Over the weekend, I wrote about the least valuable players so far in Fantasy Football. Today, we turn to the most valuable. Again, to calculate value, I’m comparing fantasy points to a weekly baseline at the position, and only including players that were plausibly started in a given week based on starter percentage data (If a guy blows up on the bench but no one started him or he wasn’t on most rosters, that doesn’t really provide value).
But value isn’t just the points gained each week, it’s also the cost paid in draft position, so top players who were drafted highly have to produce more to provide the same value.
Here, then, are the 15 guys you are likely to find on winning teams through five weeks in your league.
#1 JAMES CONNER (+0.56 Wins over Draft-adjusted Value)
James Conner has been the beneficiary of Le'Veon Bell (the Least Valuable Player so far) sitting out. He’s provided first round production for what was usually a very low cost, either as a waiver wire pickup or late round selection. He’s not likely to continue this rate once Bell reports, but he’s already provided enough value to make him more than worth the pickup.
You’ve also racked up bonus points if your league awards (hair) style points.
#2 PATRICK MAHOMES (+0.51 Wins over Draft-adjusted Value)
Patrick Mahomes, who was the 15th quarterback off the board (though I said back in the spring he was a Top 5 quarterback option), came at a cheap price and is QB1 after five weeks. That means any team that rolled with Mahomes is likely rolling in your league early.
#3 ADAM THIELEN (+0.51 Wins over Draft-adjusted Value)
Adam Thielen has picked up where he left off in 2017, and has 100 yards receiving in every game. He’s emerged as a top receiving option, and did so at about a 3rd round price.
#4 COOPER KUPP (+0.44 Wins over Draft-adjusted Value)
Cooper Kupp is the second-most valuable receiver, only behind Adam Thielen. And neither of them play for the Patriots. Kupp has been a touchdown and big play machine so far in the explosive Rams attack and has built upon what he did as a rookie. He has provided great value considering he was drafted in the same range as Devin Funchess, Jordy Nelson, Robby Anderson, and Jamison Crowder.
#5 JAMES WHITE (+0.41 Wins over Draft-adjusted Value)
James White has been a revelation so far in 2018. He was already an undervalued commodity in PPR as the Patriots’ receiving back, but now, with Dion Lewis moving to Tennessee and Rex Burkhead on the IR, he has exploded the last few weeks. He was on average the 47th running back taken and has put up top 10 numbers so far.