Serious fantasy leaguers enter drafts with store-bought magazines, online printouts, and top-200 cheatsheets. Unprepared owners use pre-set rankings on Yahoo or ESPN. At Rotoworld, we are often asked our personal preference for pre-draft approach. Our answer is a system of tiers organized to maximize value with every pick in every round of a draft.
Entering your draft, think of yourself as a talent collector with a big-picture outlook. Magazines are outdated the instant they hit shelves. Cheatsheets don't keep value in proper perspective. Online printouts can be too cumbersome, especially in a fast-moving draft.
Our Tiers of Heaven are the way to go. Here's why:
Your late third-round pick is approaching. Drew Brees
is high in your Top 200, and you haven't drafted a quarterback. It looks like a no-brainer.
You already have two starting running backs, but a flex position open. Checking your tiers, you notice that Felix Jones
is the only player available from the third tier of backs. You don't necessarily need another one, but there is a huge drop-off after Jones. Taking a rare every-down running back maximizes value, and you should have a realistic shot at one of the remaining second-tier quarterbacks with your next selection.
Felix is the choice.
Don't enter your draft with some sort of positional strategy (e.g. RB-WR, RB-RB). Take the best player available and max out the value. Onto the quarterback tiers.
In a standard league (4 points for passing TDs), these are the two quarterbacks we'd seriously consider in round one. Vick has a cannon arm and is surrounded by playmakers in a pass-first offense. He could probably be one of the NFL's better running backs if he changed positions. The most dangerous offensive player in football, Vick is worth consideration in the top-five picks.
As good as Vick's is, there isn't a better supporting cast in the league than Rodgers'. Green Bay's offensive line is more trustworthy than Philadelphia's, and Jermichael Finley
's return puts him over the top. Rodgers will put up similar passing stats to Brady, Brees, Rivers, Manning, and Romo, although it's his running ability that gives Rodgers a big leg up. He's scrambled for 13 touchdowns across the past three seasons, and averaged more than 20 rushing yards per start over the past two.
One nice thing about drafting Vick or Rodgers is that you don't necessarily have to spend a mid-round pick on a QB2 to protect against injury. Vince Young
and Matt Flynn
would both be plug-and-play QB1s if the starter went down, and they go undrafted in standard leagues. For owners that pick first-round quarterbacks, it isn't at all crazy to use your last-round pick on V.Y. or Flynn.
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