FAAB stands for Free Agent Acquisition Budget (or Bidding). It is the process of adding new hitters and pitchers to our fantasy baseball rosters in exchange for hitters and pitchers we have chosen to drop. Most fantasy sites, including NFBC, run FAAB once a week, on Sundays, and use a blind bidding protocol. Over the last decade, FAAB has become the universal method of roster turnover, replacing the antiquated process of “first-come, first-served” and waiver wire priority.

In home leagues, FAAB can be set to whatever total for the season you want – typically $1,000 or $100. NFBC uses a $1,000 budget for the season. Including the first FAAB period (this Sunday, April 3), there will be 27 in total for the 2022 season. This averages roughly $37 per week. 


Trust the Gut is my weekly FAAB column where I will recommend players to consider adding, by position, for both 12-team and 15-team leagues, as well as corresponding dollar amount bid ranges for each player. 

But first, here is a detailed primer with just about everything you need to know about free agent bidding. At the bottom, I’ll have a lighter version of my weekly FAAB recommending some players to consider bidding on for this Sunday’s first (preseason) FAAB period for drafts that have already taken place. I recommend reviewing the primer below and not just skipping to the bottom, no matter your level of NFBC expertise.

FAAB Basics

Each Sunday, starting the weekend before MLB Opening Day (for 2022, that’s this weekend), fantasy managers have the opportunity to bid and acquire any player available in the free agent pool. Let’s use a 12-team NFBC Online Championship as the example. A total of 360 players were drafted and everyone who wasn’t drafted is considered a free agent and can be bid on. In NFBC, minor leaguers are not available to bid on unless they’ve played in one MLB game or if they were originally drafted among the 360 in your league and subsequently dropped.

Most FAAB, and specifically NFBC’s, is a blind bidding system where the players who receive the highest bids are acquired by that manager. A player must be dropped for each player added. Most utilize the conditional bidding function to set additional players under their top bid to ensure they have someone replacing the player they are dropping. 

Over the course of the season, the total dollar amount of your winning bids is subtracted from your $1,000 budget. The primary purpose of utilizing FAAB is to leverage the best free agents available each week to improve your team and rack up stats on a weekly basis. More on strategies later but the goal here is to avoid taking zeroes in your active lineup. We can leverage advantageous matchups for hitters and pitchers based on upcoming schedule and ballparks. We can use it to attack category deficiencies in our lineups (adding a two-start SP when we need wins and strikeouts). Or occasionally we hit the lotto on a breakout player who earns us tremendous profit and becomes a mainstay on our squad.

A standard 12-team bid for this upcoming season might look like this:

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In this example, if no one else in your league bid more than $26 on Reid Detmers, then he is on your team and $26 is subtracted from your FAAB. If someone else bid $27 or more on Detmers and wins them but no one bid more than $15 on Zach Eflin, then Eflin is yours. In the case of a tied bid, tie goes to the person lower in the standings at the time.

Here is the way not to set your bids (claim lists):

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Technically, this works, but it’s bad practice and can get you in trouble if you have multiple drops. Setting a claim list for each of player you intend on dropping is the correct way to FAAB. The last player in your claim list should be the very last free agent you would prefer on your roster over the player you are dropping. Which leads us into conditional bidding.

Importance of Conditional Bidding

The biggest mistake inexperienced FAAB’ers make is not setting enough players in their claim lists to ensure the player they are dropping is off your roster for the following week, especially if that player you intend on dropping hits the injured list or has been sent down to the minors. In my claim list example, James Kaprielian is an easy drop in a 12-team format. He was already only borderline rosterable and is starting the season on the IL. If we haven’t thrown in several players in as conditional bids under our preferred option (Detmers), there is a good chance Kaprielian is still on our roster the following week. You want to hit the ground running when the season begins, which means optimizing your conditional bids in the order you want players.

In this example, my roster has nine pitchers ready to go on my active roster. The reason guys like Detmers, Eflin and Mitch Keller are on my bid list even though they won’t be taking the mound in that first four-game period to kick off the season is because they are pitchers I believe are worth taking a flier on and could have long-term value/staying power on my roster. If I felt my team was short on saves out the gate, or if I needed someone to put into my active lineup for that first period, I would load up this claim list with relievers like Cole Sulser, Diego Castillo, Ian Kennedy and David Robertson. I’d have to internally prioritize what was more important – the opportunity to land a guy who might earn a closer’s job or simply just getting some strikeouts and maybe lucking into a cheap win. If I’m simply looking to optimize 5x5 roto categories for this scoring period, I’d next look at the offenses they are facing and sort them in order of weakest to strongest opposing offense. 

