PPR draft tiers and clustering algorithms

As promised, here is my analysis for PPR leagues. To summarize my model, I take the average ranking from all 37 experts with updated rankings from fantasypros' PPR list, plot them in one dimensional space, and using a gaussian mixture model clustering algorithm to determine natural tiers of players.  The result is well defined tiers and beautiful visualizations.

This analysis is for 1 point PPR leagues.  I've had requests for 0.5 point PPR as well, but unfortunately, there's no data available for that. If you are so inclined, just average these results with my other ones for a good approxmation.  This is becoming a popular request, so I'll play with the data and see if I can come up with anything post worthy.

Quarterbacks remained unchanged, so for QB's, I refer you to my previous post.

PPR Running Backs:

Here is the vertical plot of RB's:

Already we can see very similar structure to the standard format.  David Wilson, who is ranked RB22, represents a significant drop off.  Keep this in mind when drafting.  If you don't see why, consider the following:

In a 12 player league, at least two teams will get left out with their RB2 outside this tier. At least four teams will get left out in a 14 player league. However, in a 10 player league, unless a few people get trigger happy with RB's, there are enough for everyone's RB1 and RB2. Based on this, I'm not convinced the "go ham on RB's" advice is as urgent for smaller leagues, as you can still get two RB's better than Wilson.

Here we illustrate the variance of each players rank with the grey bars.  As you can see, in PPR the first 22 RB's are fairly linear, that is, there does not appear to a heavy tier structure as there was in standard format.

This changes once we get to RB23 to RB35 territory.  The natural tier structure emerges and you can begin to safely tier players together: Mathews/Bell, Ivory/Bradshaw/Vareen/Ball, etc.

You can see the variance blows up at Daryl Richardson (RB34) and later (translation: disagreement among experts).  Therefore, Green-Ellis, who is RB33, is probably the last RB I would fight for. Beyond him I would recommend using your gut feeling or your hunch sleeper.

The PPR RB tier list (underlines represent larger drop offs):

Tier 1: Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin
Tier 2: Jamaal Charles, Arian Foster, C.J. Spiller, Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy
Tier 3: Trent Richardson
Tier 4: Marshawn Lynch, Matt Forte
Tier 5: Steven Jackson, Darren Sproles, Alfred Morris, Reggie Bush, Chris Johnson
Tier 6: Maurice Jones-Drew, DeMarco Murray, Darren McFadden
Tier 7: Lamar Miller, Stevan Ridley
Tier 8: Frank Gore, David Wilson
Tier 9: Ryan Mathews, Le'Veon Bell
Tier 10: Christopher Ivory, Ahmad Bradshaw, Shane Vereen, Montee Ball
Tier 11: Giovani Bernard, Rashard Mendenhall
Tier 12: Andre Brown, Eddie Lacy, BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Tier 13: Daryl Richardson, Fred Jackson, Isaiah Pead, Jonathan Stewart, Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram
Tier 14: DeAngelo Williams, Danny Woodhead, Vick Ballard, Jacquizz Rodgers
Tier 16: Bryce Brown, Ronnie Hillman, Ben Tate, Bernard Pierce, Mikel Leshoure, Johnathan Franklin
Tier 17: Marcel Reece

PPR Wide Receivers:

At a glance of the one dimensional vertical plot, things in PPR look similar to standard.

Let's take closer look:

You can see how well defined tiers 1, 2, 3, and 4 are (up to Victor Cruz, WR11).  This should help solidify your first few rounds of picks. Other drop offs occur after Antonio Brown, Torrey Smith, James Jones, and Tavon Austin/Kendall Wright.

Here is my PPR WR tier list:

Tier 1: Calvin Johnson
Tier 2: Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant
Tier 3: Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas
Tier 4: Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Randall Cobb, Victor Cruz
Tier 5: Reggie Wayne, Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston, Danny Amendola, Wes Welker
Tier 6: Jordy Nelson, Hakeem Nicks
Tier 7: Antonio Brown
Tier 8: Steve Smith, Pierre Garcon, Eric Decker, Mike Wallace
Tier 9: Steve Johnson, Torrey Smith
Tier 10: Greg Jennings, Cecil Shorts, James Jones
Tier 11: Miles Austin, DeSean Jackson, Mike Williams
Tier 12: Anquan Boldin, Ty Hilton, Kenny Britt, Lance Moore, Josh Gordon, Danario Alexander, Tavon Austin
Tier 13: Kendall Wright
Tier 14: Michael Floyd, Emmanuel Sanders, Denarius Moore, Justin Blackmon
Tier 15: Sidney Rice, Brian Hartline
Tier 16: Golden Tate, Chris Givens, Ryan Broyles, Alshon Jeffery

PPR Tight Ends:

A big change from non-PPR is that Witten leads the tier 2 pack.  You can also see that tier 3 (Davis/Olsen/Rudolph) and tier 4 (Daniels/Finley/Cook/Myers) are much closer together than they were in standard format.  So don't feel too bad if you miss out on a tier 3 TE. That said, if you can grab Gonzalez or better, you probably don't need to draft a back up TE.

Here is my PPR TE tier list:

Tier 1: Jimmy Graham,
Tier 2: Jason Witten, Rob Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez
Tier 3: Vernon Davis, Greg Olsen, Kyle Rudolph
Tier 4: Owen Daniels, Jermichael Finley, Jared Cook, Brandon Myers
Tier 5: Martellus Bennett, Antonio Gates, Brandon Pettigrew
Tier 6: Jordan Cameron, Fred Davis, Jermaine Gresham, Dustin Keller, Ed Dickson
Tier 7: Robert Housler, Heath Miller, Dwayne Allen, Tyler Eifert, Coby Fleener

Good luck drafting! You can follow me on twitter, as I'll post tier lists from week-to-week to offer insight on choosing starters.  Also, expect updates as the preseason unfolds.