I thought we would take a step back and sort of go back to the beginning of team building this week. Over the last few weeks we have discussed ways to make you a better owner and this will follow that theme. This week, however, I thought we would take a look at the five most expensive players at each position for the week and see what position is likely to give you the best return on your investment. I am not going to do anything fancy, just look at the top-five players at each position, their average fantasy points per game divided by their salary, then compare the averages at each position to one another. No, this is not meant to be any earthshaking study, we just want to look at how many points you can expect to buy per $1000 at each position for an elite player and perhaps try to determine the reasoning behind the value.

PositionPoints per $1,000
Top-5
Quarterback2.68
Running Back2.77
Wide Receiver2.80
Tight End2.80
Defense2.53

As you can see from our very complex table above, you can expect to get the most return on your investment at wide receivers and tight end, the least from your defense. Running backs rank third, but are much closer in terms of expected return on investment to wide receivers and tight end than it is to quarterback. Now that we know the raw numbers, we need to try and determine the logic behind the pricing. It would seem that wide receivers and tight ends are better investments – at the elite levels – than running backs or quarterbacks. There is no doubting that is true if you go by average production, but the higher return on that investment also includes greater risk.

As a position, quarterbacks is the least risky investment. Barring an injury – or getting benched – a quarterbacks is not going to have a 0 point game. It is quite possible that a stud wide receiver or tight end does. Further, we have seen numerous occasions already this season where one of the elite WR or TE failed to return even value; it is much harder to find such games among the elite quarterbacks each week. Running back provides a sort of middle ground. Running backs are a little safer bet to return value than the wide receivers or tight ends, but not nearly as good a bet to do so as quarterbacks. I suppose I have to say something about defenses. How about you need to start one each week? As we can see from the chart, they provide the lowest return on your investment; we also know that their scoring is very volatile. In other words, there is a reason you can afford to go cheap at defense.

So, what was the point of all of this? I wanted to make sure that my assumptions about elite-level pricing were accurate. What were my assumptions? I thought that there would be some sort of risk/reward discount. The riskier positions would provide a greater potential profit which is borne out by the wide receiver, tight end, running back and quarterback pricing. Quarterbacks, being the best bet to produce each week, provide a little less bang for your buck than wide receivers who are more volatile from week-to-week. Now, all I need to do is try and make this information useful.

This information is actually useful when planning your teams each week, specifically for the type of league you are in. As we discussed before, in a 50/50 league you want to build a safe team. When building a safe team, you want to invest first in your quarterback since he is most likely to provide you with a good game each week, then you go with your running backs – they are less risky than your tight end or wide receivers are. In a large GPP or H2H league, you are looking for the potential for a high-scoring week. That being the case, you should build your team first with elite wide receivers and your tight end, then look to running backs. You do not want a safe team here, you want the potential for the highest score, wide receivers and tight ends provide that potential. I know this was not the most momentous column – or perhaps not even all that useful. But, it is always a good idea to actually test out our assumptions.

While we did not discover anything unexpected in this case, there will be times when you undertake a project like this and actually find something we did not expect. It is when we find something we were not expecting at all that we stand to gain the most as an owner. To improve our managerial skills, we need to look into everything, question everything. Just because we think something is true, that does not mean it actually is. Our goal is to win, to win we need knowledge, we only gain knowledge by asking and attempting to answer questions. Sometimes the answers will end up being what we thought they were, sometimes they will not. The only way we will find out, is by putting in the work to find out, which in turn, will help make us a better and more successful owner.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your teams this week. You can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.