If you happen to have Adley Rutschman (starting season on IL or in Triple-A) on your roster and no third catcher, it would be wise to drop your most droppable player for a catcher in a single claim list. If that means throwing 12 catchers on your claim list with a bunch of them at $1 bids, so be it. Whatever it takes to avoid taking the dreaded goose egg (a zero) in your lineup in Week 1. 

Do all in your power to utilize conditional bidding to ensure you’re fielding a full and healthy lineup each scoring period and each week. 

Optimizing Starting Lineups

In NFBC, we can swap out hitters in and out of our starting lineup twice per week (Monday for Mon-Thurs, Friday for Fri-Sun). Pitchers we can only swap once a week, on Mondays. Utilizing Matthew Davis’ Weekly Planner and Matt Kupferle’s Two-Start Pitcher articles, we can always plan ahead and prioritize player bids based on what is most advantageous for our lineups for the upcoming week. 

We can look ahead to identify valuable free agent hitters in advantageous platoon situations. For example, we’re in early May this year and notice that the San Francisco Giants have an upcoming road trip to hitter-friendly Coors Field. We take it a step further and recognize that the Giants line up to face a left-handed starting pitcher in all three starts – Austin Gomber, Kyle Freeland and let’s say some poor bum southpaw from the minors stepping in for an injured Chad Kuhl. We know that right-handed hitting Darin Ruf has strong, pronounced splits in favor of facing LHPs and that he’s an optimal target for our lineup. Three lefties in Coors for a right-handed bat who mashes them is what the kids call “the nuts.” 

The next level of this equation is recognizing that your leaguemates are no dummies. They likely have the same idea in mind, and the bid amount you think might land Ruf’s services for your roster won’t be enough. If you’re able to recognize these types of optimal lineup opportunities a couple weeks ahead and have a flexible enough roster where you can easily drop a dead-weight player two weeks in advance, you’re usually ahead of the game. That $40 Ruf in the Week 8 FAAB period might only cost you $2 in the Week 7 period. Of course, life does get in the way sometimes. A rainout or injury could shift the Rockies’ rotation so that they no longer throw out three southpaws, or perhaps Ruf gets hurt. Nevertheless, staying ahead of rising market prices is typically a sage move, especially if it only costs you a couple of FAAB dollars.

Over time, we train ourselves to look ahead to take advantage of scheduled matchups. Hitters going to hitter-friendly ballparks like Coors Field, Yankee Stadium or Camden Yards. Or starting pitchers with two starts that week in pitcher friendly stadiums facing below-average offenses. The key to maximizing output of splits and schedules is to have roster flexibility with your last couple of bench spots where we’re able to burn and churn them without concern. The more multi-position-eligible hitters you have on our teams, the easier we can slide players across different positions and avoid those goose eggs.

Winning Bids Consistently 

Consistently winning bids is an artform that comes with experience, understanding leaguemates’ tendencies and a full comprehension of the platform you are playing on. With humility, I accept the notion of my colleagues who dub me a great FAAB’er but acknowledge that I’m always working to perfect my craft and that the NFBC and other leagues are filled with experienced and talented craftsmen and women in this regard. Much of my personal success of getting the players I’m targeting is fueled by feel and touch but it’s also very nuanced and well-researched. Over the last decade or so, this quick and easy process flow that has worked for me:

  • Studying bidding patterns and tendencies of leaguemates
  • Switching up my own bidding patterns weekly
  • Not getting married to players or feel like they owe me – keeping roster nimble

Noting habits and patterns of others in your league is necessary to help figure out bid amounts to get your pitchers and hitters of preference on a weekly basis. There are different types of bidders out there. There are the aggressive/go-for-broke types who chase top-trending players each week and typically overspend on a hitter coming off a .400-4 HR week or a pitcher coming off a no-run, eight-strikeout gem. Oftentimes, these bidders are falling for a trap where they’re paying top market value for someone based on one great start or one successful hitting week. Perhaps the pitcher faced the lowly Pirates and is now slated to face the voracious Dodgers. Or perhaps that pitcher came up for a spot start and the rotation incumbent is about to come off the IL and reclaim his spot. Balancing our aggressiveness or tendency to overbid is done so by valuing more of what we project to occur in the immediate (or long term) future as opposed to what has already happened.

