CommishRx: Going FAAB – Changing Your Waiver Rules

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 17: Tight end David Njoku #85 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates his touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr /Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 17: Tight end David Njoku #85 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates his touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr /Getty Images) /

If you are still using waiver wire priority status to determine who gets the first option to claim players off waivers each week, you might want to consider “going FAAB.”

Welcome back to another installment of CommishRX. Today we will discuss FAAB. FAAB, or Free Agency Acquisition Budget, is an alternative to the traditional process of making waiver wire claims. Establishing a FAAB for your fantasy football league can make it more competitive, and also allow for a fairer bidding process.

“The Wire”

Waiver rules vary from league to league. In a lot of leagues, once an NFL game starts, all available players (free agents) on the waiver wire who are involved in those games can no longer be added to an owner’s team. They are “locked,” and are now on waivers.

This prevents someone from witnessing their starting running back go down during a game, then quickly going to the waiver wire and picking up their (free agent) backup before any one else does.

What follows is a bidding period where all managers can make a waiver claim for any player on “the wire.” Once the claim period is over, claims are processed and owners are rewarded their players.

All managers in a league have a waiver priority ranking. The owner with the top priority, is number one and has the first claim to any player. In some leagues, rankings are based on league standings. For example, the last place team for the week will always get the highest priority status, while in other leagues, the team in first place will get the top status.

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Some leagues will have continuous waivers where all unclaimed players are on waivers all the time.

Another variation has priority rankings set on who made the last successful bid for a player. For instance, if I place a successful claim on a player. I get dropped to the lowest priority status. This “rolling list” of rankings for each manager continually readjust based on each successful claim they make.

If someone has the top priority ranking, but doesn’t make a waiver claim, they remain at the top of the priority list. They will stay there until they make a waiver claim that goes through.

In all of the previously described scenarios, league members don’t have equal access to available players. Granted, strategy is still involved, which is great for competition. However, the inability for one player to be available to all is not an option.

Absolutely FAAB-ulous!

To use FAAB for waiver claims instead, choose a budget amount (we use $100 in my league) that each owner will manage for the season. This is all the money they will get to use to bid on players. Once they spend all their FAAB money, that’s it. Their FAAB account is not replenished.

Owners get to bid whatever dollar amount they choose on any player(s) they want. The claim is simply awarded to the highest bidder.

Each owner has to strategize, deciding how to manage their budget. How much do they spend on a player? Is getting that player worth spending twenty percent of their budget? Five percent? Sixty percent?

Each manager still has a priority ranking which continually “rolls” depending on the success of all claims including their own. With a FAAB however, now the priority ranking is used as a tie breaker. Say for instance, Jacoby and I both bid $15 for Bilal Powell. The person who has the highest priority wins.

Some players will spend their FAAB money like a sprinter runs the 100m – quickly, at full burst, spending huge amounts (sometimes on one player) and completely depleting their budget early in the season.

In contrast, other owners pace themselves with their spending like a 1500m runner – methodically spending proportional amounts of their budget throughout the duration of the season.

To FAAB or not to FAAB

If you choose to go with a FAAB for your league, everyone will get an equal shot at all available players. Even the person with the lowest priority ranking now has a shot to snag the same player as the top-ranked player. They just have to outspend them.

Using a FAAB promotes player engagement – owners pay closer attention to the status of dropped players each week. League mates feel more personally invested in their team’s destiny, and are more likely to stay active during the season. That’s a good thing.

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