By Nic Dolas… DFW Redraft Writer

The primary content on DFW is Dynasty, but as the season gets closer we will provide redraft content for our readers as well. In this 3-part series we will explain strategies to help you draft better in your redraft leagues.

Rankings and Tiering

Player rankings and cheat sheets are one of the most important tools when preparing for your draft.  Most fantasy owners use them in one form or another.

I highly recommend creating your own and not using someone else’s material, especially from outdated fantasy football magazines. You will be in more control since you’ve crafted this yourself.  I’ll illustrate how to begin your cheat sheet.

We’ll begin by determining the number of players we will rank per position. The formula I use to determine that number is as follows:

Total number of starters per position + backup(s) x’s the total # of teams in your league and round up to the next multiple of 10.

For a 12 team league with 1 quarterback and 1 backup required, the formula would be (1+1*12) =24.  We want to round up to the next multiple of 10 so we will rank  30 quarterback’s.  I perform this for every position. Adjust this so you feel comfortable with how many players you want to rank. 

In a 12 man league with the starting roster being QB,RB,RB,WR,WR,WR,TE,K,DEF,  I would rank 30 quarterbacks, 50 running backs, 75 wide receiver’s and 30 tight ends.

  • Tip:  A spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel is quite helpful in managing players as you will be adjusting value depending on injuries or other various reasons.

I start with what each slot has produced over the last three years from weeks 1 thru 16 then average that for my baseline.  I only use 16 weeks because that is the format my league uses. If you leagues use 17 weeks, make that adjustment. Many free fantasy websites can provide this data.

Below is the shell I use before I add players.


Scoring based on 6 per TD, -3 per INT and .04 per passing yard and .1 per rushing yard

Next we turn to the actual players and project how we think they will perform. We’ll begin by analyzing the overall team and how we believe they will perform offensively compared to the previous season. We then analyze each individual player and make notes based on how we anticipate they will produce versus last season.

Our next factor will be to analyze changes that have been made to that player’s team during the offseason.  Do you have a reason to believe they will have an increase or decrease over previous season? Was there a change in coaching or offensive philosophy? Has the player come off a major injury? Etc.

Analyzing a team’s schedule for assistance can be unreliable. Teams perceived to have harder or softer schedules could slightly raise or lower a player’s value. However, since team performance fluctuates dramatically from year to year, you’ll only want to use this should you be debating on two players of similar value.

Lastly an often overlooked but extremely important step is to firmly understanding the rules for your league. For example, are you drafting in a PPR (Points per Reception) league? Certain player value will get a bump. For instance, in a PPR league the number of “targets” a player receives can be a more heavily weighted stat.  In a  non-PPR some players get downgraded.  In addition, I do not attempt to forecast players getting injured but if someone has a history of injuries, I will drop them down a few spots.

Below I illustrate the last 3 years of scoring by the top 6 quarterbacks from one of my leagues. I then make adjustments based on the information available and project their 2012 production.


Another method I use in tandem with my cheat sheet is called Tiering.

Tiering is placing a select group of players from the same playing position (QB) in a group with players you feel will perform in a similar fashion. The player order will come from your rankings cheat sheet. For example, this season most owners have Arian Foster, Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy as their Tier1 running backs. By placing these like valued players in Tiers it allows you to gauge where there will be drop off in production.

This tool will become invaluable when your turn comes around. Let’s say there are 2 wide receivers and 5 running backs remaining in your 2nd Tier and your next pick is 8 spots away. There is a better chance that one of those running backs makes it back to you versus one of the wide receivers.  I use Tiers as a compliment to my cheat sheet to assist in spotting value and potential drop off.

Below is the same shell but highlighted based on projected point production


Using these two simple tools, will put you at least “on par” with the heavy-hitters in your leagues.

In my next article we will continue preparing for your draft: Mock Drafting and Scouting.