Cross Position Tiers and Draft Ranges

In this article, I will address two topics:

(1) tiers across all positions, and
(2) what an appropriate range to draft a certain player is (i.e. Aaron Rodgers)

I've provided full commentary for standard leagues, but you can scroll down to find tier lists and charts for 1-point PPR and 0.5-point PPR formats.

For generating (1), I fit a gaussian mixture model over the average rankings of expert rankings rankings provided by fantasypros.  In other words, I'm using a machine learning algorithm to discover natural tiers of players based on a vote of experts.

For generating (2), I provide a set of charts below that can give you a quick way of seeing if at least 70% of experts would agree with you on your pick. The grey bars are half standard deviations of the rankings. In english, that means the bottom and top of these bars represent the 30% and 70% percentiles of the expert rankings (30.9% and 69.1% to be exact).

(protip: left click image, then right click > open image in new tab to see full size)

Here is an example of how you can read this figure. Roughly 70% of experts would take Forte/Jackson over Rodgers (or if you prefer, 30% of experts think Rodgers is a better value pick than Forte/Jackson), so I will call 16th overall roughly the top end of his range. I'm hedging my claim by calling it "roughly", since these charts are meant provide quick approximations.

So how late could you pick Rodgers or Brees?  The bottom end of their range is Maurice Jones-Drew, or 25th overall. To be precise, this means 70% of experts think they should be drafted before Roddy White, or should be delayed until after the 25th overall pick.  For the rest of this article, let's use this as our definition of draft-able range.

Fitzgerald and MJD don't quite make tier 2, understandably, as their fantasy production levels are still a question mark (Fitz with a new QB, and MJD who can't seem to stay healthy).  Fitzgerald is the safer pick between the two, which you can see since his variance is much lower.

So about the appropriate range for picking up Peyton and Cam?  The answer is anywhere from before Roddy White down to McFadden (26th overall to 35th overall).  Above or below this range you'll find 70% of experts disagreeing with you.

Gronkowski is an interesting one because of his high variance.  Experts think he can fall anywhere between Colston, who is 36 overall, and Steve Smith, who is 59 overall.  This is something you can't really see from looking at a plain ranking chart, or even several position tier lists.  Generally, a high variance player means high risk and high reward, which is certainly the case with Gronk.

Going back to QB's, since taking them late is such a hot topic this year, the range for Brady and Ryan is anywhere between 37 overall and 54 overall.

Reiterating on a point I made in earlier post, you can see the large drop off in value after Romo, even across all positions.  His drafting range is between 65th overall and 75th overall, between Davis and Vareen.

Notice two things about tight ends. First, they have larger variance, meaning the acceptable range of drafting them is larger. Second, they tend to be at the edge or in between tiers (see Witten, Davis, Rudolph, Daniels).  This means you're justified in drafting them on the lower or upper tier they sit between, depending on your positional needs.  Here are the draft-able ranges for some of the later TE's:

Vernon Davis: 58-71
Greg Olsen: 75-90
Kyle Rudolph: 80-94
Owen Daniels: 85-104

The bottom line is you can use these charts to help determine if you are reaching to far to pick a certain player, or a particular player has fallen too far down in the draft.

Good luck drafting!  Be sure to follow me on twitter for week-to-week updates through out the season.

Standard league tier list

Tier 1: Adrian Peterson (RB1), Doug Martin (RB2), Arian Foster (RB3), Jamaal Charles (RB4), C.J. Spiller (RB5), Marshawn Lynch (RB6), Calvin Johnson (WR1), Ray Rice (RB7), LeSean McCoy (RB8), Trent Richardson (RB9), Alfred Morris (RB10)

Tier 2: A.J. Green (WR2), Dez Bryant (WR3), Jimmy Graham (TE1), Brandon Marshall (WR4), Matt Forte (RB11), Steven Jackson (RB12), Julio Jones (WR5), Aaron Rodgers (QB1), Demaryius Thomas (WR6), Stevan Ridley (RB13), Drew Brees (QB2), Chris Johnson (RB14)

Tier 3: Larry Fitzgerald (WR7), Maurice Jones-Drew (RB15), Roddy White (WR8), Andre Johnson (WR9), Randall Cobb (WR10), Victor Cruz (WR11), Vincent Jackson (WR12), Peyton Manning (QB3), Frank Gore (RB16), Reggie Bush (RB17), Cam Newton (QB4)
Tier 4: DeMarco Murray (RB18), Marques Colston (WR13), Lamar Miller (RB19), Darren McFadden (RB20), Dwayne Bowe (WR14), David Wilson (RB21)

Tier 5: Reggie Wayne (WR15), Tom Brady (QB5), Le'Veon Bell (RB22), Matt Ryan (QB6), Rob Gronkowski (TE2), Hakeem Nicks (WR16), Darren Sproles (RB23), Jordy Nelson (WR17), Danny Amendola (WR18)

