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.
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.
Last comment for now – 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 Frank Gore’s understudy, get him now before he pulls that hammy and everyone gets in on the action.
Week 3 Comment: 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.
Week 4 Comment: Bye weeks are starting now, so teams are going to be more active on the waiver wire, especially with Green Bay off in Week 4. Kickers and defenses will be added and dropped, so start looking ahead and you’re your lineups for the weeks where you will be short a starter or two. Depth is going to play a bigger part in the next several weeks, so do not be afraid to add players for a rainy day now instead of later.
Week 5 Comment: Bye weeks are here, so some of the best deals are both players on a bye week or coming off of one. For example, Green Bay and Philadelphia 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 Comment: The fantasy regular season is nearly half over, so if you are sitting on some free agent money, it is probably time to buy some guys you might need – now or later. Even if a player is only startable for 2-3 games, that is a big percentage of the fantasy regular season. Shoot the lock off of that wallet.
Week 7 Comment: Not only is the (fantasy) season half over, injuries are starting to pile up. Once you can start to get past some bye weeks, depth on rosters will matter. Add players and handcuffs accordingly.
Week 8 Comment: This is not a great week for waiver wires, so I went on to dig pretty deep. With six teams on a bye week and a few coming back, it is tricky to find value right now. Harvesting from teams that are taking Week 8 off is a good plan to get ahead of your league for Week 9 and beyond.
Week 9 Comment: You might be running out of time and money at this point of the season. The year is half over, so grab some potential values while you still can. Most of the byes will be behind us after Monday, so start planning for the rest of the fantasy regular season and the playoffs now.
Week 10 Comment: Just a few more weeks of byes and fantasy regular season. Get the players you want now with whatever money you have, and start getting a roster ready for the fantasy playoffs.
Week 11 Comment: You are running out of time for the fantasy football regular season, and to make moves. Bid now, get a few guys that can either help you immediately or for the postseason - or both. Spend those dollars on talent while you can. Byes are nearly over.
Week 12 Comment: Getting close to the "last call" at the waiver wire bar. Spend now. Get a few guys that can either help you immediately or for the postseason - or both. Spend those dollars on talent while you can. Byes are nearly over.
Week 13 Comment: This is the final week of byes (just two - Cleveland and Tennessee), and for many it is the end of the fantasy regular season. Check your rules for your league, as some leagues lock waivers after this week. Be sure to have enough depth on your roster in case someone gets hurt, even a kicker. Do not let that ruin your postseason.
Week 14 Comment: Byes are over and for most leagues, the fantasy playoffs are about to begin. Take a few gambles if you have depth, but be sure to have solid handcuffs and backups to players you are counting on for December. Only players that might start for you matter.
Week 15 Comment: Same as last week - It is clearly time to go "all in". These are the final weeks, and it is likely your playoff time. If you can make moves (some leagues are already locked), then grab weekly starters or guys that can help right away. Everyone else does not matter.
Week 16 Comment: Same as last week - It is clearly time to go "all in". These are the final weeks, and it is likely your playoff time. If you can make moves (some leagues are already locked), then grab weekly starters or guys that can help right away. Everyone else does not matter.
Week 17 Comment: This is it, the end of the road for 2016. Spend all you got if you are still playing and need a player!
Now, on to some specific players to target here in NFL Week 17 of the 2016 season:
NFL WEEK 17
This week is certainly different. If you are still here (Happy Holidays, and thanks for reading) this is your final week, and you are probably looking for some help. Rather than go too deep, we’re just looking for names that can possibly give us that little extra edge (or replace an injury, sorry). So I’m going to just go by positional ranks this week and I hope you only need one player. The bidding is pretty simple this week – spend everything you have.
Good luck and once again, thanks for reading. See you in 2017!
- Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars (vs. Indianapolis) – Bortles threw for 325 yards and a touchdown while also catching a gimmick touchdown himself last week against Tennessee. The Jaguars have nothing to play for this week, which is no different than the past several. Look for Bortles to put up strong numbers on the Colts this week.
- Matt Moore, QB, Dolphins – Miami is the six seed right now for the playoffs and they want to keep their momentum going, plus they would love nothing more than to keep New England from getting the top seed in the AFC.
- Sam Bradford, QB, Vikings – Last week Bradford had over 380 yards and now Minnesota hosts the Bears to close out their first season in their new stadium. I would not be surprised at all if Bradford has a big game in Week 17.
- Paxton Lynch, QB, Broncos – Here is Lynch’s final audition for the Denver starting job in 2017. Denver hosts Oakland in a big game for the Raiders, so expect every Bronco player to be up for this one.
- Matt Cassel, QB, Titans – Unfortunate that the Titans lost Marcus Mariota, but Cassel is the next man up against Houston, who could be resting this week with the AFC South title clinched and having to play the next weekend.
- Matt McGloin, QB, Raiders – Oakland is going to be treating Week 17 like a playoff game, because a win means the #2 seed most likely while a loss in Denver could force them to play next week. Keep in mind that Oakland may favor the run against Denver and that McGloin is more McFly than McNabb, but beggars cannot be choosers this late in the year.
- DeAndre Washington, RB, Raiders – Welcome to my “BOLD CALL OF THE WEEK” here, (yes, all caps) because I think this is the top pickup for Week 17 (sorry Adam Thielen, but you should be owned already). Washington will be a RB1 this week (and worth every penny on all DFS sites) as the Raiders will rely on him against Denver after his 12-99-2 performance (and an 18-yard catch) last week against Indianapolis. With Matt McGloin under center and the Raiders needing all the help they can get on offense to get a big win and a bye, expect Washington to be a big part of the Week 17 game plan.
