For some leagues, the trade deadline is either this week or will arrive soon. It’s time to start doing that research, folks, as any moves now could be the difference between a playoff team and another bitter end to your fantasy season.
How much value does your star running back actually hold? What kind of deals could you make for that injured tight end that keeps playing but you are worried about? What can that up-and-coming quarterback get you in a trade?
Look no further than my weekly trade value chart for those answers.
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 scores 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). Games missed due to injury or suspension count against a player’s VORP.
Any player not listed has a trade value of one. Remember, this is only a guide—your team needs and areas of strength should always determine any potential trades.
|1||1||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||10.9||30|
|5||2||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||7.7||28|
|23||3||Matt Stafford||Detroit Lions||4.0||23|
|30||4||Cam Newton||Carolina Panthers||1.2||21|
|37||5||Andrew Luck||Indianapolis Colts||2.1||18|
|38||6||Tony Romo||Dallas Cowboys||1.5||18|
|39||7||Philip Rivers||San Diego Chargers||2.2||18|
|52||8||Russell Wilson||Seattle Seahawks||0.7||14|
|53||9||Robert Griffin III||Washington||0||14|
|54||10||Tom Brady||New England Patriots||-2.1||10|
|55||11||Nick Foles||Philadelphia Eagles||-3.9||10|
|79||12||Andy Dalton||Cincinnati Bengals||-0.2||6|
|81||13||Matt Ryan||Atlanta Falcons||0||5|
|82||14||Colin Kaepernick||San Francisco 49ers||-2.2||5|
|95||15||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers||0.2||2|
|99||16||Alex Smith||Kansas City Chiefs||-1.9||2|
The top seven quarterbacks in the rankings are essentially locked at this point, and it’s hard to see any of those players losing much value except for one—Philip Rivers.
After scoring 22 or more fantasy points in three of the first four weeks this season, Rivers hasn’t scored more than 18 points since and has reached the 18-point mark just twice. Since Week 5, he has 73 fantasy points, hardly shabby but less than the 90 Andrew Luck has posted and the 108 from Romo (albeit in one extra game).
So let’s say you picked up a player like Nick Foles on waivers—who has seen his trade value take a major bump in recent weeks given the 10 touchdowns he’s thrown in his past two games, and the fact that he’s 17th in fantasy points among quarterbacks despite starting just four games—and want to move Rivers for help at other positions.
What types of deals could you expect to make?
- Danny Woodhead and Cecil Shorts
- C.J. Spiller and Martellus Bennett
- Andre Ellington and Keenan Allen
- Larry Fitzgerald and Chris Ivory
- Jason Witten and Harry Douglas
Hey, look who cracks the trade value chart this week—it’s Case Keenum! With 60 fantasy points in his three starts, he’s earned a place in the top 100.
And no, I still don’t know exactly where Tom Brady belongs. I believe he’ll be better than he has been thus far, but I also don’t trust him this week against the Carolina Panthers, so I still don’t think his trade value is that high. Either buy him low or hold onto him, but if you are actively shopping him, you won’t get much in return.
|2||1||Jamaal Charles||Kansas City Chiefs||8.7||29|
|3||2||Adrian Peterson||Minnesota Vikings||8.4||29|
|4||3||Matt Forte||Chicago Bears||7.6||29|
|8||4||Marshawn Lynch||Seattle Seahawks||6.8||27|
|9||5||LeSean McCoy||Philadelphia Eagles||6.2||27|
|10||6||Knowshon Moreno||Denver Broncos||6.8||27|
|14||7||Frank Gore||San Francisco 49ers||5.3||25|
|15||8||Reggie Bush||Detroit Lions||4.8||25|
|17||10||Eddie Lacy||Green Bay Packers||2.8||25|
|25||11||Chris Johnson||Tennessee Titans||3.1||22|
|26||12||Stevan Ridley||New England Patriots||1.6||22|
|27||13||DeMarco Murray||Dallas Cowboys||1.3||22|
|31||14||Zac Stacy||St. Louis Rams||0.7||20|
|33||15||Giovani Bernard||Cincinnati Bengals||2.4||20|
|34||16||Le’Veon Bell||Pittsburgh Steelers||0.2||20|
|48||17||Fred Jackson||Buffalo Bills||3.2||15|
|49||18||Andre Brown||New York Giants||-5.7||15|
|50||19||Danny Woodhead||San Diego Chargers||1.2||15|
|51||20||Ben Tate||Houston Texans||-2.5||15|
|65||21||C.J. Spiller||Buffalo Bills||-1.9||10|
|68||22||Ray Rice||Baltimore Ravens||-1.9||10|
|69||23||Pierre Thomas||New Orleans Saints||1.2||9|
|70||24||Darren Sproles||New Orleans Saints||0.2||9|
|71||25||DeAngelo Williams||Carolina Panthers||0.6||9|
|72||26||Ryan Mathews||San Diego Chargers||0.4||9|
|76||27||Andre Ellington||Arizona Cardinals||0.3||6|
|77||28||Maurice Jones-Drew||Jacksonville Jaguars||0||6|
|78||29||Chris Ivory||New York Jets||-3.3||6|
|91||30||Rashad Jennings||Oakland Raiders||-1.8||3|
|92||31||Donald Brown||Indianapolis Colts||-2.6||3|
|97||32||Lamar Miller||Miami Dolphins||-1.5||2|
|98||33||Darren McFadden||Oakland Raiders||-0.6||2|
|100||34||Trent Richardson||Indianapolis Colts||-1.6||2|
Running Back Notes
As you can see, there is a definitive group at RB1 in 10-team leagues. Those players are extremely valuable. Then, in the RB2 group there are about six players who I think have a lot of value and have been consistent performers for owners.
