FAAB For Fantasy Football: Why Every league Needs It

This guide will show you everything you need to know about FAAB, also known as the Free Agent Acquistion Budget. 

First, I'll explain why FAAB should be the standard for all fantasy league's waiver wire settings.

Then I'll give you stragies on how to be successful with a FAAB budget.

Sound good? Let's dive in...

Gavel Faab Fantasy Football

Chapter 1
Why FAAB Matters

If you're an avid fantasy football player, you already aware that the waiver wire is crucial for winning your league championship.

Many players are unaware of an alternate version to their traditional waiver wire that benefits you the player, along with the competitiveness of the league.

FAAB for Fantasy Football

Fantasy Players Don't Realize FAAB Is Available

Depending on the type of fantasy football league you participate in, there can a larger combination of player and point settings for a league.

Whether you play in a standard league, PPR (points per reception), 2 QB league, dynasty league, etc., there's numerous variables and scoring options that you need to pay attention to prior to drafting your team.

The standard waiver wire are what most players and leagues are accustomed to. Fantasy football players will put in claims for available players early in the week.

These waiver wire requests are usually processed later in the week so that a fantasy football manager can effectively substitute the newly acquired player accordingly to to their roster.

Herein lies the problem.

The standard waiver wire setting can be extremely frustrating.

More than likely, players utilize the waiver wire because they need an adequate substitute for their next game.

This is all based on team performance though, which completely derails a top performing team from acquiring a top waiver wire pick.

Most waiver order settings reset each week to inverse order of standings; meaning good luck trying to acquire a player that's targeted by multiple teams.

Why The Default Waiver Wire Is Flawed

Let's start with an example:

Team 1

Team 2

Record: 1-3

Record: 3-1

Player Requested

Player Requested

Dallas Cowboys WR

Dallas Cowboys WR

Team 1 Awarded Dallas Cowboys WR

This is pretty straight forward.

Team one obviously needs the player to help improve the overall quality of his team, whereas Team 2 has a better overall record in the standings, thus not needing the player.

But this isn't always the case. Let's evaluate another example:

Team 1

Team 2

Record: 6-5

Record: 7-4

Player Requested

Player Requested

Cincinnati Bengals RB

Cincinnati Bengals RB

Team 1 Awarded Cincinnati Bengals RB

This is where the system is flawed. 

Clearly both teams have a decent record, and are both competing for the same player. But because Team 1 has lost one more game then Team 2, he is awarded the player.

This system is inefficient.

Chapter 2
How Does FAAB Work?

The Free Agent Acquisition Budget is not only an available setting for most leagues, it's really the only way establish a competitive and strategic wavier wire for your league.

Below I'll explain the interworkings of FAAB and answer some common questions about the system.

how the free agent acquisition budget works

We'll Start The Bidding At...

FAAB fantasy football is an auction format that utilizes a blind bid system to acquire players off the waiver wire.

Ummmm, what? Don't worry, I'll break it down in detail.

Prior to the start of the season, each team owner is supplied with a virtual "bank" or budget containing a specific amount of digital currency. (This number can be set according to your league manager.)

When you're ready to acquire a player that is currently on waivers, you will "bid" on this player.

In other words, you must select a digital dollar amount that you are willing to offer in order to acquire that player.

The player who bids the most digital money on the available NFL player once waivers clear (usually on a Wednesday), is awarded to that fantasy team owner.

Do I Have To Bid Money To Acquire A Player?

Absolutely not.

Actually, you'll find it quite common for league members to bid $0 to acquire a player off the waiver wire, if you feel that player does not have a high demand.

Just remember: any player who were to bid $1 or more on that same player would be awarded that player.

Once waivers have cleared for the week, you will then be able to pickup any players that were not bid on instantly, for no fee. These players are usually converted from "waivers" to "free agents".

Let's set up an example of how this process actually takes place.

Example: Your RB1 is on a bye week, and you'll need to pick up a running back on the FAAB waiver wire to replace him. Your virtual bank or budget is $150 for the season.

You place a bid on a specific player for a specific amount of $ that you feel is appropriate for that player. Potentially, if a player is off-the-radar to your other league mates, you may even want to bid $0.

