High Staked: Bidding War of Attrition

Veteran high stakes fantasy football player Monty Phan chronicles his season.

If you have multiple high-stakes teams in leagues with waivers, these are the weeks where putting together Wednesday bids starts to feel like a total slog. Trying to figure out how much to put down on the Bengals’ third-string tight end or the Eagles’ third-string running back or any member of the Jaguars’ offense is causing you to evaluate the choices in your life leading to this point.

It’s always like this. The first couple weeks, you’re bidding on guys you weren’t able to take in the draft or some rookie who came out of nowhere to have a big first week or two. It’s exciting! The next couple weeks, maybe you’re giving up on some late-round flyers for players who have put together a few solid weeks to start the year. It’s still exciting, kind of!

Now is the point where you’re bidding on guys you dropped a week or two ago who decided to score tons of points only when they were off your roster and now you’re that deep-voiced guy from Boyz II Men1 whose seemingly only purpose in that group was to plead in the middle of a ballad, “Baby, just come back to me, I never meant to let you go, please, baby, I’m begging you, come back.” Players such as:

  • Robby Anderson. Despite his seventh-round ADP, plenty of teams had given up on the Jets’ leading WR from 2017, so, of course, on Sunday he grabbed a 76-yard touchdown and 35-yard score from Sam Darnold. In one Main Event league, we won him with a $328 bid, which was more than twice what we needed to pay.2
  • Tre’Quan Smith. A trendy last-round dart throw, Smith failed to see many targets in an offense where Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara hogged most of Drew Brees’s attention, making Smith a popular drop. That is, until Monday, when Smith nearly duplicated Anderson’s line, catching his first career TD, a 62-yard bomb from Brees that propelled the quarterback into first place on the NFL all-time passing yards list. Smith then added another 35-yard score, which solidified him as a trendy-again pick-up this week.3
  • Donte Moncrief. Another late-round target, Moncrief has yo-yoed from rosters to the wire and back on other rosters seemingly every week this season as owners try to decipher the Jaguars offense.4

But as much as it feels like a chore to comb the waivers for a guy who just maybe, possibly looks like someone who could perhaps turn your 1-4 team into a contender, look at it this way: At this point two years ago, then-rookie Tyreek Hill was still on some leagues’ waivers when he turned in a WR1 performance the rest of the season, while Adam Thielen, also somewhat available at that time, turned out to be a WR2 from Week 6 on. After Week 5 last year, in some Main Event leagues you could still find: Dion Lewis (RB1 the rest of the season), Nelson Agholor (WR2), Juju Smith-Schuster (WR2), Robert Woods (WR3), and Marquise Goodwin (WR3).

If you look at that list, it’s full of guys who at the time were unproven rookies, rookie busts or players with uncertain roles. But finding a guy like Lewis on the wire last year – or Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, two popular pick-ups before Week 5 a year ago – is why a team justifies a $400-plus bid on Wendell Smallwood. I’ll let you know in a couple months if he was worth it.

TIGHT (END) SQUEEZES

On Monday I mentioned how, because of injuries, hard-luck teams are digging deep at the tight end position, which gets a weighted 1.5 points per reception in FFPC scoring. Here are the top 12 at the position through five weeks:5

ffpctop12teweek5

The top two names are no surprise, of course, but then we venture into the Upside Down: Jared Cook, the TE3, was the 21st tight end off the board according to Main Event ADP; current TE4 Eric Ebron was the 16th TE in drafts, TE5 George Kittle was the 13th, and TE9 Austin Hooper was the 23rd average TE selection. Cook and Ebron have enough points to qualify as WR1s after five weeks, and each has a higher points-per-week average than Smith-Schuster, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, Jarvis Landry, and Keenan Allen, to name a few top WR picks.

So when you peruse this week’s waiver bids and see C.J. Uzomah and Niles Paul as hot commodities, now you know why.

  1. I’m really dating myself, here.  (back)
  2. In the Super Bracket, a different FFPC contest, we won Anderson with an $88 bid last week.  (back)
  3. Our Super Bracket team won him with a $188 bid.  (back)
  4. Some words for those intrepid souls: Vaya con dios, mi amigos.  (back)
  5. I took this shot from the FFPC’s stats page, so there are unnecessary columns you can ignore.  (back)