Were quarterbacks the most valuable position in Fantasy Football last year? What about top-tier receivers versus No. 2 Fantasy running backs? How do the tiers among each position fare against each other?
You can get your answers here. We broke down each Fantasy position into groups of 12 based on how they finished in standard scoring formats, then averaged their weekly numbers. If you try and compare them all at once you won't learn anything, but if you filter by position and by the varying tiers, your jaw might drop from what you learn. Our talking points come after the chart. If at any time you want to re-start your session, click the circular arrow at the bottom.
What we learned
• There was minimal variance between the top 36 wide receivers on a week to week basis. Sure, the Top 12 receivers typically averaged the most points but the difference between their production and the receivers ranked 25th through 36th wasn't overly huge other than for a couple of weeks. That essentially goes for the receivers ranked 13th through 24th as well.
• Top-tier quarterbacks were far and away the most productive in Fantasy this season (an argument against awarding six points for a passing touchdown, perhaps?). But in eight of the 17 weeks second-tier quarterbacks finished better than top-tier running backs. Again, we're probably making the case that passing touchdowns are overvalued since David Garrard and Jason Campbell amassed more Fantasy points than Ray Rice and Thomas Jones.
• Are you better off drafting your second running back before your first receiver? As it turns out, it's a coin flip: Second-tier rushers ranked higher than top-tier receivers in eight of 17 weeks and those receivers outperformed the running backs in eight weeks with a tie in Week 13. Based on this, feel free to pick your poison in Rounds 2 and 3 (or let how the draft dictate who you choose).
• The logic also applies when comparing No. 3 running backs to No. 2 wide receivers. Receivers outperformed them in most weeks, but not by much.
• Remember this chart the next time you think about reaching for a tight end: The top 12 tight ends were essentially on par with third-tier rushers and receivers. By this logic, no tight end should be taken before the middle rounds of a draft. While this might speak to the proverbial logjam we saw among the bottom-half of No. 1 tight ends in 2009, it sure seems like spending an early choice on Dallas Clark or Vernon Davis next season could be a bad move.
• DSTs are typically picked toward the end of drafts, but this chart proves just how valuable they are as they equaled or outscored top-tier receivers in 13 of the 17 weeks. Does this mean we should be drafting DST units in Rounds 3 and 4? Nope -- remember, there are 32 DSTs and anywhere from 10 to 14 owners in each Fantasy league. Supply grossly outweighs demand.
• Same thing for placekickers, even though they are essentially on par with running backs ranked 37th through 48th and receivers ranked 25th through 36th.
•The least valuable tiers in '09? Low-end running backs (57-plus) and tight ends ranked 25th through 36th. This should impact no one as running backs and tight ends that produce minimal Fantasy points shouldn't be touched anyway.
Did anything stand out to you in this visualization? What did you learn? Share it with us by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put Attn: Positional Tiers in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.