Connect with us

Basketball Writers

“Jaws Of Doom”: Econ 101 and the Value of “Stretch 5’s”

I have a liberal arts degree in political science.  This means I don’t have a job, because I don’t have any actual skills.  If you wanted to call it a soft science, I wouldn’t argue with you.

Lesson 1: Add a bullshit graph, it makes you seem more legitimate

Lesson 1:  Add a bullshit graph. It makes you seem like a more legitimate authority

Fortunately for me, fantasy basketball isn’t real — it’s an idea.  As such, it can (and wants to) be manipulated. This sounds like a job for soft science! I just hope I can play enough fantasy basketball to pay off my student loans.

Maybe you’ve heard me gushing about the concept of comparative advantage. Today I’m going to expand on this topic.  First some definitions.

Opportunity cost:

“In microeconomic theory, the opportunity cost of a choice is the value of the best alternative forgone, in a situation in which a choice needs to be made between several mutually exclusive alternatives given limited resources.”

Comparative advantage:

“In economics, comparative advantage refers to the ability of a party to produce a particular good or service at a lower marginal and opportunity cost over another.”

Comparative advantage plays a large role in my basic roster strategy. My lineup has 3 roles:  I want about 5 PGs, 5 bigs, and 3 swings. The PGs are responsible for producing (primary categories) FT%, 3PTM, assists, and steals; big’s provide FG%, boards, and blocks; and I like swings who can score and play defense.  From this perspective, a comparative advantage exists when a certain player provides value that similarly priced players don’t. There are 2 types:

  • Vertical advantages exist when a player offers significantly more production in a given category than similar players
  • Horizontal advantages exist when a player offers production in significantly more categories than similar players

Roy Hibbert, for example, provides a vertical comparative advantage in blocks.  He leads the league with 3.6 blocks per game, third is Ibaka at 2.8; Roy blocks enough shots to fulfill the responsibilities of 2 top tier centers. Hibbert is a difference maker in the paint for Indiana, and in blocks for fantasy owners everywhere. Vertical advantages help lock up a single category on a regular basis, allowing you to pursue other centers (with horizontal advantages) without sacrifice. Technically, the advantage lies in the fact Roy maximizes block output with minimal opportunity costs — owners doubled up on blocks without giving up too much production elsewhere.

Good stretch 5’s provide a useful horizontal comparative advantage at the center (or power forward) position. This holds true for early round picks and for free agents alike. Stretch guys produce in more categories, it’s not complicated. In fact, 4 of the top 5 overall centers in Yahoo! leagues are sharpshooting bigs (Anderson, Love, Dirk, Hawes).

Gaining from a horizontal advantage, however, requires production in primary categories on par with similarly priced options — otherwise opportunity costs negate gains derived from production in secondary categories. Let’s look at a few examples.

Bargnani – 74% owned

primary: 47%FG, 15.3PTs, 5.4RBDs, 1.4BLKs

seconday: 82%, 1.1 3PTM, 1.4AST, 0.3STLs, 1.3TO

Nene – 73% owned

primary: 51%FG, 15.1PTs, 6.5RBDs, 1.1BLKs

secondary: 67%FT, 0 3PTM, 2.9AST, 1.1STLs, 1.9TO

Primary categories split on the margin and production is pretty similar there, reducing Barg’s opportunity cost. Secondary categories favor Bargs 3-2. Bargnani offers a modest comparative advantage against other late round values at center, not bad for a waiver wire pick up.  Bonus points if you noticed that Nene is an exceptional passer.

Dirk – 100% owned

primary: 49%FG, 20.8PTs, 5.8RBDs, 0.4BLKs

secondary: 94FT%, 1.5 3PTM, 2.4ASTs, 1.1STLs, 1.7TO

Brooke Lopez – 100% owned

primary: 54FG%, 19.3PTs, 5.8RBDs, 2.3 BLKs

secondary: 81FT%, 0 3PTM, 0.5AST, 0.5STL, 1.5TO

Dirk Nowitzki -- Banana Republic of the NBA

Dirk Nowitzki — Banana Republic of the NBA

Drafting Dirk meant sacrificing blocks (opportunity cost) for a +4 marginal gain in secondary categories (+3 large gains). He presents a lucrative comparative advantage because he’s not only productive in 7 categories, but he’s elite in a few of them. Bonus points if you noticed that Lopez is a top 5 shot blocker — Lopez offers a vertical comparative advantage in blocks.

