On the Draft Doctors podcast, we often speak about using tiers to obtain the best value for our teams.  And a big question coming back from our loyal listeners is, “What are tiers?”  It’s very simply, taking your rankings and deciding which players are simply better assets than others at their position.  Creating a distinction between the ‘I want’s’ and the ‘I wouldn’t minds’.  Let’s say, for example, in a DT scoring setting I took my top ten defenders.  I might rank them something like this:


1.     Taylor Adams

2.     Sam Docherty

3.     Kade Simpson

4.     Heath Shaw

5.     Leigh Montagna

6.     Rory Laird

7.     Matthew Boyd

8.     Jason Johannisen

9.     Hamish Hartlett

10. Luke Hodge


Now, obviously these players are ranked in preference, but there are some seriously large gaps between them (for mine).  I think Taylor Adams has a great chance to dominate the DT scoring defenders.  If he managed a full season, he may well rank 6 or more DT points higher than the next defender.  For mine, no defender will likely match his average, and even if he misses a couple of games, will probably still lead in total points scored.  He would be my Tier One defender.  I don’t see a great deal of difference between Docherty, Simpson and Montagna.  Two are older but reliable, one is an up and coming star.  Montagna may be more of an injury risk but also possesses a higher ceiling for mine.  They are my Tier Two defenders.  Interestingly, I have a smaller tier for my Tier Three Defenders.  Laird and Boyd stick out to me as guys who are very reliable.  Boyd should obviously average more, but Laird has a mooted midfield opportunity and is rock solid in defence and scores well. Tier 4 contains the rest of the guys listed and potentially more, including Bernie Vince.

The point of shorter tiers is to artificially inflate their value.  You are more likely to prioritise someone in a shorter tier as there are less you are left with.

Let’s say heading into a 10 team, captain’s league draft, these are our top tier players (you already know the defenders):

MIDS – Rockliff, Dangerfield, Treloar, Neale

RUCKS – Gawn, Grundy

FORWARDS – Macrae, Dahlhaus, Riewoldt


I’ll use the results from our recent Ultimate Footy mock draft as a guide.  Say we were drafting at pick 6, for example.  The top five drafted, in order were:


1.     Rockliff

2.     Neale

3.     Dangerfield

4.     Treloar

5.     Tom Mitchell


 So with all of our top tier mids gone, yet no other positions have been touched.  So the question is, who do we draft?  Let’s take a look.  We have one top tier defender, three forwards and two rucks.  Midfielders should still be at a premium given it’s a captain’s league and for depth, but given so much top tier talent is on the board, we need to go there.  The pick should be, based on tiers, Taylor Adams.  Why?  He is our only top tier defender.  If we went another way, say a Macrae, it’s unlikely we would get Adams on the way back.  But by taking Adams, there’s a good chance we’ll find another top tier talent on the way back.  Let’s continue with how the draft went through to our next pick.


6.     Hannebery

7.     Macrae

8.     Adams

9.     Gawn

10. Parker

11. JPK

12. Zerrett

13. Grundy

14. Pendlebury


Ok, so we’re in at pick 15 and we still have some top tier talent on the board.  From our range we have Dahlhaus, Goldstein and Riewoldt.  It’s unlikely any of these players will make it back to us in round 3, so we have to weigh up the pros and cons of each pick.  Rucks get thin quick.  Forwards have a lot of question marks.  We have a defender already and there’s still tier 2 defenders available.  Mids are at a premium but we will likely get one in round 3.  The pick, based on tiers, should be Goldstein as it’s the thinnest.  Now I will say, if you wanted to take the forward, fair enough.  It does require more depth, so that’s a consideration.  If you went the ruck route, you would be passing over a top tier forward, but maybe there’s more second tier rucks than forwards, maybe it’s a bigger difference maker.  I will say, by going two position players early, you will most likely have to go two mids in rounds three and four, simply due to needing the position depth and captain options.

 Of course, these are merely early rankings and tiers.  Players may shift between, and you may (and will!) rank and tier differently to me.  Your league settings may be different.  You may prioritise positions differently.  You may have a player ranked highly you know will slide.  Either way, I hope I’ve shown how you can maximise the talent in your team by teiring.