Many of you are probably familiar with the concept of “tiers.” Yet, the significance of establishing and maintaining tiers might not be fully clear to everyone. Fantasy Football tiers involve categorising players of comparable skill levels within the same position. They serve several valuable purposes:
Tiers simplify the task of assessing the relative value of specific positions for fantasy players. Rather than individually ranking players, which can be subjective and time-intensive, tiers offer a more instinctive and well-grounded approach. For instance, when examining the running back position, distinguishing between players like Breece Hall, Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard, and Rhamondre Stevenson could be challenging. Grouping them into a tier would emphasise their similar values, making it easier to choose any of them during fantasy drafts without regret.
During the player draft, tiers empower fantasy players to strategise their selections more effectively. They assist in identifying positions with abundant talent pools, enabling managers to delay picking certain positions while prioritising those with scarcer options. In the example of running backs mentioned earlier, consider this hypothetical scenario: You’re drafting at the 2.10 spot, and the aforementioned players are still available.
Choosing a running back here wouldn’t yield substantial value based on your tier evaluation. Instead, if your wide receiver tier includes A.J. Brown and Davante Adams, and the tier below contains Garret Wilson, Amon Ra St. Brown, Jaylen Waddle, and Chris Olave, the optimal move at 2.10 would be to select either A.J. Brown or Davante Adams. Then, at 3.03, you can choose a running back from your tier, expecting one of the four to return to you.
Tiers allow you to create both vertical and horizontal rankings. The vertical ranking encompasses all players, while the horizontal ranking pinpoints the strongest value by position due to fewer available players in a tier. See our latest podcast for the benefits of building a horizontal and vertical board.
Tiers aid in identifying players with similar potential and performance but varying risk levels. Managers can make choices aligned with their risk tolerance by selecting players from different tiers. For instance, running backs like Joe Mixon, Alvin Kamara, Breece Hall, and J.K. Dobbins carry risk due to factors like suspensions or injuries. In a scenario where their situations were certain, they’d likely belong to a higher tier due to their diverse potential outcomes. However, given the uncertainty, it’s wise to lower them by one to three tiers (especially Kamara) to account for the ambiguity and associated risks in fantasy drafts.
Throughout the season, unforeseen injuries and performances can alter player values. Tiers assist managers in identifying potential replacements or waiver wire targets based on their tier and relative value compared to the existing roster.
While many players don’t often update their tiers mid-season and instead rely on recent performances, staying current with your tiers can grant a considerable advantage in managing the waiver wire. This proactive approach allows you to recognise value that others might overlook and acquire players on an upward trajectory rather than merely chasing points.
Tiers establish a shared vocabulary for trade negotiations. Fantasy players can more easily compare players across positions and make well-informed trade decisions based on their respective tiers. Similar to in-season management, consistently updating your tiers offers the potential to enhance your trade negotiations. This could result in obtaining your desired trade targets for less or extracting more value from players on your roster than initially expected.
Tiers also play a role in setting weekly lineups. When faced with choosing between players, fantasy football enthusiasts can consider their tier placement and matchups to make confident decisions. For example, if you drafted both Davante Adams and Chris Olave and have only one roster spot for them, you’d likely start Davante Adams based on your tier-based assessment of their values.
In essence, Fantasy Football tiers serve as a dynamic and adaptable tool that empowers fantasy players to structure and grasp player values, leading to more informed decisions throughout the season. They offer a systematic approach to player assessment and streamline decision-making across drafting, trading, and managing fantasy football teams.