Fantasy Football Week 1: Updated Trade Value for Top 100 Players

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2014

NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 28:  Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints warms up before playing the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 28, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote in a 1936 article for Esquire entitled "The Crack-Up," that "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."

You probably never thought those words would apply to fantasy football. But trust me, they do. Because while I believe very firmly that fantasy owners shouldn't tinker with their teams until they have a better grasp of their own players a few weeks into the season, I also believe that it is never, ever too early to make a trade. 

Maybe that's some first-rate intelligence. Or maybe, like many owners, I just can't help myself when it comes to tinkering. Whatever the case may be, there is a good chance you have already made a trade, considered a trade or watched as someone in your league got the wheeling and dealing started.

No matter when you make your first trade, you absolutely, positively don't want to get ripped off. And that's where I come in to help, as I reprise the weekly trade value chart. Now, you'll have a handy guide to ensure you are maximizing value with every trade you make.

And that's definitely some first-rate intelligence, folks.

 

The Trade Chart

Trade Value for Top 100 Players
RankPlayerTeamPositionValue
1LeSean McCoyPhiladelphia EaglesRB30
2Adrian PetersonMinnesota VikingsRB30
3Jamaal CharlesKansas City ChiefsRB30
4Matt ForteChicago BearsRB30
5Eddie LacyGreen Bay PackersRB29
6Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans SaintsTE29
7Calvin JohnsonDetroit LionsWR29
8Peyton ManningDenver BroncosQB29
9Marshawn LynchSeattle SeahawksRB28
10Drew BreesNew Orleans SaintsQB28
11Aaron RodgersGreen Bay PackersQB28
12Demaryius ThomasDenver BroncosWR28
13Doug MartinTampa Bay BuccaneersWR27
14A.J. GreenCincinnati BengalsWR27
15Arian FosterHouston TexansRB27
16Zac StacySt. Louis RamsRB26
17Dez BryantDallas CowboysWR26
18Brandon MarshallChicago BearsWR26
19DeMarco MurrayDallas CowboysRB25
20Alfred MorrisWashingtonRB25
21Julio JonesAtlanta FalconsWR25
22Matt StaffordDetroit LionsQB24
23Cam NewtonCarolina PanthersQB24
24Le'Veon BellPittsburgh SteelersRB23
25Jordy NelsonGreen Bay PackersWR23
26Montee BallDenver BroncosRB23
27Randall CobbGreen Bay PackersWR22
28Antonio BrownPittsburgh SteelersWR22
29Julius ThomasDenver BroncosTE22
30Alshon JefferyChicago BearsWR22
31Andre EllingtonArizona CardinalsRB21
32Rob GronkowskiNew England PatriotsTE21
33Andre JohnsonHouston TexansWR20
34Vincent JacksonTampa Bay BuccaneersWR20
35Giovani BernardCincinnati BengalsRB20
36Victor CruzNew York GiantsWR19
37Reggie BushDetroit LionsRB19
38Andrew LuckIndianapolis ColtsQB19
39Toby GerhartJacksonville JaguarsRB18
40Keenan AllenSan Diego ChargersWR18
41Ryan MathewsSan Diego ChargersRB18
42Vernon DavisSan Francisco 49ersTE18
43C.J. SpillerBuffalo BillsRB17
44Larry FitzgeraldArizona CardinalsWR17
45Ray RiceBaltimore RavensRB16
46Rashad JenningsNew York GiantsRB16
47DeSean JacksonWashingtonWR16
48Pierre GarconWashingtonWR16
49Ben TateHouston TexansRB15
50Torrey SmithBaltimore RavensWR15
51Emmanuel SandersDenver BroncosWR15
52Trent RichardsonIndianapolis ColtsRB14
53Jeremy MaclinPhiladelphia EaglesWR14
54Michael FloydArizona CardinalsWR14
55Robert Griffin IIIWashingtonQB13
56Nick FolesPhiladelphia EaglesQB13
57Roddy WhiteAtlanta FalconsWR12
58Michael CrabtreeSan Francisco 49ersWR12
59T.Y. HiltonIndianapolis ColtsWR12
60Jason WittenDallas CowboysTE12
61Kendall WrightTennessee TitansWR12
62Frank GoreSan Francisco 49ersRB11
63Percy HarvinSeattle SeahawksWR11
64Joique BellDetroit LionsRB11
65Chris JohnsonNew York JetsRB10
66Cordarrelle PattersonMinnesota VikingsWR10
67Shane VereenNew England PatriotsRB10
68Marques ColstonNew Orleans SaintsWR10
69Eric DeckerNew York JetsWR9
70Wes WelkerDenver BroncosWR9
71Terrance WilliamsDallas CowboysWR9
72Jordan CameronCleveland BrownsTE9
73Matt RyanAtlanta FalconsQB8
74Golden TateDetroit LionsWR7
75Julian EdelmanNew England PatriotsWR7
76Reggie WayneIndianapolis ColtsWR7
77Bishop SankeyTennessee TitansRB6
78Stevan RidleyNew England PatriotsRB6
79Sammy WatkinsBuffalo BillsWR6
80Colin KaepernickSan Francisco 49ersQB6
81Mike WallaceMiami DolphinsWR5
82Cecil ShortsJacksonville JaguarsWR5
83Lamar MillerMiami DolphinsRB5
84Fred JacksonBuffalo BillsRB5
85Steven JacksonAtlanta FalconsRB5
86Anquan BoldinSan Francisco 49ersWR5
87Pierre ThomasNew Orleans SaintsRB4
88DeAndre HopkinsHouston TexansWR4
89Darren McFaddenOakland RaidersRB4
90Maurice Jones-DrewOakland RaidersRB4
91Darren SprolesPhiladelphia EaglesRB4
92DeAngelo WilliamsCarolina PanthersRB4
93Knowshon MorenoMiami DolphinsRB4
94Riley CooperPhiladelphia EaglesWR3
95Russell WilsonSeattle SeahawksQB3
96Danny WoodheadSan Diego ChargersRB2
97Greg OlsenCarolina PanthersTE2
98Jordan ReedWashingtonTE2
99Tom BradyNew England PatriotsQB2
100Tony RomoDallas CowboysQB2

