Dynasty Strategy: Supply and Demand (Fantasy Football)

May 4, 2018

Does taking the top tight end have more value than taking an elite WR2?

I think we all understand supply and demand on a fundamental level. When anything of value is in short supply (parking spots, good jobs, housing, etc.) that value can increase exponentially. The desire and effort to secure those assets also intensifies so let’s take a look at fantasy positions we should prioritize in our rankings.

Get a free $3 Best Ball entry into a 2018 DRAFT.com contest with your first deposit >>

Based on FantasyPros draft rankings (half-point PPR), I crunched some numbers to try and quantify the supply/demand equation. My numbers are arbitrary, and you should plug in the ratios you feel are most accurate. I looked at the top 50 players as I consider them to be difference makers.

Within that range were three QBs, 21 RBs, 23 WRs and three TEs. Your league set up may be different of course, but I will base this on a 12 team league, starting one QB, two RBs, three WRs, and one TE. I will discuss kickers and defenses briefly later, but will focus on these positions for this article.

For argument’s sake, I will consider these 50 players “elite,” and assume they were evenly distributed as the first 50 picks for the 12 teams. Again, you should be comfortable with whatever rankings you use, or better yet, do your own. Based on this data, only 25% of owners would have an elite QB or TE, 88% would have two elite RBs, and 64% would have three elite WRs. While noteworthy, this calculation alone won’t prompt me to take a QB and TE with my first two picks this year, but I may move those positions up slightly in my rankings.

Another calculation was a bit more revealing. Using the stats from my league last year, I looked at the gap between the first and 12th players at each position (and also 13th to 24th for RBs and WRs and 25th to 36th for WRs). I want to know how many points I gave up last year if I snagged a bottom end RB2 (24th in points) versus the top RB2 (13th in points), and what the gap was for each metric (and position).

Here are the numbers (weekly point differential):

  • QB: #1 vs. #12 – 5.7 per week
  • RB1: #1 vs. #12 – 9.9 per week / RB2: #13 vs. #24 – 2.0 per week
  • WR1: #1 vs. #12 – 6.5 per week / WR2: #13 vs. #24 – 1.9 per week / WR3:  #25 vs. #36 – 1.2 per week
  • TE: #1 vs. #12 – 5.2 per week

This data suggests you should prioritize your drafting needs as follows: stud #1 RB (#asexpected), stud #1 WR, stud QB or TE, fill your roster as needed. I think it’s been ingrained in our heads to fill up on running backs and wide receivers and make do with what you get at the other positions, but I feel the recent influx of excellent RBs the last couple of years has toned down the supply/demand value at that position. There’s no denying the value of a superstar running back, but wouldn’t you rather have a 5.2 point advantage each week by taking the best TE versus the best #2 WR (1.9 point advantage)? QB is a bit trickier as it tends to fluctuate from year to year (a la Jared Goff), but having a Rodgers, Wilson, Newton, Wentz, or Watson on your team for the next several years will help you sleep at night.

Another factor to consider is the length of career since we are looking at dynasty league strategies. Personally, I hope to get 12 elite years out of QBs, 10 years out of TEs, eight years out of WRs and six years out of RBs. For me, this pushes up the value of young, stud running backs even higher whereas I may be able to latch onto a quality QB or TE later in their career and still squeeze a few great seasons from them.

Whether you are starting up a dynasty league and prepping for the inaugural draft, or establishing the trade value of the players in your league (and incoming rookies), this may be food for thought. I find kickers too hard to predict, and they have a smaller range (2.6 points per week from #1 to #12). Defenses can be equally unpredictable, but their point range can be higher (4.0 points per week from #1 to #12), so if you feel strongly about a couple of units, or think there’s a select group, then you may find that to be more important than your WR3.


Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Google Play | TuneIn | RSS

Sheldon Curtis is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Sheldon, check out his archive.

What's your take? Leave a comment

Fantasy Games
DRAFT photo
Get a FREE FantasyPros upgrade with first deposit
FanDuel photo
Play for your share of $1m+
for FREE with first deposit
CBS Sports photo
Serious Fantasy Football
Get our Mobile App!

Enter your phone number below, and we'll text you a link to download the app.

1Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
2Le'Veon Bell (PIT)RB
3Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
4Antonio Brown (PIT)WR
5David Johnson (ARI)RB
6DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
7Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)WR
8Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
9Kareem Hunt (KC)RB
10Julio Jones (ATL)WR
 View All Rankings 
11Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
12Michael Thomas (NO)WR
13Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
14Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
15A.J. Green (CIN)WR
16Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
17Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
18Davante Adams (GB)WR
19Mike Evans (TB)WR
20LeSean McCoy (BUF)RB
21Devonta Freeman (ATL)RB
22Jordan Howard (CHI)RB
23Rob Gronkowski (NE)TE
24Doug Baldwin (SEA)WR
25Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
26Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
27Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
28Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
29T.Y. Hilton (IND)WR
30Jerick McKinnon (SF)RB
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF
2Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
3Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
4Trea Turner (WSH)SS
5Mookie Betts (BOS)RF
6Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
7Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)1B
8Bryce Harper (WSH)RF
9Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)RF
10Clayton Kershaw (LAD)SP
 View All Rankings 
11Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
12Kris Bryant (CHC)3B,RF
13Carlos Correa (HOU)SS
14Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
15Chris Sale (BOS)SP
16Joey Votto (CIN)1B
17Manny Machado (BAL)3B
18Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B,3B
19Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B,2B
20J.D. Martinez (BOS)RF
21Aaron Judge (NYY)RF
22Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
23George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
24Josh Donaldson (TOR)3B
25Cody Bellinger (LAD)1B,LF
26Stephen Strasburg (WSH)SP
27Noah Syndergaard (NYM)SP
28Gary Sanchez (NYY)C
29Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
30Brian Dozier (MIN)2B
1Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
2Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
3James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
4Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
5Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
6Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
7Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
8Kawhi Leonard (SAS)SG,SF
9LeBron James (CLE)SF,PF
10Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
 View All Rankings 
11John Wall (WAS)PG
12DeMarcus Cousins (NOR)PF,C
13Chris Paul (HOU)PG
14Damian Lillard (POR)PG
15Jimmy Butler (MIN)SG,SF
16Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
17Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
18Hassan Whiteside (MIA)C,PF
19Myles Turner (IND)PF,C
20Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
21Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
22Draymond Green (GSW)SF,PF
23Kristaps Porzingis (NYK)PF,C
24Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
25CJ McCollum (POR)PG,SG
26Mike Conley (MEM)PG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Klay Thompson (GSW)SG,SF
29Marc Gasol (MEM)C
30Gordon Hayward (BOS)SG,SF