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2017 STATS Fantasy Football: Week 11 Tiers

By: STATS LLC

I wanted to share with you a great quote from the book Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Dan Gardner and Philip E. Tetlock. If you have not read this, I would highly recommend it, as it does do a good job characterizing, in a sense, how I approach forecasting in fantasy football.

“It is natural to identify our thinking with the ideas, images, plans, and feelings that flow through consciousness. What else could it be? If I ask, ‘Why did you buy that car?’ you can trot out reasons: ‘Good mileage. Cute style. Great price.’ But you can only share thoughts by introspecting; that is, by turning your attention inward and examining the contents of your mind. And introspection can only capture a tiny fraction of the complex process whirling inside your head—and behind your decisions.”

A perfect example of the downside of this: Ameer Abdullah, last week. I got a ton of feedback from people who were puzzled as to how I could be so bullish on a player facing what has been a stout run defense in 2017, implying I must have liked the spot for him. I would agree that my particular wording was a bit misleading since I didn’t dive in too much. This is why I always emphasize that, ultimately, the rankings below speak for themselves, factoring in more than I can possibly express with one or two sentences, and I put as much time/care into my projections as possible. Since I’m factoring everything in, I usually don’t have just one thing to point to in order to say that’s why I rank someone somewhere.

I do notice that people tend to overweigh individual variables and overlook others. One glaring example was people’s knowledge that the Browns defense was stout against the run, ranking No. 1 in yards per carry allowed. While I won’t ignore the fact that their run D is clearly above average now, I don’t think it’s accurate to simply wipe out a RB’s projection for the upcoming matchup against them either. I’m also not here to give away all my secrets, so instead I’m simply giving a glimpse under the hood, so as to ensure you know that my projections/rankings are done with the sole purpose of predicting what WILL likely happen, not what has already happened.

Don’t forget, these tiers reflect non-PPR scoring. The number in parentheses next to the player’s matchup indicates how many tiers they’d move up or down in PPR scoring. One thing to note – just because a RB may see a couple receptions doesn’t mean they would simply get a +1 rating. Keep in mind that these PPR ratings factor in the players surrounding him, so if he’s expected to get two receptions but is surrounded by players getting 3+ receptions, he could actually sink a bit, relatively speaking. Just remember that these are dynamic and do factor that aspect in.

The FLEX Rating is a number that allows you to compare each tier across the RB/WR/TE positions for FLEX decisions.

Quarterbacks

Tier 1

Tom Brady (@ OAK)
Russell Wilson (vs ATL)

Tier 2

Alex Smith (@ NYG)

Tier 3

Carson Wentz (@ DAL)
Drew Brees (vs WAS)
Dak Prescott (vs PHI)

Tier 4

Kirk Cousins (@ NO)
Ben Roethlisberger (vs TEN)
Matthew Stafford (@ CHI)
Derek Carr (vs NE)

Tier 5

Blake Bortles (@ CLE)
Jared Goff (@ MIN)
Matt Ryan (@ SEA)
Philip Rivers (vs BUF)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (@ MIA)
Marcus Mariota (@ PIT)

Tier 6

Case Keenum (vs LAR)
Jay Cutler (vs TB)

Tier 7

Andy Dalton (@ DEN)
Joe Flacco (@ GB)
Eli Manning (vs KC)
Mitchell Trubisky (vs DET)
Brett Hundley (vs BAL)
Blaine Gabbert (@ HOU)
Brock Osweiler (vs CIN)

Tier 8

Nathan Peterman (@ LAC)

Tier 9

Tom Savage (vs ARI)
DeShone Kizer (vs JAX)

Running Backs

I always need to caution that RBs are the most volatile position this time of week, given that one’s value is so tied to the status of other RBs on his team. A perfect example would be Jamaal Williams. With Aaron Jones already ruled out, Williams’ value already shot way up given the number of sheer touches should go up as a direct result of Jones’ absence. With Ty Montgomery’s status up in the air, Williams’ value is still hung up a bit.

If Montgomery were to be ruled out as well, Williams could very well shoot up to mid-range RB2 status. It also depends on how effective we think Montgomery will be. If they announce that Montgomery will be active “but may only see a few designed runs to protect his rib injury,” that is a much different story than if they say “he is now 100% and will see the majority of snaps.” This makes it too complex to simply say where Williams’ rank should be right now, until after we have clarity on the situation. Once we know more, I usually tweet out an updated rank.