After that, well, good luck.
Fred Jackson’s value is hurt by C.J. Spiller getting touches. Spiller’s value is hurt by his injury issues. Andre Brown has great upside but has been plagued by fumble and injury issues in the past. Danny Woodhead has limited value in a timeshare with Ryan Mathews. Ben Tate is the lead dog now but has four broken ribs.
Ray Rice is obviously battling through injuries. It’s always tough to trust New Orleans and Carolina running backs. Andre Ellington keeps inexplicably losing snaps to the plodding Rashard Mendenhall. Maurice Jones-Drew has just kind of stunk this year. Players like Rashad Jennings, Chris Ivory and Donald Brown have value but aren’t definitively the lead backs just yet.
It’s why so many top-end running backs have very high value, and it’s why you really shouldn’t trade one unless you have three or four top-15 options and are absolutely desperate for help at other positions.
This has been your weekly update on the sad state of the running back position in fantasy football. Thanks for reading!
|6||1||Calvin Johnson||Detroit Lions||7.6||28|
|11||2||Demaryius Thomas||Denver Broncos||6.6||26|
|12||3||Brandon Marshall||Chicago Bears||6.1||26|
|13||4||A.J. Green||Cincinnati Bengals||5.7||26|
|18||5||DeSean Jackson||Philadelphia Eagles||5.3||24|
|19||6||Andre Johnson||Houston Texans||4.4||24|
|20||7||Dez Bryant||Dallas Cowboys||4.1||24|
|21||8||Wes Welker||Denver Broncos||4.0||24|
|22||9||Josh Gordon||Cleveland Browns||1.3||24|
|29||10||Jordy Nelson||Green Bay Packers||5.2||21|
|32||11||T.Y. Hilton||Indianapolis Colts||2.7||20|
|40||12||Alshon Jeffery||Chicago Bears||3.1||17|
|41||13||Antonio Brown||Pittsburgh Steelers||3.0||17|
|43||15||Victor Cruz||New York Giants||2.3||17|
|44||16||Vincent Jackson||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1.7||17|
|45||17||Eric Decker||Denver Broncos||1.7||17|
|46||18||Riley Cooper||Philadelphia Eagles||1.7||17|
|47||19||Torrey Smith||Baltimore Ravens||1.6||17|
|58||20||Larry Fitzgerald||Arizona Cardinals||0.4||12|
|59||21||Denarius Moore||Oakland Raiders||0.9||12|
|60||22||Keenan Allen||San Diego Chargers||0.9||12|
|61||23||Marques Colston||New Orleans Saints||-1.7||11|
|62||24||Danny Amendola||New England Patriots||-3.9||11|
|63||25||Terrance Williams||Dallas Cowboys||0||11|
|64||26||Jarrett Boykin||Green Bay Packers||-3.4||11|
|80||27||Harry Douglas||Atlanta Falcons||-1.1||5|
|84||28||Percy Harvin||Seattle Seahawks||-7.7||4|
|85||29||Marvin Jones||Cincinnati Bengals||0.8||4|
|86||30||Golden Tate||Seattle Seahawks||0.1||4|
|87||31||James Jones||Green Bay Packers||-2.4||4|
|89||32||Aaron Dobson||New England Patriots||-0.2||3|
|90||33||Anquan Boldin||San Francisco 49ers||-0.4||3|
|91||34||Cecil Shorts||Jacksonville Jaguars||-0.4||3|
Wide Receiver Notes
Of non-quarterbacks, only Jamaal Charles (16.3) and Adrian Peterson (16.0) are averaging more fantasy points per week than Calvin Johnson’s 15.3. Megatron has scored an astronomical 83 fantasy points in the past three weeks, one point less than what Torrey Smith has scored all season.
