We’ve looked at the top 10 at each position for fantasy basketball owners in 2017-18. We’ve pegged some early sleepers, breakouts and busts. At long last, it’s time for the big kahuna: my first crack at a Top 150 for the 2017-18 season.
The usual caveats apply: Since we can’t accurately predict where each player will land in free agency or which prospects each team will draft, we’ll operate under the assumption that all free agents re-sign with their respective teams and will not include any rookies. Before trades, the draft and free agency radically alter the fantasy landscape, though, this should help give owners a sense of where things stand in mid-April for nine-category, head-to-head leagues.
Below the rankings themselves, you’ll find a few early takeaways to keep in mind with regard to draft strategy:
|64||Otto Porter Jr.||SF13|
|101||Tim Hardaway Jr.||SG17|
|125||Larry Nance Jr.||PF23|
A few major takeaways:
- Point guard and center are by far the deepest position. Unless you’re in a 14- or 16-team league, you’re virtually guaranteed to get a solid PG1, and this year’s draft class only figures to further bolster the point guard ranks, as five of the top 10 picks could be floor generals. Centers aren’t as deep as point guards, but they still make up 15 of the top 60 players on my board. Few (if any) of the top-tier options should be adversely affected by offseason moves, making them some of the safest options in the early and middle rounds. There are values to be found at both positions later in drafts, too, so owners who prefer to load up at other spots early on won’t be left empty-handed.
- Ideally, you’re going to want a top-seven small forward, as there’s a yawning gap between Gordon Hayward and Carmelo Anthony, Nicolas Batum and Trevor Ariza. Six SFs should be off the board in the first 15-20 picks, including three in the first round (Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo). All seven of the top-tier options are well-rounded enough to help you in a multitude of categories, whereas many of the middle- and later-round SFs are mostly specialists. Outside of the top 10, uncertainty abounds, as offseason moves could adversely affect the value of guys such as Robert Covington, Otto Porter, Danilo Gallinari and Rudy Gay.
- Unlike point guards and centers, shooting guards and power forwards thin out quickly. Outside of James Harden, there isn’t a single SG worth selecting with a top-20 pick, and Anthony Davis is the only PF deserving of a top-15 selection. Unless you’re in position to grab Harden or Davis, you should eschew SGs and PFs for the first two rounds, but it makes sense to target those two positions in Rounds 3 and 4 to ensure you’re not scraping the bottom of the barrel.
- The 2016 NBA Draft class was largely a disappointment in 2016-17, but that could create some major opportunities for fantasy owners next year. If Ben Simmons avoids any further setbacks with his foot, he should hit the ground running as the Philadelphia 76ers’ de facto starting point guard, making him a high-upside mid-round pick. Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram has sleeper potential as well, assuming the Lakers embrace their youth-centric rebuild and he adds muscle to his spindly frame during the offseason. The Sacramento Kings should let Buddy Hield run wild after trading DeMarcus Cousins for a package centered around him, while Jamal Murray has sleeper potential if the Denver Nuggets move him into a more consistent role next year. None of the class of 2016 players will be early-round picks, but a number of them could be mid- and late-round sleepers.
OTHER POSITIONAL RANKINGS
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.com. All average draft position and ECR info via FantasyPros.