Every year around this time, the trade value rankings need to be recalibrated. For the first half of the season, after all, trade value is still tied heavily to projection and expectations.
But the deeper you get in a season, the more you have to heavily weigh a player's production, independent of expectation. So in an effort to determine a player's true and accurate ability, we have calculated the value over replacement player (VORP) for fantasy's top 100 players on Week 10's trade chart. Those numbers have been included next to a player's name to show you just how much value a given player is adding to your team.
Yes, we're still projecting value. VORP won't be the only consideration here. But it will give us a better idea of which players have been valuable while also giving you a tool to compare value between positions.
Is that running back really head and shoulders above the pack? Have you perhaps been devaluing a tight end or two because the position in general is lackluster this season? Find out below.
Trade Value: 15
1. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams (15.8 VORP)
Since Todd Gurley is in a tier by himself pretty much every week and there isn't much else to say about how amazing he is, this space will be used to break down VORP just a bit further.
Gurley, for instance, gives his fantasy owners an additional 15.8 fantasy points per week compared to the top replacement player at running back. That is an outrageous number, hence his outrageous trade value.
But how was that determined?
In essence, VORP has been calculated on this chart keeping a 10-team standard league in mind. In such a league, there will be 10 quarterbacks, 20 running backs, 20 wide receivers, 10 tight ends and 10 flex players who are started each week.
Those flex players are generally either running backs or wide receivers, so for the purpose of simplification, we've assumed that five additional running backs and five additional wide receivers are being started, bringing the total for each position up to 25 starters per week.
So the top replacement player—aka the best player who should not be started in a given week (though bye weeks will obviously play a practical role in those decisions)—is the No. 11 quarterback, the No. 11 tight end, the No. 26 running back and the No. 26 wideout. The idea is to determine how much value you are gaining, or losing, by starting a specific player compared to the top replacement player.
You won't find defenses and kickers here—despite having a VORP of their own to consider, they are generally far more unpredictable on a weekly basis, leaving them with fluctuating values. Plus, there hasn't been a defense or kicker to have truly separated themselves from the pack this season, so none cracked the top 100.
Gurley's number is astronomical. Frankly, you shouldn't entertain the notion of dealing him. But in case you do, he's been given an actual value, albeit one that should remind you to never trade him.
Trade Value: 11
2. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints (12)
3. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (12.3)
Le'Veon Bell isn't going to play any kind of major role for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season. That's a hunch, not any kind of reporting or inside scoop, but it feels like his 2018 season is a wash. He doesn't make this list. Even if he does end his holdout, it's possible he's burned enough bridges in Pittsburgh that he will be relegated to a backup role behind Conner, who continues to thrive in Bell's absence.
"We haven't spent a lot of time focused on it because it's not within our control," head coach Mike Tomlin recently said of Bell's holdout, per Dianna Russini of ESPN.com. "Those decisions are Le'Veon's. We need volunteers, not hostages."
And then there was this, from Mark Kaboly of The Athletic:
"A source confirmed to The Athletic that Bell is now contemplating whether or not he will show up by the Nov. 13 franchise tag deadline based on newly learned information from the collective bargaining agreement that would allow him to be deemed as a third-year franchise player in 2019 rather than to revert to the second year, even if he doesn't report."
In other words, Bell may well sit out the entire 2018 season.
Conner's fantasy value has been held hostage by Bell all season long. But it's time to detach that value from this lingering holdout. He's been too good to see his role reduced significantly if Bell returns and should remain one of fantasy's top players.
Trade Value: 10
4. Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (10.7)
5. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Rams (9.9)
6. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants (9.2)
Three running backs who have been about as consistent as it comes, albeit without quite the elite ceiling offered by players like Gurley, Alvin Kamara and Conner on a weekly basis. Still, you should get back a king's ransom if you consider trading any of them (pro tip: don't consider trading any of them).
