Fantasy football rankings: Eric Karabell's running back tiers

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Fantasy football drafts are all about value, supply and demand and, to some degree, just plain going with your gut. Anyone can see the raw stats from last season, project ahead and make those numbers tell the story they desire, but there must be something more that separates how we choose the players. Relying in part on a positional tiered system can be of the utmost help during those pressurized moments in a draft when the clock is ticking and the seconds are winding down. Checking the tiers by position aids in decision-making.

Rankings are everywhere, of course, in our game and others, and everyone and their mail carrier can do them, but a tiered system takes the process further, allowing you to further clarify remaining value at a certain position and evaluate depth. Round 4 comes around and you're focused, as you should be, on the best available players. Say you don't have a quarterback yet -- it's the smart move -- but you've already invested in several flex-eligible players. Well, check your tiers for available options. The answers are there.

For example, perhaps you see four available quarterbacks in the highest tier, negligible difference between them. Pass. Pass for a while. There's also quite the crew of wide receivers clumped together. Pass again. There's ample wide receiver depth. You can wait. Then there are one or two running backs alone in a tier and, in your opinion, a significant jump in production compared to the next section. There -- thanks to a tiered system -- is the answer. Reduce your stress, crave efficiency. As the saying goes, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."

Anyway, fantasy managers should rank, project and tier players themselves, for their league format, using analysts as a guide to help construct their opinions. Then do what you want! The fantasy teams are yours. If you do not agree with the tiers below, well, good, you shouldn't! Follow your own advice, your gut and build the teams you want. Below are one analyst's tiers for running backs (standard league, PPR), but again, make your own. You will be pleased you did.

Tier 1: First overall pick

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts