Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Week 13 Tiers - Introduction

Week 13 Charts are live -- here are the links:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/sports/football/2013-fantasy-football-tier-charts-QB.html
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/sports/football/2013-fantasy-football-tier-charts-RB.html
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/sports/football/2013-fantasy-football-tier-charts-WR.html
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/sports/football/2013-fantasy-football-tier-charts-TE.html
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/sports/football/2013-fantasy-football-tier-charts-K.html
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/sports/football/2013-fantasy-football-tier-charts-D.html

Note: If you go through any external link, like these above, you won't have paywall issues. Right click each > open in new tab. You can also use incognito mode.

Flex won't be posted on NYT, so here they are:


Tier 1: Jimmy Graham, Antonio Brown, Chris Johnson, Rob Gronkowski, Reggie Bush, Jordy Nelson
Tier 2: Alshon Jeffery, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson
Tier 3: Pierre Garcon, DeMarco Murray, Alfred Morris, Victor Cruz, Wes Welker, Zac Stacy
Tier 4: Rashad Jennings, Keenan Allen, Maurice Jones-Drew, Knowshon Moreno, Harry Douglas, Michael Floyd, Ray Rice
Tier 5: Jason Witten, Shane Vereen, Torrey Smith, Le'Veon Bell, Mike Wallace, Eric Decker, C.J. Spiller, Giovani Bernard, Julius Thomas, Fred Jackson, Riley Cooper
Tier 6: Jarrett Boykin, Ben Tate, Vernon Davis
Tier 7: NA, 
Tier 8: Ty Hilton, Greg Olsen, Steve Smith, Steven Jackson, Nate Burleson, Dwayne Bowe, Tony Gonzalez, Cecil Shorts, Pierre Thomas, Kendall Wright, Danny Woodhead, Rod Streater, Percy Harvin
Tier 9: Marques Colston, Bobby Rainey, Jordan Cameron, James Jones, Steve Johnson
Tier 10: Stevan Ridley, Coby Fleener, Antonio Gates, Martellus Bennett, Andre Ellington





Summary (for first time readers):

My model takes an aggregation of expert rankings from fantasypros, and passes the data into a machine learning clustering algorithm called a gaussian mixture model. Then, I plot each player in the two dimensional space of weighted expert consensus rank (ECR) and raw average rank, and color them by the tier determined by the algorithm. Match-ups are accounted for.  The result is beautiful charts and tiers that help you set your line up.

Why the model is powerful: Every week, fantasypros collects data from over 130 experts, each of whom watch and analyze football for a living. Both fantasypros and my model build on the intuition that an aggregation of many expert opinions provides more reliable rankings than what any one expert can predict.

On top of this, the clustering algorithm is able to identify players that are ranked similarly in the data and find natural tiers among the players. It is not always the case that QB3 > QB4 > QB5.  Sometimes they are equal, and the algorithm uncovers this.

How to use the charts: Each black dot represents the player's average rank and weighted ECR. The color corresponds to the tier given by the algorithm. I recommend starting players in higher tiers.

Within a tier, most player will appear close together. This means experts are near 50/50 on who is better this week. The tiering algorithm says these players are equals this week. In this case, I recommend flipping a coin, or going with your gut.  If experts can't agree, there is no right answer.

As always, you can catch my updates on twitter.

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