What Should Dynasty Roster Construction Look Like?
So much of fantasy football content is about selecting particular players. Which rookies are the best? Which players should we buy low or sell high on. Who is going to break out this year? All of those questions are important to answer, but the most under-discussed question is what is the correct dynasty roster construction? The overall roster trends are more useful to building winning teams that just giving out players.
Choosing the correct players will always be important, but is a daunting task, and one that is likely impossible to master. One way to can beat the variance and implicit challenge of precise player selection is through roster construction. If we can build our teams in an optimal way, then even when we don’t have the perfect roster, it will be possible to compete.
I’ll be taking a look at dynasty roster construction on a couple of different fronts. Today, my goal is to use scoring data to glean some potential information about roster building. In another piece, I’ll take a look at some dynasty winners to take note of important trends.
A big part of building a dynasty team is gathering players who can return value for not just one but multiple seasons. I took a look at all players since 2000 to see how frequently they repeated a finish at different thresholds in the next season.
WR[table “2785” not found /]
RB[table “2786” not found /]
TE[table “2787” not found /]
QB[table “2788” not found /]
When it comes to dynasty fantasy football, the classic debate is wide receiver versus running back. In this analysis, RBs appear to trump the WR position in terms of repeat elite players. An RB1 has been about six percent more likely to repeat than a WR1, and RB2’s repeated more often than WR2’s as well. It is worth noting that these are total points measurements, so even with the implied injury risk at RB, they manage to repeat at a strong rate.
When it comes to TE and QB, people typically would consider the latter to be more consistent, and to a certain extent that is true. However, the elite-range of TEs have done a great job of repeating over the years. Top six TEs repeat over 15 percent more frequently than their QB counterparts, a testament to just how good the top of that position has been, and how closely clustered QB scoring is. Both positions have a repeat rate in excess of 65 percent for top-18 performers.
200 Point Fantasy Football Seasons
I also took a look at how many seasons of top-end production you could expect to get from players at different positions. Here is a table of the number of different players to have x seasons or more with 200 point PPR seasons since 2000.[table “2789” not found /]
This is where WR really separates itself from RB. Perhaps the immediate return of a RB has been better, but if you land a great WR, they can deliver value for many years. Expecting more than five years of elite production from a RB appears to be a fools errand. There were about double the number of WRs to produce six or more 200 point seasons than there were RBs.
On the flip side of things, there appear to be too many QBs who provide excellent longevity. If you play in a 1QB dynasty league, there should be very little movement on the QB market. There are enough QBs who give eight years or more of 200 point production to fill most leagues. Of course, a large part of this is that QBs are the highest scorers in standard fantasy leagues, but this apples-to-apples comparison tells us to not overvalue QB relative to other positions. Even in a 2QB format, it likely will not be terribly difficult to survive at the position for a handful of seasons.
The number of TEs to produce many elite seasons is by far the lowest of any position group. This can be looked at in two different ways. For starters, it gives cause to just punt the position entirely. There is plenty of evidence that streaming can be successful in a single season, and if elite TE production is difficult to come by relative to other positions, it may not be worth paying for. On the other hand, it likely also makes those TEs who ARE elite more valuable.
Here’s a look at the average age of player performances at different positions:[table “2790” not found /]
The average age of top-end RBs is easily the lowest of the four positions, while QBs are by far the oldest on average. This again plays on the longevity points already made. TE is particularly interesting here, with average ages rivaling that of WRs despite an obvious lack of longevity. This plays on the notion that it takes TEs a few seasons to finally break out. As it relates to dynasty roster construction, this would suggest churning the RB position.
Proper Dynasty Roster Construction
So now that we have all of the information, what is the best way to approach dynasty roster construction? Here are my biggest takeaways:
- WRs are the most valuable dynasty asset and should be the focal point of building your core.
- That said, RBs should be the focal point of your rookie drafts. When they succeed, they do so early.
- Look to trade RBs after a couple of years of elite production. It is likely that the window is closing.
- Spend as little as possible on a QB, and on at least one QB in 2QB dynasty leagues.
- Do not draft TEs in rookie drafts. Wait until an owner gets sick of a prospect slow to break out, or make a trade.
- If you have an elite TE, hold on tightly if you are in a position to win. Consider trading him otherwise.
Next time, we’ll see how some of the best dynasty players in fantasy football built their teams!
Featured Image By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA