Week 16 - Tiers

Here are the links to the charts


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 (only FLEX15 - FLEX75 are shown):

Tier 1: Adrian Peterson
Tier 2: Alshon Jeffery, Alfred Morris, Antonio Brown, Demaryius Thomas, Pierre Garcon, Marshawn Lynch, Andre Johnson
Tier 3: Frank Gore, Keenan Allen
Tier 4: Reggie Bush, DeSean Jackson, Ryan Mathews, Jordy Nelson, Eric Decker, Vincent Jackson, Julian Edelman, Chris Johnson
Tier 5: Rashad Jennings, Vernon Davis, Julius Thomas, Torrey Smith, Bobby Rainey, Mike Wallace, Marques Colston
Tier 6: Giovani Bernard
Tier 7: Michael Crabtree, Andre Brown, Roddy White, Jason Witten
Tier 8: Kendall Wright, Ray Rice, Brian Hartline, Shane Vereen, Ty Hilton, Larry Fitzgerald
Tier 9: Fred Jackson, Danny Amendola, Greg Olsen, Anquan Boldin, Jordan Cameron
Tier 10: C.J. Spiller, Delanie Walker, Greg Jennings, Steven Jackson, James Jones, Riley Cooper
Tier 11: Tony Gonzalez, Jordan Todman, Dwayne Bowe, Christopher Ivory, DeAngelo Williams
Tier 12: Danny Woodhead, Montee Ball, Emmanuel Sanders, Dennis Pitta
Tier 13: Steve Smith, Antonio Gates, Harry Douglas, Hakeem Nicks, Rod Streater

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.