Fantasy Football Week 8 Tiers and Rankings

Week 8 byes: San Francisco, New York Giants

Charts:

Charts are on the menu on the right.
Week 8 - QB | WR | RB | TE | Flex | K | DST

In this fantasy football model, I take aggregated expert ranking data from Fantasypros.com and pass it into a clustering algorithm called the Gaussian mixture model.  The algorithm finds players who are ranked similarly and discovers natural tiers within the data. The results is a series of simple charts that can help you decide your fantasy football line up each week. Match ups, injuries, strength of offense and defense are all accounted for. For more intuition behind the model, you can read this introduction.

Tips:

(1) NYTimes link: Week 8 in-depth commentary
(2) Favor higher tier players. 
(3) When choosing between players of the same tier, flip a coin or go with your gut. If experts are 50/50, there's no telling.


Rest of Season:

I'm also happy to announce the return of ROS tiers. View them here:

ROS: QB - RB - WR - TE - K - DST

Select Week 8 Questions and Answers

Would you roster Allen Robinson or Andre Holmes?
It's very close, but I think I would take Robinson over Holmes (same tier ROS, see ROS WR chart), Robinson has shown more consistency and but Holmes has more blow up potential, so the answer should depend on your needs at WR. However, if you have other Jags on your team, I'd take Holmes. This highlights a concept I've gotten more fond of over time, which is team diversity. Game flow is a huge dictator of how fantasy points end up distributed, and having players on different teams is often advantageous. I'd much rather have Marshall/Cobb than Marshall/Jeffery, because if the Bears have a bad day, only one of my receivers is affected. Similarly, I'd rather have Bortles/Holmes than Bortles/Robinson.

What do you think of McKinnon and Asiata going forward?
I think McKinnon is here to stay. He's already a weekly RB2 and he's more likely to move up than down. There's a small chance the pendulum of touches and snaps swings back closer to 60-40 for McKinnon-Asiata, but I doubt it. Even in that case, Asiata won't get getting much yardage on 10 carries a game, and that doesn't translate to much on 3.6 yards per carry. Asiata has some value in the passing game (20.3 receiving yards per game), but there's just no upside appeal. Would I drop? it depends who else is on the wire and who your weakest link is, but I would have dropped him for any of Tre Mason, Anthony Dixon, Denard Robinson, and Bryce Brown. Check the ROS RB chart.

Why is Bradshaw so low? Why is Richardson so low?
TRich just hasn't looked like a good runner this year. He's not particularly explosive and he's lacked vision. He's averaging 51.1 yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry. He's only been able to put up numbers becuase he's getting 14.4 carries per game. It's the volume that's keeping him relevant. I think we're seeing TRich's ceiling right now. It's hard to put Bradshaw any higher because Trent is getting 14-15 carries a game. Bradshaw is only averging 10.0 carries per game and 4.3 receptions. No one will argue that Bradshaw is not the better runner here, but as we've seen, even Jamaal Charles won't get much done with that kind of usage. This is similar to the Spiller/FJax scenario in the last year or two, and neither of those guys ever got rated above the middle tiers.

Thoughts on Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball?

If Hillman continues to play like he does, I'd be surprised if Ball gets the starting job back. Hillman tallied over 100 yards from scrimmage in his last two games, against the 49ers and Jets.

Thoughts on Julio Jones ROS?
The Atlanta offense line is in shambles. Until they figure something out, Matt Ryan is just going to get crushed against good and even mediocre defenses. Julio is to good to trade for 80 cents on the dollar. He's still a good bet for 80 yards in any matchup, and if you're lucky, a garbage time TD bomb. I'm only dealing him if I can get someone like Brown, Dez, Lynch or a good package deal like Olsen + Cobb.

I'm a worried Foles owner. Sell or Hold?
ROS QB chart shows he's tier 2, and I agree with that. Philly has a top 5 offense in the league and arguably the fastest. Also their defense isn't great which helps Foles in fantasy.

Can I bench Keenan Allen this week?
I wouldn't strongly advocate it, but I wouldn't argue against sitting Allen for guys 1 tier below him this week. Benching him for Torrey Smith, Colston, or Cooks seems acceptable.  Andre Holmes probably not, and definitely not Allen Robinson or Brian Quick. I'd give Holmes a 20% chance of outscoring Allen, and Robinson/Quick a 10% chance.