Alternately, there are the ultra-conservative types who get beaten to the punch and underbid each week. They are unable to cut struggling players on a whim because they’re waiting on the production they drafted them for. Or they don’t place substantial or competitive bids on players who would be real boons for their team, whether that be attacking a specific category deficiency or a truly talented prospect up for the long haul who can be a real difference maker for them. These folks typically like to save their money for a rainy day but sometimes that rainy day never comes. 

Most bidders fall somewhere in between. The experienced ones know when on whom to be aggressive and when to hang back. The players who succeed and crush leagues every year are the ones who project forward instead of reflecting backwards.

Be sure to also be mindful on who the “homers” are in your league. There is always some diehard Yankee or Red Sox fan who overbids for a hometown player with their heart and not their head. Keep tabs on if you have any of these folks in your league and whether their hometown value appreciation is worth it to you. This season, it’s probably the guy who was drafting Jacob deGrom well before his new ADP.

Lazy bidding is an issue as well. You would be surprised how many of your leaguemates will simply throw in a bid ending in the same number each week. Be sure to always switch up your end number amount (37 one week, 34 the next) so that leaguemates don’t catch on to your bidding patterns seeing that you’re always ending your bids with a specific number. Reviewing prior weeks’ bids can help you identify bidding patterns of your leaguemates.


Reliever Roulette & Planning in Advance

Our precious $1,000 budget may seem a like a lot of scratch, but those funds can dwindle quickly. 27 FAAB weeks comes out to only an average of $37 per week. Not a one of us will draft perfect rosters, and just about every one of us will begin focusing on replacements from the FAAB pool. Those who drafted in February before it appeared Jeremy Peña and Hunter Greene would crack their respective teams’ Opening Day lineups were not viable draft targets in shallow leagues will now be ready to throw down large piles of FAAB stacks in the very first week of bidding.

Each league is its own animal, and you can even get away with punting specific categories, but you’d still have to have drafted in a way to put your team in a position to smash all the other categories. The truth is, there are always glaring holes in our Opening Day rosters. As the season plays out those first few weeks, those category deficiencies begin to stick out and we must address them. Sometimes at higher prices than we feel comfortable paying. 

One way to avoid putting your team behind the roto eight-ball is to draft as balanced a squad as you can. Focus on the power and swipes, don’t forget the average and balance out high-strikeout-rate starters who could damage ratios with the José Urquidy and Zack Greinke control freak types with low strikeout rates but would help anchor down your ratios.

The stronger your team is out the gate, the less tempted and less likely you are to tinker and overspend on flash-in-the-pan pickups at their top market rates. I call it “Drafting not to FAAB.” Not to say we’re not planning to make wise use of our budget to improve our team every week, but more so that we aren’t tiltishly bidding from a position of panic just to fix draft mistakes.

We see it a lot with closers. It’s the most volatile of positions and even more so in recent years with less clarity on “who is the closer” and more closer committees employed in general. In your standard 30-round, 5x5 draft we’re hoping to land at least two closers locked into their roles and perhaps a third or fourth. The latter, a high-leverage reliever we believe could step into the role quickly. 

What happens when closers are inequitably spread out across teams in a league where a few teams have hoard more than they need while others only have one is a scarce commodities market in free agent pool where any reliever anointed a team’s new closer becomes a very valuable (and expensive, usually overpriced) target to bid on. In NFBC leagues over the years, I’ve seen up to $500 of that $1,000 budget spent on mediocre relievers simply because they were named their team’s closer. 

Back in 2018, large sums in the range of $200-$400 were thrown at the likes of José Alvarado, Drew Steckenrider, Joe Jiménez, Jacob Barnes, Tyler Clippard and Sam Dyson — Relief pitchers who drew large sums in FAAB but ended up completely busting and scoring two or fewer saves each. This has been the case in every year prior to 2018 and was quite notable last season with guys like Julian Merryweather, Greg Holland, Rafael Dolis, José Cisnero and, once again, Alvarado. A big loss of investment and less leverage for future bidding weeks.

