Dynasty Stock Market: Quarterback Drafting Tiers

Ryan McDowell

aaron_rodgers3We are now mere days away from the annual National Football League draft, which quickly leads into the beginning of dynasty league start-up drafts. This is an exciting time for all dynasty owners. Personally, I have several start-up drafts occurring in the next few weeks. Thanks to my time spent working with the ADP data here at DLF, I feel more prepared than ever before to build a team that will be competitive for the long-term future.

One way I am using the ADP data is to identify the tiers in which each player falls. It is very important for those drafting a dynasty team to have a solid understanding of not only a specific player’s value, but also where each player falls in his tier, as compared to other players at the position. This will help owners gain the most value with each of their picks.

Before we take a look at what some of the player tiers look like based on March ADP data, let’s discuss further how tiers should be used when drafting a new dynasty team.

First, in preparing for a dynasty startup draft, an owner should create a tiered ranking system that fits their overall strategy going into the draft. While this may sound complicated, it is really very simple. Begin with our most recent ADP data and identify the large gaps in ADP among each position. We will do some of this together later in this article. The next step is to make necessary adjustments by moving players within their tiers to fit your personal rankings. For example, if Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is currently valued as QB10, but you prefer him instead of some of the quarterbacks being drafted immediately ahead of him, simply make that adjustment. After all, these players are in the same tier; therefore, they have similar value.

A couple of things to note here: Unless I had very strong faith in a specific player, I would not move him up to a new tier when the data does not support that. Instead, I would target that player with the appropriate pick and possibly even trade down to acquire additional assets. Also, with your later picks of your start-up draft, ADP data becomes less useful as owners are willing to draft a guy they believe in regardless of where the data says he should be chosen. Therefor, it is almost impossible to create effective tiers for use in the later rounds of a draft.

Once you have made your adjustments and your tiers are fully created, it’s time to narrow down your plan and identify some specific players you are targeting within each tier of players. When I am planning my target list for a start-up draft, I spend a great deal of time focusing on my tiers, specifically the players at the end of a tier. After all, if I have a group of eight running backs valued about the same, it would make sense to draft the one that would provide the best value for your team. In most cases, that would be the players with the latest ADP.

It’s time to look at our actual data and begin creating some tiers. We’ll begin with the quarterbacks. This season, I think this group may be the easiest to work with when it comes to creating personal tiers for draft preparation.

Tier 1


March ADP

Aaron Rodgers


Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is in a tier all his own. If you want him, you’re going to need to use a top pick.

Tier 2


March ADP

Andrew Luck


Cam Newton


Two young studs make up our next tier. Again, each would likely require you using a late 2nd or high 3rd round pick.

Tier 3


March ADP

Drew Brees


Colin Kaepernick


Tom Brady


Robert Griffin III


Russell Wilson


Matt Ryan


Matthew Stafford


This is where tiering really comes into play. If you do not have a quarterback after the draft’s first two rounds, these are the players you need to focus on. Although there is nearly a two round gap from Saints quarterback Drew Brees to Stafford, the gaps between each set of individual players down the list is very small. If you value each of these players in the same tier, it would be best to wait for Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan or Stafford.

Tier 4


March ADP

Peyton Manning


Tony Romo


Here we see the beginning of a group of veteran who has shown they can be QB1s, but are beginning to show their age and/or have dealt with some injuries. Also, this is one of the largest gaps between tiers you will find as the quarterback value drops from Stafford at 58 to Peyton Manning thirty spots later.

Tier 5


March ADP

Ben Roethlisberger


Eli Manning


If you missed out on one of the top ten quarterbacks in the top three tiers, it will be crucial to acquire one of these solid veterans.

Tier 6 


March ADP

Ryan Tannehill


Joe Flacco


Geno Smith


Josh Freeman


Sam Bradford


Andy Dalton


Philip Rivers


Jake Locker


Jay Cutler


Michael Vick


As I stated earlier, the lower you go down the ADP list, the larger the tiers become. It also is more important to follow your own player rankings rather than ADP data this late in the draft. This tier is made up primarily of young starters that are somewhat unproven. Notice the nearly twenty spot difference from Eli Manning in the previous tier to Ryan Tannehill at the top of tier six.

 Tier 7


March ADP

Matt Barkley


Matt Schaub


Alex Smith


Kirk Cousins


Ryan Mallet


Ryan Nassib


Christian Ponder


Terrelle Pryor


EJ Manuel


Carson Palmer


Nick Foles


Mike Glennon


Tyler Bray


Tyler Wilson


Matt Scott


Brock Osweiler


A few reminders when it comes to viewing this final tier of quarterbacks. First, if you really want one of these guys on your team, forget the ADP and take them at least one round early. This late, you are not hurting the value of your team at all. Next, while you see a large gap of greater than two rounds from the top of tier seven until the end, the difference from player to player is relatively small, especially at this late stage. I would target as many of these young, cheap quarterbacks as possible in your startup draft.

So, as we all prepare to build our teams from the ground up in a startup draft, be sure you are creating tiers in order to fill you team with the maximum value and best players possible.

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