Who have been the biggest drains on teams through four weeks in Fantasy Football? To determine this, I used win probability and win shares, and then adjusted for the expectation for that player so far, based on draft position and the available points of players taken near them. By this method, then, there is an opportunity cost for failure, and missing early is more costly than if a 10th round pick doesn’t provide any value above replacement in your lineup.
I used FanDuel (half PPR) scoring, and used the following to determine win shares and points added. I took only the top 18 QB, top 36 RB, top 45 WR, and top 18 TE in average starting percentage each week (because I’m not penalizing players for being on your bench who were not expected to produce, nor am I giving them credit when they probably weren’t in starting lineups). I then used a weekly baseline of the 18th QB, 36th RB, 45th WR, and 18th TE in points scored to calculate points above or below baseline. Then I converted the total surplus points to wins (24 so far in a 12-team league). 85 Surplus points is equal to one win.
I also then took all those win values and determined the expected wins by draft position. Here are my estimates for the least valuable players in Fantasy Football over four weeks (Note: this is not predictive, as many of these are due to injury or missing games, and they can rebound).
#1 LE’VEON BELL (-0.49 draft-adjusted win shares)
It shouldn’t surprise you that Le'Veon Bell, who still has not reported to the Steelers, is the least valuable player so far. That’s because he was on average being selected with the 2nd overall pick in fantasy drafts. That’s a lot of opportunity forfeited when players like Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Saquon Barkley, David Johnson, and Antonio Brown went right after.
Bell can make up some of that value when he returns, but it’s doubtful he proves to be worth more than a mid-2nd round pick if he puts up his usual production for half a season.
My estimate is that teams with Bell are about a half-win below .500 on average, depending on how they drafted the rest of the way, based on forfeiting the 2nd overall pick in the draft through four weeks of play.
#2 LEONARD FOURNETTE (-0.43 draft-adjusted win shares)
Leonard Fournette hasn’t been able to stay healthy so far this year, twice exiting games with a hamstring injury. That means two starts where a lot of owners put him in the lineup and then got burned, in addition to the weeks where he has been out (and thus able to be replaced in the lineup.)
Add in that he was a late first round pick on average, and the Fournette owners have missed out on a lot of points compared to Gordon, Hopkins, Hunt, and Julio.