If you recall in past fantasy football seasons here at The Athletic, the rest-of-season Big Board rankings and trade value chart were separate entities. Well, we’re doing something different this year, combining Brandon Funston’s rankings with Austin Mock’s trade value chart, essentially killing two birds with one stone. And we added a downloadable version of the chart at the bottom of this column.
This chart (board?) is meant to be used as a general player valuation guide for the basis of fantasy football trade negotiations in 1QB, half-PPR formats. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and certainly readers will find disagreements with some of the valuations here. That’s fine — again, this is just another tool at your disposal as you try to determine a deal that might work for you in your league. That said, before we get to the chart, here are Funston’s explanations for some of the biggest value differences on this board compared to the industry consensus (ECR).
Ranked Considerably Higher by Funston
Garrett Wilson, WR, NYJ — My reasoning for not dropping Wilson as much as the industry after the Aaron Rodgers injury is that he managed a WR19 finish in his rookie campaign last season without ARod. Not only should the seasoning make him a better receiver in Year 2, but he’s also pulling in 54.2% of the Jets’ WR targets this season compared to 41.5% in 2022, when Corey Davis and Elijah Moore were running interference.
George Pickens, WR, PIT — I’m surprised the industry isn’t higher on Pickens; I could almost talk myself into boosting Pickens up further. He’s oozing with talent, Diontae Johnson is on the IR, and given Johnson’s fragility, it’s certainly possible he misses more than the minimum IR stay. Pickens went for 127 yards and a TD on 10 targets in his first game without Johnson in Week 2. I expect him to be a Top 25 wideout during Johnson’s absence, and by the time Johnson returns, the bond forged between Pickens and QB Kenny Pickett will likely be strong enough to keep Pickens in solid WR3 territory.
Marquise Brown, WR, ARI — He’s the obvious alpha of the Cardinals receiving corps, as his 15 targets are more than the rest of the Arizona WRs combined (13). You could argue that, as my WR38, he’s still too low. Diontae Johnson was the glass-half empty case for an alpha receiver in a poor offense last season, and even without scoring a TD, he finished as WR39. Jerry Jeudy finished WR20 as the top receiver on the lowest scoring team in the league last season. And let’s not forget, Kyler Murray could return as early as a few weeks from now — reading Murray’s quotes about his anxiousness to return, I’ve dismissed the notion that he could “redshirt” this season.
Read more: High stakes Hall of Famer Chris Vaccaro’s Week 3 fantasy preview
Ranked Considerably Lower by Funston
Puka Nacua, WR, LAR — I have Nacua as WR25, while the industry has him at WR14 — man, that ECR is completely dismissive of Cooper Kupp. I’m buying Nacua having staying power, being the new Robert Woods in this offense (as I’ve seen plenty of people suggest), but I’m not buying that Nacua will remain in the WR1 picture when Kupp does return. WR2? He could definitely do that. The only argument that holds water for Nacua as WR14 is if you believe Kupp doesn’t return, or has a “Michael Thomas” season. I’m seeing optimism for Kupp’s return in the next 2-3 weeks, so I’m not going to be a doubting Thomas just yet.
Jerome Ford, RB, CLE — I’m 15 spots lower than consensus on Ford, which isn’t as egregious of a discrepancy as some of the others I’m making a case for/against here, but I did want to touch on Ford since he’s the “next man up” du jour. I held off on emptying my FAB on Ford this week because I have some reservations. First off, Ford leads the NFL with 19 carries (out of 31 total) of 2 yards or less. He’s netted a total of 5 yards on those 19 carries. If not for a 69-yard change of direction romp against Pittsburgh, he’d be averaging 2.3 yards per carry. Also, Cleveland brought back Kareem Hunt for a deal worth up to $4 million. In the world of today’s running back salaries, that’s starter money. Or, at the least, platoon RB money.
Travis Etienne, RB, JAC — His ECR is No. 8 overall, and RB5. What? He was RB17 last season and is currently RB19. He’s 11th in total RB touches. What am I missing?
The Week 3 Chart
(Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)