Guillotine League Strategy: Rely on Probability, Not Spending, to Survive Early

In my first article on guillotine leagues, which set out the Bid Late, Bid Low strategy, I justified the “bid late” part of the strategy, in part, based on the fact that competition is laxer early in the season and intensifies as the season goes on. In this post I go into more detail.

Early on in the season, a bad team is more likely to survive by sheer luck than late in the season, because when there are more teams, there are more chances that at least one of them will have a low outlying score that is lower than the bad team in question. This reduces the disadvantage of having a bad team but also reduces the advantage of having a good team. In a guillotine league, it makes no difference if you are the highest scoring team or the second-lowest scoring team, until Week 16.

This suggests that all else being equal, player acquisition should wait until later in the season. This fits nicely with other dynamics favoring late season acquisition, including that the later it is in the season, the better you understand which players will be healthy and perform well in the important matches at the end of the season; that more top players become available; and that FAAB deflation increases the value of your FAAB dollars as the season proceeds.

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