Draft Strategy

A Tier-riffic Draft Strategy

Mahomes

Draft season is quickly approaching and it’s a great time to work on your draft strategy. We make it easy for you with our draft rankings, which not only show our rankings, but how they compare to the Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR). Our overall rankings are sorted by the Value Based Drafting (VBD) method and, if you only use those, you can ensure yourself a great draft. By comparing our rankings to the ECR, you can see which players we like more and therefore focus on drafting those players, when possible. But, if you want to take your drafting to the next level, I’ll show you how to combine VBD, ADP, and Tiers to dominate your draft.

Tiers refer to grouping players at the same position based on their expected performance and value. Players within the same tier have a similar range of outcomes and are therefore essentially equal in value. VBD still sorts players, but since projections aren’t perfect, tiers help to account for the limitations of VBD. Tiers are subjective. Everyone has their own way of creating tiers, some just by feel, while others use a more mathematical approach. The only important thing is that you’re valuing the players within the tiers very similarly. 

I filter our rankings by position and add two columns, one for tiers and one for ADP. This allows me to quickly see which players I can wait on within a tier. For example, if I want to wait until the middle rounds to draft a quarterback, I have Justin Herbert and Geno Smith in the same tier. Herbert is ranked QB-7 with an ADP of 7.05, while Smith is QB-11 with an ADP of 10.07. Because they’re in the same tier, I am acknowledging that I value them similarly. And although Herbert is the higher ranked of the two, I can wait three rounds and draft Smith, therefore allowing me to load up on other postions before taking a quarterback of equal value. 

I went through our top 25 QBs, top 60 RBs and WRs and top 20 TEs and highlighted the best values in each tier. This gives me a huge advantage of knowing how long I can wait before getting a player I want, allowing me to stack my team with value. Let’s look at each position and talk about how you might want to use this information in your draft.

Quarterback

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR Tier ADP
1 Patrick Mahomes II KC QB 1 0 1 3.02
2 Jalen Hurts PHI QB 3 1 2 3.08
3 Josh Allen BUF QB 2 -1 2 3.09
4 Joe Burrow CIN QB 5 1 2 5.01
5 Lamar Jackson BAL QB 4 -1 3 4.07
6 Trevor Lawrence JAC QB 8 2 3 6.10
7 Justin Fields CHI QB 6 -1 4 7.05
8 Justin Herbert LAC QB 7 -1 4 7.05
9 Dak Prescott DAL QB 9 0 4 8.01
10 Tua Tagovailoa MIA QB 11 1 4 8.09
11 Geno Smith SEA QB 14 3 4 10.07
12 Jared Goff DET QB 16 4 5 11.02
13 Deshaun Watson CLE QB 10 -3 5 8.02
14 Daniel Jones NYG QB 12 -2 5 8.08
15 Kirk Cousins MIN QB 13 -2 5 10.06
16 Aaron Rodgers NYJ QB 15 -1 5 10.10
17 Anthony Richardson IND QB 18 1 6 12.01
18 Russell Wilson DEN QB 17 -1 6 13.03
19 Derek Carr NO QB 20 1 6 14.08
20 Jordan Love GB QB 21 1 6 15.09
21 Matthew Stafford LAR QB 19 -2 6 15.05
22 Kyler Murray ARI QB 22 0 7 18.03
23 C.J. Stroud HOU QB 27 4 7 14.12
24 Kenny Pickett PIT QB 23 -1 7 17.12
25 Bryce Young CAR QB 24 -1 7 13.11

 

Quarterback Strategy

There are a lot of different strategies around drafting a quarterback. Some prefer the late-round QB approach, while others like to get a stud QB early. If you go the latter route, Joe Burrow is our best Tier 2 value and you can get him in the early 5th round. If you want for the middle rounds, Geno Smith is our 11th-ranked QB and can be had in the 10th round. If you’re a late-round truther, Jordan Love and Matthew Stafford are going in the 15th round and you can add Kyler Murray off the waiver wire in most leagues when he returns. 