Trade Value: 9
7. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (7.2)
8. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs (7)
9. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings (6.3)
10. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans (6)
Yes, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce belong this high on the list. Even at a position as deep as quarterback, Mahomes offers a significant upgrade over the pack. And even at a position that generally offers little overall production, Kelce continues to provide major numbers, giving him excellent value.
Sure, there are players below Kelce who average more points per week than he does. But think of it this way: The top wide receiver, Adam Thielen, averages 15.2 fantasy points per week, while the top replacement tight end, David Njoku, averages 5.2. Put them together and it equals 20.4 points.
Meanwhile, the top tight end, Kelce, averages 12.2 fantasy points per week, while the top replacement wide receiver, Kenny Golladay, averages 8.9. Put them together and it equals 21.3. When you look at Kelce from that perspective, it isn't hard to see why he is one of the 10 most valuable players in fantasy.
Trade Value: 8
11. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (5.7)
12. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers (5.5)
13. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys (5.1)
14. James White, RB, New England Patriots (6.2)
15. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers (5.5)
16. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints (5.4)
17. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (5.1)
18. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (5.1)
19. Eric Ebron, TE, Indianapolis Colts (5)
While Kelce is by far and away the most valuable tight end, Zach Ertz and Eric Ebron slide into the conversation as two of the 20 most valuable players in fantasy this season. That partly stems from the fact that the position has been so weak and partly stems from Ertz's and Ebron's brilliance this year.
Most people don't value tight ends that highly. You can probably get Ertz and Ebron for less than their market values for that reason.
For instance, the fantasy chart says a fair trade for Ertz would be Brandin Cooks and Carson Wentz. That's his worth, at least according to this chart. But you almost assuredly could get him for less than that, making him the sort of player you should be targeting down the stretch.
Trade Value: 7
20. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons (4.9)
21. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers (4.7)
22. O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4.5)
23. Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington (3.9)
24. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers (3.9)
25. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3.7)
26. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons (3.4)
27. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants (3.0)
28. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (-1.6)
If it weren't for Mahomes, we might be talking more about the monster season Matt Ryan is having for fantasy players. His 2,685 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and three interceptions are superb numbers, and his two rushing touchdowns have been the cherry on top of an already strong set of stats.
Ryan has benefitted slightly from a few huge games, but he's still managed 19 or more fantasy points in standard league in six of his eight games this season. It's likely Ryan's fantasy owner drafted him as a QB2 this year and will either be willing to move on from Ryan or the other quarterback they have on the roster.
Target that team if you need an upgrade at quarterback.
Trade Value: 6
29. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.9)
30. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns (-1.7)
31. Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots (-1.5)
32. Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons (3.0)
33. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings (-5.7)
34. Trey Burton, TE, Chicago Bears (3.2)
35. DeSean Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2.9)
36. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos (2.7)
37. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (2.6)
38. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (2.6)
39. Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (2.6)
40. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals (2.5)
41. Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams (2.4)
42. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams (1.2)
This is the first tier where you will start to really notice VORP numbers that appear to be out of place. Most of those numbers have to do with either a player's return from injury or players who didn't open the season as starters (Michel, Chubb) but have since assumed that role.
Leonard Fournette's return will be fascinating, as the Jacksonville Jaguars can ease him into starting duties with T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde also available. His comeback might temporarily sink the value of all three players, though Fournette should regain RB2 status, at the very least.
Dalvin Cook looked good in his return, meanwhile, rushing 10 times for 89 yards. He's always had the talent to be one of the top running backs in fantasy and should have a nice bounce back down the stretch. So in the cases of players like Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, Fournette and Cook, projection continues to outweigh production this year given each player's upside and extenuating circumstances.
