Fantasy tiers are another draft strategy that everyone uses in some form or another whether they know it or not. Grouping like players together to form tiers is a great way to plan for the draft, so let’s look at the tiers.
I am going to use the CCO fantasy league to form the sample tiers. I am also only going to use the projections of points to make the tiers. When you are creating your own tiers to draft, you will want to use last year’s stats, even the year before that, this year’s projections, and then the only thing that makes your tiers totally different than the rest of your league, your gut feelings on players. Only you can customize your rankings to the way you like them and going through position by position before a draft and drafting each position in your head is the best way to differentiate your tiers. When building each tier you should feel fairly comfortable with any player in that tier. When you start to say no, I want the other guys, that is when you move to the next tier.
You also have to take into account positional eligibility for your league and your roster size. I am going to stick to the top 20 eligible at each position, but many players will show up on more than one list and when you make your own, you have to take that into account.
The categories I am using are Superstar, All-Star, Solid, OK, If you wait. I am going to base it on a 20 team league. When you make up your own tiers, you will base it on your league’s size.
The concept of tiers: You group like players together into tiers. Your ultimate goal is to get the last player in each tier as they will have close to the same production as the top guy in each tier. Of course this is hard to do and you have to make your best guess on who will be left when you pick again. This is not for the first round of the draft as most people take the best player available early, but as you have to start making decisions on players from different positions and which position you should use tiers to help you make these decisions. The more pre-work you do, the less real decision making will go on during the draft, as you have already made the decisions.
- Superstar – Buster Posey, Jonathan Lucroy
- All-Star – Evan Gattis
- Solid – Devin Mesoraco, Salvador Perez, Yadier Molina, Brian McCann
- OK – Yan Gomes, Matt Wieters, Russell Martin, John Jaso, Wilin Rosario, Travis d’Arnaud
- If you wait – Yasmani Grandal, Mike Zunino, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Derek Norris, Wilson Ramos, Miquel Montero, Carlos Ruiz
Not a lot at the top end and lots that you can feel good about drafting later in a draft. There are some decent guys available if you wait out the position.
- Superstar – Paul Goldschmidt
- All-Star – Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, Jose Abreu
- Solid – Carlos Santana, Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder
- OK – Buster Posey, Mark Trumbo, Todd Frazier, Victor Martinez
- If you wait – Chris Davis, Adam LaRoche, Lucas Duda, Eric Hosmer, Ryan Howard
First base is loaded with hitters and where many utility players come from for teams. You can wait on this position and still get decent production out of all the solid and ok guys and even some if you wait guys. I am just not sure you can gain enough at other positions to afford waiting too long on first base.
- Superstar – Anthony Rendon, Robinson Cano
- All-Star – Brian Dozier, Ian Kinsler, Jose Altuve, Ben Zobrist, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis
- Solid – Daniel Murphy, Chase Utley, Kolton Wong
- OK – Martin Prado, Neil Walker, Dee Gordon, Howie Kendrick
- If you wait – Jedd Gyorko, Asdrubal Cabrera, Rougned Odor, Scooter Gennett, Aaron Hill
Still quite a bit of depth at the upper tiers but still a position you can wait out and get some upside guys and/or get a guy who gets called up during the season.
- Superstar – None
- All-Star – Ian Desmond, Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Zobrist, Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro
- Solid – Jimmy Rollins, Alexei Ramirez, Elvis Andrus
- OK – Erick Aybar, Jhonny Peralta, Asdrubal Cabrera, Xander Bogaerts, Andrelton Simmons, Danny Santana
- If you wait – Alcides Escobar, Jean Segura, J.J. Hardy, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Crawford
Just like second base, good amount of depth at the upper tier just no superstar player here right now. It is still a position that you can wait out if you miss out on the All-Stars.
- Superstar – Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rendon
- All-Star – Carlos Santana, Evan Longoria
- Solid – Adrian Beltre, Kyle Seager, Todd Frazier, Matt Carpenter
- OK – Chris Davis, Nolan Arenado, Ryan Zimmerman, Pablo Sandolval, Manny Machado
- If you wait A – David Wright, Martin Prado
- If you wait B – Nick Castellano, Chase Headley, Pedro Alvarez, Xander Bogaerts, Trevor Plouffe
Not as much depth in each tier and an extra if you wait tier. I am pretty comfortable waiting for a player who has slipped and provides good value for the pick at third base.
- Superstar – None
- All-Star – Michael Brantley, Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, Bryce Harper
- Solid – Matt Holliday, Nelson Cruz, Mark Trumbo, Matt Kemp, Christian Yellich, Carlos Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson, Ben Zobrist, Alex Gordon
- OK – Ryan Zimmerman, Starling Marte,
- If you wait – Brett Gardner, Shin-Soo Choo, Brandon Moss, Melky Cabrera, J.D. Martinez
No superstars in left field but lots of good depth in the All-Star and Solid tiers
- MVP – Mike Trout
- Superstar – Andrew McCutchen
- All-Star – Yasiel Puig, Carlos Gomez, Adam Jones, Michael Brantley
- Solid – Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Kemp, Marcell Ozuna, Starling Marte
- OK – Brett Gardner, Billy Hamilton, Mookie Betts
- If you wait – A.J. Pollock, Austin Jackson, Desmond Jennings, Leonys Martin, Adam Eaton, Lorenzo Cain, Danny Santana
Only one other player gets the added tier of MVP but Mike Trout is deserving. He had (for him) his worst season yet and finally won the MVP award. McCutchen is a notch below, but still stands out. Good upper tiers here and a position I don’t like to miss out on the Top 6 guys.