Tier 6: Jason Witten (TE3), Wes Welker (WR19), Matthew Stafford (QB7), Torrey Smith (WR20), Pierre Garcon (WR21), Eric Decker (WR22), Antonio Brown (WR23), Tony Gonzalez (TE4), Robert Griffin III (QB8), Steve Smith (WR24), Mike Wallace (WR25), Colin Kaepernick (QB9), Christopher Ivory (RB24), Montee Ball (RB25)

Tier 7: Vernon Davis (TE5), Andrew Luck (QB10), Russell Wilson (QB11), Ryan Mathews (RB26), Ahmad Bradshaw (RB27), Cecil Shorts (WR26), Eddie Lacy (RB28), James Jones (WR27), Tony Romo (QB12), Giovani Bernard (RB30)

Tier 8: Rashard Mendenhall (RB29), Steve Johnson (WR28), Shane Vereen (RB31), DeSean Jackson (WR29), Greg Jennings (WR30), Mike Williams (WR31), Andre Brown (RB32), Miles Austin (WR32), Ty Hilton (WR33), Greg Olsen (TE6), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB33)

Tier 9: Kyle Rudolph (TE7), DeAngelo Williams (RB34), Tavon Austin (WR34), Kenny Britt (WR35), Daryl Richardson (RB35), Eli Manning (QB13), Josh Gordon (WR36), Lance Moore (WR37), Anquan Boldin (WR38), Mark Ingram (RB36)

Tier 10: Owen Daniels (TE8), Jonathan Stewart (RB37), Ronnie Hillman (RB38), Fred Jackson (RB39), Bernard Pierce (RB40), Ben Tate (RB41), Jared Cook (TE9), Vick Ballard (RB42), Bryce Brown (RB43), Denarius Moore (WR39)

Tier 11: Martellus Bennett (TE10), Sidney Rice (WR40), Ben Roethlisberger (QB14), Jermichael Finley (TE11), Antonio Gates (TE12), Pierre Thomas (RB44), Michael Floyd (WR41), Emmanuel Sanders (WR42), Johnathan Franklin (RB45), Isaiah Pead (RB46), Golden Tate (WR43), Danny Woodhead (RB47), Kendall Wright (WR44), Justin Blackmon (WR45), Andy Dalton (QB15), Vincent Brown (WR46), Brandon Myers (TE13), Mikel Leshoure (RB48)

Tier 12: Alshon Jeffery (WR47), DeAndre Hopkins (WR48), Jay Cutler (QB16), Chris Givens (WR49), Ryan Broyles (WR50), Zac Stacy (RB49), Joe Flacco (QB17), Jacquizz Rodgers (RB50), Josh Freeman (QB18), Michael Vick (QB19)

Tier 13: Brian Hartline (WR51), Shonn Greene (RB51), Seattle Seahawks (DST1), Brandon Pettigrew (TE14), Sam Bradford (QB20), Rueben Randle (WR52), Aaron Dobson (WR53), Philip Rivers (QB21), Malcom Floyd (WR54), Michael Bush (RB52), Jordan Cameron (TE15), Fred Davis (TE16)

Tier 14: Carson Palmer (QB22), Matt Schaub (QB23), Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR55), San Francisco 49ers (DST2), Ryan Tannehill (QB24), Jermaine Gresham (TE17), Bilal Powell (RB53), Brandon LaFell (WR56), Knowshon Moreno (RB54), Ryan Williams (RB55), Greg Little (WR57)

Tier 15: Cordarrelle Patterson (WR58), Chicago Bears (DST3), Denver Broncos (DST4), Houston Texans (DST5), Marcel Reece (RB56)

1 point PPR

Tier 1: Adrian Peterson (RB1), Doug Martin (RB2), Jamaal Charles (RB3), Arian Foster (RB4), C.J. Spiller (RB5), Ray Rice (RB6), LeSean McCoy (RB7), Calvin Johnson (WR1), Trent Richardson (RB8)

Tier 2: Marshawn Lynch (RB9), Brandon Marshall (WR2), A.J. Green (WR3), Dez Bryant (WR4), Matt Forte (RB10), Jimmy Graham (TE1), Julio Jones (WR5), Demaryius Thomas (WR6)

Tier 3: Steven Jackson (RB11), Darren Sproles (RB12), Alfred Morris (RB13), Reggie Bush (RB14), Andre Johnson (WR7), Chris Johnson (RB15), Larry Fitzgerald (WR8), Drew Brees (QB1), Aaron Rodgers (QB2), Roddy White (WR9), Randall Cobb (WR10), Victor Cruz (WR11)