Trade Value: 5
43. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos (2.0)
44. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams (1.2)
45. Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams (1.9)
46. Golden Tate, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (1.7)
47. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots (-3.3)
48. Josh Gordon, WR, New England Patriots (-2.3)
49. Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants (-1.8)
50. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons (2.4)
This is a weird tier that combines steady players (Cooper Kupp, Cooks, Golden Tate and Julian Edelman), high-upside players who haven't quite produced to that level because of injuries or adjusting to new offenses (Evan Engram and Josh Gordon) and two rookies are exceeding expectations this season (Phillip Lindsay and Calvin Ridley).
It's a weird tier. Let's leave it at that.
Trade Value: 4
51. Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints (-4.7)
52. Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams (1.7)
53. Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears (1.7)
54. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts (1.6)
55. Jimmy Graham, TE, Green Bay Packers (1.6)
56. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers (1.5)
57. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (1.3)
58. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers (1.2)
59. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (3.9)
60. Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears (1.1)
61. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings (0.9)
62. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts (-1.5)
The only reason A.J. Green is this low is because of an injury that appears likely to keep him out for at least two weeks. Losing those games has to be factored into his value, though when healthy, he resides in the upper echelon of fantasy wideouts.
Trade Value: 3
63. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks (1.2)
64. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears (0.9)
65. Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore Ravens (0.5)
66. Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins (0.5)
67. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (0.4)
66. Marvin Jones Jr., WR, Detroit Lions (0.5)
69. Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (0.5)
70. John Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens (0.5)
71. Jared Cook, TE, Oakland Raiders (3.2)
72. Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons (1.1)
73. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots (0.2)
74. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions (0)
75. Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts (-0.3)
76. Isaiah Crowell, RB, New York Jets (1.3)
It's hard to trust Isaiah Crowell. In standard leagues, he's posted three weeks with 17 or more fantasy points and six weeks with a maximum of six points. As you might expect, Crowell basically performs like an RB1 when he scores a touchdown and is basically a bench player when he doesn't.
That wouldn't be a problem if Crowell's touchdowns didn't seem to come in bunches. But his five touchdowns came in three games, and two of them have come on runs of 60 yards or more.
It's one thing to start a touchdown vulture who repeatedly sees usage near the goal line. It's another to be held hostage by a player who scores 40 percent of his touchdowns on long runs. If Crowell offered more production in terms of yardage, or simply scored more touchdowns, he would be far more valuable.
But he exists in a strange and inconsistent limbo and will hurt your team in more weeks than he helps it.
Trade Value: 2
77. Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions (0)
78. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans (0)
79. Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (-5.0)
80. David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns (0)
81. Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans (-0.2)
82. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (0.2)
83. Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco 49ers (-0.3)
84. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers (-2.7)
85. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks (-0.5)
86. Dion Lewis, RB, Tennessee Titans (-0.3)
87. Tyrell Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (0.7)
88. Jordan Reed, TE, Washington (-0.4)
89. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (3.0)
90. Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants (-0.4)
91. Sammy Watkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (-0.6)
92. Latavius Murray, RB, Minnesota Vikings (0.7)
93. Mike Williams, WR, San Diego Chargers (-0.7)
94. Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings (-0.8)
95. Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns (-0.9)
96. Devin Funchess, WR, Detroit Lions (-1.1)
97. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.1)
98. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Houston Texans (-1.6)
99. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys (-3.1)
100. Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (-1.3)
And now, a letter to Tom Brady, who didn't make this chart but should be addressed:
Goodbye, Tom. It's hard to imagine that you are not one of the 100 most valuable players in fantasy football, but here we are. In standard-scoring leagues, you have offered just four games of 20 or more fantasy points in nine weeks.
Sure, you're seventh in passing yards (2,494), though some of the players you are ahead of have already had their bye weeks. Sure, you're eighth in passing touchdowns (17), but again, a few quarterbacks behind you have had their byes.
The truth is, you're nothing more than a mid-tier QB2 at this point. Your pedigree suggests that you could explode at any moment. The past nine games suggest you won't. You will still be amazing in real-life football. But in fantasy football, well, you are middle-of-the-road.