do you allow $0 bids in Billy Almon? That has an effect, too.We don't.
And Rotoman is absolutely correct. We do have waivers, but the absence of $0 bids means that the bids on the high end aren't going to be quite as high.
There are a few wrinkles that can make teams hoard their FAAB dollars far more tightly than in Tout Wars. These include:
Salary cap. Billy Almon has a $350 active roster salary cap. Beyond the obvious limitation (no team can bid over $90 on a single player assuming a $260 Opening Day roster), dump trades quickly push teams over $300 and make it nearly impossible to blow the budget on a big ticket item.
If you're dumping, you have to keep this in mind as well if you're buying players just to flip them later. A few years back, an owner bought Roger Clemens for $90 when he came back for one of his swan songs. The owner fell out of contention, but was unable to find a taker for Clemens because no one simply had $90 of salary burning a hole beneath his cap.
Financial/Keeper Penalty. My home league doesn't play with this one, but some keeper leagues try to discourage expensive FAAB bids by either forcing a team to keep the player the following year and/or imposing a heavy fee if the team doesn't keep the player. Making a team keep a player is a bigger disincentive in my opinion than making someone eat money. I don't want to be hamstrung with a bad freeze in the next auction, so if I have to keep a player no matter what, I'd definitely think twice.
$0 Bids. As Rotoman points out, some leagues allow $0 bids while others don't. If your league has $0 bids, you're going to be able to buy your fungible middle relievers, your back-up catchers, and your stinky middle infielders for $0, not $1. This will leave you with some extra money to spend later.
No reserve list/farm system. I write my supplemental FAAB logs for those owners in leagues with no farm systems where players like Stephen Strasburg and Carlos Santana are available for bid. If you're in a league like this, you obviously want to save your dollars for when one of these impact players comes up from the minors: they're higher risk/higher reward than players traded over from the "other" league, but it is far more likely you'll see a few of these guys each and every year.
All of this is worth considering when you're putting your FAAB bids together. Unfortunately, I find that FAAB is one of those areas of our game that doesn't receive nearly enough analysis in terms of the mechanics of the bidding (and I certainly haven't written much to this subject either). I would certainly welcome any of your comments on how any or all of the wrinkles listed above impact the bids in your leagues, and what your successful - and not-so-successful - FAAB strategies have been.