Many fantasy owners are unfamiliar with the “blind bid waiver wire” system, but when compared to “first come, first serve” or “worst team first” systems it is by far the most fair and skill-based system to acquire free agents. Under the Apex format, the “blind bid waiver wire” period begins on Tuesdays at 8 am ET, and bids are processed on Wednesdays at 10 pm ET. After that, there are “first come, first serve” free agents until 1 pm ET on Sundays. There is no one formula to the perfect blind bid strategy, but there are some important factors to consider when deciding how you should allocate your bidding dollars.
Spend More Money Early…
…But only if the player is worth it. Don’t go blowing your entire free agent budget on the wide receiver that caught one 90 yard touchdown in Week 1. If there is a player that is going to be thrust into a starting role for the rest of the season, though, saving your money should not be your foremost concern. Getting nearly a full season of production out of a player is much more valuable than landing a new starter in Week 12. These opportunities are rare, and might not come up again.
Favor Scarce Positions
For the same reasons that the late round QB approach to drafting is often optimal, avoid overspending on tight ends or quarterbacks when possible. Of course there is always the occasional Julius Thomas, but most tight ends don’t have Peyton Manning throwing to them. A new starting running back or wide receiver is worth much more than a new starting quarterback or tight end, because we can usually replace “onesie” positions for free.
Bid For Team Need
If a player is going to help your team win, get him. There are few things worse in fantasy football than watching a player that you should have carry someone else to a title. Don’t let this happen because you don’t want to pay $5 more than you think a player is worth. Player values are all relative, and if you can fill a hole on your team, do it, even if it costs you a couple extra dollars.
Be A Price Enforcer
You don’t have to bid on every hot name every week, and you shouldn’t. That being said, don’t let a player that will shift the balance of power in your league go for close to nothing. Just like in an auction draft, have an idea of the minimum price that certain players should go for, and bid at least that minimum if a player is likely to become a workhorse. Even if you don’t have an immediate need at a particular position, you can never have enough depth and it’s better to have points on your bench than in your opponents starting lineup.
Don’t Wait For The Breakout
To find value in a blind bid waiver system, you have to be proactive instead of reactive. Once a player takes over a starting gig, his price is going to skyrocket. Be aware of targets, snaps played, and percentage of team carries. When you notice a player getting a slight bump in opportunity, get him on the cheap. If they don’t end up panning out, you didn’t pay much anyway.
Always Leave Yourself Outs
Save at least a couple free agent dollars for injuries and unexpected circumstances, even if it’s just 5% of your total budget. As I already stated, you shouldn’t bid on every single hot name. It’s better to miss out on a middle of the road player than not be able to start a decent quarterback when your starter goes down right before the playoffs. Anything can happen in fantasy football, so always be prepared.
Know Your League
There are plenty of resources that offer suggested blind bid values each week. While these serve as a decent guide, every league is different. In deeper leagues with shallow free agent pools, players are going to be much more valuable, so spend more.
Keep tabs on how other owners in your league are spending their free agent money. If everyone pays way too much for running backs, get wide receivers on the cheap. When your league is trying to save money early in the season, pounce on players with season long value. If you’re battling for a playoff spot with one team and they need a tight end, outbid him on that week’s top tight end play even if you don’t need one.
Pay attention to weekly drops. While everyone is focused on players that performed well in a given week, always keep an eye out for good players that were dropped after a few bad performances.
Have A Plan
Before making your first bid of the season, have a plan in place. Make a list of team needs, know how much emergency money you need to keep, and have an idea of how many waiver claims you need to make over the course of the season. If most owners in your league don’t roster backup kickers or defenses, you probably don’t have to bid on those positions at all, and can simply pick up your streamers once waivers clear. If the player pool is thin, make sure you have a couple dollars saved if you plan on streaming a position – even have to bid on it weekly. Once you have a rough idea of how many waiver claims you think you will need, you can allocate your money accordingly.
This season, an Apex Waiver Wire column will be available on the strategy blog. Every week we will take a look at the top waiver claims with suggested auction values specifical to Apex Fantasy Leagues.