In contests like NFBC that have the overall prize component (like 12-team OC and 15-team ME) require teams to be well-balanced and competitive across the 10 standard roto categories if you want a shot at the big bucks. You can certainly win your 12-team OC with a 3 out of 12 in saves points, but you likely won’t be in competition for the grand prize in a field of 2,500. In a best-case scenario, you draft three closers in your 30-round draft who combine for 85 saves and get you in the 80th-90th percentile in saves overall. But we all know that we don’t live in a perfect world and accomplishing this feat is rare. We’re constantly losing closers to injury or role loss and ferociously grinding in FAAB each week to grab the next closer.

You don’t need to necessarily hoard them, and you probably shouldn’t play three closers among your starting nine slots each of the 26 weeks. But you do want to be mindful of the category just as you would every other. Closer Roulette becomes an animal of its own if your squad is not fairly equipped with enough ninth-inning men, and it could force poor decisions and overspending chasing a costly closer who was just anointed the saves guy by his manager. There’s nothing wrong with staying one week ahead of your competition by picking up a solid high-leverage reliever you believe might fall into a closer role. Since they don’t have the job at the time, you can usually pick them up for single-digit FAAB bids and you won’t feel as bad about dropping them if they don’t pan out. In fact, playing Reliever Roulette on the cheap instead of Closer Roulette for top-dollar is my recommended approach. You may not need to do so if you have good fortune with the saves category, but chances are your stolen bases, WHIP or batting average might be a category you chase.

Money Management

As I alluded to in the Winning Bids Consistently section, it is incredibly easy to be swayed by recent strong performances, aka recency bias. We already see high draft ADP jumps on hitters and pitchers performing well in spring training and will certainly be witness to overspending on guys coming off hot weeks. Let’s say new Cincinnati Red Colin Moran hits three homers next weekend and Colorado Rockies’ starter Antonio Senzatela twirls a gem in Coors against the visiting Dodgers. Chances are there will be at least one person in your league overvaluing the microscopic sample and bids based on what just happened instead of what we project to happen in the future. Most recognize Senzatela is a below-average MLB pitcher and won’t bat an eye. But the person in your league who overspends on him may not have the foresight to look ahead that 1) Senzatela’s next two starts are against top-notch offenses and 2) they can’t even fit him into their starting lineup next week to begin with. Perhaps if Joey Votto got hurt and hit the IL next weekend and a full-time opportunity opened up for Moran, we could foresee spending a reasonable sum for Moran in 15-team formats. 

That’s why knowing the player pool and the skill levels and upside with the pool is important before we even begin our weekly bidding. My personal mental checklist:

  • Is this a flash-in-the-pan week? Is the player worth the new, inflated price tag?
  • Is he getting more playing time because of injury to a starter?
  • Where does he hit in the order? Who hits behind team? Team context. Ballpark context.
  • Is my team shallow at this position where he’d be an every-week start for me?
  • Who are the comparable hitters in FAAB who will be my secondary/backup bids?
  • What is he worth to me and does he have staying power on my squad?
  • What are the short-term and long-term benefits of this player at expected FAAB cost?

As the season progresses, you’ll have a better feel of your leaguemates’ bidding tendencies and nuances to figure out how to get the players you’re targeting in FAAB.

The Moran/Senzatela scenarios illustrate the simple yet important notion that context is everything when it comes to FAAB. Our season of 27 total bid periods where on average you make two bids per week means that on a $1000 budget your average bid price per player is only $18. Granted, we’ll throw some whale bids of a few hundred for a player we deem a difference-maker, and we’ll win some players for $1 to $7 as well. But with a few big spends through the first three weeks, your team could be low in funds with more than five months left to play. That’s why running through these mental exercises of determining value of the player on his own team as well as for your fantasy team is of the upmost importance. Bidders will be more aggressive in April — and you can be too — but they have to be calculated and strategic.

Saving for September & Time Management

Be mindful of how much budget you have left after the All-Star Break. My rule of thumb is to leave $75 to $100 for the final six weeks so I can attack players who provide in specific categories I need help in. Once the trade deadline hits and September roster expansion occurs, it is particularly helpful to have the dollar advantage in your league so you can outbid your opponents for the players you need, whether that be a studly minor league hitter promoted, a closer-in-waiting grabbing a gig post-trade or simply streaming two-start pitchers to catch up in strikeouts. 

Working to set bid amounts on a clear head is a rarely broached topic. I always set my bids earlier in the day on Sundays, step away, and then go back later in the day to review and tweak my bid amounts. Then step away again and check about a half hour before the FAAB deadline to make sure I’m not overspending on superfluous or overrated options or underspending on the players I really want.  

