Money Talks - Week 11
by Jeff Pasquino
November 14th, 2012

Welcome to "Money Talks". The general purpose of this column will be to give you some advice for one of the more popular methods of adding new fantasy players each week the Free Agency Acquisition Budget, or "FAAB". What this is in a nutshell is a budget of money that every team is given to bid on free agents each week, much like in an auction. Usually this is done via blind bids, meaning that no other owner knows how much you have bid on a given player unless you announce your bid in some sort of a poker-like bluff move. Some leagues do reveal all bids after the bidding is closed and waivers are processed, while other leagues just show winning bids. It can be fun to see if several teams bid on a given player or if an owner spent a ton of money on a guy no one else even wanted.

Enough of that for now. I will give both general advice and also some weekly assistance for this advanced waiver process in this column. I hope you enjoy and get the player(s) you want every week. Here we go.

Assumptions

As with anything in fantasy football, not all leagues are the same. Some are big, some are small. Such is the way with FAAB waivers. Some leagues use a big budget of $1,000 per owner or more, while others use $100 or less. I will assume $1,000 for the purposes of this article and let you, the reader, do the math to adjust to your league. Another difference is that in some leagues the FAAB process is the ONLY way to get new players. Other leagues have the FAAB process first and then allow free transactions for that week on any player not getting a bid (so you can cover your kicker's bye, for example, for free). I will assume that is NOT the case here and think that every transaction will cost you something. If it does not, great but at least you know why I might say to grab a kicker now for a buck.

Now let's talk about bidding in general. For many more experienced leagues, round numbers are the kiss of death. Even older leagues (and owners) start to see bidding trends over time ("Jeff loves to end in a 7"), which can be dangerous when you are trying to outbid everyone. The natural assumption is to bid in large round numbers please avoid that temptation. $53 vs. $50 may seem like a trivial difference, but many more people bid $50 instead of adding a few extra bucks that can change who wins.

Another generally accepted rule do not be stingy early in the year. Sure it is nice to hold on to extra "cash" in case a stud RB goes down for the year, but look around your league and count how many NFL backups are even available on the waiver wire. Not many? Right. Go big early on players who seem to come out of nowhere, like Victor Cruz last year. Most fantasy studs appear on the scene in September instead of weeks later.

There is a "ying" to the "yang" of the last rule which is to not excessively churn your roster. While it may not seem like much, but if you drop 5-10% of your bankroll each week on bench players that never see the light of day in your lineup, then you are just wasting money. Think about it this way if you save for a rainy day, you can be prepared to go all out for when you need that money to go "all in" on a player you really want. Of course the trick is figuring out which player is worthy of such a big bid.

Another item to discuss who to drop. Keep perspective on your team. If you are short on running backs, you probably want to cut a different position player to grab running back depth. To say that another way, if you are strong and deep already at wide receiver, a sixth or seventh wideout is very unlikely to help. Let that steer your cuts.

Another tip it is far better to bid on a player a week or two early instead of a week late. That can be the difference between a $3 player and a $300 player. If you really want Ray Rice's understudy, get him now before he pulls that hammy and everyone gets in on the action.

Week 5 tip Bye weeks are here, so some of the best deals are both players on a bye week or coming off of one. For example, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis were both off last week. With the idea of "out of sight, out of mind", players on both teams could be bargain acquisitions and this general trend will continue through Week 12.

Week 6 tip Don't forget about both teams coming off of a bye week (like Oakland) or heading into one (like the Saints). While everyone targets the hottest guy from last week to stick in for this week, cheap players are available for two weeks from now.

Week 7 tip Welcome to the toughest week for waiver wires. That's because six teams are on a bye, so more owners are short on players. You better up the ante if you want to get someone on your roster.

Week 8 tip With big names falling to injury like Maurice Jones-Drew, his backup (Rashad Jennings) is the top dog this week. Keep in mind though that he is not the only player to pursue this week, so be sure to have a Plan B as the second options are likely to be much easier and cheaper to get.

Week 9 tip The regular season is winding down (for fantasy football purposes), so that means a few things first, you need to up your bids as money moves are likely dwindling. Also winding down are the number of teams that are really showing interest, as teams unlikely to make the postseason may not make many moves. Look at the money left for other owners and overbid the ones you can to get players you really want this late in the year.

Week 10 tip More of the same from last week. Spend the money you have saved as there is little time to make a major move.

Week 11 tip More of the same from last week. Spend the money you have saved as there is little time to make a major move. For those in High Stakes leagues, this could be the last week for moves so spend it all, as you can't take it with you. Make sure you have depth if rosters freeze from now until the end of your playoffs including two kickers and possibly two defenses too.

Now, on to some specific players to target here in NFL Week11 of the 2012 season:

Big Bucks

Danario Alexander, WR, Chargers ($277): There is no question that Danario Alexander is an explosive player, something that San Diego has been in dire need at wideout this season. Phillip Rivers found Alexander five times for 136 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown against Tampa Bay in Week 10. Alexander has high upside for a team with a solid quarterback and an offense that can put up big numbers when everything is clicking.

Chris Ivory, RB, Saints ($225): The Saints are using a committee at tailback, but right now everyone is getting plenty of work. Ivory is running hard and broke a huge run for a 56-yard highlight reel-caliber play last week against the Falcons, which elevates him in the running back pecking order. It is possible that New Orleans gets hot here and Ivory could be the top dog in a productive ground attack.

Jake Locker, QB, Titans ($211): We told you before this week to grab him, and I hope you did. If you didn't, you might get lucky as he is on a bye week now, but you better lock up your QB2 right away.

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles ($203): This was a tough call last week, but not so much for me right now. I think the Eagles are ready to go forth with Foles for the rest of 2012 to see how good he can be, and with his talented supporting cast I think he is well worth a QB2 fantasy roster spot.

Medium Money

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jaguars ($167): The Jaguars are one of the worst teams in the NFL, but they do throw the ball a good amount and Cecil Shorts is now one of their top two targets. Shorts has 21 catches, two touchdowns, 356 yards receiving, two 100+ yard reception games and topped 10 targets three times in the last four Jaguar contests. He is well worth a roster spot.

Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos ($157): Denver is gearing up for not only an AFC West championship but also a playoff push, but to do so they need as many weapons on offense as possible. A stable ground game certainly will help Peyton Manning, and with Willis McGahee having ball security issues, Hillman is getting more chances. Hillman will get some chances over the next several weeks to at least split time in the Broncos backfield and he has flex value, especially in PPR leagues.

Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks ($157): Golden Tate could be "fool's gold" here, as you could easily be chasing scores that will not come down the line. Tate had two touchdown receptions two weeks ago against Detroit, and then he followed that performance up this week with a touchdown catch and a TD pass as well. Looking at the big picture, however, Tate only had two targets this past week and has never had more than seven chances all season long. Tate has good upside but he could be a lineup headache if you decide to start him.

Chris Wells, RB, Cardinals ($155): Wells is expected back this week for Arizona and start in the Cardinals' backfield. His schedule does him no favors, but a starting NFL tailback always has some value.

Scott Chandler, TE, Bills ($147, $227 in TE PPR bonus leagues): Buffalo is revving up their passing game, and with several good matchups yet to come, Chandler is poised to produce will for Buffalo as their top tight end. Chandler saw eight balls come in his direction last week, catching five for 65 yards and a touchdown and barely missed grabbing a second one late in the game. Chandler is likely the top option at tight end in many free agent pools.

Donald Jones, WR, Bills ($128): Buffalo is revving up their passing game, and with several good matchups yet to come, Jones is poised to produce will for Buffalo as their WR2. Jones has 16 receptions, 186 yards and two scores in the last three weeks, making him a solid pickup.

Marcel Reece, RB, Raiders ($125): Reece was the top back for Oakland last week against Baltimore with 104 total yards and 95 yards as a receiver, showing his PPR value. Reece saw far more touches than Taiwan Jones and if Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson remain sidelined, Reece is a solid flex play.

Danny Woodhead, RB, Patriots ($118): Woodhead has the most value in PPR leagues, as he has been rather productive even in a committee backfield for the past few weeks. Considering that Woodhead's next matchup is a likely shootout with the Colts, Woodhead is a solid bye week cover if you have Adrian Peterson in a PPR league, for example.

Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals ($117): Rookie Michael Floyd keeps getting more chances to perform in Arizona, and he is finally starting to get it. Step it up and grab him now as he is really starting to put up solid numbers, and there are fewer and fewer solid wide receivers in the free agent pool.

Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers ($105): Kaepernick looked pretty good on Sunday, throwing for 117 yards and rushing for 66 more and a score. San Francisco faces the Bears next though and Alex Smith might be back under center after that so unless Smith is going to miss multiple weeks, Kaepernick does not have too much value.

James Starks, RB, Packers ($103): Green Bay is coming off of a bye week and is in need of some kind of a ground attack to compliment Aaron Rodgers. Starks could be the top candidate after two weeks of retooling a ground game, but it still remains to be seen. If you have roster room and want to gamble on upside, grab him for (relatively) cheap.

Chump Change

Garrett Graham, TE, Texans ($88, $155 in TE PPR bonus leagues): Houston incorporates their tight end a good amount in their passing attack. After Andre Johnson, it is Owen Daniels who is normally the second-most targeted receiver for Houston (over WR2 Kevin Walters). Graham filled in admirably for Daniels against the Bears, catching three of four targets for 15 yards. Graham is a nice flyer if you are desperate for a tight end.

Byron Leftwich, QB, Steelers ($77): Not a great option here if you own Ben Roethlisberger, as Leftwich did not look solid in relief of Roethlisberger after his injury on Monday Night Football. If Leftwich looks shaky against the Chiefs, how will he fare against the Ravens possibly twice in the next three games? Pass on Leftwich.

Jason Campbell, QB, Bears ($57): It all depends on how long Jay Cutler is out, but Campbell did not look too great in relief of Cutler against Houston. With San Francisco up next and Cutler probably back after that, I recommend passing on Campbell unless you are desperate.

As always, questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to pasquino@footballguys.com.

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