 

Analysis

Tom Lynn/Associated Press

Just to be clear before we get into any analysis, the numbers you see above are meant to represent a player's value in a trade. So, if a player is worth a trade value of 30, whichever players you get back in the trade should, in theory, at least equal 30 or exceed it. 

It's also important to note that these values are currently being assigned based on my fantasy rankings heading into the season. Once the games begin, I'll consider very seriously a player's VORP (value over replacement player—more on that here) alongside his upside. But for now, these values are strictly about upside.

Okay, we got the boring stuff out of the way. Let's get to some theoretical trades based on the chart above.

Let's say you really need wide receiver help and you can dangle Jamaal Charles because you have awesome running back depth.

Based on the value chart, one trade you could make is to add Pierre Garcon (value of 16) and Michael Floyd (value of 14). Last year in standard-scoring leagues, Charles scored 295 fantasy points, making him the top running back. Combined, Garcon and Floyd scored 282 points. Floyd seems likely to see his value bump slightly as his role increases in the Arizona offense, while the addition of DeSean Jackson in Washington will slightly diminish Garcon's value, so their combined point total should be around the same this year.

In other words, the fantasy points in this trade add up, and you could justify making this deal. 

But c'mon—Charles is giving you a ton of value at one slot in your lineup, while to maximize the value of Garcon and Floyd you need to take up two slots. Maybe your wide receivers are so horrible and your other running backs are so strong that you can justify this deal. The value chart says you can find a way to be okay with making the move.

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 29:  Wide receiver Michael Floyd #15 of the Arizona Cardinals after a reception against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 29, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  The 49ers defeated
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

But personally, I think if you are giving up any of the top 25 or so players on this chart, you should be trying to get another player in that range.

Let's use the above example again to make some other more viable trades in exchange for Charles:

Don't you feel way better about these deals? Maybe you aren't getting two startable players each and every week like you'll get with Garcon and Floyd, but you are maximizing your value at one starting place by nabbing players like Megatron, Green or Bryant. 

And you can't tell me that you wouldn't make that Jones and Wallace deal in a second. Imagine the potential upside for you there.

The key takeaway here is this: You can use the trade value chart however you like, based on whatever your philosophy may be. The idea here isn't to suggest that the numbers on this chart represent absolute values, but rather give you a starting point when trying to determine the value you are getting back in a potential move. 

For example, I'd generally recommend you always try to exceed the listed values when making a trade. If you are dealing Peyton Manning (value of 29) and need help at running back, see if you can't snag Giovani Bernard (20) and Ben Tate (15), for example.