Thankfully, NFBC Swiss Army knife Darik Buchar, founder Greg Ambrosius and team have created a phenomenal COPY BIDS TOOL to help save you time in FAAB. Here’s a video illustrating how it works.

Preseason FAAB Recommendations (Sunday, April 3)

The first NFBC FAAB period is coming right up, taking place four days before Opening Day. NFBC drafts will still be going until Wednesday, April 6 and the “percentage rostered” of players will be a moving target. Not to mention, many NFBC drafts took place back in January and February and there are likely many players available to FAAB who are currently being drafted in both 12- and 15-team leagues. 

The most important thing to remember for this first four-game Thursday-Sunday period: Make sure you put your roster in a position to field a full lineup of 14 hitters and nine pitchers. The rub is that we can get away with not taking a zero with our ninth and/or eighth active pitcher slots if we truly do not have someone we deem droppable. Some fantasy managers may take the approach of using their last few draft picks on relief pitchers they can put in their active roster this first weekend and then drop for better options in FAAB period No. 2. But we can also consider that first half-week as part of one, long 10-day period where No. 4 or 5 starting pitchers in their respective rotations might draw two starts in that first full week of the regular season (Monday, April 11-Sunday, April 17). If you still have upcoming drafts, make sure to take all this into consideration so that you’re trotting out an optimal set of active SP and RP for that first half-week. 

The list is broken down into sections: 15-team and 12-team hitters, then starting pitchers then relievers. I’ve then segmented their %-rostered in NFBC Main Events (15-team) and NFBC Online Championships (12-team) by those already rostered in 90% or higher, between 50-89% and below 50%. That %-rostered is through drafts as of Friday. Obviously, chances of someone in the “> 90%” being available in your league is slim and they’ll go for higher bid amounts. Guys under 50% will be more widely available but there are a few potential gems hidden within.

Note that these recommended bid amounts should not be taken as gospel. If you love Andrew McCutchen’s matchups in Wrigley Field next weekend or really have a need for a three-position-eligible Wilmer Flores or think David Robertson wins the Cubs’ closer job, make them a priority. As for players widely available who will be most attractive and have the most competitive bids, here’s a quick list:

15-Team Hitters

PlayerTeamPosition% RosteredBid Amount
Bryson StottPHISS< 50%$100+
CJ AbramsSDSS50-89%$50-$100
Jake FraleyCINOF50-89%$10-$25
Edward OlivaresKCOF< 50%$5-$10
Kevin SmithOAK3B50-89%$5-$10
Seth BrownOAKOF50-89%$5-$10
Jorge AlfaroSDC/OF50-89%$2-$4
Kyle HigashiokaNYYC50-89%$2-$4
Yan GomesCHC50-89%$2-$4
Joc PedersonSFOF50-89%$2-$4
Miguel RojasMIASS> 90%$2-$4
Willie CalhounTEXOF> 90%$2-$4
Abraham ToroSEA2B/3B> 90%$2-$4
Aaron HicksNYYOF50-89%$2-$4
Edwin RíosLAD1B< 50%$2-$4
Patrick WisdomCHC3B> 90%$2-$4
Wilmer FloresSF1B/2B/3B50-89%$2-$4
Clint FrazierCHCOF50-89%$1-$2
Ben GamelPITOF< 50%$1-$2
Chad PinderOAKOF< 50%$1-$2
Matt VierlingPHIOF< 50%$1-$2
Garrett CooperMIAOF50-89%$1-$2
Carlos SantanaKC1B< 50%$1-$2
Nick SolakTEX2B < 50%$1-$2
Didi GregoriusPHISS< 50%$1-$2


