The Blueprint to Gaming your Fantasy Basketball League: Relative Value

Hey Guys,

I hope you are surviving your week. If you find yourself needing a bit of a break from your 9 to 5 and you happen to play fantasy basketball, it’s time to push your work off your desk and pay attention to what I’m about to tell you.

Today, I’m going to teach you how to take your team to the next level.  How will we do that? Of course, by masterfully crafting and then subsequently executing trades.

Before we start conjuring up trades, we need to make sure we understand the intricacies of the fantasy marketplace. Today- this will be our main focus and we will transition into constructing trades later this week.

Particularly important to our analysis, the relationship between excess supply and excess demand needs to be properly explained.  Excess supply represents a scenario where a manager has a variety of options and will look to sell an asset into any spike in value.  An example of this type of situation would be that an owner of Goran Dragic (concerned about the glut of point guards in Phoenix) might look to trade him after his solid performance in Boston two nights ago. While his performance was great, his value is still down relative to projections before the season. The spike in his value is merely a lower high, a potential sign of sellers dominating buyers in the future.

Excess demand, on the contrary, exists when buyers step in and buy an asset on any type of weakness. When these buyers step in to buy the pullback in an asset, they are essentially raising its floor value. An example of this situation taking place would be if the owner of Kelly Olynyk received an influx of trade rumors even after his 13 minutes/four board/three turnover dud for the Gonzaga alum. Here, the market could be betting on the fact that Kelly O. has shown enough early this season that this game could have been a blip on the radar. If buyers do appear in on Olynyk’s value, their purchase would conversely form a higher low.  A higher low has a high probability of foreshadowing a trend of higher demand (and prices) in the future.


Once we’ve established pockets of excess supply and demand in the marketplace, it’s essential that we couple this knowledge with a thorough understanding of your league’s scoring settings. This is where a shrewd owner understands the importance of players like James Harden and Kyrie Irving who contribute most of their points in FTMs and 3PM or the downfalls of guys like DeAndre Jordan and Michael Carter Williams who struggle in FT% and FG%, respectively.


With many fantasy owners operating in many leagues at the same time, they often lose sight in the scoring discrepancies that exist in between leagues. This is where an owner forms a bias about a player that may impede his or her ability to properly value the asset they either possess or want to acquire. An example of this is analyzing a guy like Al Jefferson. Often thought to be one of the best centers in the game and a high round draft pick (went for $54/$230 budget in my league), the big man only averages 2.5 FTMs out of his 20 PPG. For fantasy purposes, he is a very inefficient scorer, but an asset his owners would ask an arm and a leg for. In reality, Jefferson more accurately depicts one of these pockets of excess supply. Understanding valuable insights presents crafty owners with enticing opportunities down the road.


Our last aspect of analysis today revolves around the mantra of understanding the relationship between acquisition limits and the strength (or weakness) of the league’s waiver wire. In smaller leagues (10-12 teams) with lenient acquisition rules, roster flexibility is an asset that most owners overlook. The ability to add extra games to your fantasy lineup is analogous to taking walks in baseball.  Why not take the free base runners if given the opportunity to do so? (Sorry for mixing up sports). When it comes to making trades, it is so important to remember this concept.  In shallow leagues, trading in two good talents for one elite talent is the way to go. The marginal utility between the elite and good player supersedes the discrepancy between the additional good player and the waiver wire replacement that can be added and dropped at moments notice.  This is where a guy with Derrick Favors who might play 3.5 games per week loses out to the guy who gets 5.5 games out of the Chris Kaman-Brandan Wright revolving door.

Utah Jazz v Portland Trail Blazers     arrows  NBA: Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks

While I know you guys were hoping I would jump right into the trading, laying out the foundation of knowledge is essential for consistent success in trading.  Hopefully, these three concepts provide you with enough insight to start exploring enticing, yet realistic, trade opportunities that will take your team to the top.

Thanks for reading.




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