Ranking fantasy football options in tiers before a draft or auction makes perfect sense, because our game is generally about statistics being provided via value, and supply versus demand plays a critical role there. If you’re watching the players come off the board in the fourth round of a draft and thinking about where to turn for your next selection, going with a tiered system can help when there are precious moments to decide, tracking how much similar value and depth per position is left and whether it’s time to get that quarterback or continue piling on the running backs.
For example, in the myriad drafts I’ve already participated in -- yeah, it’s only July, but bear with me, this is what I do! -- I’ve found myself debating running backs versus wide receivers with pretty much each one of my first five or six picks. I always wait on quarterbacks, and everyone loves tight end Rob Gronkowski, but he’s just not my guy. Using a tiered system allows me to further clarify if, according to my own rankings, choosing the final running back of a modest tier (like the Miami Dolphins’ Lamar Miller) is better than one of the several fourth-round wide receivers in that space. Most likely I’d choose Miller.
Alas, using my rankings, here are my initial tiers at quarterback. In the weeks ahead, we’ll move on to running back, wide receiver and the position Gronkowski owns. This is a good way to determine strengths and weaknesses at the positions as we evaluate depth, whether overpaying for the last guy in a tier is worth it and, of course, it’s recommended you determine your rankings and tiers well in advance of that 30-second time frame when a spot-on decision must be made.