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2017 STATS Fantasy Football: Week 8 Tiers

By: STATS LLC

Much like how my projections evolve throughout the week, I am starting to evolve in how I present my weekly tiers piece. Last week I started to do a deeper dive into my weekly thought process and provided everyone with some underlying principles that I think are critical for having a sound approach. Simply answering sit/start questions or highlighting one aspect of why a player is a good play for this week alone is short-term help, but giving you a better foundation in thought process is going to be much more beneficial in the long-term.

I will still provide you with the very transparent rankings/tiers below, which you can use to make most sit/start decisions. One thing I’m adding this week, due to popular demand, is point values for each tier, so that you can translate them across positions for FLEX lineup decisions. For example, if RB Tier 4 has a 10.0 rating and Tier 4 of WR has a rating of 9.0, the RBs in Tier 4 would all be ranked higher than the WRs in Tier 4 in terms of FLEX. It’s essentially the projected point range of everyone in the tier, so hopefully this makes it very easy to compare.

This week, I would like to do a deeper dive on what a player’s ranking/projection actually represents. I feel like most people perceive these a bit too much at face value, which in a sense is totally fine. However, understanding what it represents is key to managing expectations, which also helps keep you from over- or under-reacting to one week of data.

First, let’s discuss what a player’s “rank” represents. When it comes to my rankings, they are based off of the median projections I have set for each player. When doing this, the rankings are only going to be as good as the projections being used. This is why I’m spending all week creating and updating the projections for every player – I am trying to make them as accurate as I possibly can.

After all that, if I have Le’Veon Bell as the No. 1 ranked RB for Week 8, I’m essentially saying that there is no other RB that I would start over him. I think most people understand that concept so far. What the No. 1 ranking is not saying, however, is that I think Bell will be the highest scoring RB on the week. As a matter of fact, my estimates have Bell as the top RB this week only about 20 percent of the time. “Ok Sean, well then why the heck are you ranking him No. 1?!” Believe it or not, despite thinking he has over an 80 percent chance of being anything but the top RB of Week 8, he still has the best chance of being the top RB in Week 8, compared to the other RBs. At just around a 20 percent level of confidence of being the actual No. 1 RB this week, he is simply the most likely top RB this week (with Kareem Hunt the second-most likely, and so on and so forth).

In general, this is a perception that most people do not have. If Bell ends up scoring the sixth-most points in Week 8, the No. 1 ranking will seem like a big “miss,” which is simply not true. In fact, I have the median projected rank for him this week being 6.5. This can be translated as he has a 50/50 chance of being a top-six RB this week.

For additional context, let’s look at the fifth-ranked RB this week, Devonta Freeman. Right now, I estimate Freeman as having around a 6.5 percent chance of being the top RB, with a median rank of 11.5. To better illustrate this, let’s run 1,000 simulations of Week 8 and see where his actual rank fell in each simulation:

So in 394 out of 1,000 simulations (or 39.4% of the time) he finished between 1st and 7th ranked RB. You can see just how often he’s going to finish in the top-20, too (68.5% of the time).

I think it’s important to at least perceive a players rank in this fashion – don’t go selling Devonta low if he doesn’t finish as a top 7 RB this week, as he more than likely won’t. Next week I will dive into this concept a bit further.

It’s now time for the actual Tiers! 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. Without further ado, here are the Week 8 tiers:

Quarterbacks

Tier 1

Carson Wentz (vs SF)

Tier 2

Russell Wilson (vs HOU)
Tom Brady (vs LAC)
Dak Prescott (@ WAS)
Kirk Cousins (vs DAL)
Drew Brees (vs CHI)

Tier 3

Cam Newton (@ TB)
Jameis Winston (vs CAR)
Matt Ryan (@ NYJ)
Tyrod Taylor (vs OAK)
Andy Dalton (vs IND)

Tier 4

Alex Smith (vs DEN)
Matthew Stafford (vs PIT)
Deshaun Watson (@ SEA)
Philip Rivers (@ NE)
Derek Carr (@ BUF)

