What are Tiers in Fantasy Football?
The term 'tiers' refers to a fantasy football draft strategy in which managers group players together based on expected performance rather than focus on individual players. Managers tend to assign equal value to players in the same tier, as opposed to targeting one particular player as a big-time performer.
Assigning Players to a Tier
As mentioned above, tiers are based entirely on expected fantasy performance. Expectations are formulated based on past performances and future projections. In terms of past performances, it is reasonable to expect players that score a large number of fantasy points each to replicate that level of success going forward. The same is true for underachieving players, as players that have struggled in recent years are likely to be inconsistent fantasy contributors going forward.
Future projections are slightly different and are often based on players' real-life situations. For example, if a running back is playing on a team that has below average receivers and is likely to call lots of running plays as a result, that running back is expected to score lots of fantasy points.
While each manager tends to approach tiers a little differently, there are four main tiers that are used to group players with similar expected performances, each of which are outlined below.
Tier 1: Superstars
Tier 1 is reserved for superstar players that have a reputation for contributing high fantasy point totals throughout the season. Superstars are generally matchup proof, meaning they can be relied upon to help the team on a weekly basis no matter who they are facing in real life.
Tier 2: Above Average
The second tier is home to above average players. While above average players do not possess the same consistency and ability to erupt for massive fantasy point totals that superstars do, they are still solid fantasy starters that can help managers win the league.
Tier 3: Average
Tier 3 contains average players. Although average players can be steady contributors, there is a fair amount of risk involved in drafting them, as they are prone to occasional hiccups in which a strong opposing defense severely limits their performance.
Tier 4: Below Average
Fourth tier players are considered below average performers that cannot be trusted to perform well on a week-to-week basis. Players in the fourth tier should be avoided in drafts or taken in the later rounds to serve as bench players should a regular starter sustain an injury.
Using Tiers on Draft Day
Grouping players into tiers rather than trying to draft an individual players helps managers to not panic on draft day. Managers that have high hopes of drafting a particular are likely to find themselves scrambling if that player gets drafted by another team, causing them to make a rushed selection that does not necessarily provide good value. Tiers effectively prevent this dilemma, as a player that resides in the same tier can be drafted and expected to contribute roughly the same number of fantasy points as the player that was initially being targeted.