- Alex Collins, RB, Seahawks – This spot is really for the lead back for Seattle this week, which could be Collins. As you might have noticed, San Francisco is terrible against the run, and Seattle gets them in Week 17. If Collins gets 15 or more touches, RB1 value awaits.
- Zach Zenner, RB, Lions – Have the Lions found a ground game? Those who watched Zenner against Dallas on Monday might think so. Detroit should lean on Zenner against Green Bay in the NFC North title game on Sunday night.
- Kenneth Dixon, RB, Ravens – I think you know now why I have been writing him up all year long. Baltimore wants one more look at him before the season ends, and a trip to Cincinnati provides it in Week 17.
- Jerrick McKinnon, RB, Vikings – McKinnon posted strong numbers (11-50 rushing, 5-35 receiving) in Week 16 and gets the Bears in Week 17 to close out the season. McKinnon out-snapped Matt Asiata 54-25, so he has a good shot at doing more of the same in the season finale.
- Chris Ivory, RB, Jaguars - T.J. Yeldon went to the injured reserve list, and Indianapolis cannot stop the run.
- Alfred Blue, RB, Texans – Houston has won the division and cannot do much else in Week 17 except give Lamar Miller a week to rest. Expect Blue to be the primary ball carrier against Tennessee.
- Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Buccaneers – I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes in Tampa Bay, but Rodgers was the top back last week and I expect more of the same to close out the year for Tampa Bay against Carolina.
The rest of this list is pretty speculative, so tread lightly as I see them all as gambles.
- Chris Thompson, RB, Washington – Rob Kelley is banged up and Thompson scored twice last week. It is not a sure thing at the moment, but I like Thompson’s chances for Week 17 against the Giants.
- 9. Mike Gillislee, RB, Bills – Buffalo no longer has anything to play for aside for pride (and no, not even Rex Ryan’s future). Gillislee could see quite a bit of work against the Jets in Week 17, but it is not a given.
- Ronnie Hillman, RB, Chargers – Melvin Gordon III has not been scratched off the list for Week 17, and San Diego may give him a cheap shot at 1,000 yards (he needs just three) if he can suit up at all. Aside from that, I expect Hillman to get the bulk of the work as Kenneth Farrow (shoulder) is now on injured reserve.
- Shaun Draughn, RB, 49ers – Carlos Hyde (knee) is done for the year, which gives Draughn the chance to be the lead back, but he could just as easily split time with DuJuan Harris against Seattle.
- Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings - Where have you been? I have been talking about Thielen all season long (since Week 6, to be exact) and I hope you had him last week. If you did not, he is the top wideout to grab for Week 17 with a strong matchup against Chicago at home (and indoors).
- Brandon LaFell, WR, Bengals – LaFell is probably owned, but if not, grab him as he is the WR1 right now for the Bengals with both A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert hurting, and Baltimore’s Jimmy Smith has also missed the past few contests. If LaFell is the top target and Smith is out, I see a big day coming for LaFell.
- J.J. Nelson, WR, Cardinals – Arizona has nothing left to play for, but Nelson is on a roll and gets a weak Rams defense in Week 17.
- Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars – Surely Lee is owned, right? If not, he (and Allen Robinson) get fantastic matchups against the Colts with the Jaguars short on running backs to close out the year. Ride Blake Bortles’ hot hand to a championship (said no one, ever, but hey – it could work in Week 17).
- Jermaine Kearse and Paul Richardson Jr, WR, Seahawks – With Tyler Lockett (leg) out now, Russell Wilson will need Richardson and Kearse to step up as the likely WR2 in the Seattle offense. The Seahawks still are playing for seeding and a shot at a bye week.
- Cameron Meredith, WR, Bears – Another week, another write-up for Cameron Meredith. I get that the matchup (at Minnesota) is not ideal, but this is Week 17 and Jordy Nelson and all the Packers torched the Vikings’ secondary last Saturday. Meredith should see a large amount of targets in Week 17.
- Dontrell Inman, WR, Chargers – Inman had 10 targets in Week 16 and San Diego is going to have to throw with next to nothing left at running back. San Diego could be playing their final game in San Diego – ever – this week, and the game matters to both Kansas City and Oakland. Expect the Chargers to go all out in Week 17.
- Kenny Stills or DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins – I am not sure which one is the right one, but consider either as Miami will likely be throwing against New England this weekend.
- Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers – Gates can tie the record for tight end touchdowns if he finds the end zone this week. With the Chargers possibly playing their last ever game in San Diego on Sunday, I like Gates’ odds to get the record, or possibly even break it against the Chiefs.
- Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens – Baltimore is eliminated, but Pitta is still having a career year with the most catches he has ever had in a season (75). Cincinnati is also not good against tight ends.
- Charles Clay, TE, Bills – Clay had a big game with two touchdowns in Week 16 against Miami, and now the Bills close out the season against the Jets, who have completely given up on the season.
- Coby Fleener, TE, Saints – Speaking of teams not good against tight ends, New Orleans plays Atlanta in a big game for the Falcons. Divisional teams always get up for the opponent, regardless of record. I like Drew Brees to find Fleener for a score this week.
Thanks one last time for reading Money Talks, and good luck in Week 17!
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