Is it time to bail on Seattle DST?
I think their low scoring acceptable within the range of random variation. I'd be surprised if they still keep coming in with bottom shelf numbers. They're still one of the top defenses in real football, especially at home. That's pretty evident when you watch their games. In the same vein, I'd be surprised if the Eagles continue to score like they do.

Dallas or Denver DST this week?
I like Dallas this week against Colt McCoy.  They're not a great defense, but they're doing an amazing with time of possession control via DeMarco Murray. As of a week or two ago, the Cowboys were averaging a league low 56.3 opposing snaps per game. As for Denver this week, Rivers is even better than his stat sheets say and Oliver is as good as his stats, so I'm not sure I'd be confident starting any defense against SD, and Denver is no exception.


FAQ:

(1) Why are the flex charts inconsistent with the RB and WR charts?
This happens because flex is an after thought for many experts.  Less experts submit rankings to Fantasypros, and they're not graded on them. Flex tiers are always one of the more debatable charts.

(2) How accurate are these tiers?
Here is a link to last year's accuracy.

(3) When do you update the charts?
Every day. Check the last updated timestamp.

Reddit ROS Tiers - Tight End

These are tiers of from the Reddit ROS poll results.  Props to /u/bobby_ricigliano for putting the poll together.

Reddit ROS: QB | RB | WR | TE


Tier 1: Julius Thomas, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen
Tier 2: Antonio Gates, Martellus Bennett
Tier 3: Jordan Cameron, Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed, Zach Ertz, Delanie Walker, Dwayne Allen
Tier 4: Owen Daniels, Jason Witten, Larry Donnell
Tier 5: Jared Cook, Vernon Davis, Heath Miller, Charles Clay, Coby Fleener
Tier 6: Eric Ebron, Niles Paul, Jermaine Gresham, Scott Chandler, Jace Amaro
Tier 7: Clay Harbor, Timothy Wright, Ladarius Green, Gavin Escobar, Garrett Graham
Tier 8: Andrew Quarless, Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Tier 9: Luke Willson, Benjamin Watson, Levine Toilolo, Cooper Helfet, Chase Ford

Reddit ROS Tiers - Wide Receiver

These are tiers of from the Reddit ROS poll results.  Props to /u/bobby_ricigliano for putting the poll together.

Reddit ROS: QB | RB | WR | TE


Tier 1: Demaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson
Tier 2: Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones, Randall Cobb, Ty Hilton, Alshon Jeffery, Jeremy Maclin
Tier 3: Kelvin Benjamin, Emmanuel Sanders, A.J. Green, Golden Tate, Sammy Watkins
Tier 4: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham Jr., Michael Floyd, Mohamed Sanu, DeSean Jackson, Julian Edelman, Mike Wallace, Andre Johnson, Pierre Garcon
Tier 5: Josh Gordon, Roddy White, DeAndre Hopkins
Tier 6: Doug Baldwin, Vincent Jackson, Wes Welker, Keenan Allen, Terrance Williams, Rueben Randle
Tier 7: Michael Crabtree, Eric Decker, Larry Fitzgerald, Percy Harvin, Kendall Wright, Malcom Floyd, Marques Colston
Tier 8: Anquan Boldin, Brian Quick, Reggie Wayne, Eddie Royal, Allen Robinson, James Jones
Tier 9: Brandin Cooks, Andre Holmes, Brandon LaFell, Cecil Shorts, Mike Evans, Andrew Hawkins, Cordarrelle Patterson
Tier 10: Justin Hunter, Davante Adams, Steve Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Jordan Matthews, Jermaine Kearse, Greg Jennings, Allen Hurns, Kenny Stills
Tier 11: Mike Williams, Andre Roberts, Riley Cooper, Brian Hartline, Tavon Austin, Brandon Lloyd, Jarius Wright, Markus Wheaton, Hakeem Nicks, Danny Amendola, Lance Moore, Miles Austin
Tier 12: Kenny Britt, Jarvis Landry, Robert Woods, Devin Hester, Jarrett Boykin, Jerricho Cotchery, Marqise Lee, Aaron Dobson, Denarius Moore
Tier 13: Paul Richardson, Rod Streater, Dexter McCluster

Reddit ROS Tiers - Running Back

These are tiers of from the Reddit ROS poll results.  Props to /u/bobby_ricigliano for putting the poll together.