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 24:  Running back Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals rushes the football against the Arizona Cardinals during the preseason NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Bengal
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Likewise, I'd generally recommend you don't dip below the value of your players represented on the chart. If you are stacked at wide receiver and really want that elite tight end, don't deal Randall Cobb and Torrey Smith for Jimmy Graham. Even though Graham maximizes the value at one position, you are giving up way too much to get him.

Yes, Graham had 211 fantasy points last year, better than all but three receivers (Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas, Megatron). But Cobb had 71 points in six weeks of action, which equates to 189 points in a 16-game campaign (and would have been good for eighth last year among wide receivers, for what that's worth). Add in Smith's 132 points, and the pair totaled 321 fantasy points.

It's really hard to justify making a move for Graham if you are giving up that level of potential output. 

Let's single out a few players now. Wes Welker, for starters, is worth very little at the moment given his four-game suspension, so now might be a great time to go out and get him if you don't mind waiting for him to be eligible to play. 

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 23:  Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos catches a pass for a 67 yard touchdown in front of cornerback A.J. Bouye #34 of the Houston Texans during a preseason game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 2
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

On the other hand, now is either the best or worst time to deal Emmanuel Sanders. In one sense, his value in a trade has never been higher in his career. With Welker out, Sanders is clearly the third option in the passing attack behind Demaryius and Julius Thomas. He could be set to explode in the first four weeks.

In another sense, we actually have no real grasp on his value yet. He might not take advantage of this opportunity. He might not ever have the naturally defined role that Welker has or Eric Decker had before he bolted to the New York Jets. You could be sitting on the shiniest piece of fool's gold in fantasy football and could get a huge return for a potential bust (or at least a player whose value hasn't actually increased).

Andy Behrens of Yahoo Sports leans toward this argument:

I tend to side with the first argument—Manning and this offense made Knowshon Moreno an RB1 last year, for heaven's sake—so if you can get Sanders on the cheap, do it, do it, do it! Michael Fabiano of NFL.com tends to agree with me:

And in case you were wavering, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com should soothe you with the following tweet:

Of course, if a Welker owner in your league is pretty weak at wide receiver, now might be the perfect time to dangle Sanders in his face and demand a king's ransom in return. 

A Reggie Bush or Andre Ellington could be coming back your way if you play your cards right.

The opposite of Sanders' situation during the preseason is the case of Bishop Sankey. After failing to really seize the starting gig in Tennessee, it's hard to forecast much value for the rookie running back. Yes, his value seems likely to go up given the fact that Shonn Greene is a pretty mediocre running back and Sankey will get his shot to earn the starting gig.

But until we see that happen, well, Sankey's value is pretty low. If you can afford to sit on him, you can get Sankey at a really reasonable price right now, at least in my opinion.

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins looks on during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl between the Baylor Bears and the UCF Knights at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Pho
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

As you can see, however, a poor preseason hasn't caused me to completely dump gasoline all over the value of Robert Griffin III. Things with Jay Gruden may have been rocky thus far, but with Garcon, Jackson and Jordan Reed catching passes, Alfred Morris pounding the rock and what appears to be a strong relationship already between Gruden and RG3, he could be in line for a really big year. 

Consider the following, from Les Carpenter of Bleacher Report:

In turn, Gruden has been authentic in his assessments of Griffin’s transition to a pocket passer. He notes publicly his quarterback’s successes in mastering new fundamentals while simultaneously grasping a different offense. And he freely acknowledges the things Griffin does that frustrate him, like an occasional insistence on trying to make every play in training camp a touchdown or challenging tacklers rather than avoiding contact.

Nothing is hidden. Everything is clear.

'I think (RG3) feels a fresh start with a new staff,' backup quarterback Kirk Cousins had said a few days before. 'He likes this staff.'

On the couch, Griffin nods.

'To have them is a blessing,' he says.

His value is probably a bit lower than even I have it, but I think he's a player who could have a really big year. No, he probably won't be encouraged to run for 815 yards and seven touchdowns like he did in his rookie season, but his passing numbers could also be career highs this year.

I'm not getting off the RG3 bandwagon just yet. If his owner in your league has buyer's remorse after drafting him, however, you might be able to get him on the cheap. It's something worth considering. 

 

Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy questions and make some corny jokes, too. It's more fun than a trip to the Kentucky Derby with Wes Welker.

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