Here’s another sobering stat. A.J. Green has an astonishing 119 targets this year. The only other player in the NFL with more than 100 is Vincent Jackson at 102 (which is one reason why Jackson is now relegated to the land of WR2 but still has a ton of upside).
Andre Johnson‘s immediate rapport with Case Keenum under center (he has a gaudy 63 fantasy points in his last three games) returns him squarely to the WR1 crowd, while Dez Bryant slips a bit down the value chart due to the Dallas Cowboys apparently forgetting how to properly utilize him the past two weeks.
The most intriguing player near the top of the rankings is Jordy Nelson. With Seneca Wallace and then Scott Tolzien under center last week, Nelson caught just six passes for 56 yards, his second straight week without reaching double-digit fantasy points.
So, let’s say you don’t trust Nelson without Rodgers. What type of players can you expect to get for him?
- Zac Stacy
- Andrew Luck and Aaron Dobson
- Russell Wilson and Charles Clay
- Nick Foles and Marques Colston
- Julius Thomas
- Jordan Cameron and Lamar Miller
If you play the matchups correctly, there are a lot more promising options at wide receiver than running back (hence 10 running backs in the top 17 players on the value chart and just four wide receivers).
|7||1||Jimmy Graham||New Orleans Saints||8.8||28|
|24||2||Rob Gronkowski||New England Patriots||-2.6||23|
|28||3||Julius Thomas||Denver Broncos||5.4||21|
|35||4||Jordan Cameron||Cleveland Browns||3.9||19|
|36||5||Vernon Davis||San Francisco 49ers||3.1||19|
|54||6||Tony Gonzalez||Atlanta Falcons||1.5||13|
|55||7||Antonio Gates||San Diego Chargers||1.1||13|
|56||8||Jason Witten||Dallas Cowboys||1.0||13|
|74||10||Martellus Bennett||Chicago Bears||0.5||7|
|75||11||Charles Clay||Miami Dolphins||0.4||7|
|96||12||Greg Olsen||Carolina Panthers||0||2|
Tight End Notes
Despite being injured, Jimmy Graham continues to produce. Graham had just five receptions for 59 yards last week, a down week by his standards, but his down week is equivalent to Coby Fleener’s fantasy production (5.6 fantasy points) per game.
So yeah, he’s still insanely valuable.
But let’s say you aren’t convinced and want to sell him high, since you have a good backup tight end and want to solidify your roster after being hurt by injuries. What could you get for him in a trade?
- Matt Stafford and Golden Tate
- Frank Gore and Anquan Boldin
- Cam Newton and Maurice Jones-Drew
- Fred Jackson and Denarius Moore
- Drew Brees
The tight end rankings haven’t changed much this year, but Rob Gronkowski remains the great unknown. It appears likely he’ll be as valuable as Graham—he has 31 total points in two of his three games, though he did lay an egg against the Miami Dolphins with just two fantasy points—but we still only have three games to go by, and Brady hasn’t been himself this year.
|73||1||Kansas City Chiefs||8.1||8|
|88||4||San Francisco 49ers||2.5||3|
Defense/Special Team Notes
The only major change here is that the Carolina Panthers are now the second-most valuable fantasy defense. That will happen after scoring double-digit fantasy points in seven straight games, making this Panthers defense the hottest in all of football.
Interestingly enough, three of these four defenses are really tough starts this week, as the Kansas City Chiefs face the Denver Broncos, the Panthers take on the New England Patriots, and the San Francisco 49ers travel to play the New Orleans Saints.
Avoid the Chiefs and Niners at all costs. You could start the Panthers, but it’s risky. Any way you look at it, though, there are four clear elite defenses for fantasy owners this season.
Hit me up on Twitter—I’ll answer your fantasy lineup questions, tweet random fantasy musings and wonder how the New Orleans Saints could earn almost as many first downs (40) on Sunday night as the Dallas Cowboys ran plays (43).