StrategyMay 15, 2008


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A FAABulous Plan

By Scott Swanay

For reasons I’ve yet to understand, many people who play in leagues that use Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) dollars insist on hoarding their money. People save their money to go after potential “impact players” (or “difference makers”, if you prefer) such as Jay Bruce and Clayton Kershaw, hoping that they’ll turn out to be the next Ryan Braun and Cole Hamels, respectively.

In reality, this is a poor strategy to follow, assuming that your ultimate goal is to win your league’s championship rather than being able to say that you had Bruce or Kershaw on your fifth-place team for a few months. Those who spent a good chunk of their FAAB dollars the first few weeks of the season on the likes of Nate McLouth, Carlos Quentin, Joey Votto, Cliff Lee, Edinson Volquez, Dana Eveland, Ryan Doumit, Shawn Hill, etc., are far more likely to be celebrating at the end of the season than those waiting for “can’t miss” prospects to be called up later in the season.

Think about it for a moment – a player added at the halfway point of the season will carry approximately half the weight over the course of the season on your team’s results as a player you add at the end of the first week. Thus, a rational fantasy owner should budget nearly twice as much for acquisitions at the end of Week 1 as they would for acquisitions at the end of Week 13. Of course, many owners do exactly the opposite, hoping to steal a player with a low bid in the early weeks to save up for larger bids on a few key acquisitions later in the season. Of course, if enough owners in your league follow this strategy, there will be many disappointed owners when the bidding for Jay Bruce, Clayton Kershaw, etc., is over. Some of these owners will attempt to compensate by making even larger bids in subsequent weeks on players even less likely to significantly impact their team’s fortunes. These owners would generally be a lot better off front-loading their FAAB spending.

So, how exactly does one go about doing that? The following is a sample FAAB spending plan for a $1,000 budget that allocates weekly dollars in proportion to the amount of time left in the season. If your league uses a $100 budget instead, divide the amounts shown here by 10 and round to the nearest dollar:

* (End of) Week 1 – spend $77; $77 spent year-to-date; $923 remaining.
* Week 2 – $73; $150; $850.
* Week 3 – $71; $221; $779.
* Week 4 – $68; $289; $711.
* Week 5 – $65; $354; $646.
* Week 6 – $62; $416; $584.
* Week 7 – $59; $475; $525.
* Week 8 – $55; $530; $470.
* Week 9 – $52; $582; $418.
* Week 10 – $49; $631; $369.
* Week 11 – $46; $677; $323.
* Week 12 – $43; $720; $280.
* Week 13 – $40; $760; $240.
* Week 14 – $37; $797; $203.
* Week 15 – $34; $831; $169.
* Week 16 – $31; $862; $138.
* Week 17 – $28; $890; $110.
* Week 18 – $25; $915; $85.
* Week 19 – $22; $937; $63.
* Week 20 – $18; $955; $45.
* Week 21 – $15; $970; $30.
* Week 22 – $12; $982; $18.
* Week 23 – $9; $991; $9.
* Week 24 – $6; $997; $3.
* Week 25 – $3; $1,000; $0.

As you can see from this plan, you’ve already spent 75% of your annual budget by the midpoint of the season (the end of Week 13), and almost 90% by the end of Week 17. Intuitively, this is consistent with the fact that any players you pick up at that point in the season are highly unlikely to significantly change your team’s fortunes.

So, if you’re one of the owners who has been hoarding your FAAB money to this point in the season, start spending!

 
Scott is a huge Yankees' fan; his girlfriend is a huge Mets' fan. Somehow, it works! Fortunately, they didn't meet until well after the 2000 World Series. Catch up with Scott in the Cafe's Forums where he posts as The Sherpa.
 
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