Tier 4: Maurice Jones-Drew (RB16), Reggie Wayne (WR12), Vincent Jackson (WR13), Stevan Ridley (RB17), DeMarco Murray (RB18), Darren McFadden (RB19), Lamar Miller (RB20), Danny Amendola (WR14), Dwayne Bowe (WR15), Jason Witten (TE2), Marques Colston (WR16), Peyton Manning (QB3), Cam Newton (QB4), Wes Welker (WR17)

Tier 5: Frank Gore (RB21), Rob Gronkowski (TE3), David Wilson (RB22), Hakeem Nicks (WR18), Antonio Brown (WR19), Tony Gonzalez (TE4), Tom Brady (QB5), Pierre Garcon (WR20), Matt Ryan (QB6), Steve Smith (WR21), Eric Decker (WR22), Jordy Nelson (WR23), Le'Veon Bell (RB23), Matthew Stafford (QB7), Torrey Smith (WR24), Mike Wallace (WR25), Robert Griffin III (QB8)

Tier 6: Steve Johnson (WR26), Ryan Mathews (RB24), Colin Kaepernick (QB9), Andrew Luck (QB10), Shane Vereen (RB25), Cecil Shorts (WR27), Vernon Davis (TE5), Russell Wilson (QB11), Greg Jennings (WR28), DeSean Jackson (WR29), Tony Romo (QB12)

Tier 7: Giovani Bernard (RB26), Christopher Ivory (RB27), Ahmad Bradshaw (RB28), James Jones (WR30), Montee Ball (RB29), Mike Williams (WR31), Rashard Mendenhall (RB30), Greg Olsen (TE6), Miles Austin (WR32)

Tier 8: Daryl Richardson (RB31), Ty Hilton (WR33), Eddie Lacy (RB32), Anquan Boldin (WR34), Kyle Rudolph (TE7), Andre Brown (RB33), Kenny Britt (WR35), Eli Manning (QB13), Lance Moore (WR36), Tavon Austin (WR37), Josh Gordon (WR38)

Tier 9: Owen Daniels (TE8), Jermichael Finley (TE9), Jared Cook (TE10), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB34), Kendall Wright (WR39), Brandon Myers (TE11), Michael Floyd (WR40), Emmanuel Sanders (WR41)

Tier 10: Fred Jackson (RB36), Danny Woodhead (RB37), Antonio Gates (TE12), Denarius Moore (WR42), Justin Blackmon (WR43), Golden Tate (WR44), Pierre Thomas (RB39), Brandon Pettigrew (TE14)

Tier 11: Mark Ingram (RB38), Martellus Bennett (TE13), Vick Ballard (RB40), Isaiah Pead (RB41), Ronnie Hillman (RB42), Brian Hartline (WR45), Ben Roethlisberger (QB14), Sidney Rice (WR46), Chris Givens (WR47), Jonathan Stewart (RB43), Bernard Pierce (RB44), Vincent Brown (WR48), Jacquizz Rodgers (RB45), Jordan Cameron (TE15), Ben Tate (RB46), Ryan Broyles (WR49), DeAndre Hopkins (WR50)

Tier 12: Andy Dalton (QB15), Bryce Brown (RB47), Jay Cutler (QB16), Alshon Jeffery (WR51), Fred Davis (TE16)

Tier 13: Johnathan Franklin (RB48), Josh Freeman (QB17), Dustin Keller (TE17), Rueben Randle (WR52), Mikel Leshoure (RB49), Carson Palmer (QB18), Sam Bradford (QB19), Joe Flacco (QB20), Jermaine Gresham (TE18), Greg Little (WR53), Robert Housler (TE19), Malcom Floyd (WR54), Michael Vick (QB21), Marcel Reece (RB50), Joique Bell (RB51)

Tier 14: Seattle Seahawks (DST1), Aaron Dobson (WR55), Philip Rivers (QB22), Brandon LaFell (WR56), Ryan Tannehill (QB23), Matt Schaub (QB24), Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR57), Tyler Eifert (TE20), Shonn Greene (RB52), Rod Streater (WR58), Coby Fleener (TE21), Ed Dickson (TE22), Zac Stacy (RB53), Dwayne Allen (TE23), Heath Miller (TE24)

0.5 point PPR

Tier 1: Adrian Peterson (RB1), Doug Martin (RB2), Arian Foster (RB3), Jamaal Charles (RB4), C.J. Spiller (RB5), Calvin Johnson (WR1), Ray Rice (RB6), LeSean McCoy (RB7), Trent Richardson (RB8)

Tier 2: Marshawn Lynch (RB9), A.J. Green (WR2), Dez Bryant (WR3), Brandon Marshall (WR4), Jimmy Graham (TE1), Matt Forte (RB10), Alfred Morris (RB11), Julio Jones (WR5), Steven Jackson (RB12), Demaryius Thomas (WR6)

