the game. The auction or draft we have impacts what kind of trades or free agent moves we make during the season. The trades we make impact whether or not we make additional trades. The free agent pickups we make impact future free agent pickups and future trades. This series of actions and subsequent actions goes on until the season is over. In keeper leagues it goes on until you leave the league or the mortal coil.

Three weeks ago, the Oakland Athletics completed a blockbuster trade, picking up Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs. In AL-only leagues, this meant an opportunity to bid big on two solid NL-only imports.

In some years, the majority of significant interleague moves come on July 31, the non-waiver MLB trade deadline. This makes most owners’ bidding or waiver decisions simple. With only a handful of notable exceptions, such as the Dodgers/Red Sox 2012 blockbuster, most of the significant mono league free agent targets come across in July. The mentality at the first transaction period in August is “spend it if you have it.”

Trades like the Samardzija/Hammel trade are challenging. One the one hand, the opportunity to get another three or four weeks’ worth of statistics is worth a more aggressive bid. On the other hand, spending big on someone like Samardzija and in particular someone like Hammel only to see a better talent come across on July 31 can be painful.

I decided to reach out to the 11 other owners in my AL-only home league and find out why they bid what they bid on Samardzija and Hammel a little over three weeks ago. This league is a 28-year-old fantasy league whose current membership has mostly stayed intact since 2001. Theoretical rationales for why a fantasy team should or should not do something is interesting, but nothing beats getting real life opinions and why a savvy group of fantasy owners did what they did.

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6 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Interesting insights, Mike. Thanks for sharing.

Jul 28, 2014 05:47 AM
rating: 0

Mike, great article.
A few questions/ comments:
1. I'm in a similar league, we have an in-season cap of $320, why/ how did your league agree to $35?
2. How big are your reserve rosters? I ask because I would think some of the contenders w/ a good amount of FAAB left would bid high, to try and keep the pitchers away from the other contenders. I would bid high and then deal with trying to fit them on my team afterwards.
3. I tend to follow team J's strategy, I bid early and often trying to catch guys before they hit it big, figuring a full season of someone like that beats 2+ months of top player. I let others hoard FAAB for the cross-overs, because who knows if there will be cross-overs and if there are then you are battling the other hoarders and could easily be left with tons of faab and no players.

Jul 28, 2014 07:53 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

1) We decided on $350 because we wanted to eliminate the crazy 8-for-8 dump trades that were destroying the league but still wanted some mechanism to play for the future.

2) You are not allowed to reserve active AL players. You can have an unlimited number of minor leaguers and players on the DL but once they are activated you have two transaction periods to activate them. And you cannot FAAB minor leaguers or players on reserve in this league either.

3) I blew threw all of my FAAB in this league early in 2013 for that reason, and also put the early bids on Morales and Drew (as trade chips) for the same reason.

Jul 28, 2014 10:46 AM
Keith Cromer

Great piece, Mike.

Jul 28, 2014 08:08 AM
rating: 0

Why does your league use the bane of all Commissioners: contingency bidding? I realize CBS can weed this out for you (sort of) but I think it makes for more thoughtful and strategic bidding than saying $70 for player or else $70 for player B.

Jul 28, 2014 20:33 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

We have it, but only one owner used it.

Aug 10, 2014 07:59 AM
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Fantasy Article Closer Report: Week 18 (07/28)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Sus... (07/24)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Tra... (07/31)
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The Week in Quotes: Ju... (07/28)

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