Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Researching and preparing FAAB, pickups

by Todd Zola, on April 23, 2014 @ 12:04:32 PDT


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How do you go about researching and setting your FAAB bids each week? Do you have a system? How much do you rely on the league's scoring service for your information and how much do you use outside sources for information? What outside sources do you use?

Brian Walton

In Tout Wars, there are two factors that weigh heavily. The Vickrey system lowers any winning bid to $1 more than the second-place offer. In addition, $0 bids are accepted. Both allow one to stretch FAAB to the max.

For a player that you really want, you can bid aggressively, and for lesser stop-gaps, $0 fillers can often be had. For example, there are always set up men and middle relievers virtually there for free. Productive hitters, on the other hand, are scarcer.

OF Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates
You never know who's available

My key decision criteria on an amount to bid are need and anticipated time in the job. Various news sources are helpful to try to gauge what may be ahead, but are far from infallible. In setting my bid values, it is all about balancing need with anticipated demand from the rest of the league.

If I have a roster opening that I want to fill, I will bid a dollar or two more than I might otherwise. The currency of single-population leagues is at-bats and innings-pitched. The challenge is to find replacements that contribute counting stats but do not trash ratios.

For example, this past week, I needed to replace Travis Ishikawa at corner infield. Only one applicable free agent had more than three at-bats last week. Therefore, I went $2 on Justin Turner and had to pay $1. That is not going to be a difference-maker for the season, but enough of those kinds of transactions can help over time. It is almost surely going to be better than a week of zeroes at least, I hope so.

In many cases, time in the job is trickier to gauge. I spent $3 on the Cardinals' Tyler Lyons this week. Though I am assured of getting only two or three starts from the lefty before Joe Kelly may return, the interim matchups are favorable.

As much as we would all like this year's Jose Fernandez to arrive on our rosters, it takes many small steps like these (hopefully) to put together a winning season.

Tim talks about his methods....

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About Todd Zola,

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at and, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums. Fantasy Baseball

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