Reddit ROS: QB | RB | WR | TE


Tier 1: DeMarco Murray, Le'Veon Bell, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles
Tier 2: Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, Giovani Bernard, Andre Ellington
Tier 3: Eddie Lacy, Ahmad Bradshaw, Lamar Miller
Tier 4: Justin Forsett, Alfred Morris, Ben Tate, Rashad Jennings, Joique Bell, Christopher Ivory, Jerick McKinnon, Ronnie Hillman, Shane Vereen
Tier 5: Branden Oliver, Mark Ingram, Frank Gore
Tier 6: Trent Richardson, Reggie Bush, Tre Mason, Darren Sproles, Doug Martin, Ryan Mathews, Bishop Sankey, Denard Robinson
Tier 7: Montee Ball, Fred Jackson, Darren McFadden
Tier 8: Steven Jackson, Jeremy Hill, Isaiah Crowell, Knile Davis, James Starks, Bryce Brown
Tier 9: Pierre Thomas, Andre Williams, Anthony Dixon, Carlos Hyde, Khiry Robinson, Benny Cunningham, Bernard Pierce, Jonathan Stewart, Antone Smith
Tier 10: Chris Johnson, LeGarrette Blount, Bobby Rainey, DeAngelo Williams, Matt Asiata, Roy Helu
Tier 11: Joseph Randle, Terrance West, Zac Stacy, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Storm Johnson
Tier 12: Alfred Blue, Stepfan Taylor, Shonn Greene, Donald Brown, Brandon Bolden, Maurice Jones-Drew
Tier 13: C.J. Anderson, Travaris Cadet, Toby Gerhart, Lance Dunbar, Jacquizz Rodgers, Theo Riddick
Tier 14: Juwan Thompson, Adrian Peterson

Reddit ROS Tiers - Quarterback

These are tiers of from the Reddit ROS poll results.  Props to /u/bobby_ricigliano for putting the poll together and /u/ArmasKarhu for suggesting the idea.

Reddit ROS: QB | RB | WR | TE


Tier 1: Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers
Tier 2: Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson
Tier 3: Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Jay Cutler, Cam Newton
Tier 4: Nick Foles, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan
Tier 5: Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer
Tier 6: Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Andy Dalton, Ryan Tannehill
Tier 7: Alex Smith
Tier 8: Austin Davis, Brian Hoyer
Tier 9: Robert Griffin III, Kyle Orton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles
Tier 10: Mike Glennon, Jake Locker, Geno Smith
Tier 11: Colt McCoy, Kirk Cousins, Charlie Whitehurst, E.J. Manuel, Johnny Manziel

Visualized Tiers for Reddit ROS - Week 8

I plotted the results from the Reddit ROS crowdsourcing. Props to /u/bobby_ricigliano for putting the poll together on AllOurIdeas and /u/ArmasKarhu for suggesting the idea. 

Here are the results (I also put on the ROS pages them below the Fantasypros charts for easy comparison):

Reddit ROS: QB | RB | WR | TE





Week 8 - Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Tiers

Week 8 byes: San Francisco, New York Giants

All charts have been updated for Week 8 and well as rest-of-season. See menu on the right hand side.

Introduction

In this model, I take aggregated expert ranking data from Fantasypros.com and pass it into a clustering algorithm called a Gaussian mixture model. The algorithm finds players who are ranked similarly and discovers natural tiers within the data. The results is a series of simple charts that can help you decide your fantasy football line up. Match ups, injuries, strength of offense and defense are all accounted for. For more intuition behind the model, you can read this introduction.

Waiver Wire Adds for Week 8:

Here are candidate waiver wire adds based on early flex rankings week 8 from Fantasypros.com.