Economic theory holds that trade between countries with differing comparative advantages will yield net gains for both parties and the global economy as a whole. For fantasy basketball purposes, this means you’ll benefit most from having both horizontal and vertical advantages at every position; essentially, shot blockers and 7 foot shooters make each other more valuable. It works in real basketball too — holy shit, I can’t wait for New Orleans’ Anderson/Davis front court to get rolling.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Help Support Our Growth!

Most Recent Radio Show 7/15/2018, Host Brian Roach Jr, Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Joe Iannone

Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #129 Host Brian Roach Jr, Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Joe Iannone

Radio Show Feed

Blog Authors

Ben WBen W

I am a recent college graduate from a small liberal arts school in Atlanta, GA. I'm a sports junkie and a diehard Atlanta sports fan.

Brian Roach, JrBrian Roach, Jr

Baseball fan through and through. Follows every team, every player and every transaction. Graduated Lasell College in 2013. Covers high sc...

Bryan LuhrsBryan Luhrs

Faith, Family and Fantasy Sports.These are the three words that best describe me. I am a faithful husband and father of 6 amazing children. I ...

Cole FreelCole Freel

Bachelors in English and History from Indiana University. Borderline-Obsessed Fantasy Baseball Writer who also dabbles in Football, Basketball...

Corey D RobertsCorey D Roberts

Owner and creator of Major League Fantasy Sports. We will provide you with the best tools to be successful in your leagues no matter if ...

Geordie EasterbrookGeordie Easterbrook

I’m a former pitcher from upstate New York, and a proud Demon Deacon. Go Deacs! I’ve been playing fantasy football and baseball for the be...

James WilkJames Wilk

I grew up a Dallas Cowboy's fan in Washington Redskins' country, but I currently reside in Florida. I have played fantasy sports since 1999,...

Jason BlackfordJason Blackford

General IT/Web/Backoffice resource for MLFS. After sitting down with Corey and getting a good look at the time and effort needed to maintain ...

Joe IannoneJoe Iannone

I'm an accountant and an amateur writer of fiction and sports commentary, mostly baseball. I've been a student of the game of baseball since...

John GozziJohn Gozzi

Intense sports lover . a writer who specializes in creative non- fiction almost always challenging the status quo. I've suffered but rema...

Kevin BzdekKevin Bzdek

I've been playing fantasy baseball for 14 years. I am also an auditor and CPA, where I analyze information on a daily basis. Combined, my pas...

Kyle AmoreKyle Amore

I'm a former collegiate and semi-pro baseball player. I underwent successful Tommy John Surgery in 2008, and can give a wide-range of tips on...

Mark RushMark Rush

Unrepentant Red Sox fan and all things Boston. Deflategate was a joke. Boston Latin School is awesome. Harvard and Johns Hopkins alma mater...

Matt BarkmanMatt Barkman

A/S/L...like the old school AOL instant messenger days...
31/M/PA
Elementary Physical Education by day, chasing around my 1 and 2 year old boy...

Mike RiggallMike Riggall

I've been coaching lacrosse since 2002 and playing fantasy football since 2006. I've racked up several championships over the years includi...

Todd NevinTodd Nevin

A business analyst by day, pursuing all things baseball by night. My favorite day of the year is opening day and my favorite sound is the crac...

📷 (via “The Cole Miner" All-Star Break 2018 Buy & Sell) tmblr.co/ZtzYOp2ZtTfif

About 15 hours ago from Corey Roberts's Twitter via Tumblr

Subscribe for Free

Help Support Our Growth!

More in Basketball Writers