  • Bryson Stott, the Phillies’ top hitting prospect, is having a great camp and might win the 3B gig over Alec Bohm. In fact, Bohm might start the season in Triple-A. Keep in mind a hot spring training can turn into rookie struggles and demotion on a dime. That’s the concern with overpaying for someone with zero major league experience on a deep roster. Likely won’t go the Kieboom Path but probably not worth the $250-plus some might spend.
  • CJ Abrams broke his tibia last July in the minors but made a speedy recovery and is now on a path to crack the Padres’ Opening Day roster, thanks to Daredevil Tatis. He’s a prized prospect, yet just 21 years old with no experience above Double-A. Just a month ago he was a 48th-rounder in NFBC DC 50-round drafts and now may go for big bucks in 15-teamers. If he gets demoted before Sunday, the bids will lighten considerably, but not altogether since fantasy managers sure love them some prospect stashes.
  • Nobody wants to roster Oakland A’s, but there are a few you should consider. There’s big-power/low-average Seth Brown, there’s lefty-smasher Chad Pinder and of course, former Blue Jay prospect Kevin Smith, who some seem to believe has 15-HR, 20-SB upside. 
  • Ben Gamel has been hitting in the three-hole behind Bryan Reynolds quite frequently in camp and has been flying under the radar outside of manic Canadian circles, aka ZackRoto’s player shares page. Worth a stab for cheap as a conditional bid in need of a bat who hits in a prominent lineup spot. Even if it’s in the NL’s worst offense.
  • Wilmer Flores should see more consistent playing time with Evan Longoria starting the season on IL. Flores has a bit of power in his veteran bat but keep in mind that the Giants start off with two series against tough rotations (Marlins, Padres). Perhaps a wait-and-see.

12-Team Hitters

PlayerTeamPosition% RosteredBid Amount
Luke VoitSD1B> 90%$150+
Randal GrichukCOLOF50-89%$50-$100
Jeremy PeñaHOUSS50-89%$25-$75
Nick SenzelCINOF50-89%$10-$40
Bryson StottPHISS< 50%$10-$40
Jorge MateoBALOF< 50%$10-$40
Andrew McCutchenMLWOF50-89%$5-$10
Gavin LuxLAD2B/SS> 90%$5-$10
Brandon NimmoNYMOF50-89%$5-$10
Anthony SantanderBALOF> 90%$5-$10
Mike YastrzemskiSFOF> 90%$2-$5
Danny JansenTORC50-89%$2-$5
Gio UrshelaMIN3B/SS50-89%$1-$2
CJ AbramsSDSS< 50%$1-$2
Victor RoblesWASOF< 50%$1-$2
Josh HarrisonCHW2B/3B/OF< 50%$1-$2
Cesar HernandezWAS2B50-89%$1-$2
Rafael OrtegaCHCOF50-89%$1-$2
Connor JoeCOLOF50-89%$1-$2
Tony KempOAK2B/OF< 50%$1-$2
Jorge AlfaroSDC/OF< 50%$1-$2
Rowdy TellezMLW1B50-89%$1-$2


  • There may only be a couple of OC leagues where Luke Voit is available, but make sure you make a concerted effort to get him, even if your corner infielder spots are clogged up. The name of the OC game is to collect the best bats and arms. Figuring out who to play when isn’t the worst problem to have. He’ll hit middle of the lineup and crank dingers out of ballparks.
  • Randal Grichuk in Coors? Yes, please. He will likely be picked up in all leagues where he’s available. Thirty-homer power doesn’t usually grow on FAAB trees.
  • Jeremy Peña is only available in leagues drafted prior to mid-March as he’s been red hot in the lineup and has had some opportunities to lead off. He has some serious helium on him and he’s probably the later-round shortstop with the most upside.
  • If you need a second catcher to replace one of your bums, Danny Jansen’s your man — if you’re good with two weeks of .150 in your lineup on occasion. Should play frequently with Alejandro Kirk catching less and DH’ing more.
  • I have a feeling that Jorge Alfaro turns into a pumpkin at midnight, aka Opening Day. He’s red hot right now but I still see him as a part-time player and someone who will drag down your average. Maybe he keeps it going through that first series against a subpar Arizona Diamondbacks’ rotation.

15-Team Starting Pitchers

PlayerTeam% RosteredBid Amount
Matt BrashSEA> 90%$75+
Adrian HouserMLW> 90%$10-$25
Dane DunningTEX50-89%$5-$10
Jake OdorizziHOU50-89%$5-$10
Jordan HicksSTL< 50%$5-$10
Nick LodoloCIN50-89%$5-$10
Grayson RodriguezBAL50-89%$3-$5
Drew SmylyCHC< 50%$1-$2
Tucker DavidsonATL< 50%$1-$2
Rich HillBOS> 90%$1-$2
Kris BubicKC50-89%$1-$2
Cole IrvinOAK< 50%$1-$2
Matt ManningDET50-89%$1-$2
José SuarezLAA50-89%$1-$2
Daulton JefferiesOAK< 50%$1-$2