Tier 1 (FLEX Rating: 17.0)

Le’Veon Bell (vs TEN)

Tier 2 (16.0)

Kareem Hunt (@ NYG)

Tier 3 (14.5)

Todd Gurley (@ MIN)
Leonard Fournette (-1, @ CLE)
LeSean McCoy (@ LAC)

Tier 4 (14.0)

Mark Ingram (vs WAS)
Melvin Gordon (vs BUF)
Jordan Howard (vs DET)

Tier 5 (12.5)

Alvin Kamara (+1, vs WAS)
Tevin Coleman (@ SEA)

Tier 6 (11.0)

Adrian Peterson (-1, @ HOU)
Lamar Miller (vs ARI)

Tier 7 (10.0)

Joe Mixon (@ DEN)
Chris Thompson (+1, @ NO)

Tier 8 (9.0)

Jerick McKinnon (vs LAR)
Doug Martin (-1, @ MIA)
Jay Ajayi (-1, @ DAL)
Latavius Murray (-1, vs LAR)
Marshawn Lynch (-1, vs NE)

Tier 9 (8.5)

Orleans Darkwa (vs KC)
Kenyan Drake (+1, vs TB)
DeMarco Murray (+1, @ PIT)
Ameer Abdullah (@ CHI)
Rex Burkhead (+1, @ OAK)
Dion Lewis (-1, @ OAK)
Isaiah Crowell (vs JAX)
Alfred Morris (-3, vs PHI)

Tier 10 (8.0)

Jamaal Williams (vs BAL)
Alex Collins (-1, @ GB)
Samaje Perine (@ NO)
C.J. Anderson (vs CIN)

Tier 11 (7.0)

Damien Williams (vs TB)
Javorius Allen (+1, @ GB)

Tier 12 (6.5)

Duke Johnson Jr. (+3, vs JAX)
Derrick Henry (@ PIT)
Austin Ekeler (+2, vs BUF)

Tier 13 (5.5)

James White (+4, @ OAK)
Devontae Booker (vs CIN)
Thomas Rawls (-1, vs ATL)
Theo Riddick (@ CHI)

Wide Receivers

Tier 1 (13.0)

Antonio Brown (vs TEN)

Tier 2 (10.5)

Michael Thomas (vs WAS)
DeAndre Hopkins (vs ARI)
Julio Jones (@ SEA)
Doug Baldwin (vs ATL)

Tier 3 (9.5)

A.J. Green (@ DEN)
Brandin Cooks (@ OAK)
Mike Evans (@ MIA)
Tyreek Hill (@ NYG)
Michael Crabtree (vs NE)
Adam Thielen (vs LAR)
Dez Bryant (vs PHI)
Sterling Shepard (vs KC)
Stefon Diggs (vs LAR)
Golden Tate (@ CHI)
Amari Cooper (vs NE)
Larry Fitzgerald (@ HOU)

Tier 4 (8.5)

Juju Smith-Schuster (vs TEN)
Alshon Jeffery (@ DAL)
Jarvis Landry (+1, vs TB)
Demaryius Thomas (vs CIN)
DeVante Parker (vs TB)
Keenan Allen (vs BUF)
Emmanuel Sanders (vs CIN)
Robert Woods (@ MIN)
Marqise Lee (@ CLE)
Marvin Jones Jr. (@ CHI)

Tier 5 (7.5)

Davante Adams (vs BAL)
Jeremy Maclin (@ GB)
Ted Ginn Jr. (-1, vs WAS)

Tier 6 (7.0)

DeSean Jackson (@ MIA)
Jamison Crowder (@ NO)
Cooper Kupp (@ MIN)
Nelson Agholor (@ DAL)
Mohamed Sanu (@ SEA)
Paul Richardson (vs ATL)

Tier 7 (6.5)

Rishard Matthews (@ PIT)
Jordy Nelson (vs BAL)
Danny Amendola (+1, @ OAK)
Corey Davis (@ PIT)
Tyler Lockett (vs ATL)
Sammy Watkins (-1, @ MIN)
Kenny Stills (vs TB)
Kelvin Benjamin (@ LAC)