- Superstar – Giancarlo Stanton
- All-Star – Jose Bautista, Yasiel Puig
- Solid A – Ryan Braun, George Springer
- Solid B – Kole Calhoun, Matt Kemp, Jay Bruce, Jason Heyward, Jorge Soler
- OK – Curtis Granderson, Hunter Pence
- If you wait – Wil Myers, Nick Markakis, Marlon Byrd, Brandon Moss, J.D. Martinez, Oswaldo Arcia, Gregory Polanco, Lorenzo Cain, Yasmany Tomas
Not as many upper tier guys in RF as there used to be, and that has created a second solid tier. Another position where I like to get a Top 5 guy, but if you miss out there is still plenty of good options throughout the draft.
- Cy Young – Clayton Kershaw
- ACE – Felix Hernandez, Stephan Strasburg, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer
- #1 – Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, David Price, Corey Kluber
- #1/#2 – Zach Greinke, Cole Hamels, Jordan Zimmerman, Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija
- #2 – James Shields, Julio Teheran, Adam Wainwright, Sonny Gray, Gio Gonzalez, Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, Tyson Ross, Carlos Carrasco, Lance Lynn, Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole
- #2/#3 – Homer Bailey, Ian Kennedy, Chris Tillman, Justin Verlander, Masahiro Tanaka, Garret Richards, Joes Quintana, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Mat Latos, Chris Archer, Zach Wheeler
- #3 – Matt Harvey, R.A. Dickey, Anibal Sanchez, Phil Hughes, Collin McHugh, Hisashi Iwakuma, Dallas Keuchel, Drew Smyly, Alex Wood, Yordano Ventura, Doug Fister, Wade Miley, Jake Odorizzi
- #3/#4 – Derek Holland, Francisco Liriano, Mike Leake, Drew Hutchinson, A.J. Burnett, Rick Porcello, Shelby Miller, Andrew Cashner, Yovani Gallardo, Michael Wacha, Scott Kazmir, John Lackey, Matt Cain, Ervin Santana, Nathan Eovaldi, Kevin Gausman, T.J. House, Matt Garza, Jonathan Niese, Jered Weaver, Mike Fiers
- #4 – Danny Salazar, Jason Hammel, Michael Pineda, Matt Shoemaker, Wily Peralta, Wei-Yin Chen, Kyle Lohse, Brandon McCarthy, Danny Duffy, Trevor Bauer, Aaron Sanchez, Josh Collmenter, Jake Peavy, CC Sabathia, Bud Norris, Justin Masterson, Andrew Heaney, C.J. Wilson, Clay Buchholz, Dan Haren
- #4/#5 – Mark Buehrle, Henderson Alvarez, Edinson Volquez, Jesse Hahn, Jarred Cosart, Bartolo Colon, Jason Vargas, Miquel Gonzalez, Carlos Martinez, Mike Minor, Jorge De La Rosa
- #5 – Vance Worley, Scott Feldman, Jeff Locke, Aaron Harang, Jhoulys Chacin, Jeremy Guthrie, Kyle Gibson, Jimmy Nelson, James Paxton, Kyle Hendricks, Tim Hudson, Ricky Nolasco, Chase Anderson, Tony Cingrani, Anthony DeSciafani, Yusmeiro Petit, Alfredo Simon, Drew Pomeranz
Clayton Kershaw belongs in his own tier and you get into the #2 tier by the time you get 20 deep in starting pitching. As we talked in previous weeks, you have to have a plan for your starting pitchers and by breaking pitchers into tiers it can help you feel good about waiting to get more volume of starters in leagues with no pitching rules. There are lots of decent mid-tier starting pitchers who are pretty interchangeable.
- Superstar – None
- All-Star – Aroldis Chapman, Greg Holland, Craig Kimbrel
- Solid – Dellin Betances, David Robertson, Mark Melancon
- OK – Trevor Rosenthal, Cody Allen, Koi Uehara, Fernando Rodney, Steve Cishek, Glen Perkins, Huston Street, Andrew Miller
- If you wait – Jonathan Papelbon, Zach Britton, Hector Rondon, Kenley Jansen, Drew Storen, Joaquin Benoit
Just looking at closer’s as there are far too many variables on RP’s depending on your leagues rules.
Whether you are in a 10 team league or a 20 team league, having each position broken into tiers can help you in your planning stages, during the draft or both to make the best decisions on the player you are drafting for your team.
CCO League Draft Recap
The CCO FBL drafted on Monday March 16. The CCO Fans FBL will draft on March 26.
Here are links to the draft recap and to the rosters. We had a lot of fun during the draft and had more than one Cubs player taken way, way too early. Of course what would you expect of a league of 20 Cubs fans.
- 10th – Anthony Rizzo
- 12th – Jon Lester
- 16th – Kris Bryant
- 28th – Jorge Soler
- 40th – Starlin Castro
- 47th – Jake Arrieta
- 156th – Hector Rondon
- 177th – Kyle Hendricks
- 181st – Javier Baez
- 194th – Miguel Montero
- 226th – Arismendy Alcantara
- 239th – Dexter Fowler
- 265th – Jason Hammel
- 327th – Pedro Strop
- 329th – Mike Olt
- 354th – Neil Ramirez
- 368th – Jason Motte
- 372nd – Welington Castillo
- 374th – Chris Coghlan
- 394th – Tommy La Stella
- 407th – Tsuyoshi Wada
- 412th – Addison Russell
- 434th – Chris Denorfia