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Fantasy Football Week 2: Updated Trade Value for Top 100 Players – Bleacher Report

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook carries the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

Football is back and, baby, it feels so good. Week 1 of the NFL fantasy season provided surprises, huge performances and likely more than a few owners itching to make some adjustments via trade, which means it’s time for the second edition of the trade value chart.

Below, we’ll go through each value tier and break down the most intriguing storylines and players from each tier. And yes, there will be plenty of talk about rookie running backs. They stole the show in Week 1.

Remember: Any player not listed below has a trade value of one. And as always, may the fantasy points be with you.

        

Trade Value: 11

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15:  Running back Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tosses the ball forward after gaining a first down against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on J

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

1. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

3. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

I’m guessing you have four specific questions here, so let me answer them below.

First, no, I’m not worried about Bell’s poor Week 1 performance, or the fact that his 47 yards from scrimmage were the lowest he’s ever totaled in an NFL game. Nobody in fantasy football has a higher upside than Bell, and the fact that he hasn’t ever had a stinker like this before is a reminder of how ridiculous he’s been in his career thus far.

Second, yes, it sure looks like Elliott is going to play the entire year and his suspension—if he’s forced to serve it—will come next season. Which means he belongs in the elite tier of fantasy performers.

Third, yes, McCoy belongs in this top tier. Why?

As Mike Rodak of ESPN.com wrote: “Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said Monday he will ‘let it all work itself out’ as far as LeSean McCoy’s touches this season. McCoy had 27 touches in Sunday’s opener, but Dennison said he wasn’t counting on the sidelines. ‘If I give him the ball 50 times, he’ll make 50 plays.'” 

It sure sounds like the Bills are going to give McCoy a huge workload this year, and why not? It’s not as though the team has a spoil of riches when it comes to playmakers on offense. McCoy could be about to put together a monster campaign.

And finally, yes, David Johnson’s injury cost him his spot atop the trade value chart. In fact, it pushed him right off of it entirely. With the Cardinals placing him on injured reserve, he’s facing up to three months on the sidelines. He’s not worth dropping just yet, as he could potentially return sooner than that, but for the moment, he has zero trade value.

              

Trade Value: 10

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 10:  Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

David Banks/Getty Images

4. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

5. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

6. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

7. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants 

This is the exact same tier as last week and represents the elite talents at the wideout position. The only difference between this tier and the one to follow is the virtual guarantee for elite production you’ll get from these four players. There are very few, if any, question marks with these players, even if Jones had a slow start to the season and Beckham missed Week 1 due to injury.

Jones will rebound and Beckham will be excellent, once again, as soon as he’s healthy. Given that he was a game-time decision on Sunday night, it’s hard to imagine him missing this week’s contest.

               

Trade Value: 9

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 10:  Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears warms up prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field on September 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

8. DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans

9. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

10. Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

11. Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins

12. Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears

With the exception of McCoy moving up to the elite tier, this is the same group as last week as well. While Freeman and Murray failed to reach double-digit points in Week 1, don’t overreact—this group should provide fantasy owners with consistent production, much as they largely did last year.

                 

Trade Value: 8

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 10:  Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Tim Warner/Getty Images

13. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

14. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers

15. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

16. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

17. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Let’s talk about Mr. Fournette, who has already seen a major spike in his trade value after rushing 26 times for 100 yards and a score while adding three receptions for 24 yards. That was a pretty clear indicator that the Jaguars will make Fournette the focal point of their offense this year.

Plus, Allen Robinson has been lost for the season after tearing his ACL, leaving the Jaguars without their best weapon in the passing game. So the Jaguars are going to run the ball quite a bit this season, and Fournette will lead that charge. By the end of the season, he could find himself in the top tier of the trade value chart, though it’s a bit early to value the rookie that highly. 

                  

Trade Value: 7

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 07:  Kareem Hunt #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs stiff arms Duron Harmon #30 of the New England Patriots as he runs for a 4-yard rushing touchdown during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sept

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

18. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

19. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

20. Brandin Cooks, WR, New England Patriots

21. Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

22. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

23. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

24. Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans

25. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

26. Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers

27. Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

28. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Hunt and Cook certainly opened their careers with a bang.

The former was the standout performer on the week, accumulating 256 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. It’s a pretty safe bet that he won’t match that production again, but he’s clearly Kansas City’s feature back.

Hunt was elusive and slippery in the open field and physical between the tackles, bouncing off defenders. It’s the perfect skill set for Andy Reid’s offense, a master of getting his running backs in space with unique running plays, swing routes and screen passes. Jamaal Charles had his best NFL season under Reid in 2013, while Brian Westbrook thrived in his system. Hunt looks like a candidate to do the same.

Cook, meanwhile, completely overshadowed the man he replaced in Minnesota on Monday night, Adrian Peterson. While Peterson barely saw the field, Cook rushed 22 times for 127 yards and added three receptions for 10 yards. 

Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, meanwhile, combined for five carries. 

Cook is the man in Minny now. He’s firmly in the RB2 conversation for the rest of the year with RB1 upside. The only thing keeping him and Hunt outside the top-25 on the trade value chart is that, as rookies, we don’t know just yet how consistently they’ll produce, and neither has the overall talent—and thus, the same long-term upside—that Fournette boasts.

Both may ultimately surpass Fournette, but for now, we can only project their future value. Fournette seems like the safer projection than Hunt and Cook at the moment, but not by much.

                

Trade Value: 6

SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers warms up during pregame warm ups prior to playing the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

29. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

30. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

31. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

32. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos

33. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

34. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers

35. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

36. Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders

37. Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers

38. Terrelle Pryor, WR, Washington

39. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

McCaffrey is going to have a nice season, but he doesn’t have the upside of Fournette, Hunt and Cook due to the presence of Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton, who both will likely vulture touchdowns away from McCaffrey this season.

McCaffrey had 18 touches, 85 yards from scrimmage and played in 70 percent of the snaps in Week 1, per David Newton of ESPN.com. But Ron Rivera made it pretty clear that the team is going to be cautious about not overworking their rookie playmaker this season.

“It’s like getting that new toy at Christmas,” he told reporters, per Newton. “You open up the box and there’s what you’d hoped for. But you also have to be wise and smart about when you play with it and when you don’t, because you don’t want to wear the batteries out. You don’t want to break it. What you want to do is utilize it and have fun with it.”

While Fournette, West and Cook look like bell cows for their respective teams, McCaffrey may be utilized in a more situational manner. He’s still the running back you want in Carolina, and his upside is still very high given the threat he poses in the pass game, but he doesn’t have quite the elite upside of the other rookie running backs who made a splash in Week 1.

               

Trade Value: 5

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10:   T.Y. Hilton #13 of the Indianapolis Colts runs towards  Trumaine Johnson #22 of the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of a game  at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Ph

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

40. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

41. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

42. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

43. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

44. Jordan Reed, TE, Washington

45. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders

46. Ty Montgomery, RB, Green Bay Packers

47. C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos

Hilton gets a pretty major demotion on the trade value chart this week, and the reason can be summed up by Andrew Luck‘s uncertain future.

In Week 1, with Scott Tolzien and Jacoby Brissett at the helm, Hilton managed just three receptions for 57 yards on seven total targets. Until there is clarity on Luck’s return, Hilton’s value will suffer. Tolzien simply isn’t good, and while Brissett is likely an upgrade, he’s been with the organization for less than two weeks.

Hilton is talented enough to still be in the low-end WR2 conversation, and he’s absolutely a buy-low candidate right now, but until Luck returns, Hilton’s overall value has to be downgraded.

                

Trade Value: 4

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 07:  Brandon Bolden #38 of the New England Patriots celebrates with Mike Gillislee #35 after Gillislee scored a third quarter touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on September 7, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachuset

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

48. Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns

49. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

50. Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

51. Sammy Watkins, WR, Los Angeles Rams

52. Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions

53. Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks 

54. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

55. Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins

56. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos

57. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

58. Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts

59. Mike Gillislee, RB, New England Patriots

Let’s talk about Mr. Gillislee, who is probably going to divide opinion.

On the one hand, he scored three touchdowns and led the team’s backfield in touches with 15. On the other hand, those 15 touches—all runs—netted him just 45 yards. Touchdown production is famously fickle, albeit a bit less so for running backs than tight ends or wide receivers, since a team’s feature back or short-yardage back often sees the majority of a team’s carries by the goal line.

So, is Gillislee going to be completely reliant on touchdowns for his fantasy value this year, as New England rotates touches among multiple running backs and utilizes Gillislee in a specific and limited role? Or will he be the team’s version of LeGarrette Blount this season, posting huge numbers like Blount’s 1,161 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns from a year ago?