Running Back

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR Tier ADP
1 Christian McCaffrey SF RB 1 0 1 1.01
2 Austin Ekeler LAC RB 2 0 1 1.05
3 Saquon Barkley NYG RB 3 0 2 1.07
4 Jonathan Taylor IND RB 5 1 2 1.04
5 Bijan Robinson ATL RB 4 -1 3 1.06
6 Josh Jacobs LV RB 6 0 3 1.11
7 Tony Pollard DAL RB 7 0 3 2.04
8 Nick Chubb CLE RB 9 1 3 1.12
9 Derrick Henry TEN RB 10 1 3 2.05
10 Breece Hall NYJ RB 11 1 3 2.06
11 Kenneth Walker III SEA RB 16 5 3 3.05
12 Rhamondre Stevenson NE RB 8 -4 3 2.11
13 Travis Etienne Jr. JAC RB 13 0 4 2.07
14 Aaron Jones GB RB 14 0 4 4.01
15 Jahmyr Gibbs DET RB 17 2 4 4.08
16 Joe Mixon CIN RB 15 -1 4 5.07
17 Najee Harris PIT RB 12 -5 4 2.12
18 Cam Akers LAR RB 22 4 4 4.04
19 Dameon Pierce HOU RB 20 1 5 4.05
20 J.K. Dobbins BAL RB 18 -2 5 3.12
21 D’Andre Swift PHI RB 25 4 5 6.08
22 Alexander Mattison MIN RB 30 8 5 7.11
23 James Conner ARI RB 24 1 5 5.11
24 Rachaad White TB RB 23 -1 5 6.06
25 Miles Sanders CAR RB 19 -6 5 3.11
26 Khalil Herbert CHI RB 33 7 5 7.10
27 AJ Dillon GB RB 34 7 6 8.04
28 Isiah Pacheco KC RB 29 1 6 6.01
29 David Montgomery DET RB 26 -3 6 5.06
30 Rashaad Penny PHI RB 37 7 6 6.12
31 Alvin Kamara NO RB 28 -3 6 7.06
32 Javonte Williams DEN RB 27 -5 6 8.05
33 Jamaal Williams NO RB 36 3 6 7.09
34 Dalvin Cook FA RB 21 -13 6 4.10
35 Kenneth Gainwell PHI RB 48 13 6 11.07
36 Antonio Gibson WAS RB 35 -1 7 9.02
37 Brian Robinson Jr. WAS RB 32 -5 7 6.09
38 James Cook BUF RB 31 -7 7 8.07
39 Zach Charbonnet SEA RB 42 3 7 12.06
40 Samaje Perine DEN RB 39 -1 7 10.01
41 Jerick McKinnon KC RB 40 -1 7 12.09
42 Damien Harris BUF RB 38 -4 7 7.07
43 Elijah Mitchell SF RB 41 -2 7 9.04
44 Jeff Wilson Jr. MIA RB 45 1 7 10.04
45 Raheem Mostert MIA RB 46 1 8 11.09
46 Devin Singletary HOU RB 44 -2 8 11.03
47 Tyler Allgeier ATL RB 43 -4 8 9.05
48 Jaylen Warren PIT RB 50 2 8 11.08
49 D’Onta Foreman CHI RB 47 -2 8 9.08
50 Devon Achane MIA RB 49 -1 8 14.11
51 Cordarrelle Patterson ATL RB 52 1 8 14.04
52 Ezekiel Elliott FA RB 54 2 8 10.12
53 Chuba Hubbard CAR RB 53 0 8 15.02
54 Leonard Fournette FA RB 57 3 8 13.02
55 Michael Carter NYJ RB 56 1 8 14.01
56 Kendre Miller NO RB 51 -5 8 11.10
57 Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC RB 55 -2 8 13.11
58 Kareem Hunt FA RB 60 2 9 14.07
59 Chase Edmonds TB RB 59 0 9 18.08
60 Joshua Kelley LAC RB 62 2 9 16.07

 

Running Back Strategy

I tend to lean towards the “hero RB” approach. I like getting an RB in the 2nd round and maybe  another one in the 5th. If I’m drafting at the end of round two, Rhamondre Stevenson offers great value in his tier. I could follow that up with Joe Mixon (Tier 4) in the 5th and have a nice RB corp to build on. If you choose to go “zero RB”, the middle rounds have standout values in Alexander Mattison, Khalil Herbert, and AJ Dillon in the 7th and 8th rounds. You can add depth and handcuffs in late rounds with Devon Archane and Chuba Hubbard. 

