Fantasy baseball lessons: Making waivers decisions

by Nicholas Minnix on October 21, 2010 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


Sometimes, when we ask:

What we really mean is:

  • Is this guy good?
  • Will he do well for me if I add him?

The answer: No one knows. What you have is the data to give you an educated guess. You know Ludwick's track record, but you really need a middle infielder and have plenty of outfielders. You pored over Holland's minor league statistics and gauged his chances of remaining in the Texas Rangers' rotation.

Occasionally, fantasy managers play hunches. But usually, they play the odds. Often, they don't even realize it.

How much should I bid on Franklin Morales? Jon Rauch? Alfredo Simon? John Axford? Aaron Heilman? Hong-Chih Kuo? Evan Meek? Koji Uehara?

Minnesota Twins RP Jon Rauch
Rauch believers started strong

Those are good questions. Each of those pitchers was in line for save opportunities. Some had stronger cases than others. But how strong is any closer's case?

Who are my pitchers? Where do I stand in saves? What is the distribution of saves for each team in my league? Who are the pitchers on the teams I'm chasing in saves? The teams chasing me?

How deep is my league? How often may I make transactions? How deep is the pool of potential replacements at the position I'd acquire? The position I'd dump?

How much will the player help me from this point forward if he hits his ceiling? How will winning with the bid I submit affect my ability to address other weaknesses? How much have my fellow owners already spent?

The actual result of a trade often isn't evident until season's end. FAAB is a crapshoot. First-come, first-served pickups come and go. You ask all these questions at some point. It becomes automatic. The answers shape your decisions. If you end up with an answer you didn't expect, go with it.

At the beginning of the season, Morales wasn't worth a sizable FAAB investment. He might have been worth more to the owner of Huston Street. He would have been worth more to an owner with unimpressive relievers. He might have been worth little to an owner with an abundance of closers. He would have been worth nothing to an owner who punted saves.

At the beginning of the season, Rauch was worth a sizable FAAB investment. He was clearly the lead backend arm to begin the year. He might have been worth more to the owner of Joe Nathan. He would have been worth more to an owner with unimpressive relievers. He might have been worth little to an owner with an abundance of closers. He would have been worth nothing to an owner who punted saves.

Morales didn't fetch much in early waiver periods. Rauch went for a range of prices. Do you wish you had bid more on him? If so, why didn't you? Sometimes it seems like everyone values a certain player the same way. It's when you do what others don't expect that you find value and stand out.

Decide what is most important to your team. Ignore the factors you have determined to be less influential. How valuable a player is to you is all that matters. If you can live with the outcome at that price, then you have made the right choice, no matter what happens.

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Players making adjustments | Making waivers decisions

Acquiring value buys | Negotiating trades

About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.


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