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Fantasy & Reality: Grasping the current trade market

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Here's the first thing you need to know if you're angry with Chris Johnson or Philip Rivers on your Fantasy team: If you drop them, someone in your league will rush to pick them up. By that rule of thumb alone, you can expect someone, somewhere in your league to show interest for them in a trade. So don't cut them outright even if the sight of their stats in your lineup makes you sick.

Of course, the trade route isn't any prettier. The values of these guys have grossly changed since early September. So while most owners would gladly take a flier on either Johnson or Rivers off waivers, not quite as many owners would want to give up a player from their team for him, especially a good one.

Johnson's value is at a staggering all-time low. So far this season he has one 100-yard game, one touchdown and a slew of criticism (including some from me back in late September). But owners still have some interest in him because of the success he's had in the past. But the concerns are not only that he won't play big again this season but that his opportunities are shrinking because of Javon Ringer's improved play and near-equal playing time. Last week Ringer saw just about as much playing time as Johnson, including when the Titans went into their two-minute drill and again late when they tried to grind down the game clock. As long as Ringer plays well when given the chance, Johnson has an uphill climb to regain the every-down role he's been paid to have.

Rivers has also seen his star fade thanks for a number of reasons. He's not getting a lot of time in the pocket to throw, and when he does throw there seems to be some zip missing from his passes. Obviously his accuracy is called into question as he's been up and down every week. For instance, his toss to Antonio Gates' back shoulder in the end zone against the Chiefs was magnificent and he hit Curtis Brinkley on a go-route perfectly, but several other throws he made, including several to Vincent Jackson, were off. Rivers hasn't thrown multiple touchdowns in a game since Week 2. Fumbling snaps doesn't help.

What can you get for these guys? Interestingly enough, the move to make is to trade busts for busts. Not only are Johnson and Rivers disappointing, but so are DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Marshawn Lynch, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Felix Jones, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Reggie Wayne and Santonio Holmes. Obviously they're not the only ones. If you're weak at receiver and have Chris Johnson, deal him for the bust receiver with the most upside. If you're weak at running back you could deal Rivers for, well, Johnson. Make the most of your own bust by trading him for a player who has also disappointed but does have some potential to come back to life.

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Of course, we're not saying Johnson and Rivers are useless for the rest of the season. But the one with the better chance to rebound is Rivers, not Johnson. One big reason for it is his schedule: He's got two tough matchups left (they come in Week 15 and 16) and faces the likes of Broncos, Raiders (twice), Bears and Packers in Week 9. Five of his final nine games come against Bottom 10 pass defenses in Fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. That will help.

Updated Trade Value Chart

A couple of weeks back, we debuted our Fantasy Trade Value Chart, used to serve as a baseline guide in making trades in Fantasy leagues. We're updating it heading into Week 9. Basically we tiered the prominent players at the four significant Fantasy positions and gave them a simple numeric value. If the player(s) you are offering have a total value equal to that of the player(s) you're getting, then the deal is reasonably fair.

Remember, if you and your trading partner differ on the value of a player, you could always come to an agreement and value the player accordingly. And if your trade values are off by a point or two, the trade is close enough or a toss-in away from being good. If a player isn't listed here, his value is no better than that of the lowest-valued tier. Finally, the tiers were put together not based on year-to-date production but perceived value of the players.

Fantasy Trade Chart
Tier Standard PPR 2QB Tier Standard PPR 2QB
Top 5 QB 10 10 16 Top 5 WR 12 14 12
Excellent QB 8 8 12 Very Good WR 8 10 8
Very Good QB 4 4 8 Good WR 4 8 4
Good QB 2 2 6 Average WR 2 4 2
Top 8 RB 12 12 12 Top 5 TE 8 10 8
Very Good RB 8 10 8 Very Good TE 6 8 6
Good RB 4 6 4 Good TE 4 6 4
Average RB 2 4 2 Average TE 2 4 2


Quarterbacks
Top 5 Excellent Very Good Good
Aaron Rodgers Matthew Stafford Ben Roethlisberger Philip Rivers
Cam Newton Eli Manning Tony Romo Ryan Fitzpatrick
Drew Brees   Matt Schaub Matt Ryan
Michael Vick     Mark Sanchez
Tom Brady     Josh Freeman
Running backs
Top 8 Very Good Good Average
Arian Foster Michael Turner Darren Sproles Chris Johnson
Fred Jackson Steven Jackson LeGarrette Blount Peyton Hillis
LeSean McCoy Beanie Wells Rashard Mendenhall Felix Jones
Matt Forte Ahmad Bradshaw Cedric Benson Mark Ingram
Ray Rice Maurice Jones-Drew Shonn Greene Jahvid Best
Adrian Peterson Ryan Mathews DeMarco Murray Jonathan Stewart
Darren McFadden   Jackie Battle James Starks
Frank Gore   Willis McGahee  
    BenJarvus Green-Ellis  
Wide receivers
Top 5 Very Good Good Average
Calvin Johnson Dwayne Bowe DeSean Jackson Brandon Marshall
Wes Welker A.J. Green Andre Johnson Sidney Rice
Steve Smith Jeremy Maclin Miles Austin Deion Branch
Mike Wallace Marques Colston Brandon Lloyd Nate Washington
Greg Jennings Larry Fitzgerald Pierre Garcon Darrius Heyward-Bey
  Hakeem Nicks Victor Cruz Mario Manningham
  Roddy White Steve Johnson Antonio Brown
  Anquan Boldin Dez Bryant Percy Harvin
    Vincent Jackson Eric Decker
    Santonio Holmes Reggie Wayne
    Jordy Nelson Plaxico Burress
    Julio Jones  
Tight ends
Top 5 Very Good Good Average
Jimmy Graham Fred Davis Vernon Davis Brent Celek
Aaron Hernandez Tony Gonzalez Jermichael Finley Heath Miller
Jason Witten Greg Olsen Owen Daniels Dallas Clark
Rob Gronkowski Brandon Pettigrew Jermaine Gresham Dustin Keller
Antonio Gates   Jake Ballard Scott Chandler

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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