When waivers clear (traditionally on a Wednesday), the team owner who bids the most on that player will be awarded that player.

If several team owners bid on a player for $0, the player would be awarded to the team based on subjective rules set by the league. (I'll talk more about this in next chapter.)

Think of the FAAB wire as if you were an actual general manager of owner of an NFL team. Most teams need to pay some sort of money to acquire a player, and in order to compete with other NFL teams, they need to make a more compelling offer to the player.

Chapter 3
Setting Up FAAB

While we touched on several aspects of why FAAB matters in redraft leagues, some may feel that this is a complex system to set up with whatever company your league is hosted on.

Below is a breakdown of how to switch to a Free Agent Aquistion Budget for the two most popular free fantasy football league hosts.

ESPN Fantasy Football

By far the most popular platform for fantasy football, ESPN's free league setup has a user intuitive setup and consistent updates to the platform and mobile application for easy user experience.

In order to switch your league to a FAAB waiver wire system, you'll either need to contact your league comissioner or have them give you co-comissioner access in order to access the league settings. 

Once you have access, you'll click on league settings, and then click on the tab "transactions and keepers" shown below:

ESPN Fantasy Football FAAB settings

Once you're on the transactions and keepers settings, you'll see several options for Acquisition and Waiver Rules.

You'll want to select Free Agent Auction, and also set the budget you would like each player to have at the beginning of the year. See below:

ESPN Transactions Keepers FAAB

Make sure to submit you settings and Voila! You have successfully switch your ESPN fantasy football league over to a FAAB waiver wire!

Yahoo Fantasy Football

While it's debatable, Yahoo comes in a close second for most used free fantasy football provider. Definitely as the oldest, Yahoo delivers solid content season after season and is the home to leagues going on 15+ years!

That's loyalty!

Below is a screenshot and breakdown of how to change your Yahoo Fantasty Football League settings to accommodate a Free Agent Acquisition Budget.

Once again, you will either need to create a brand new league from scratch and make yourself the commissioner, or have your current league commissioner change these settings.

Yahoo Fantasy Football FAAB League Settings
There are some settings that you will want to consider that go along with your newly added FAAB settings.

Below is a breakdown of different ways waiver claims are processed. This is purely subjective to the league's insights, and all three have their pros and cons.

  • Continual rolling list: waiver claims are processed in waiver priority order and each successful claim moves a manager to the end of the waiver priority list
  • Reverse order of standings: waiver claims are processed in reverse order of standings and successful claims do not affect waiver priority list
  • Weekly rolling list based on standings: waiver claims are processed in reverse order of standings and each successful claim moves a manager to the end of the waiver priority list

Most Leagues Support FAAB

While I've only highlighted the two most popular fantasy football league providers, companies like NFL, CBS, and MyFantasyLeague all provide the option to switch your league to a free agent acquisition budget system.

FAAB is such an optimal way of managing the waiver wire for fantasy, that multiple sports have this type of system including NBA, MLB, and NHL fantasy leagues.

Chapter 4
FAAB Strategy

How can there be a faab strategy? You bid on a player, you either acquire him or you don't. It's that simple, right?

Not at all.

A lot of fantasy football players treat their FAAB fantasy football budget as if it's their first credit card.

FAAB Strategy

Basic FAAB Strategy To Get You Started

Spending All Your FAAB Budget

Mid-to-late through the season, they are really suffering because they've depleted their entire budget.

When this happens, they really have no chance on picking up top waiver wire pickups until after waivers have cleared, which tends to be difficult to achieve.

While there is no definitive fantasy football advice with managing your FAAB Budget, here's a few guidelines to keep in mind:

1. Feel Out The Competition

You're not going to know how much to bid on a player the first few games of the fantasy football season. You're going to have to fell out your league mates to see what kind of bids they are making.

Monitor the types of winning bids within your league activity, to give you some reference on where to start.

2. Draft Smart

Do us a favor and make sure you draft your main running back's handcuff.

This will not only ensure you have someone in reserves if your RB is injured, but you do not have to waste a significant amount of your FAAB budget on trying to acquire him off the waiver wire.

3. Be Conservative In The Beginning

There's going to be an urge to acquire players as soon as the fantasy football season starts, but withhold from small dollar amount pickups.

