The Empire League Cheat Sheet

Mike Evans is the No. 1 Empire League wideout. (Photo: Icon SMI)

Mike Evans is the No. 1 Empire League wideout. (Photo: Icon SMI)

It’s been a while since I updated the Empire League Trade Value Chart. So long, that it’s worth a refresher so everyone remembers the basic ideas behind the endeavor. So, here we go:

1. The trade value chart is geared mainly towards start-up or 2nd-year Empire leagues. If you’re just starting up an Empire league or, better yet, want to join one on SafeLeagues, remember that the basic idea is that you don’t really care about winning the league this year or next. In fact, in a perfect world you’re building towards a championship in years four and five. At that point, you’re taking down a huge Empire pot, and all your blood, sweat, and tears will have been worth the effort. If you’re in a start-up Empire league this year, consider this a cheat sheet. If you’re in any other kind of Empire league, consider it a guide to re-building your roster through trades.

2. Older players near the end of their careers aren’t worthless, but you have to be willing to work at trading them. Players like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning obviously have value to teams that are attempting to win this season. If you have a player like this on your roster, you have to be prepared to seek out trades to contending teams this year in order to improve your own roster. It’s a viable strategy because we really can’t know exactly which young players are going to turn into NFL stars. Odell Beckham Jr. is a perfect example from last year of a player who was a ways down most people’s rookie draft lists, but who turned into potentially the best player in his draft class. It’s possible you can draft older players, hold them for 4-5 weeks, then flip them to a contender for whichever rookies happen to pan out.

3. Put an emphasis on quarterbacks and receivers. This one’s pretty simple. Elite quarterbacks can remain elite for a decade or more without losing any of their skills. Wide receivers are also much more durable, and have longer careers, than running backs. Put simply, running backs are disposable, and even the best ones are only in their prime for maybe two or three seasons. Most are on the downside of their careers by age 30, if not earlier, and the risk of injury is much higher than at other positions. Invest your early-round draft picks, your start-up auction dollars, and your trade capital in quarterbacks, wideouts, and tight ends. Four or five years from now, you’ll have a chance to acquire the next Justin Forsett or C.J. Anderson off your league’s waiver wire.

3a. But, quarterbacks are becoming very top-heavy. Okay, so there’s a caveat to the quarterback thing, in particular. With many of the game’s best signal-callers beginning to show their age (Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady), there’s a wide gap between the “sure thing” quarterbacks and, well, everyone else. Andrew Luck is my easy choice as the single best Empire league asset you can own, followed closely by Aaron Rodgers. Russell Wilson is essentially in a tier by himself right after those two (though even he isn’t without risk), and then it gets very murky. Matt Ryan is good, but not in a way that will win you your fantasy league. Cam Newton is a high-risk, high-reward proposition, and then you’re already in a group that includes the aforementioned aging superstars and a handful of first- or second-year signal-callers that we can’t make any concrete judgments on this early in their careers. So, this year in particular, I would focus my Empire efforts on the incredible crop of elite, young, wide receivers.


Before we get to the chart itself, I’d like to take a minute to introduce SafeLeagues, LeagueSafe’s new fantasy football money league service. We launched SafeLeagues for several reasons, not the least of which is so that we could provide additional Empire League options for those of you who might be intrigued by the idea, but haven’t been able to convince your usual group of fantasy football friends to create a league. With SafeLeagues, we’ve created the leagues and will take care of ensuring people pay, managing the offseason process (i.e. the rookie draft, roster deadlines, etc.), and filling the leagues with like-minded fantasy players.

If you’re interested in joining an Empire League on SafeLeagues, check out all our offerings here – we’ve got email drafts, live drafts, and live auction leagues as well (which is, by far, the best way to divvy up players in a start-up Empire League).


I’ll be hosting as many “CP Challenge” Empire Leagues as we can fill between now and the start of the season. Meaning, I’ll be an active owner of these leagues, and you can compete against me (with the added bonus of already knowing all of my player rankings!) in an Empire League format.

If you’re interested in joining a “CP Challenge” Empire League, click a link below and/or ping me on Twitter if you prefer a different entry fee level, draft date, or draft style (Auctions haven’t launched yet on SafeLeagues, so  Tweet at me  if you’re interested in this format and I’ll put you on my Auction list).

CP Challenge $200 Empire League – Email Draft  3 of 12 filled, needs 9 more!

  • Draft starts as soon as league fills

CP Challenge $100 Empire League – Email Draft  FILLED!

CP Challenge $100 Empire League – Live Draft  FILLED!

CP Challenge $200 Kitchen Sink League

  • All of our most advanced options in one league
  • Empire Format
  • Live Auction
  • Superflex league (can play QB at Flex)
  • Modified PPR Scoring


And, finally, what you came here to see: The 2015 Empire League Trade Value Chart (updated 8-18-15)

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