I feel compelled to bring this together here. I receive unlimited questions about how to value IDP “X” vs OP “Y” and how to evaluate trade offers of the like across various positions.
“I’m deep at receiver and need a defensive end. Who should I target for Tyler Lockett?”
Or maybe you’re trying to go the other way:
“I have more linebackers than I know what to do with. What quarterback can I target in a trade for Lavonte David?”
These are some of my favorite questions to answer, but we need to understand the basics of value before we can answer them. I always disclose that player/positional values are very, very influenced by each league’s number of teams and starting requirements per position. With this context, I can give informed and accurate advice on how to make some trades that are tipped in your favor. I use a fairly simple process to run league data through. It’s pretty simple to follow:
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We should be familiar with the term ‘positional scarcity’, but how do we measure it for the sake of constructing trades across multiple positions involving multiple players? Most fantasy owners are aware that 200 points from the WR slot is not equal to 200 points from the DE slot. The simple answer: baseline production. If you are wondering what baseline production is, this is the expected points per game (PPG) of the worst starter in any given week at any given position. I will illustrate this with a simple formula:
b = (t*s)*1.25
The baseline starter (b) is found by taking the number of teams in league (t) multiplied by number of starters at specific position (s) and multiplying by a factor of (1.25). This constant is used to represent the BYE and injury expectancy rate so as to capture waiver wire players above the baseline PPG. This factor projects that any given starter in your league will miss one in five weeks. We already know for sure that all players will miss one in sixteen weeks of your fantasy season.
Using the above formula might net a result of QB20 as the baseline, RB40, or even LB80. Whichever baseline you are searching for, the baseline production is measured in PPG. Just last year I determined these results can be refined by not using week 17 in the data set. The variable nature of week 17 – as it pertains to some players not playing a meaningful game and some NFL franchises shamelessly tanking -presents a skewed data set for our exercise. So, now that we have identified our baseline production, we can start comparing players and constructing trade offers.
This is one of my favorite terms to define in fantasy football. ‘Value’ gets thrown around in many different contexts, but in terms of roster construction I give it a very specific and numeric meaning.
‘Value’ is the measure of production over the baseline
Using one of my leagues – despite missing the first four games of the season – Tom Brady was QB1 in 2017 with 28.3 PPG versus Brian Hoyer’s QB20 baseline production of 16.7 PPG. This makes Tom Terrific’s 2017 value 28.3-16.7 = 11.4 PPG
When you’re making trade offers for Brady, you have to understand this is how his owner will value him. The off-season has changed every NFL team’s dynamic, so we should look at a player’s 2017 production with some expectation that 2018 will be a bit different. However, this is the most recent data we can use to project what to expect his perceived trade market to command. If you want to make a solid dynasty offer for Brady but want to start on the lower side because of his age, you could try offering a young promising player that offers a weekly advantage of maybe 8.5 PPG. All you need to do is quantify the baseline production for each position in your league and start identifying what each player on your roster is valued at.
You will likely identify many solid trade options on your roster to send Brady’s owner. You will hope that he is higher on one of your players than you are. Jason Pierre-Paul fits this example as a 28-year old DE1 offering 7.5 PPG advantage. In an IDP league, half of the owners in the league would jump at the chance to solidify their DE1 for the next few years. Much of this depends on their roster and the ability to replace a QB1 in their lineup. If Brady’s owner wants more than a DE1, you can up your offer knowing that you have a value cushion; or you can simply move on to the owner of Aaron Rodgers or Matt Ryan. You will find someone who loves DE1 more than QB1 production.
Trusting this process answers the age-old critique of “how can you really quantify the value of waiver-wire players?” Many times, I’ve heard that quantifying value is too exhaustive, ambiguous, and arbitrary. I’ve tried to illustrate how simple, expected, and trust-worthy this process should look. It is my process. I trust it. It works for me.
Executing the formula above will provide you with an accurate barometer of what your player is worth vs. the corresponding value of a player you wish to acquire. Roster construction is one of my favorite subjects, but it cannot be discussed without talking specifically about trade construction. I hope this helps you answer many of these types of questions as the season draws near and you look to consolidate some depth for a more impactful lineup card without sacrificing your hard work and accumulated value.
Take your roster as it sits right now. Place a value on every player on your roster. Add the player values up for a sum total of your roster’s value. Write it down and save this valuation. Start offering trades today using this process to build a roster that is worth more by December 1st.