Gut Check No.341: Updated PPR Tiers w/Safe, Balanced, High-Risk Team Builds

Andre Ellington FFSwami

Waldman updates his PPR tiers and applies risk-reward thinking as he builds three teams along the way.


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.

Last month, I introduced you to the idea of value exchanges–players I’m willing to draft in lieu of the “name brand” option because I expect enough upside to offer similar value at a lower price tag. This post examines the players in these tiers through the lens of risk-reward:

  • The safe build: A conservative draft that builds a team where at least 15 of your players in a 20-round draft will quailfy as safe, safe-high upside, or low ceiling options.
  • The balanced build: A draft with an even balance of safe and safe-high upside options where 10-12 of your players in a 20-round draft will qualify as underrated, high upside, and boom-bust options.
  • The high-risk build: A “play to win” team built with a majority of options (15 players in a 20-round draft) that are high-upside, underrated, and boom-bust.

As I take you through my tiers, I’m going to gradually build three teams–one from each category above–to give you an idea of what these philosophies will yield. Most of you will veer somewhere in the middle of the balanced build and conservative build or the balanced build and the high-risk build, meaning 12-14 of your choices will have a safer or risk-friendly bent. Keep that in mind as I profile more extreme examples on each side and a perfectly balanced team in the middle.

For the sake of this exercise, I’m picking 9th in a 12-team serpentine draft with a starting lineup of 1 QB, 2-3 RBs, 3-4 WRs, 1-2 TEs, 1 DEF, and 1 PK

Read the Rest at Footballguys

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