Tier 5

Ben Roethlisberger (@ DET)
Case Keenum (@ CLE)
Josh McCown (vs ATL)

Tier 6

C.J. Beathard (@ PHI)
Trevor Siemian (@ KC)

Tier 7

Jacoby Brissett (@ CIN)
Joe Flacco (vs MIA)
Mitchell Trubisky (@ NO)

Tier 8

Matt Moore (@ BAL)

Tier LOL

DeShone Kizer (vs MIN)
Cody Kessler (vs MIN)

Running Backs

Tier 1 (FLEX Rating: 18)

Le’Veon Bell (@ DET)

Tier 2 (16.5)

Ezekiel Elliott (@ WAS)
Kareem Hunt (vs DEN)
LeSean McCoy (vs OAK)

Tier 3 (13.5)

Devonta Freeman (@ NYJ)
Mark Ingram (vs CHI)
Melvin Gordon (@ NE)

Tier 4 (12.5)

Jordan Howard (@ NO)
Jay Ajayi (@ BAL)

Tier 5 (10.0)

Joe Mixon (vs IND)
Carlos Hyde (@ PHI)
Doug Martin (-1, vs CAR)
Jerick McKinnon (@ CLE)
Lamar Miller (@ SEA)

Tier 6 (9.0)

Ameer Abdullah (vs PIT)
Alvin Kamara (vs CHI)
Chris Thompson (vs DAL)
C.J. Anderson (@ KC)
LeGarrette Blount (vs SF)

Tier 7 (8.5)

Christian McCaffrey (+3, @ TB)
Tevin Coleman (@ NYJ)
Javorius Allen (vs MIA)

Tier 8 (8.0)

Jalen Richard (@ BUF)
Latavius Murray (-1, @ CLE)
Frank Gore (@ CIN)
DeAndre Washington (@ BUF)
Alex Collins (-1, vs MIA)
Jonathan Stewart (-1, @ TB)

Tier 9 (7.5)

Bilal Powell (vs ATL)
Matt Forte (vs ATL)
Isaiah Crowell (vs MIN)
Dion Lewis (vs LAC)
Duke Johnson Jr. (+1, vs MIN)

Tier 10 (6.5)

Wendell Smallwood (vs SF)
James White (+2, vs LAC)
Marlon Mack (@ CIN)
Tarik Cohen (+1, @ NO)
Thomas Rawls (vs HOU)
Rob Kelley (vs DAL)

Wide Receivers

Tier 1 (FLEX Rating: 12.5)

Antonio Brown (@ DET)

Tier 2 (11.0)

A.J. Green (vs IND)
Julio Jones (@ NYJ)
Mike Evans (vs CAR)
Michael Thomas (vs CHI)

Tier 3 (10.0)

Dez Bryant (@ WAS)

Tier 4 (8.5)

DeAndre Hopkins (@ SEA)
Michael Crabtree (@ BUF)
Doug Baldwin (vs HOU)
Amari Cooper (@ BUF)
Alshon Jeffery (-1, vs SF)
Brandin Cooks (-1, vs LAC)
Adam Thielen (@ CLE)
Keenan Allen (@ NE)

Tier 5 (8.25)

Tyreek Hill (vs DEN)
Chris Hogan (vs LAC)
Kelvin Benjamin (@ TB)
Marvin Jones Jr. (vs PIT)
Demaryius Thomas (@ KC)
Pierre Garcon (@ PHI)
Jarvis Landry (+1, @ BAL)
Devin Funchess (@ TB)
Stefon Diggs (@ CLE)

Tier 6 (7.0)

T.Y. Hilton (@ CIN)
DeSean Jackson (vs CAR)
Ted Ginn Jr. (-1, vs CHI)
DeVante Parker (@ BAL)
Emmanuel Sanders (@ KC)
Nelson Agholor (vs SF)

