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The Value Theory

Firstly. Have you read our Welcome to Draftstars!?


This article is all about the beginner – the bloke taking his first steps into Draftstars. We’ve all been there; and this information will help you get into the money in no time at all. When I was first getting involved with Draftstars, I had a lot of fun. The entertainment value was enormous and watching games was suddenly intense. The only thing was – I wasn’t winning!

I was picking all the best players, but just couldn’t seem to get in the money. I’d make sure that I had all the best players… My AFL teams were filled with big names like Dangerfield, Fyfe and Ablett and the NBA line-ups were never without Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Steph Curry and James Harden. I was picking the best available players, but never even looked like winning! I did some research into the best ways to construct a line-up. After learning countless strategies and reading till my eyes hurt, I found a theory that really stuck with me. This is The Value Theory.

The basic premise is that it is not necessary to have all the big guns to win tournaments. To squeeze them into the salary cap you’ll have to fill your team with cheap, unreliable players. If you pay $25k for Anthony Davis, then suddenly your remaining $11k per player becomes $9k per player. Add Lebron at the same price and you’ll have to pick 7 players at an average of a tick over $7k per player. This means that it doesn’t really matter if LeBron and Davies go nuts, unless the other 7 players do their bit. Paying big dollars for LeBron and Davies and throwing in a couple of sub-par dudes at $5k that you’ve never heard of will not get you to the big leagues. You will just burn cash.

So how do you work out which players to pick to give you the most balanced line-up? Turns out, it’s just simple maths. Firstly, on average, how many points does a team need to get on a regular basis to make the money? In general, 300 points will get you in the money in an NBA tournament, 800 for AFL. With both sports, you have $100,000 salary cap. In NBA, if you use your entire $100,000, to get to the “value” score of 300, you need exactly 3 points per $1,000. If every player that you select scores at or over their individual “value” point, you’re in a very good position! Essentially this means, at that lofty 25k price tag, Davies has to score 75 points to get value. While he’s capable of doing that, scores this high are very infrequent. Unless you get the right ones, it’s also very unlikely that the $5k players your team is littered with to afford Davis, will all get value. While I’m not saying don’t pay up for expensive players, make sure that you can get enough cheap players likely to get 3X “value” to compliment them. In general, though, I much prefer filling a team of $11k players that I’m confident will get 33+.


We’re going to use the above image as an example. This is my lineup from Sunday, that placed me third for a solid $513.

The first thing that you will notice above is that aside from Lebron James, there are no big names in this line-up. I left out the likes out Irving, Lillard and Towns, because they weren’t a sound investment at their price. Instead, I focused on players that I was confident would return better than 3 points per $1000. By using this strategy, I managed to score 349 points, despite my line-up being devoid of the stars. Players like Collin Sexton ($8k, 44 points, 20 over value), Justise Winslow ($8k, 43 points, 19 over value) and John Collins ($13k, 56 points, 17 over value) are far from household names. But it’s these low owned players that exceed value (as you can see, Winslow and Sexton were 13% owned, Collins just 10%) that win tournaments.

Lots of factors can influence how many points a player is going to score, and at the end of the day you must pick the guys that you think are going to score the best. But by using this theory, at least you know what it is you are targeting when building a line-up. Once you start looking at $8k players in NBA and realising they need a measly 24 for value, your whole perspective on what constitutes a good line up changes. All you have to do is work out how many points is likely to get you into the cash in that contest and look for the best return on investment that you can. The key is to stop focusing on the high profile players just because of their name, and start utilising that salary cap as best you can!

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