Waiver Watcher: Week 5

Learning from the past to make smart moves in the future.

Now that April has ended, it’s time to get down to the real business of spending our FAAB – wisely this time. Sure, it’s fun to throw around 50% of your budget in the first month, but what do you have to show for it after its all said and done? An injured reliever and a fourth outfielder? Perhaps. If that doesn’t sound like you, congratulations on resisting the urge and perhaps congratulations on fielding the only team out there not riddled with injuries.

With the first month worth of FAAB behind us, I’ll be continuing to look over weekly trends in waiver pick-ups and FAAB spends across a series of leagues, with a focus on National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) 15-team leagues, including the Main Event (ME) and The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI). The ME sports 43 different leagues (645 teams), while TGFBI has 29 leagues this year (435 teams). If you don’t play in these leagues, don’t worry, there’s useful info coming your way here as well. The trends from these leagues give all fantasy managers insight into the value being put on both long term and short term production, while bringing light to some of the tough decisions that have to be made to get the most out of your roster, whether it be a 40-man roster or 20-man roster.

To put things in perspective, all NFBC rosters have 30 spots with no Injured List (IL) spots, so in a 12-team league like the Online Championship (OC) the “best” 360 players are rostered at any given time while in a 15-team league like the ME or TGFBI you could assume the “best” 450 players are rostered, making scraping the free agent barrel a bit more difficult. Of course I put the word best in quotations, as the players rostered will fluctuate based on not only the managers that play in the league and their own evaluations, but also the roster construction and needs of the teams involved. With no spots to stash injured players, NFBC leagues force managers to make tough decisions when it comes to when to cut players not performing and how long to stash both prospects and injured players, giving everyone else watching an eye into the potential production of players on the edge of your watch list. You don’t have to play in an NFBC league to make use of the information provided from those who do.

Ok, now that formalities are out of the way let’s get to work pointing out some of the most interesting trends, pick ups, and drops I noticed in the latest FAAB period, which concluded on May 2. I’m going to keep my focus on the 15-team leagues this week as the pick ups here may still be readily available in your 12 or 10 team leagues, so keep an eye out.


Getting the Call


Pitching Performance over Volume

Perhaps too many teams have been hurt in the first month by poor quality starters with two starts on their schedule. Perhaps the two starters are getting gobbled up a week early. Whichever is the case, the volume of starters being picked up as of late revolve more around performance and potential than volume. Obviously, Shane McClanahan takes home top honors being picked up in all but one league between the Main Event and TGFBI combined, where there was apparently 15 teams with pristine rotations and no holes to fill.  Garrett Richards‘ recent performance combined with a tasty match up against Baltimore made him a popular pick up this week, regardless of the fact that he is not set to see a 2-start week until the first week of June thanks to three more scheduled off-days for the Red Sox in the Month of May, and of course that’s assuming no rain outs, injuries, or other rotation manipulating events occur.

While actual performance is outweighing volume, it’s not as though the pure volume plays are going unnoticed. Of course, Cole Irvin was snagged in the majority of TGFBI leagues this week, he only got picked up in nine Main Event leagues. It wasn’t a case of lack of interest however, just a case of lack of availability. Irvin was just another case of teams getting ahead of the game, picking up volume plays a week prior to their expected 2-start week, and saving a little bit of coin in the process.

Main Event 2-Start Pitcher Adds
TGFBI 2-Start Pitcher Adds


Take What You Can Get

Sometimes you have the flexibility to make a sneaky stash move to give yourself more depth. Other times you’re forced to make moves you never thought you’d have to consider. This past FAAB period saw plenty of teams doing the latter, as each of the Main Event and TGFBI saw three catcher eligible players make their most added list. With multiple catchers going down with injuries this past week, the need to add anyone with the eligibility skyrocketed. Once again, playing time is key as seen in the priorities teams made around Kyle Higashioka of the Yankees, who will be seeing an increase in playing time according to Aaron Boone, while Mike Zunino and Andrew Knizner averaged single digit winning bids, a product of teams simply being happy with whoever they cold get to fill the role.


NFBC Main Event Most Added Players – 5/2
TGFBI Most Added Players – 5/2


Being Demoted


Wasting Space

As injuries build up, trigger fingers become a bit more active, especially in leagues without set IL roster spots to stash them. It comes at no surprise that even a whiff of missed time by an average or below average player would see their rostership plummet. No need to wait it out when you can probably just bid them back to your roster as they are returning, after their health status and role become more clear, and most of the time the amount of FAAB needed to bring them back will easily cover the extra roster spot you were able to free up – just look at Harrison Bader’s average $32 bid this past week as he returned form the IL. Don’t be worried about stashing middling players with injuries, demotions, or simply questions about what they might produce, even in the short term. The season may be longer than last year, but it’s not that long.

Watch Your Drops

Some interesting single league drops from the Main Event this past weekend included Kyle Higashioka, Frankie Montas, and Jon Gray, while in TGFBI we saw Evan Longoria, Travis Shaw, and Jonathan India hit waivers in a single league. It will come as no shock to anyone to see each of them get bid on this Sunday, especially in such deep leagues.


NFBC Main Event Most Dropped Players – 5/2
TGFBI Most Dropped Players – 5/2


Photos by Kiyoshi Mio and John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Jacob Roy (@jmrgraphics3 on IG)

Adam Howe

Adam resides in Indianapolis after spending the better part of a decade in Oakland, CA and growing up in Massachusetts. He co-hosts the On The Wire podcast with Kevin Hasting, analyzing your weekly FAAB options before your bid deadlines every Sunday.

3 responses to “Waiver Watcher: Week 5”

  1. Mike Honcho says:

    Are these guys adds or drops in a 12 team roto mixed with 5 OFs?
    V.Robles, A.Hays, A.Hicks, Avisail G., A.Eaton, I.Happ

    • Adam Howe says:

      The only one on that list I personally don’t trust to hold down a spot in a 12-teamer is Hicks. He’ll have his moments, but ultimately his lack of ability to stay on the field for long stretches makes him a streamer at best. Garcia and Hays have playing time in their respective outfields, while Eaton has the favor of TLS.

  2. Big Joe says:

    I don’t understand why this site never lists the team the player plays for. Some of us play in AL/NL only leagues and don’t necessarily have time to keep up with every single player/callup. Would help tremendously.

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