clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Fantasy Economics: How much value do empty roster spots have?

When evaluating trades, utilize one of the basic concepts of economics: opportunity cost.

LeBron James for 3 scrubs? Don't think too hard about that one...
LeBron James for 3 scrubs? Don't think too hard about that one...
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I'm a reformed economics geek.

Let's get that out of the way.

From the second I got this column last year, I have had a burning desire to write this piece.

(It's a little bit sad, I know.)

As one who writes about fantasy basketball professionally, you can imagine how many times I am asked to evaluate trades.

From all the trades I've seen, one thing is abundantly clear: EMPTY ROSTER SPOTS ARE HIGHLY UNDERVALUED.

One of the first things you learn as an economics student is the concept of opportunity cost. Choices are worth money. An hour of sleeping costs you an hour you could have been doing your homework - or working at your job.

Opportunity cost says you can calculate the economic cost of missed choices by adding up the most economically beneficial options available to you.

It's a little intense, but very truthful.

So that takes us to empty roster spots.

Invariably, the more seasoned fantasy managers win trades. These are the same people who make 3-for-2 trades, 2-for-1 trades - with said experienced manager consistently winning the unspoken empty roster spot in the process.

Numbers are easier to manipulate this way. Lame rhetoric like, "Yeah, I'm getting LeBron, but if you add up the stats of the players I'm giving you, it's the same."

Don't. Be. The. League. Idiot.

Empty roster spots, in my opinion (and math's), are HIGHLY VALUABLE - because of the roster flexibility they create. You could rotate the week's hot FA in that slot, or stream 2 cats in a week against a tough opponent, or use it to change your team strategy completely midseason.

Less mathematically inclined managers are easily fooled in trade talk - due to the fluid, fleeting nature of multiple options in a changing universe - but even a lack of experience studying calculus shouldn't be a reason to trade away one of your most productive players. (Drafting players relative to ADP is a THING - for good reason.)

So the next time that arrogant jerk in your league offers you a 3 scrubs-for-Steph Curry 'deal', email him this article.

Then do this.

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

That was epic.

Bobman