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Way-too-early 2017-18 fantasy basketball rankings | Top 10 PFs

Bryan Toporek



(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Now that we’ve looked at the point guards, shooting guards and small forwards worth targeting in the early and middle rounds of fantasy basketball drafts this coming fall, let’s turn our attention to power forwards. Since we can’t accurately predict where each player will land in free agency or which prospects each team will draft, these rankings will operate under the assumption that all free agents re-sign with their respective teams and will not include any rookies. (Fret not: We’ll have an updated Top 150 after the first major wave of free agency dies down in mid-July.)

Power forward isn’t as shallow as shooting guard, but like small forward, it’s decidedly top-heavy. Anthony Davis is the lone player at the position worth grabbing with a first-round pick, but seven more power forwards appear on my overall big board in the ensuing four rounds. The position starts to get dicey after the top eight, so owners in 12-team leagues or larger may want to invest a third- or fourth-round pick in a power forward to ensure they’re not left scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Because stretch 4s are all the rage in today’s NBA, you’re no longer only looking for points, field-goal percentage, rebounds and blocks from power forwards in fantasy. Many of the top-tier options now tout three-point range as well, and some—notably Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green—are legitimate triple-double threats. Unlike centers, most power forwards shouldn’t sink you in free-throw percentage, too.

Here’s how the 2017-18 power forward fantasy landscape looks in mid-April for owners in nine-category head-to-head leagues.

1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Though DeMarcus Cousins’ arrival in New Orleans slightly diminishes Anthony Davis’ fantasy upside, he still finished fourth in fantasy value on a per-game basis after the All-Star break. With Cousins in tow, the Brow averaged 28.5 points on 50.7 percent shooting, 11.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.4 steals in 35.5 minutes per game, roughly in line with his pre-All-Star-break production save for a decline in blocks. The biggest question with Davis is whether he can sustain the pounding of an 82-game season, as he tends to pick up bumps and bruises at a frightening rate. If he does remain healthy, he’s a near-lock to return top-five value, making him well worth a mid-first-round pick for non-risk-averse owners.

2. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

With Kevin Durant in the fold, Draymond Green took a significant step back offensively in 2016-17, averaging just 10.2 points on 41.8 percent shooting overall and 30.8 percent from three-point range. That didn’t stop him from stuffing the stat sheet elsewhere, though, as he chipped in 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, a career-high 2.0 steals and 1.4 blocks to finish the year with the 21st-highest fantasy value on a per-game basis. Even if Green’s field-goal percentage doesn’t jump back closer to his 2015-16 splits (.490/.388/.696), his well-roundedness makes him worth a look around the second- and third-round turn, especially for owners who don’t care about free-throw percentage.

3. Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis’ 2017-18 fantasy outlook is largely tied to what the New York Knicks decide to do with Carmelo Anthony this offseason (and vice versa), as it appears as though that marriage may finally come to its merciful end. If Anthony does waive his no-trade clause, Porzingis would immediately become the new face of the Knicks franchise, and he’d be poised to take on more of an offensive role to help replace the nearly 19 field-goal attempts Anthony took per game in 2016-17. Durability is a minor concern for the Zinger, as Achilles soreness plagued him throughout much of the year, but that shouldn’t deter owners from grabbing him with a third-round pick, especially if Anthony is plying his trade elsewhere.

4. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers

During his third season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love finally rediscovered his fantasy groove, pouring in 19.0 points on 42.7 percent shooting, 11. Rebounds, 2.4 triples, 1.9 assists and 0.9 steals in just 31.4 minutes per night, finishing with the 30th-best fantasy value on a per-game basis. Love missed roughly a month’s work of action after undergoing a procedure on his right knee, but he reeled off seven straight double-doubles in his final seven outings of the regular season, providing a much-needed boost during the fantasy finals. If the Cavs follow through with their plan to reduce LeBron James’ minutes last year, Love should be a primary beneficiary, making him a strong pick in the late third or early fourth round.

