Visualized Tiers and Ranks - Week 2 - 9/11/13

Here is an early Wednesday morning version of your tiers and rankings using rankings from 50 experts for picking your starters for Week 2. Each graph represents a players rank among experts, the true distance to the players around him, and a proposed tier based on a natural clustering algorithm.

I saw an interesting graphic this week titled "Looks like Michael Fabiano laid an absolute egg for his Start 'Em RB column". I respect all experts, but this is classic evidence as to why I advocate using aggregated expert rankings and opinions (like my charts do), rather than listening to any one or two experts.

Here is an example of how to use these charts: QB's Russell Wilson, Terrell Pryor, and Jay Cutler are ranked QB14, QB15, and QB16. On paper this might suggest that all three QB's are close.  However, as the chart below shows, this is clearly not the case as Wilson is valued significantly higher this week over Pryor and Cutler, who are basically equals.

Use this charts to help you make decision about your lineup.  As it is early in the week, expect an update tomorrow, Thursday 9/12, which I will post on twitter.

Quarter Backs

Vick surges up this week to QB10 after the Eagles hot performance in week 1.  So does Pryor.

Anyone deciding between QB7 and QB11 this week is going to be a tough start/sit situation. As of Wednesday morning, Luck, Stafford, Kaepernick, Vick and RG3 are basically tied squarely in tier 3. Hopefully there will be more separation in an update tomorrow or Thursday.

Tier 1: Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees
Tier 2: Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Cam Newton
Tier 3: Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, Colin Kaepernick, Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III
Tier 4: Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Russell Wilson
Tier 5: Terrelle Pryor, Jay Cutler, Carson Palmer, Matt Schaub, Josh Freeman
Tier 6: Joe Flacco

Running Backs

Everyone up to RB20 (Peterson though Gore) this week is capable of posting RB1 numbers.

You can see a drop off after Gore in tier 5 -- which is where it starts to get shady, with Wilson, Miller, Matthews etc having concerning performances in week 1.

Don't get too crazy on Bernard, Bell, or Tate, as they're all still technically in time shares or backups at this point.

Tier 1: Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles
Tier 2: Arian Foster, Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller, Matt Forte, Alfred Morris, Trent Richardson, Steven Jackson
Tier 3: Marshawn Lynch, Reggie Bush, Maurice Jones-Drew
Tier 4: Stevan Ridley, Darren McFadden, DeMarco Murray
Tier 5: Chris Johnson, Eddie Lacy, Frank Gore
Tier 6: Darren Sproles, David Wilson, DeAngelo Williams, Daryl Richardson, Lamar Miller, Ryan Mathews
Tier 7: Rashard Mendenhall, Ahmad Bradshaw
Tier 8: Giovani Bernard, Joique Bell, Ben Tate, BenJarvus Green-Ellis

Wide Receivers

Amendola is a giant question mark right now due to his injury -- wait for more news, though it's looking like he won't play.

There's going to be some tough start/sit calls this week, starting around WR21-WR24, you can see that Shorts, Boldin, Brown, Smith are all ranked about equally among experts.

There's giant variance around Julian Edelmen. Expect him to shoot upwards as more experts update after the Amendola injury.

I would say after WR35 and higher (Kembrell Thompkins) you can be a little creative and mix up the order if you'd like.

Tier 1: Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald
Tier 2: Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz, Randall Cobb
Tier 3: Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker, Jordy Nelson, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Marques Colston, Hakeem Nicks
Tier 4: Danny Amendola
Tier 5: Dwayne Bowe, Steve Smith, Cecil Shorts, Anquan Boldin, Antonio Brown, Torrey Smith, Roddy White, Eric Decker
Tier 6: Mike Williams, Mike Wallace, Miles Austin, Steve Johnson, James Jones
Tier 7: Julian Edelman, Ty Hilton, Kenbrell Thompkins
Tier 8: Lance Moore, Michael Floyd, Chris Givens, Greg Jennings, Brian Hartline, Golden Tate, Tavon Austin, Emmanuel Sanders
Tier 9: Vincent Brown, Alshon Jeffery, Kenny Britt, Rueben Randle, Andre Roberts

Tight Ends

Lots of tight ends coming off monster week 1's.  That doesn't change the experts likings for the top 4 guys.  Tier 3 is anyone's week though.

Tier 1: Jimmy Graham
Tier 2: Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, Vernon Davis, Jared Cook
Tier 3: Jordan Cameron, Jermichael Finley, Julius Thomas, Greg Olsen, Owen Daniels
Tier 4: Antonio Gates, Brandon Myers, Kyle Rudolph, Martellus Bennett
Tier 5: Fred Davis, Brent Celek
Tier 6: Kellen Winslow, Zach Sudfeld, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Pettigrew


Flex this week (and probably onwards) is noisy, as you can see from the tall grey standard deviation. Edelman has high average ranking relative to his position rank because a few experts have him ranked abnormally high for the flex spot.  Expect an update later in the week.

Hopefully you are not deciding between two directly adjacent players within a tier, which at this point is a coin flip for flex if you go by expert consensus and my charts.  Hope for better separation when I update tomorrow, Thursday, or later.

But if you are choosing between players on a different tier or more than 5 or so positions ranks apart, the choice should be clear.

Tier 1: Reggie Wayne, Eddie Lacy, Chris Johnson, Frank Gore, Wes Welker, DeSean Jackson, Jordy Nelson
Tier 2: Darren Sproles, Pierre Garcon, Marques Colston, Hakeem Nicks, David Wilson
Tier 3: Dwayne Bowe, DeAngelo Williams, Lamar Miller, Ryan Mathews, Steve Smith, Daryl Richardson, Antonio Brown, Cecil Shorts, Torrey Smith, Jason Witten, Anquan Boldin, Eric Decker, Roddy White
Tier 4: Mike Williams, Mike Wallace, Tony Gonzalez, Steve Johnson, James Jones, Vernon Davis, Miles Austin, Rashard Mendenhall, Ty Hilton
Tier 5: Ahmad Bradshaw, Jared Cook, Kenbrell Thompkins, Michael Floyd
Tier 6: Lance Moore, Giovani Bernard, Chris Givens, Jordan Cameron, Julian Edelman
Tier 7: Greg Jennings, Golden Tate, Julius Thomas, Ben Tate, Jermichael Finley, Brian Hartline, Vincent Brown, Greg Olsen


As long as you have a kicker in the first two tiers, I wouldn't drop/swap for a week 2-only upgrade unless you have a special reason to.  If you are sitting on a tier 3 kicker, I would recommended upgrading for the week.

Tier 1: Matt Bryant, Stephen Gostkowski, Matt Prater, Justin Tucker
Tier 2: Greg Zuerlein, Blair Walsh, Garrett Hartley, Phil Dawson, Dan Bailey, Sebastian Janikowski, Randy Bullock, David Akers
Tier 3: Kai Forbath, Robbie Gould, Steven Hauschka, Josh Brown, Alex Henery, Caleb Sturgis, Mason Crosby, Adam Vinatieri


Similarly with defenses, if there's not a strong urgency to swap out defenses unless you're upgrading to a higher tier.

Tier 1: New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals
Tier 2: Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens
Tier 3: Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys
Tier 4: Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings

Expect an update tomorrow, Thursday 9/12, which I will post on twitter.