They can add up quickly, and leave you with nothing approaching the playoffs.

The FAAB system allows you to be smarter about your pickups, which tends to be a beneficial aspect for players you've drafted who haven't put up their best points within the season.

4. Research Before Bidding

If you're targeting a popular waiver wire pickup, odds are your league-mates are looking to do the same.

One thing that assists is how much you should bid is researching how much budget each of your league-mates have remaining.

More than likely, if it's an absolute need for their team, they will be bidding more than 40-50% of their budget to acquire that player. This should give you an a ballpark of where to start.

5. It's Not Just For Your Bench

Just because you have remaining budget headed into the playoffs, doesn't mean you can't spend it.

You can strategically use your remaining budget against your opponent.

If you've noticed your opponent has a difficult match-up against you or an injury, and you're predicting they may go for a specific player, bid a reasonable amount on the same player (even if you don't plan on keeping him)! T

This will block them from acquiring the player and scoring points against you.

Chapter 5
Convincing The League Comissioner

If you've made it all the way to this point of the FAAB guide, then I can confidently say you've convinced yourself that FAAB is perfect for your league.

But how do you convince your league comissioner that this is the move?

Below is a basic blueprint of how to approach "The Head Cheese" of switching to FAAB.

fantasy football commissioner

3 Ways To Convince Your Commish on FAAB

1. Send Them This Article...Duh!

Most commissioners (and players alike) are simply not aware that this league setting exists. By sending them this article, you'll be the hero of your league and everyone will wonder why it took so long to convert to FAAB.

2. Lobby Other Teammates Before Pitching To The Commish

Sometimes offering an improvement to your league no matter how valuable it may be, falls on deaf ears. 

By presenting the FAAB option to other team owners in your league prior to the commissioner, you'll have a stronger case and buy-in to make the change.

Strength in numbers, right?

3. Consider Making FAAB A Real Money Play

More than likely, your fantasy football league is some sort of paid league. One way to up-the-ante is to make FAAB a real-live bank. 

There are several ways you can structure this:

  1. All team owners not only pay their league entrance fee prior to the draft, but also the full value of their digital bank. This money get's added to winners pool and dispersed based on your league's payout structure.
  2. Collect all of the virtual bank money up front with league fees. At the end of the season, any money not spent from the team owner's virtual bank gets refunded back to them, and the money they did spend goes into the league payouts.
  3. No up front collection is needed, and just charge players at the end of the year on how much of the budget they spent and put towards the league payouts.

FAAB Fantasy Football Is Here To Stay

The Free Agent Acquisition Budget is not only a more viable option for a strategic league, it makes it a hell of a lot more competitive.

Early before you begin the next fantasy football season, reach out to your league commissioner and send them this article, explaining why you need FAAB for your league.

Have a comment? Anything to add? Drop us a line below!



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  • Ed Mo says:

    Question, we will be switching to FAAB this year and would like to know if the Season Acquisition Limit is set to 20, would this be the total # of moves available to each team including both auction player pickups and free agent pickups or would the 20 Acq Limit only effect the # of free agent pickups? Thank you.

    • Piewagon says:

      My league is switching as well we usually only have a 10-12 player pick limit during the year with the snowflakes crying we are switching to FAAB, but it seems not having a Acquisition limit will give people a totally different team fromw hat they drafted making it no skill. I think 20-25 would be good.. To answer your question it is most likely 1 acquition pef player pick up no matter what status that player is under F/A or W/W

  • Chris says:

    whats the best waiver wire settings to use when using FAAB? My league complains about being able to pick up free agents.

  • Scott says:

    What do you think is the best dollar amount to set a league at? We were thinking $100 but I don’t want people running out of money say week 7. What do you like to do with the playoffs? Teams roll with what they have left or everyone gets a new budget?

    • Chad Lio says:

      It really doesn’t matter if it’s $100 or $1000 it’s all relative to budgeting. With playoffs, I would suggest just rolling what teams have left. Most of the time using FAAB in playoffs, you can pick players up for free.

  • Mike says:

    Do you know when players come off waivers in NFL fantasy football? It says players come off waivers Thursday morning. Do you happen to know what time that is?

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