Player Value: Shallow vs Deep Leagues

The fantasy community does a poor job at educating readers which players best fit their league’s scoring format. During the QB rankings, we discussed 6 point pass-TD leagues, but now we would like to show how a player’s value can contrast greatly depending on a shallow or a deep league. Typically in a shallow league (10 teams or less), upside, or ceiling, is an important factor, while in a deeper league (14 teams or more) consistency, or floor, is preferable. We will look at how this effects each position for 2013, and outline which players to target in shallow/deep leagues.


QB Shallow Leagues: Since the entire position is so deep, second and third tiered QB’s lose value since QB10 is very solid, and the marginal difference between QB5-QB10 is minor. Since upside is key, target players high upside rushing QB’s, their injury risk is minimized since replacement level is high, and their legs can make them an elite option. Target Newton, Kaep, RG3, Wilson and Stafford (based on a potential return to his 2011 numbers).

QB deep leagues: For deep leagues, replacement level is pretty low and drafting a backup QB is not preferable, so it is good to focus on players who you can rely on to start 16 games, and finish as a top 10 QB. For this reason Rodgers, Manning, Brady, Brees, Luck and even Romo/Eli have value in a deeper league. High floor.


RB shallow leagues: Since upside is preferred, we are mostly looking at rookie ball carriers and freshly annointed starters, since we are unsure what they can do given a large volume of touches. We would target: Spiler, Martin, McCoy, TRich, D. Wilson, D. Murray, Lamar Miller, Bernard, Lacy, Ball, DRich. Don’t worry about taking on an injury risk, as replacement level is very high in a shallow league at RB.

RB deep leagues: In deep leagues we are interested mostly in “household names” and backs who have shown consistency. We also enjoy the RB3 types who receive double digit touches and goalline carries, they are unlikely to have too many 70+ yard games, but receiving goalline touches increases a player’s floor value. Replacement level can be extremely low in deep leagues, relegated to handcuff players at best, so health is an important factor in our valuation of running backs. These players have more value in deeper formats: Rice, Morris, Chris Johnson, Gore, Bradshaw, Mendenhall, Ingram, Vereen, Deangelo Williams, Fred Jackson, Bernard Pierce, Danny Woodhead, Pierre Thomas, Jonathan Dwyer.


WR shallow leagues: We are targeting explosive playmakers. Some of these players may have question marks regarding their quarterback or their volume of targets, which discounts their value, but since we are seeking upside we are mostly selecting players based on their individual talent level. The following players have more value in a shallow format: Cobb, Cruz, Bowe, Amendola, Garcon, Wallace, Desean Jackson, Shorts, J. Gordon, T. Austin, Britt, Broyles, Givens, Thompkins, Vincent Brown.

WR deep leagues: Fantasy owners should look for a consistently high volume of targets in a deep format. Players that fit this description: White, Fitzgerald, Wayne, Welker, Decker, M. Austin, M. Williams, Stevie Johnson, Jennings, Boldin, Hartline, D. Moore, Kerley, Streater.


TE shallow leagues: As we have written previously, the marginal difference between TE6 and TE16 is very small. In a shallow format this makes Gronk a very attractive option, since replacement level is high. Finley, Sudfeld and Cameron are also attractive options, as it is possible they could finish as top 5 TE’s.

TE deep leagues: In a deep league, I don’t mind taking Graham in the late-1st/early-2nd since there will be a large PPG disparity between him and the TE14 or TE16. Many of the tight ends are barely above replacement level as it is, which makes this list quite difficult. The following are names we expect to finish as top 10 TE’s based on their QB and their volume of targets: Owen Daniels, Brandon Myers and Brandon Pettigrew.


Hopefully this article can serve as a tool to tweak whichever rankings you use to better fit your league’s format. Happy drafting!


Questions/Comments tweet @manwithaspreads



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