Image credit: © Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the FAAB Review, the column that reviews the goings on in multiple analyst leagues in the hopes we can help you with your own FAAB bidding process and habits. This column will mostly focus on The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI), a contest that contains 31 leagues of 15 teams each and crowns an overall champion at the end of the regular season. We’ll look at the 10 most popular FAAB buys in those leagues every week. We’ll also focus on some highlights in Tout Wars AL and LABR NL, two deeper industry leagues.

TGBFI and Tout Wars use a $1,000 FAAB budget, while LABR uses $100. Tout Wars also allows teams to place $0 bids. All three leagues run their FAAB weekly on Sunday night between 8 pm to midnight ET.

Sawyer Gipson-Long $14
(Max Winning Bid: $61, Minimum Winning Bid: $1)
Gipson-Long was profiled last week and was the most expensive player profiled last week as well. He had another strong start against Oakland and finishes off his season against the Royals. There isn’t such a thing as a trap game in baseball but the way the Royals are hitting makes this feel like one, despite Gipson-Long’s excellent results year-to-date. My generic recommendation is to use him, but if you’re playing defense I’m slightly worried about this matchup and would sit him in standard mixed.

Shane Bieber $9 ($27, $1)
Bieber was dropped in a lot of leagues in mid-July when it seemed like he’d be out for the rest of the season but returned last week with an OK five inning outing against the Orioles. He closes out at home against the Reds. He has a 5.50 ERA in his last six starts and while five of those starts were before he went on the IL his return start generated little if any trust. Like Gipson-Long, Bieber is a borderline start option this week who I’d start in 15-team mixed but would also be wary of if I’m mostly defending pitching points.

Adrian Houser $7 ($35, $1)
Houser is a boring, back end starting pitcher who is generally an NL-only option but occasionally a streamer in deep mixed. Because Houser has two starts on tap this week it’s likely he’ll be used in a number of leagues where teams are pushing for wins and strikeouts. The projected matchups are the Cardinals and the Cubs. Houser’s viability probably hinges on if the Cubs have clinched a playoff spot before the final day of the season when he is due to face them. A “B” lineup on Sunday makes Houser enticing. The Cubs “A” lineup makes him too risky for my blood.

John Means $7 ($13, $1)
Means is also a repeater from last week. He struck out four in 7 1/3 innings in a strong start in Cleveland on Saturday, bringing him up to a whopping six K’s in 17 1/3 innings. The peripherals don’t support the results so far and he closes out 2023 with a tough matchup against the Red Sox. He’s borderline in AL-only so I certainly wouldn’t use him in a league like TGFBI. My concern is that if the Orioles have clinched the division that they’ll just leave him out there regardless of the results against a potent Boston lineup.

Evan Carter $6 ($15, $1)
Carter is in this space for the third consecutive time. He has been great for a Texas team poised to make the playoffs and is going to be way too expensive in redraft next season. He’s a must add for the final week if he’s still out there.

Kyle Farmer $5 ($17, $1)
With Carlos Correa on the IL, Farmer is the Twins starting shortstop. He’s the kind of player who is a second-division starter, which would make him a poor choice for Minnesota as a permanent option but is a great player to have around on the bench for situations just like this one. Farmer has some pop and oh hey look the Twins close out the season with three games at Coors Field.

James McArthur $5 ($22, $1)
The Royals singlehandedly disproved the “it’s bad to pick up closers on bad teams” theory, as they nabbed five saves last week. Three of them came from McArthur, who was a fringe reliever for years in the Phillies system but picked up a slider after getting traded to the Royals earlier this year and has seen immediate improvement. He’s not a lockdown reliever but even a good reliever can pick up saves if he’s in the right place at the right time like McArthur is right now.

Mark Vientos $5 ($13, $1)
Vientos is riding a mini-heater to close out the season, with five home runs in September. He’s also playing regularly, mostly at DH and at first now and again to give Pete Alonso a breather in the field. His batting eye remains poor and Vientos is someone I will remain somewhat cynical about in drafts next season. This season he is a strong addition in the last week if all you’re looking for is power.

Jo Adell $5 ($18, $1)
Adell has three home runs in 35 plate appearances. He also has a 40 percent strikeout rate and a .226 AVG. He is playing full-time in the Angels outfield and is similar to Vientos in the short-term: if you need home runs, grab him. If you need anything else, look elsewhere.

Jason Heyward $4 ($14, $1)
The Dodgers have masterfully deployed Heyward as a strict platoon bat against righties and the results have been great. He has been peak Heyward minus the stolen bases on a per at bat basis; good for both him and the Dodgers for making this match work. The Dodgers close out 2023 with seven games. Six of those games are against right-handers and four of them are at Coors. It’s a great set up for Heyward and fantasy teams, particularly those that allow you to play matchups. In TGFBI Heyward is ideal to use Monday-Thursday and then bench for the Friday-Sunday portion of the week.

Tout AL
Tommy Kahnle $23
Martin Perez $10
Junior Caminiero $3
($0, $0, $0, $0)
Christian Bethancourt $2
Travis Jankowski $0
Josh Jung $0
Trevor Larnach $0
Michael Stefanic $0
Trevor May $0
Chad Green $0
Tyler Nevin $0

All but two AL Tout managers had FAAB left over after last night’s bidding and neither one placed a final bid. Doug Dennis appears to be on his way to his second consecutive Tout AL title and emptied out his FAAB wallet for Kahnle at $23. Dennis’ no starting pitching strategy missed by six points in WHIP and one point in steals but he benefited greatly from the parity behind him in the standings.

Josh Donaldson $1
Drew Smyly $1

Glenn Colton and Rick Wolf are eight points up headed into the final week and it looks like they’re on the way to the title. I am in a solid third place but my effort to repeat fell well short.

Thank you so much for reading this year. Good luck to all of you in the final week of the regular season!

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