The Gut Check No.337: PPR Tiers and Mocks

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It’s not just the route, it’s the stops along the way. Photo by Elvis Kennedy.

Imagine you’re planning a car trip from Atlanta to Austin. There are several routes you can take. One of them is a 13 or 14-hour trek through Mobile, Alabama, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Houston, Texas. Another takes you through Birmingham, Jackson, and Shreveport.

MapQuest, Google Maps, or your car’s GPS will give you the directions, but they won’t supply a journey. None of them account for where to stay, where to eat, and what’s worth seeing along the way. TripTik’s supply those opportunities in abundance. It’s why I’m a AAA guy when I’m trying to do more than get from A to B.

Fantasy rankings are the MapQuest, Google Maps, or GPS of draft “directions”. It’s a linear presentation that gets you from A to B, but it lacks nuance. When is it smart to deviate from a projection? Which players’ projections are on a firm foundation and which are resting atop a sinkhole?

Which routes will enrich the travel experience? More often than we care to admit, the journey matters.

Depending on the detail of the writer, fantasy tiers are closer to a TripTik.

Every year for the past three, Sigmund Bloom and I have discussed our desire to present more nuanced draft plans that are still easy for readers to grasp. A snap shot of what’s going on in our brains without the page looking like jumbo jet’s instrument panel that has come to life in a horror movie.

Trust me, you don’t want to see the inside of my brain unless you can handle the soundtrack. Bloom’s noggin? Hmmm.

I’m advancing my tiers another step and it looks a bit like the instrument panel of a plane. Most of you are experienced enough fantasy pilots that I don’t think you’ll be overwhelmed. The journey might actually be easier.


My 2015 tiers have greater subtlety of detail than previous incarnations. It’s not a fully realized fantasy TripTik. I’m not sure it will ever be.

One of the differences between my tiers and others is that I ordered the players by ADP rather than my ranking. As you read on, you’ll begin to understand how these tiers will help you identify multiple, successful ways to build a competitive roster. They also share a thought process and a method for organizing rankings:

  • My rankings (MW).
  • Average draft position (ADP).
  • Round Value (Value):
    • Rx (x equals the round value based on my rankings).
    • Par (my rankings and ADP are within 12 picks for the first 6 rounds; within 24 picks for rounds 7-20).
  • How I value each player’s potential this year (Class):
    • U = Underrated – A greater talent than many analysts and fans regard him.
    • S = Safe – A combination of talent, opportunity, and scheme that limits his downside.
    • BB = Boom-Bust – Talent, opportunity, and/or scheme presents high upside, but equal downside.
    • LC = Low Ceiling – Talent, opportunity, and/or scheme presents limited upside.
    • H = High Upside – Talent, opportunity, and scheme presents high upside.
  • Color-coded tiers/values – My tiers are ordered by ADP and the tier headings are color coded. Players are also color coded to match the tier where I value them. For instance, Marshawn Lynch has an ADP of 13, which places him in the Round 2 tier. I value him as a Round 1 player (No.4) overall. Lynch’s info is highlighted the same color as the Round 1 tier heading although he’s listed in the Round 2 tier.

Before I share the tiers, let’s review relationships among players based on my value of them relative to their ADP. Learning more about these value exchanges should help you formulate draft options that integrate my views with yours. Getting faimilar with these player relationships should also make the tiers more useful. Read the Rest at Footballguys

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