With five weeks in the books, the fantasy trade market is beginning to heat up. Teams that have started slow are looking to make big deals in order to change their fortunes, and teams atop the standings may be starting to look for "buy low" candidates in order to add depth.
At this point in the season, people panic-trade to fill in gaps created by byes and injuries, and some people simply get bored with their teams and propose a bunch of trades to see what sticks.
No matter what camp you fall in, you probably could use a nice, handy tool to ensure that you are getting maximum—or at least fair—value in a trade. With my trade value chart of the top 100 players in fantasy football, you won't have to worry about getting ripped off anymore.
Notes: The top 100 players were determined by using the current ESPN standard-scoring league rankings, calculating each player's "value over replacement player" (VORP for short) and by projecting a player's value for the rest of the season.
VORP was calculated by determining how many additional (or fewer) points per week a player scored compared to the best bench player at his position in 10-team leagues (No. 11 quarterback and tight end; No. 26 running back and wide receiver, taking the flex into account).
Any player not listed has a trade value of 1. Remember, this is only a guide—your team needs and areas of strength should always determine any potential trades.
Peyton Manning is averaging 30.1 fantasy points per week and, on average, is scoring 14.2 more points per week the No. 11 quarterback in fantasy football, Robert Griffin III. That is good for the highest VORP in the NFL. That's insane, and I guarantee you that the owner of Manning in your league is probably pretty high up the standings.
Hence, Manning remains atop my trade value chart for the second-straight week.
If you have Manning and another solid quarterback behind him, and let's say want to move him to reinforce a weak crop of running backs and wide receivers, what type of deals should you make? Here are a few examples:
- Manning for DeSean Jackson and Chris Johnson
- Manning for Victor Cruz and Lamar Miller
- Manning for Vincent Jackson and Reggie Wayne
- Manning for LeSean McCoy and Steve Smith
- Manning for Ray Rice and Mike Wallace
- Manning for C.J. Spiller and Giovani Bernard
Given how unpredictable the running back crop has been this year, that last move would probably be pretty hard to pull off. But that should give you an idea of what type of return to demand for Manning should you decide to trade him with his value being at an all-time high.
Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers remain very valuable given their consistency. Some folks may think Cam Newton and Tom Brady are overvalued here given their slow starts, but history suggests that they'll be better than they've been thus far. The loss of Julio Jones—along with a banged-up Roddy White—diminished Matt Ryan's value slightly, but not significantly.
Tony Romo's epic performance against the Denver Broncos and the fact that he plays two terrible pass defenses in the next two weeks (Washington and the Philadelphia) sees his value take a big bump. Philip Rivers' consistent performance also bumped him up the chart, while Michael Vick's injury and the mediocre fantasy output from Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson dropped the speedy trio down the rankings.
Running Back Notes
Only Peyton Manning has a higher VORP than Adrian Peterson's +12 this season, so A.D. continues to be an excellent value at a position with a lot of turmoil this season. Oh, and then there is this from Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk:
Maybe 2,500 yards isn't so crazy after all.
McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch and Arian Foster remain safe options at a tumultuous position, so their value is high. Rice's big Week 5 saw his value shoot up—though I'm still wary of the Baltimore Ravens becoming pass-happy again—while Fred Jackson and Spiller are now of equal value in Buffalo.
Spiller is a nice buy-low candidate right now, as are Steven Jackson—expect Atlanta to lean heavily on him when he returns with all their injuries at wide receiver—and Miami's Miller.
Wide Receiver Notes
More than any other position, there are a lot of players near the top of the trade value chart that project to have more value than they've actually had thus far this season. Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and A.J. Green are all high up this list based upon their past performances, but if they don't start putting up big numbers soon, their value will start to drop.
Not surprisingly, Denver Broncos and Green Packers make up four of the top nine slots; that's the Manning and Rodgers effect.
One thing that is apparent is the depth at wide receiver. It is much better than any other position in fantasy football, and it is a symptom of the NFL's pass-happy ways.
For that reason, the difference in value between the 11th (Torrey Smith) and 25th (Anquan Boldin) wide receiver is just five value points on this chart. Contrast that to the running back position, where the difference in value between the 11th running back (Morris) and the 25th (Le'Veon Bell) is 12 value points.
That may not mean much to owners in the present, but it's an interesting factoid to consider in the early rounds next year when you are torn between picking a running back or wide receiver. Chances are, you'll be able to make up the value at receiver more easily in the later rounds than the value at running back.
The big mover this week is Alshon Jeffery, whose consecutive huge weeks gives him a trade value of 11. If he's somehow available on your waiver wire, adding him is without question your top priority.
Tight End Notes
In standard-scoring leagues, just six players have scored more fantasy points than Jimmy Graham, and they are all quarterbacks (Manning, Brees, Romo, Rivers, Vick and Ryan). He also has the NFL's third-best VORP (+11.6), behind just Manning and Peterson.
At the moment, that makes him the third most valuable player in all of fantasy. However, he drops down to the No. 5 overall value for me simply because his production doesn't seem sustainable—he's on pace for 118 catches, 1,897 yards and 19 touchdowns, folks.
Still, 100 catches, 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns—epic numbers for a wide receiver, let alone a tight end—now seem pretty feasible.
I had a a Twitter follower propose a trade where he would receive Graham and Greg Jennings in exchange for McCoy and Greg Olsen. Via the trade chart, it was a perfectly balanced deal. Of course, you only make the move if you have solid running back depth, but that's how valuable Graham has been this year.
I've lumped Jordan Cameron, Julius Thomas and Rob Gronkowski together in value, simply because the first two have been excellent this year and, while Gronk's upside is posting Graham-like numbers, the threat of injury has to be considered given his recent history.
After those three, the value in tight ends drops pretty significantly, as the pack really condenses in value. Antonio Gates, Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez are all still pretty valuable, while Vernon Davis is probably the last of the tight ends you should be willing to trade a consistent flex option for.
Defense/Special Team Notes
The Kansas City Chiefs are averaging a whopping 17.4 fantasy points per week in standard scoring leagues, so the value there is obvious. Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks are the only fantasy defense to score nine or more points in every week.
That level of consistency is highly valuable, though you still shouldn't overpay for a defense when you can play matchups, stream defenses and still get value without trading away a good player.
Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions and offer trade advice to pair with this chart. I can't see into the future, but if I had a Tardis I would use it for fantasy football purposes.
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