Money Talks - Week 16
by Jeff Pasquino
December 19th, 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.

Week 12 tip Byes are over. Bid only on guys you might start if an injury hits, or even backup a key guy you like (such as Bernard Pierce if you own Ray Rice). Make sure you have depth if rosters freeze from now until the end of your playoffs including two kickers and possibly two defenses too.

Week 13 tip Time to go "all in". With just a few weeks left on the NFL and fantasy calendar, all waiver wire moves have to be made with the idea that either the player you pick up is an immediate contributor or there is a clear scenario that if you lose another player on your current roster, that pickup will be extremely valuable (think handcuff but all positions). Backup Adrian Foster with Ben Tate, but also think about wide receiver, tight end and quarterback backups too.

Week 14 tip Once again, time to go "all in". With just a few weeks left on the NFL and fantasy calendar, all waiver wire moves have to be made with the idea that either the player you pick up is an immediate contributor or there is a clear scenario that if you lose another player on your current roster, that pickup will be extremely valuable (think handcuff but all positions). Backup Marshawn Lynch with Robert Turbin, or Jordy Nelson by grabbing James Jones.

Week 15 tip What else to say this time of year but to once again, go "all in". With just a few weeks left on the NFL and fantasy calendar, all waiver wire moves have to be made with the idea that either the player you pick up is an immediate contributor or there is a clear scenario that if you lose another player on your current roster, that pickup will be extremely valuable (think handcuff but all positions). Look for a good matchup, such as the Arizona or New Orleans defense for a one week hero.

Week 15 tip What else to say this time of year but to once again, go "all in". Yes, this is a recording. Odds are that this is the last week of your season and I am glad you are still alive. Go for the best matchup for a player you need this week and make every dollar count. Don't go for backups now, they have to score points to matter this time of year.

Now, on to some specific players to target here in NFL Week16 of the 2012 season:

Big Bucks

James Jones, WR, Packers ($555): If James Jones is out there, come on he has to be the top pickup in your league if you can grab him after scoring three touchdowns last week. Go all in for his services against the Titans this week with Jordy Nelson once again a question mark to suit up in Week 16.

Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders ($411): Oakland ran the ball a lot last week mostly because Kansas City was a sieve, so Palmer just had to hand the ball off. That won't be the case against Carolina, so I expect Palmer to drop back 40+ times once again and rack up at least 300 yards passing. If you need a quarterback, overpay for him in a great one week matchup.

Sam Bradford, QB, Rams ($371): Just like the number I hung on Carson Palmer, this is all about need and budget. If you need a quarterback, grabbing a hot Bradford who faces a weak Tampa Bay pass defense is just what the doctor ordered.

Rod Streater, WR, Raiders ($373): I mentioned Rod Streater last week after he had two weeks with big plays, racking up seven catches, 196 yards and a touchdown over that span. Last week he put up a solid five catch, 62 yard game but the Raiders did not throw that much. That should change this week against the Panthers as I expect Oakland to go back to throwing at least 35 times again in Week 16.

Brandon Gibson, WR, Rams ($367): Brandon Gibson started with Danny Amendola back in the lineup last week, pushing Chris Givens down the depth chart. Gibson caught six of eight targets for 76 yards to lead St. Louis in receiving, making him a decent WR3 option against Tampa Bay in a very favorable Week 16 matchup.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens ($325, $507 in leagues with TE PPR bonuses): If Pitta is still floating around in your league, snap him up immediately. Pitta pulled down two touchdowns last week, giving him five scores in his last six games. Pitta is rock solid with at least five catches and 40 yards in four of his last six games as well. With Torrey Smith iffy due to a concussion, grab him if he is out there and plug him in for Week 16 right away.

Medium Money

Tony Scheffler, TE, Lions ($285, $427 in leagues with TE PPR bonuses): This might seem strange, but the Lions need someone besides Calvin Johnson to catch the ball. Brandon Pettigrew was out last week and there is no guarantee he suits up for Week 16, and even if he does, Scheffler will still get plenty of targets. Scheffler had seven balls thrown at him last week, putting him second after Johnson, and he gets a good matchup against Atlanta who struggles against tight ends.

Alex Green, RB, Packers ($285): Alex Green is the top option for Green Bay in the ground game, racking up 69 yards on just 13 carries against Detroit two weeks ago and then getting another 13 carries last week. The Packers still favor the passing attack, but any starting or featured tailback has solid value this time of year. Green will be a decent RB2 or flex option if you need another running back for your fantasy playoffs, especially in a favorable matchup against the Titans.

Domenik Hixon, WR, Giants ($277): Hixon converted four targets to three catches, 30 yards and a score two weeks ago against New Orleans and then stepped it up against the Falcons last week, pulling down five catches for 80 yards. Hixon is getting plenty of work as the third receiver for the Giants, and Eli Manning can use all the help he can get right now. Against Baltimore he makes for a solid one-week matchup if you need a WR3 or flex guy in Week 16.

Mike Goodson, RB, Raiders ($255): This is a big gamble if you do this, so keep that in mind, but if you need to roll dice at the running back position, Goodson did have a strong game last week (13 carries, 89 yards) and Goodson does face his former Carolina Panther team in Week 16. I do expect Oakland to run a lot, but Goodson could easily split time and has a revenge game upside to his story for Sunday.

Brent Celek, TE, Eagles ($255, $425 in leagues with TE PPR bonuses): The Eagles love to incorporate the tight end into their passing attack, and now Brent Celek is back this week after a concussion. Clay Harbor did not do much last week so Celek should go right back to work against a Washington Redskins team that is a great tight end matchup.

Dwayne Allen, TE, Colts ($211, $337 in leagues with TE PPR bonuses): Andrew Luck loves his fellow Stanford alum, especially around the end zone. Allen scored again last week and is worth a look if you desperately need a tight end for this week.

Chump Change

Not this time of year. Put up or shut up and spend everything you have to get someone you need. Bargain bins are for kickers and defenses or deep, deep handcuffs.

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

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