These rankings reflect standard scoring formats, taking into account a player's expected production in the following categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, 3-point shots made, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage, and turnovers.
After leading the league in minutes per game in both 2016-17 and 2017-18, LeBron James' epic durability faltered last season. He logged fewer than 60 contests for the first time in his career, only his second non-lockout season with fewer than 70 games.
So is that the new reality for King James as he enters ... Year 17!? Tough to say. In joining a Lakers team without a clear-cut No. 2 superstar, expectations heading into last season were relatively muted. James' late-December injury all but ended the team's hopes of competing for a playoff slot in a jam-packed Western Conference - a big reason why he ultimately missed nine games between March and April.
Still, James' per game statistics were essentially identical to his previous two seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers: 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 8.3 assists, two made 3-pointers, and 1.3 steals per game with 51% shooting from the field. With Anthony Davis now by his side, expect James' total games played to bounce back into the 70s as L.A. will certainly be hunting for a decent playoff seed.
There's a pretty quick drop-off from starting-caliber small forwards to depth options as far as fantasy is concerned. In a 10-team league, you should ideally end up with at least one of the players in Tier 1 or 2 through the first five rounds.
With that said, don't force it. If there isn't an obvious small forward target at your draft slot, you're better off taking a best-on-the-board approach rather than reaching. You'll have an opportunity to stock up on wings and forwards - role players who excel in secondary fantasy categories like made 3-pointers, blocks, and steals - in the middle rounds of the draft.
Basically, if you end up reaching for Khris Middleton or DeMar DeRozan with your third-round pick, you've made a mistake.
|13||Otto Porter Jr.||CHI|
|22||Kelly Oubre Jr.||PHO|
Now two years and a healthy 2018-19 season removed from 2017's gruesome ankle injury, it's time for Gordon Hayward to show us what sort of player he is moving forward. There is clearly a risk that Hayward never re-establishes his pre-injury standard. If you've managed to build a balanced, high-floor roster through your first six or seven draft picks, you can afford to take a gamble around the No. 80 overall pick that Hayward bounces back.
You can chalk it up to the Timberwolves' general state of instability, but Andrew Wiggins has been a far more effective fantasy player than a real-life contributor through five seasons. To date, he's averaged 19.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.6 made 3-pointers, and a steal per game. If he can improve just one aspect of his game - his long-range scoring efficiency, playmaking ability, or defensive contributions - he'll justify his draft slot.
|26||Tim Hardaway Jr.||DAL|
It's easy to get caught up in the hype, but it would be wise to temper expectations for RJ Barrett, 2019's No. 3 overall pick. The Knicks' brain trust seems to have constructed a roster comprised almost entirely of point guards and power forwards. Barrett will likely start the year shoehorned in at shooting guard in a lineup with poor spacing and a lot of veteran mouths to feed. On this team, elite fantasy production is far too much to ask from the 19-year-old.
Honorable mentions: Marcus Morris (NYK), Danny Green (LAL), Kent Bazemore (POR), Dillon Brooks (MEM), Rodney Hood (POR),