and Jon Millman
Last Updated: Jul 05, 2013 12:46 PM
This is the second in a series of articles geared toward winning your college fantasy football league.
2nd Commandment - Thou Shall Stick to Thy Tiers
When it comes to building our past Championship teams, one of the most important, if not the most important strategies on Draft Day is "Tiering".
The thing that separates us and the main reason that we dominate our competition is we build deep teams at the draft using our “Tiering” strategy. This is one of our core concepts here at CFG that we stress to our users when it comes to draft strategy. If you take away one thing from us, we hope it's to “Stick to your Tiers”
We can't give away every nuance of our strategy in this article, but we will give you the basics and teach you the concept. In the end, if you want to build a Championship team at the draft, and you want the same edge that we use to win consistently at every level, you are going to have to come to the site and read the entire section on Tiering and all of our other strategies that we guarantee make you better.
OK, so here we go…
It all starts with the Rankings which get broken down into “Tiers”. Meaning we group players of similar talent level together. So at QB for example, we're talking about grouping Johnny Manziel and Jordan Lynch in the same tier (these are NOT our actual rankings).
Every player in any particular tier becomes interchangeable, meaning we expect them to have similar production. In other words, we don't care if we have Johnny Manziel or Jordan Lynch, either way we have a top level QB.
That concept repeats itself right on down the rankings at each position. The tier is made where there is a noticeable drop off of talent.
To us, it's almost like the Scouting Combine; they don't even have names at this point any more. They will all put up similar numbers so it doesn't matter which one you take. Sometimes the tiers have a lot of players in them, meaning we expect a bunch of guys to have similar numbers at the end of the day; and sometimes there are only 1 or 2 guys in a tier.
How will you know the tiers? Easy - in All-FBS leagues, we mark them for you. When you produce a C3 (Champs Customizable Cheatsheet), we do not recommend having the computer generate the tiers as we don't feel it's as accurate. We built in the feature with a formula, but it isn't perfect, so we'd actually recommend choosing the option to “Print WITHOUT Tiers”, and then to try and hand write them in after looking at one of the default scoring systems that we've manually put in the tiers. You can't just take the projected fantasy points and wait until you see a drop off and make a tier mark. In the real world, we see making the tiers as more of an art form.
So you know what tiers are, and how they are made; now you need to know HOW TO USE TIERING…
The biggest mistake that people make on draft day is that they draft by position. Meaning they go in saying “I'm going to draft a RB round 1, and then another one round 2. Then I'll get my QB, and a bunch of WRs after that”. It is the exact opposite of the way we do it. We draft strictly by tiers so that we can get the most VALUE out of each pick.
Let me illustrate to show you what I mean. In 2011, we participated in a mock draft where we drafted No. 5 overall and selected an RB (Trent Richardson).
As every pick is taken, we are carefully crossing off all of the players. This is CRITICAL, I'll touch on it in a minute. When it came back to round 2, all of the RBs in our top tier were gone (basically the top 10 RBs), and several of the WRs from the top tier were gone, leaving only a few. In the 2nd tier of RBs there were about 5 of the 7 left, and there were 2 of the QBs from the top tier left. Now, our strategy is usually not to take QBs this early, so our only decision was another RB or get a WR?
Using Tiering it made it obvious. There are about 8 more picks between this pick and our next pick. None of the guys had WRs yet as they all took RBs to start, and remember there were only a couple of WRs left in our top tier. There were still a bunch of RBs left in the 2nd tier though. So for us the decision to pass on RB was really just playing the odds. Odds are that a RB in top available tier left (in this case the 2nd tier) would get back to us, however if we passed on one of the top WRs left, it was unlikely he would come back, so we took the WR.
Basically every pick will get decided this way. You scan the top available tier at each position you are considering for each pick, and if one position has a number of guys and another only 1 or 2, you generally will need to draft from the tier with less guys to ensure getting one.
There are a number of other strategies that you need to employ on draft day that we go over, however simply learning and mastering Tiering will make you a better fantasy football player. I can guarantee that.
There are many other aspects to Tiering that we go into much more detail in the CFG Draft Kit such as how to decide which player is right for your team within a tier; the benefits of bye week strategies, etc.
All I can say is this; we have consistently made the playoffs and won against every level of competition, whether it's the experts or just ordinary leagues. I would be embarrassed to tell you how many leagues I have been in that I won and nobody knew who I was because I don't use my name. I win or come real close in all the leagues I enter because I build deep teams and I owe it all to Tiering. No Question. Do yourself a favor and come and check the Tiering area on the site, you will feel like you have been born again.