  • Matt Brash hits 98 with his fastball, has a ridiculous slider and fired three scoreless innings in his last outing. He’s helium that flew out of a jar, especially now that he has a good opportunity to win that No. 5 spot in Seattle’s rotation.
  • Adrian Houser has had his moments, but he’s really nothing more than an average starting pitcher who simply gets the benefit of making tons of starts in baseball’s worst division, the NL Central. Usable this first weekend if he lines up among the first four starters in a date with the Cubs on the road. If it doesn’t go well though, don’t be surprised. On the plus side, he’s already ramped up to 70-80 pitch counts, which gives him a better chance of getting to the fifth inning and having a shot at a win than most other SPs.
  • Jake Odorizzi cracks the Houston rotation over Cristian Javier (and with Lance McCullers Jr. injured) and lines up for the second start against the Cleveland Guardians. Any and all Astros’ pitchers have staying power on 15-team rosters.
  • Jordan Hicks has been ramping up and throwing 2- and 3-inning sessions. I’m sure he could help out as a long reliever but perhaps the Cardinals’ original plan to ramp him up to start games comes to fruition. We don’t know what he can do for us yet, but his talent is worth stashing, if we can afford to do so.
  • Grayson Rodriguez will start the 2022 season in Triple-A but is one of the rare arms worth stashing on the bench so long as your squad isn’t hit over the head with too many injuries. It’s rarely a good idea to hold prospects on these short seven-player benches, but we can make an exception in Grayson’s case.

12-Team Starting Pitchers

PlayerTeam% RosteredBid Amount
Tylor MegillNYM> 90%$30-$75
Josiah GrayWAS> 90%$20-$40
Jameson TaillonNYY> 90%$20-$40
Corey KluberTB> 90%$10-$20
Luis PatiñoTB> 90%$5-$10
Andrew HeaneyLAD> 90%$5-$10
Zach EflinPHI< 50%$5-$10
Nestor Cortes Jr.NYY> 90%$5-$10
Mitch KellerPIT< 50%$5-$10
Matt BrashSEA< 50%$5-$10
MacKenzie GoreSD< 50%$2-$5
Marco GonzalesSEA50-89%$2-$5
Elieser HernandezMIA> 90%$2-$5
Patrick CorbinWAS< 50%$2-$5
Nick PivettaBOS50-89%$2-$5
Reid DetmersLAA50-89%$2-$5
Hunter GreeneCIN50-89%$2-$5


  • Tons of talented arms available in most 12-team leagues, but we can’t roster them all. The dominant ones will get scooped up early in April, but no one is quite sure yet how they’re going to perform. And since we churn and burn like no other in this shallow format, we really have to see something special in order to hold a guy. Tylor Megill is back in our roto lives with the recent Jacob deGrom news. Megill will be a part of the rotation to start the season but would still be like the SP6 or SP7 on a good roster. There will be $100-plus bids for him since he’s only available in a few leagues. I’d only do that in the case where I lost deGrom or was in a pickle with having two of injured Chris Sale, Jack Flaherty or Luis Castillo on my roster. 
  • MacKenzie Gore had another three scoreless innings in his latest appearance, and we still can’t discount the possibility of him earning that fifth rotation spot even though the Padres dropped some coin on Nick Martínez and have the ghost of Chris Paddack floating around somewhere. Perhaps not a necessity in 12-team leagues but a guy I’d consider holding in 15’s even if he started in Triple-A.
  • Mitch Keller and his blazing velocity is coming to a head. He’s either going to crush and disappoint us like every year or become the new Tyler Glasnow (which means he’ll get shipped to Tampa for a horrendous return). I still don’t know how I feel about him, but something tells me the answer to my original query does not lie somewhere in the middle. Either dog poo or TGlas Part Deux.
  • Love, love, love Reid Detmers, but we have ourselves a problem. He’s part of a six-man rotation, and all Angels’ pitchers will have less frequent two-start weeks than the rest of the league. Maybe Detmers is just so dominant that we start him for single starts. But we can’t commit too much FAAB money when we’ve got solid dudes like Nick Pivetta, Marco Gonzales and Corey Kluber available. Notice I did not include Andrew Heaney or Patrick Corbin in that group of solid dudes. I have my reasons and they’re probably similar to yours.