My inclination is to say somewhere in between. I think Gillislee is bound for double-digit scores this year based on Week 1 alone, and his 15 carries indicate that he should see regular work as the team’s primary between-the-tackles runner. 

But I’m also not sure he has Blount’s upside or his dynamic, pounding running style. Plus, expecting anyone to score 18 touchdowns in a season is a bit too earnest for my tastes. And the Patriots still have Dion Lewis, a talented runner who should see more touches than the two he got in Week 1. And with James White already siphoning away touches from Gillislee, his upside seems capped.

So Gillislee is absolutely a solid flex option for your team, and he has definite RB2 upside. But I want to see more before I start believing he can come anywhere close to replicating Blount’s epic 2016.

                

Trade Value: 3

NASHVILLE, TN- SEPTEMBER 10: Quarterback Marcus Mariota  #8 of the Tennessee Titans scores a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in the first half at Nissan Stadium on September 10, 2017 In Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) )

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

60. Eric Decker, WR, Tennessee Titans

61. Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

62. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings

63. Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

64. Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington

65. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

66. Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders

67. Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans

68. Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

69. Willie Snead, WR, New Orleans Saints

70. Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings

71. Pierre Garcon, WR, San Francisco 49ers

72. Devante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

73. Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks

74. DeSean Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

75. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

76. Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

77. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

There’s so much depth at quarterback once again that really good players like Carr, Mariota and Winston simply don’t have nearly the fantasy value they have for their teams in real life. That’s true of quarterbacks across the board, unless you find yourself in a two-quarterback league or one that emphasizes quarterback stats differently than standard leagues.

In other words, don’t overpay for quarterbacks in trades unless you find yourself mired in desperation. You have options.

Once we hit this tier, so many players either have major question marks affecting their value or low ceilings. Look at Mixon, for example. He’s unquestionably talented, and may eventually emerge as Cincinnati’s feature back, but in Week 1, he had just 11 touches. With Giovani Bernard claiming eight touches and Jeremy Hill nabbing seven, it’s clear the Bengals plan on utilizing all of their backs this season.

Until Mixon clearly distinguishes himself as the lead back, he holds pretty minimal value in redraft leagues.

                 

Trade Value: 2

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 10:   Deion Jones #45 of the Atlanta Falcons attempts to tackle Tarik Cohen #29 of the Chicago Bears in the third quarter at Soldier Field on September 10, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

78. Robert Kelley, RB, Washington

79. Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Giants

80. Paul Perkins, RB, New York Giants

81. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers

82. Donte Moncrief, WR, Indianapolis Colts

83. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions

84. Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears

85. Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers

86. Tyrell Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

87. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

88. Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans

89. Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

90. Adrian Peterson, RB, New Orleans Saints

91. Terrance West, RB, Baltimore Ravens

92. Buck Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens

93. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

94. Jordan Matthews, WR, Buffalo Bills

95. Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns

96. Kerwynn Williams, RB, Arizona Cardinals

97. James White, RB, New England Patriots

98. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Baltimore Ravens

99. Mike Wallace, WR, Baltimore Ravens

100. Theo Riddick, RB, Detroit Lions

Let’s all welcome Cohen and Kerwynn Williams to fantasy relevance.

Cohen exploded in Week 1, rushing five times for 66 yards and catching eight passes for 47 yards and a touchdown on a whopping 12 targets. While that could be an anomaly, the Bears aren’t exactly brimming with talent in the passing game after Kevin White was likely lost for another season with a fractured shoulder blade

Plus, the Bears would be crazy to not reward Cohen with more touches after his excellent debut. Cohen needs to prove he can sustain fantasy relevance, but he could shoot up this chart throughout the year.

Williams, meanwhile, is next in line for the Cardinals following Johnson’s trip to the IR. He doesn’t have the explosiveness of a player like Cohen, nor the upside, and Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson could eat into his touches. He’s worth owning, and he could eventually prove to have flex upside, but for now his value remains fairly low.

Finally, let’s talk quickly about the Saints’ running backs. Things aren’t looking good, huh? Ingram had 11 touches on 26 snaps. Alvin Kamara had 11 touches on 31 snaps. And Peterson had just six touches on nine snaps.

It sure looks like Sean Payton is going to rotate the trio pretty liberally, which dramatically reduces the fantasy upside of each player. Given their track records and the fact they’ll see more of the goal-line touches, Ingram and Peterson have more fantasy upside than Kamara. But boy, Monday night’s timeshare sure doesn’t bode well for any of them in fantasy terms.

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