Tier 8 (5.5)

Bruce Ellington (vs ARI)
Dontrelle Inman (vs DET)
Keelan Cole (@ CLE)
Josh Doctson (@ NO)
Mike Wallace (@ GB)
Randall Cobb (vs BAL)
Brandon LaFell (@ DEN)
Tyrell Williams (vs BUF)
Terrance Williams (vs PHI)
Martavis Bryant (vs TEN)
John Brown (@ HOU)

Tier 9 (4.5)

Kenny Golladay (@ CHI)
Travis Benjamin (vs BUF)
Kendall Wright (vs DET)
Cole Beasley (vs PHI)
Taylor Gabriel (@ SEA)
Corey Coleman (vs JAX)
Dede Westbrook (@ CLE)
Brandon Coleman (-1, vs WAS)
Jordan Matthews (@ LAC)
Ryan Grant (@ NO)

Tight Ends

Tier 1 (10.5)

Rob Gronkowski (@ OAK)
Travis Kelce (@ NYG)
Zach Ertz (@ DAL)

Tier 2 (8.5)

Evan Engram (vs KC)
Jimmy Graham (vs ATL)

Tier 3 (6.5)

Jared Cook (vs NE)
Kyle Rudolph (vs LAR)
Vernon Davis (@ NO)
Jason Witten (vs PHI)
Delanie Walker (@ PIT)
Cameron Brate (@ MIA)

Tier 4 (5.5)

Hunter Henry (vs BUF)
Austin Hooper (@ SEA)
Tyler Kroft (@ DEN)
Jordan Reed (@ NO)

Tier 5 (5.0)

Charles Clay (@ LAC)
Julius Thomas (vs TB)
Benjamin Watson (@ GB)

Tier 6 (4.5)

Eric Ebron (@ CHI)
C.J. Fiedorowicz (vs ARI)

Kickers

Tier 1

Stephen Gostkowski (@ OAK)
Wil Lutz (vs WAS)
Harrison Butker (@ NYG)

Tier 2

Jake Elliott (@ DAL)
Nick Novak (vs BUF)
Kai Forbath (vs LAR)
Nick Rose (@ NO)
Giorgio Tavecchio (vs NE)
Blair Walsh (vs ATL)

Tier 3

Matt Bryant (@ SEA)
Justin Tucker (@ GB)
Matt Prater (@ CHI)
Brandon McManus (vs CIN)
Mike Nugent (vs PHI)
Greg Zuerlein (@ MIN)
Ka’imi Fairbairn (vs ARI)

Tier 4

Chris Boswell (vs TEN)
Stephen Hauschka (@ LAC)
Josh Lambo (@ CLE)
Cody Parkey (vs TB)
Phil Dawson (@ HOU)
Randy Bullock (@ DEN)
Connor Barth (vs DET)
Patrick Murray (@ MIA)

Tier 5

Ryan Succop (@ PIT)
Mason Crosby (vs BAL)
Aldrick Rosas (vs KC)
Zane Gonzalez (vs JAX)

Defenses

Tier 1

Jacksonville Jaguars (@ CLE)

Tier 2

Baltimore Ravens (@ GB)
Houston Texans (vs ARI)

Tier 3

Arizona Cardinals (@ HOU)
Los Angeles Chargers (vs BUF)
Denver Broncos (vs CIN)
Kansas City Chiefs (@ NYG)
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs TEN)
Cincinnati Bengals (@ DEN)

Tier 4

Miami Dolphins (vs TB)
Detroit Lions (@ CHI)
Green Bay Packers (vs BAL)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ MIA)
Seattle Seahawks (vs ATL)
Chicago Bears (vs DET)
New Orleans Saints (vs WAS)

Tier 5

Philadelphia Eagles (@ DAL)
Minnesota Vikings (vs LAR)
Buffalo Bills (@ LAC)
Atlanta Falcons (@ SEA)
Cleveland Browns (vs JAX)
Los Angeles Rams (@ MIN)
New England Patriots (@ OAK)

Tier 6

Dallas Cowboys (vs PHI)
Tennessee Titans (@ PIT)

Tier 7

New York Giants (vs KC)
Washington Redskins (@ NO)

Tier 8

Oakland Raiders (vs NE)