Wide Receivers

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR Tier ADP
1 Justin Jefferson MIN WR 1 0 1 1.02
2 Ja’Marr Chase CIN WR 2 0 2 1.03
3 Cooper Kupp LAR WR 3 0 2 1.10
4 A.J. Brown PHI WR 8 4 2 2.08
5 Tyreek Hill MIA WR 4 -1 2 1.09
6 CeeDee Lamb DAL WR 6 0 3 2.02
7 Stefon Diggs BUF WR 5 -2 3 2.01
8 Davante Adams LV WR 7 -1 3 2.03
9 Amon-Ra St. Brown DET WR 9 0 4 2.10
10 Tee Higgins CIN WR 12 2 4 3.04
11 DeVonta Smith PHI WR 13 2 4 3.06
12 DK Metcalf SEA WR 16 4 4 4.02
13 Garrett Wilson NYJ WR 10 -3 4 2.09
14 Jaylen Waddle MIA WR 11 -3 4 3.01
15 Chris Olave NO WR 14 -1 4 3.03
16 Keenan Allen LAC WR 15 -1 4 4.09
17 Amari Cooper CLE WR 17 0 4 4.03
18 Chris Godwin TB WR 18 0 4 5.09
19 Deebo Samuel SF WR 19 0 5 4.06
20 Drake London ATL WR 20 0 5 5.05
21 Christian Watson GB WR 28 7 5 6.04
22 DeAndre Hopkins FA WR 21 -1 5 5.02
23 DJ Moore CHI WR 22 -1 5 5.03
24 Terry McLaurin WAS WR 23 -1 5 5.04
25 Mike Evans TB WR 34 9 5 7.02
26 Michael Pittman Jr. IND WR 24 -2 5 6.05
27 Tyler Lockett SEA WR 27 0 5 4.12
28 Jerry Jeudy DEN WR 26 -2 5 6.11
29 Diontae Johnson PIT WR 31 2 6 7.01
30 Calvin Ridley JAC WR 25 -5 6 5.08
31 Mike Williams LAC WR 29 -2 6 6.03
32 Christian Kirk JAC WR 30 -2 6 7.03
33 Jordan Addison MIN WR 38 5 6 9.06
34 Marquise Brown ARI WR 32 -2 6 8.03
35 Zay Flowers BAL WR 55 20 6 12.05
36 Brandon Aiyuk SF WR 33 -3 6 6.02
37 Treylon Burks TEN WR 35 -2 6 7.08
38 George Pickens PIT WR 37 -1 6 8.12
39 Jahan Dotson WAS WR 36 -3 6 8.10
40 Courtland Sutton DEN WR 39 -1 6 9.07
41 JuJu Smith-Schuster NE WR 41 0 6 11.01
42 Kadarius Toney KC WR 42 0 6 9.09
43 Brandin Cooks DAL WR 44 1 6 9.11
44 Rashod Bateman BAL WR 43 -1 6 9.01
45 Jaxon Smith-Njigba SEA WR 40 -5 6 9.03
46 Allen Lazard NYJ WR 53 7 6 11.05
47 Jakobi Meyers LV WR 45 -2 7 10.05
48 Gabe Davis BUF WR 46 -2 7 9.10
49 Quentin Johnston LAC WR 47 -2 7 12.08
50 Michael Thomas NO WR 48 -2 7 11.06
51 Darnell Mooney CHI WR 50 -1 7 11.12
52 Elijah Moore CLE WR 49 -3 7 10.03
53 Jameson Williams DET WR 51 -2 7 9.12
54 Rondale Moore ARI WR 52 -2 7 13.01
55 Zay Jones JAC WR 54 -1 7 12.02
56 Nico Collins HOU WR 57 1 7 10.08
57 Romeo Doubs GB WR 64 7 7 16.01
58 Tyler Boyd CIN WR 56 -2 7 12.04
59 Odell Beckham Jr. BAL WR 61 2 7 10.09
60 Adam Thielen CAR WR 58 -2 7 12.03

Wide Receiver Strategy

Wide receivers are going higher than ever before, so using a tier-based approach to drafting will allow you to wait on the position while other are sacrificing value to fill their rosters early. I won’t be leaving the first two rounds without at least one WR. If I miss out in the 1st round, AJ Brown is an excellent value pick in round two. Rounds four, five, and six offer excellent value in Keenan Allen, Chris Godwin, and Christian Watson, respectively. The position is deep this year and even in the double-digit rounds you have nice value options like Zay Flowers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Rondale Moore. 

Tight End

Rank Player Name Team Position ECR vs. ECR Tier ADP
1 Travis Kelce KC TE 1 0 1 1.08
2 Mark Andrews BAL TE 2 0 2 3.07
3 T.J. Hockenson MIN TE 3 0 3 3.10
4 George Kittle SF TE 4 0 4 4.11
5 Dallas Goedert PHI TE 5 0 4 5.12
6 Darren Waller NYG TE 7 1 4 8.06
7 Kyle Pitts ATL TE 6 -1 5 6.07
8 Dalton Schultz HOU TE 11 3 5 12.10
9 Evan Engram JAC TE 8 -1 5 7.04
10 Pat Freiermuth PIT TE 9 -1 5 7.12
11 David Njoku CLE TE 10 -1 5 8.11
12 Tyler Higbee LAR TE 15 3 5 13.08
13 Chigoziem Okonkwo TEN TE 12 -1 5 10.02
14 Cole Kmet CHI TE 13 -1 5 10.11
15 Greg Dulcich DEN TE 14 -1 6 11.04
16 Gerald Everett LAC TE 16 0 6 13.10
17 Trey McBride ARI TE 18 1 6 14.09
18 Dawson Knox BUF TE 19 1 6 13.04
19 Juwan Johnson NO TE 17 -2 6 15.01
20 Mike Gesicki NE TE 20 0 6 13.07

 

Tight End Strategy

There’s not a ton of value in drafting a TE early, however, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good strategy. Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews will give you WR-1 production, so I wouldn’t hesitate to draft either one. If you choose to wait, Darren Waller in the 8th round and Dalton Shultz in the 12th are both top eight TEs in our rankings.

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