15-Team Relievers

PlayerTeam% RosteredBid Amount
David RobertsonCHC50-89%$10-$20
Héctor NerisHOU50-89%$10-$20
Anthony BassMIA< 50%$10-$20
Diego CastilloSEA50-89%$5-10
Ian KennedyARI> 90%$2-$5
Mychal GivensCHC50-89%$2-$5
Chad GreenNYY> 90%$2-$5
Jonathan LoáisigaNYY> 90%$2-$5
Spencer PattonTEX< 50%$2-$5
Daniel BardCOL< 50%$1-$2
Jorge AlcalaMIN50-89%$1-$2
Luis CessaCIN< 50%$1-$2
Domingo AcevedoOAK< 50%$1-$2
Matt BushTEX< 50%$1-$2
Greg HollandTEX< 50%$1-$2

There is no one on this list who has a set ninth-inning role, so we play the Reliever Roulette and stay up all night to get lucky. David Robertson looked good in his relief appearance the other day, firing at similar velocity to when he was last healthy a few years back. Sounds like this one might be a committee. Rowan Wick has claimed that he really wants the job, Robertson and Mychal Givens both have past closing experience and David Ross seems to like the fireballer kid, Manuel Rodríguez. Probably a situation to avoid but with Wick 100% rostered on 15-teamers, Robertson likely represents the next best stab.

Looks like Alex Colomé won’t be handed the closer gig in Colorado, instead sharing duties with Daniel Bard and Carlos Estévez to start the season. Colome is the resident veteran with most closing experience but I’m sure there will be some nasty outings. In fact, the trio might pass the role around like a game of hot potato if they continually get blasted for earnies in their home park.

Good luck figuring out what’s going on in Arlington. The Rangers don’t want to put the inexperienced Joe Barlow in a high-pressure role, which means there may be a committee brewing with Spencer Patton, Matt Bush and, oh yes, friggin’ Greg Holland. I’ve seen this movie before and think I’m just going to go ahead and skip this one. No strong feel here though I hope Garrett Richards comes out of nowhere and steals the gig.

12-Team Relievers

PlayerTeam% RosteredBid Amount
Art WarrenCIN50-89%$25-$50
Devin WilliamsMLW> 90%$25-$50
Anthony BenderMIA50-89%$25-$50
Dinelson LametSD50-89%$25-$50
Tanner RaineyWAS50-89%$25-$50
Rowan WickCHC> 90%$2-$5
Alex ColoméCOL50-89%$2-$5
Cole SulserBAL50-89%$2-$5
Chris StrattonPIT< 50%$2-$5
David RobertsonCHC< 50%$2-$5
Anthony BassMIA< 50%$2-$5
Diego CastilloSEA50-89%$1-$2
Drew SteckenriderSEA50-89%$1-$2
Ian KennedyARI50-89%$1-$2
Héctor NerisHOU50-89%$1-$2

Now here is where we find ourselves with good save opportunities. The problem is, all of these situations are murky. For starters, there’s Art Warren. Can probably handle the job but they’ve got Luis Cessa in the mix and Lucas Sims back (hopefully) in a couple weeks. In Seattle, Paul Sewald probably heads the committee now that Ken Giles is out for a couple weeks. Diego Castillo has some closer role experience, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him called upon in that first week. 

With Dylan Floro behind and possibly not ready for the start of the season, Anthony Bender and Anthony Bass will likely form a mini committee. The thing is, Don Mattingly prefers to roll with one guy. Everyone loves Bender and wants to see him run away with it. Worth bidding to find out considering he’s being drafted in every OC over the last week.

Dinelson Lamet is going to be great until his arm falls off. But in what capacity? Can he be the closer? Can he own the Devin Williams role and just post sick ratios and rack up K’s without ever really getting us some elusive stats like saves and wins? Nobody knows yet but what we do know is that this management is wacky and will do something crazy like name Emilio Pagán their closer.

Ryan Pressly’s velocity is down, though he doesn’t appear to be worried, nor does he claim to be hurt. But there’s a contingent of NFBC players rubbing their hands together and stabbing their Pressly voodoo dolls incessantly because they have tons of Héctor Neris shares and Neris is lighting it up.

Chris Stratton will be in the saves mix along with David Bednar, but we’ll see how long that lasts. Bednar is the superior reliever and I believe he will earn the role to himself before too long. In fact, I pray that Stratton gets the only save next weekend so people drop Bednar and put him on a silver platter for our taking.

Pardon the novella but there was just so much to cover. Hope the primer was helpful and that these player lists help you formulate ideas on the most optimal way to set claim lists and bid priorities this weekend. Good luck and may the winning bids be with you.