Tier 1 (should be owned in 10 team leagues - worth top wavier):
Tre Mason - RB (Flex 50)

Tier 2 (should be owned in deeper 10 team leagues - worth mid waiver):
Bryce Brown - RB (Flex 64)
Denard Robinson - RB/WR (Flex 77)
Doug Baldwin - WR (Flex 56)

Tier 3 (should be owned in 12 team leagues - worth low waiver):
Allen Robinson - WR (Flex 85)
Davante Adams - WR (Flex 86)
Andrew Hawkins - WR (Flex 88)

Tier 4 (should be owned in 14 team leagues - not worth waiver):
Jonathan Stewart - RB (Flex 100)
Jermaine Kearse - WR (Flex 105)
Charles Clay - TE (Flex 107)
Kenny Stills - WR (Flex 109)
Benny Cunningham - RB (Flex 116)
Anthony Dixon - RB (Flex 120)
Stevie Johnson - WR (bye)

The reason why I'm hesitant to burn a top waiver on Bryce Brown is that this is a partially speculative add (if you're desperate and will be starting him, then that's a different story). Brown has an impressive resume (190 carries for 878 yards, 4.62 YPC), but we're not sure how much the action will be split between Brown and Anthony Dixon.  We're also looking at estimated 4 week return window for Fred Jackson, and the Bills are on bye next week.

I like Doug Bladwin as a mid or low waiver add, but only if you're struggling at WR. The Seahawks offense should open up now that there's no pressure to force feed Percy Harvin, but this is still a run heavy team, and Kearse is talented. I see Baldwin as a WR3 down the road, but not sure he'll offer much trade value.

The tier 3 group should have been owned weeks ago. Allen Robinson is my favorite of this group, and I like him over Cecil Shorts over the rest of the season. Davante Adams is enticing in that there aren't many players such that if one of two players goes down, he becomes a weekly WR1.


FAQ:

(1) Why are the flex charts inconsistent with the RB and WR charts?
This happens because flex is an after thought for many experts.  Less experts submit rankings to Fantasypros, and they're not graded on them. 

(2) How accurate are these tiers?
Here is a link to last year's accuracy.

(3) When do you update the charts?
Daily.

(5) The New York Times chart says "Aug 6, 2014". Is it updated?
Yes, the date reflects when the very first chart went up.  The charts are updated weekly and often.

Weekly DST

All data are from Fantasypros.com. A clustering algorithm is applied to discover the tiers. The resulting charts let you visualize the tiers and ranks, and help you decide your line up each week.


Tier 1: Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans
Tier 2: Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts
Tier 3: Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tier 4: Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears
Tier 5: Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers
Tier 6: San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints

Weekly Kicker

All data are from Fantasypros.com. A clustering algorithm is applied to discover the tiers. The resulting charts let you visualize the tiers and ranks, and help you decide your line up each week.


Tier 1: Stephen Gostkowski, Dan Bailey, Justin Tucker, Steven Hauschka, Adam Vinatieri
Tier 2: Mason Crosby, Cody Parkey, Chandler Catanzaro, Nick Novak, Brandon McManus
Tier 3: Dan Carpenter, Blair Walsh, Caleb Sturgis, Matt Prater, Shaun Suisham, Shayne Graham, Robbie Gould
Tier 4: Nick Folk, Matt Bryant, Mike Nugent, Randy Bullock, Cairo Santos, Greg Zuerlein, Graham Gano, Billy Cundiff
Tier 5: Josh Scobee, Kai Forbath, Ryan Succop, Sebastian Janikowski, Patrick Murray

Weekly Tight End

All data are from Fantasypros.com. A clustering algorithm is applied to discover the tiers. The resulting charts let you visualize the tiers and ranks, and help you decide your line up each week.


Tier 1: Rob Gronkowski, Julius Thomas, Greg Olsen
Tier 2: Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham, Jordan Reed, Martellus Bennett
Tier 3: Jordan Cameron, Dwayne Allen
Tier 4: Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, Owen Daniels, Delanie Walker
Tier 5: Jason Witten, Charles Clay, Jared Cook
Tier 6: Heath Miller
Tier 7: Coby Fleener, Jermaine Gresham, Jace Amaro, Clay Harbor, Scott Chandler
Tier 8: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Gavin Escobar, Timothy Wright