Tier 7 (6.5)

Robby Anderson (vs ATL)
Jeremy Maclin (vs MIA)
Mohamed Sanu (@ NYJ)
Paul Richardson (vs HOU)
Tyrell Williams (@ NE)
Tyler Lockett (vs HOU)
Jermaine Kearse (vs ATL)
Danny Amendola (vs LAC)
Juju Smith-Schuster (@ DET)
Martavis Bryant (@ DET)

Tier 8 (6.0)

Will Fuller V (@ SEA)
Terrelle Pryor Sr. (vs DAL)
Brandon LaFell (vs IND)
Kenny Golladay (vs PIT)
Josh Doctson (-1, vs DAL)
Kenny Stills (@ BAL)
Torrey Smith (vs SF)

Tight Ends

Tier 1 (FLEX Rating: 9.5)

Rob Gronkowski (vs LAC)
Zach Ertz (vs SF)

Tier 2 (8.25)

Travis Kelce (vs DEN)

Tier 3 (7.0)

Jordan Reed (vs DAL)
Jimmy Graham (vs HOU)
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (vs ATL)
Kyle Rudolph (@ CLE)
Hunter Henry (@ NE)
Jason Witten (@ WAS)
Cameron Brate (vs CAR)

Tier 4 (5.5)

Jack Doyle (@ CIN)
Zach Miller (@ NO)
Tyler Kroft (vs IND)
George Kittle (@ PHI)
Benjamin Watson (vs MIA)
Jared Cook (@ BUF)
Ed Dickson (@ TB)

Tier 5 (4.5)

Austin Hooper (@ NYJ)
Ryan Griffin (@ SEA)
Nick O’Leary (vs OAK)
David Njoku (vs MIN)

Kickers

Tier 1

Jake Elliott (vs SF)
Wil Lutz (vs CHI)
Stephen Gostkowski (vs LAC)

Tier 2

Matt Bryant (@ NYJ)
Harrison Butker (vs DEN)
Randy Bullock (vs IND)
Blair Walsh (vs HOU)

Tier 3

Chris Boswell (@ DET)
Stephen Hauschka (vs OAK)
Nick Rose (vs DAL)
Matt Prater (vs PIT)
Justin Tucker (vs MIA)
Patrick Murray (vs CAR)
Graham Gano (@ TB)
Chandler Catanzaro (vs ATL)
Mike Nugent (@ WAS)
Kai Forbath (@ CLE)

Tier 4

Giorgio Tavecchio (@ BUF)
Nick Novak (@ NE)
Connor Barth (@ NO)
Ka’imi Fairbairn (@ SEA)
Brandon McManus (@ KC)
Robbie Gould (@ PHI)
Cody Parkey (@ BAL)
Adam Vinatieri (@ CIN)

Tier 5

Zane Gonzalez (vs MIN)

Defenses

Tier 1

Minnesota Vikings (@ CLE)

Tier 2

Cincinnati Bengals (vs IND)
Philadelphia Eagles (vs SF)
Kansas City Chiefs (vs DEN)
Baltimore Ravens (vs MIA)

Tier 3

Pittsburgh Steelers (@ DET)
Seattle Seahawks (vs HOU)
New England Patriots (vs LAC)
New Orleans Saints (vs CHI)
Atlanta Falcons (@ NYJ)
Miami Dolphins (@ BAL)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs CAR)
Carolina Panthers (@ TB)
Buffalo Bills (vs OAK)

Tier 4

Houston Texans (@ SEA)
Denver Broncos (@ KC)
Detroit Lions (vs PIT)
Oakland Raiders (@ BUF)
Dallas Cowboys (@ WAS)
Indianapolis Colts (@ CIN)

Tier 5

Cleveland Browns (vs MIN)
Washington Redskins (vs DAL)
New York Jets (vs ATL)
Chicago Bears (@ NO)
Los Angeles Chargers (@ NE)
San Francisco 49ers (@ PHI)