5. Serge Ibaka, Toronto Raptors

The days of Serge Ibaka averaging upward of three blocks per game may be a thing of the past, but he’s making up for his reduction in rejections with an increase in three-pointers. The Congolese big man drilled a career-high 1.6 triples per game this past season to go with 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 0.9 assists and 0.5 steals in 30.7 minutes between his time with the Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors, finishing with the league’s 39th-best fantasy value on a per-game basis. If Ibaka re-signs with the Raptors this summer, his combination of upside in blocks and treys will make him worth a look in the fourth or fifth round.

Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) fights to save the ball in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics on Thursday, April 6, 2017, in Atlanta. The Hawks won the game 123-116. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

(AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

6. Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks

Despite the Atlanta Hawks swapping Al Horford for Dwight Howard last offseason, Paul Millsap churned out the same well-rounded production in 2016-17 that has made him a fantasy stud for years. The 32-year-old averaged a career-high 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.1 triples and 0.9 blocks in 34.0 minutes per game, but a career-worst 44.2 percent shooting mark sent his fantasy value sinking to the mid-40s rather than the teens or 20s. If Millsap can nudge his efficiency back toward his career average (49.3 percent), he’ll be a steal in the fourth or fifth round of fantasy drafts provided he re-signs with Atlanta this summer.

7. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

Blake Griffin is one of the rare NBA stars whose game doesn’t quite translate to fantasy, as his lack of output beyond points, rebounds, assists and field-goal percentage limit his upside. The Oklahoma product averaged 21.6 points on 49.3 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.0 steals in 34.0 minutes this past season to finish as the 42nd-ranked player on a per-game basis, but his lack of treys (0.6) and blocks (0.4) make him somewhat less appealing in head-to-head formats. There’s always a chance Griffin leaves the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency this summer and begins bombing away from deep more frequently, but if not, he’s more of a fourth- or fifth-round target than a surefire top-30 pick.

8. LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

Tim Duncan’s retirement appeared to open a void for LaMarcus Aldridge to fill, but Kawhi Leonard’s ascension to superstardom kept Aldridge relegated to a sidekick role with the San Antonio Spurs this season. Despite playing roughly two more minutes per game than he did during his first year in San Antonio, the 31-year-old’s output dipped to 17.3 points on 47.7 percent shooting, 7.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.2 blocks and 0.6 steals across 72 appearances, putting him outside of the top 50 in per-game fantasy value. Between his lack of three-point shooting and the likelihood of him earning rest days down the stretch, Aldridge shouldn’t come off draft boards until the turn of the fifth and sixth rounds.

9. Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota Timberwolves

Gorgui Dieng played nearly 450 more minutes this season than he did in 2015-16, but his per-game production stayed remarkably steady. A year after averaging 10.1 points on 53.2 percent shooting, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals in 27.1 minutes per night, Dieng chipped in 10.0 points on 50.2 percent shooting, 7.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals in 32.4 minutes this season. Though he’s a clear offensive afterthought in a lineup with Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine (once he recovers from his torn ACL), Dieng’s defensive versatility still makes him worth a pick in the late fifth or early sixth round if the Timberwolves don’t land a stretch 4 in the draft or free agency.

10. Tobias Harris, Detroit Pistons

For the first time in his six-year career, Tobias Harris played all 82 games in 2016-17, averaging 16.1 points on a career-best 48.1 percent shooting, 5.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 triples, 0.7 steals and 0.5 blocks in 31.3 minutes per outing. He bounced around between the starting lineup and a sixth-man role for much of the year, however, as head coach Stan Van Gundy struggled to find a spark for his lifeless Detroit Pistons squad. If SVG commits to Harris as an offensive focal point, he could be a steal in the seventh round next year, but his floor is troublingly low given his relatively paltry production in defensive categories.

Honorable mentions

11. Marvin Williams, Charlotte Hornets
12. Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
13. Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz
14. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
15. Markieff Morris, Washington Wizards

Other positional rankings

Top 10 PGs

Top 10 SGs

Top 10 SFs

All rankings via Basketball Monster are based on nine-category leagues and are current through the end of the regular season. All ownership percentages via ESPN.comAll average draft position and ECR info via FantasyPros.

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Bryan Toporek (@btoporek) is a Philadelphia native who's just talkin' about practice. You can also find him at Bleacher Report, BBALLBREAKDOWN, Vantage Sports, Hardwood Paroxysm and Hoop 76 of the TrueHoop Network.