Last Updated: Aug 11, 2013 3:03 PM
10 Commandments for Winning at Fantasy Football
This is the second in a series of articles geared toward winning at fantasy football. To find more content on useful ways you can win your league, click here
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 FF Champs 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, (that's why our clients pay us the big bucks), 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 goes…
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 Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers in the same tier. 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 Brees or Brady, 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, we mark them for you. We actually hand mark them on every different default scoring option. 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, and we do that personally on every cheatsheet so our users know how we are drafting.
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. Typically I am looking to get a RB in the first round (assuming I go in the top half). Ian and I just participated in an Expert League and drafted 5, so let's go off of that for this exercise. So round 1 we take a RB (in this league we took Ray Rice).
As every pick is taken, I am 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 we don't 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.
**I mentioned marking up your cheatsheet being critical, as it will literally tell you who to draft according to our strategy. We took it one step further and built an INCREDIBLE application for doing all of this for you (“Champs Draft Tracker" ), as well as tracking your entire draft (which is another of our strategies to give you an edge on the rest of your league). The only downside is you need to have a computer handy during your draft to use it, but we've even built it so you DO NOT need to have internet connectivity to run the application. You just download the latest updates before you draft and take your laptop or netbook with you. It is available to all of our subscribers to use for all of their drafts and is possibly worth the price of our package alone.
Did I mention you can also mock draft in this app? It's like going to the driving range before a round of golf. You can practice as many times as you want, with or without friends against our ever-evolving Artificial Intelligence computer. Practice drafting out of whatever slot you drew in your draft. See what happens if you take RB, RB, RB. Or try waiting on a QB and see who you might get. I always say “Practice makes perfect” in anything you do. Whether it's golf or fantasy football and if you want to make sure you're prepared for your draft, three words… mock, mock, mock.
There are many other aspects to Tiering that we go into much more detail in the FFChamps 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.