Tier 3: Aaron Rodgers (QB1), Drew Brees (QB2), Larry Fitzgerald (WR7), Chris Johnson (RB13), Andre Johnson (WR8), Roddy White (WR9), Randall Cobb (WR10), Maurice Jones-Drew (RB14), Victor Cruz (WR11), Reggie Bush (RB15), Stevan Ridley (RB16)

Tier 4: Vincent Jackson (WR12), Peyton Manning (QB3), Darren Sproles (RB17), Cam Newton (QB4), Marques Colston (WR13), DeMarco Murray (RB18), Reggie Wayne (WR14), Lamar Miller (RB19), Dwayne Bowe (WR15), Darren McFadden (RB20), Frank Gore (RB21)

Tier 5: Danny Amendola (WR16), Jason Witten (TE2), David Wilson (RB22), Wes Welker (WR17), Rob Gronkowski (TE3), Hakeem Nicks (WR18), Tom Brady (QB5), Matt Ryan (QB6)

Tier 6: Antonio Brown (WR19), Jordy Nelson (WR20), Tony Gonzalez (TE4), Le'Veon Bell (RB23), Pierre Garcon (WR21), Eric Decker (WR22), Matthew Stafford (QB7), Torrey Smith (WR23), Steve Smith (WR24), Robert Griffin III (QB8), Mike Wallace (WR25)

Tier 7: Colin Kaepernick (QB9), Andrew Luck (QB10), Vernon Davis (TE5), Ryan Mathews (RB24), Christopher Ivory (RB25), Russell Wilson (QB11), Cecil Shorts (WR26), Montee Ball (RB26), Steve Johnson (WR27), Tony Romo (QB12), James Jones (WR28), Ahmad Bradshaw (RB27)

Tier 8: Shane Vereen (RB28), Giovani Bernard (RB29), Greg Jennings (WR29), DeSean Jackson (WR30), Eddie Lacy (RB30), Rashard Mendenhall (RB31), Mike Williams (WR31), Greg Olsen (TE6), Miles Austin (WR32)

Tier 9: Ty Hilton (WR33), Andre Brown (RB32), Kyle Rudolph (TE7), Daryl Richardson (RB33), Kenny Britt (WR34), Anquan Boldin (WR35), Tavon Austin (WR36), Eli Manning (QB13), Lance Moore (WR37), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB34), Josh Gordon (WR38)

Tier 10: Owen Daniels (TE8), DeAngelo Williams (RB35), Danario Alexander (WR39), Jared Cook (TE9), Mark Ingram (RB36)

Tier 11: Jermichael Finley (TE10), Michael Floyd (WR40), Denarius Moore (WR41), Fred Jackson (RB37), Antonio Gates (TE11), Kendall Wright (WR42), Emmanuel Sanders (WR43), Jonathan Stewart (RB38), Brandon Myers (TE12), Vick Ballard (RB39), Ronnie Hillman (RB40), Golden Tate (WR44), Danny Woodhead (RB41), Pierre Thomas (RB42), Martellus Bennett (TE13), Bernard Pierce (RB43), Bryce Brown (RB44), Ben Tate (RB45), Ben Roethlisberger (QB14), Justin Blackmon (WR45), Isaiah Pead (RB46), Sidney Rice (WR47)

Tier 12: Vincent Brown (WR48), Chris Givens (WR49), Andy Dalton (QB15), DeAndre Hopkins (WR50), Brandon Pettigrew (TE14), Brian Hartline (WR51), Jacquizz Rodgers (RB47), Ryan Broyles (WR52), Johnathan Franklin (RB48), Alshon Jeffery (WR53), Mikel Leshoure (RB49), Jay Cutler (QB16), Jordan Cameron (TE15)

Tier 13: Fred Davis (TE16), Michael Vick (QB17), Josh Freeman (QB18), Joe Flacco (QB19), Rueben Randle (WR54), Malcom Floyd (WR55)

Tier 14: Dennis Pitta (TE17), Sam Bradford (QB20), Aaron Dobson (WR56), Philip Rivers (QB21), Jermaine Gresham (TE18), Carson Palmer (QB22), Seattle Seahawks (DST1), Zac Stacy (RB50), Greg Little (WR57)

Tier 15: Shonn Greene (RB51), Dustin Keller (TE19), Robert Housler (TE20), Joique Bell (RB52), Joseph Morgan (WR58), Matt Schaub (QB23), Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR59), Brandon LaFell (WR60), Ryan Williams (RB53), Bilal Powell (RB54), Ryan Tannehill (QB24), Marcel Reece (RB55)

Don't forget to follow me on twitter for week-to-week updates through out the season.