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Basketball season is right around the corner, and if you’re dancing like this girl, then you are showing the appropriate level of excitement. This time around, we get a full season of play, which should be good for those of us who like to occupy our time on fantasy sports sites. These rankings are the result of much deliberation, analysis, praying to various gods, and human sacrifice. Having just read that, please be advised that these are always subject to change. Someone could get injured, traded, molested, whatever, and then things may need to be adjusted. Nevertheless, consider this a handy guide. My word is not gospel, my word is not law, but I will be right 9 times out of 10 (note: 1 out of 10 I’m wrong may be me saying I’m right 9 times out of 10; whoa, logic twister!). Let’s cut the male cattle excrement and get down to business.

1. LeBron James – Rings are pretty, rings are nice, but they mean bupkis for fantasy value. I like James because he is a high level, all around player, period. Kevin Durant could have easily gone here, and some of us in the Razzball Offices argued just that. However, James offers a tremendous advantage with assists, and that to me gives him the edge. Durant could outscore James with an extra 5 ppg, and I would still (likely) go with James. I don’t think you can possibly go wrong with either guy, but I will go James first. Projections: .520 fg/.750 ft/1.4 3pg/28.2 pts/7.8 rbd/7.1 ast/1.8 stl/0.8 blk/3.5 tov

2. Kevin Durant – He may very well be the most prolific scorer in the league, with solid percentages and a good source for threes, rebounds and all the other little categories. He’s still very young with room to grow, which is appetizing. Durant has the possibility to really distance himself from James in blocks and threes, which are obviously two of the juiciest categories. Next year he probably ranks above James, but for now he’s a definite #2, maybe even so far as a #1b. Projections: .480 fg/.880 ft/1.7 3pt/29.0 pts/7.5 rbd/2.9 ast/1.3 stl/1.1 blk/3.3 tov

3. Kevin Love – A very reasonable argument can be made that Power Forward is the deepest position right now, but my heart aches for Love. He is a big man with a nice perimeter shot. He is dominant on the boards with solid shooting percentages. It’d be nice if he could give you a block per game, but that is the only real weakness in his game. I wouldn’t take him before James and Durant, but if you told me you did, I don’t think I could fault you. Projections: .460 fg/.840 ft/1.5 3pt/27.0 pts/14.0 rbd/2.3 ast/0.7 stl/0.5 blk/2.5 tov

4. Chris Paul – With Derrick Rose out until January or February or worse, Chris Paul easily earned the #1 spot for Point Guards. I like him this high overall, too, as he is surrounded by solid players he can dish the ball to. In addition, he led the league in steals and can continue that again with the same determination as the thief in the Cookie Crisp commercials. He had surgery on his thumb in August, so it’s possibly he starts slowly, but I would still take him in the first round. Projections: .482 fg/.870 ft/1.2 3pt/21.2 pts/3.9 rbd/9.9 ast/2.5 stl/0.1 blk/2.4 tov

5. Dwyane Wade – A few people will probably call me nuts for putting Wade this high, particularly since he is such a drain for threes, and not in the good way where he actually drains them. He only attempted 56 threes last season, and only made 14. However, I am willing to write off last season as the Twilight Zone episode it was. If he can reach 200+ attempts as he has done for many seasons prior, he should be able to average  between 0.5 and 0.8 3PG. Putting that aside, his knee is better, he should return to form, and he will be a balanced source of stats across the board. Projections: .505 fg/.784 ft/0.6 3pt/23.9 pts/4.7 rbd/4.9 ast/1.6 stl/1.0 blk/3.0 tov

6. Russell Westbrook – Westbrook stopped handing out so many dimes and starting taking the shot more, which actually translated well for him. Although it hurts his assists, I like that he is a better source of threes and field goals. He is on the Thunder, which is of course one of the best teams to have a fantasy player from. He is leading an offense that will dominate its competitors, and fantasy owners can harvest the benefits. Turnovers are a concern, but if he can keep those down, good things are yours to have. Projections:  .461 fg/.830 ft/1.0 3pt/24.2 pts/4.8 rbd/6.9 ast/1.8 stl/0.3 blk/4.0 tov

7. Josh Smith – Witness Projection Member “Josh Smith” wasn’t on many people’s radars, but he was a basically averaged a double-double a night with solid assists and blocks, plus low enough turnovers for a Power Forward. He may not have the flash of a Blake Griffin, but he has better ratios. I have Smith ranked this high, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t go until the third round. Like a children’s TV host visiting a farmer’s market, he should be berry, berry good. Projections: .460 fg/.645 ft/0.4 3pt/19.5 pts/10.2 rbd/4.0 ast/1.4 stl/2.0 blk/2.7 tov

8. Dwight Howard - You would think Dwight Howard stole $1,000 from you and knocked up your sister the way he’s fallen out of favor in the fantasy community. I know everyone, EVERYONE, is ranking Andrew Bynum in the top ten and #1 overall in Centers. Not me. I could very well be wrong, but you look at the history of those two players and you tell me that Howard can’t produce better. Yes, Howard is on a team surrounded by All-Stars. That’s perfect. Picture this: Dwight blocks the shot, Lakers recover, move down the Court, Kobe Bryant takes the shot, misses, Howard rebounds, passes back to Byrant, shoots and scores. Well, well, we just earned a block, an offensive rebound, and an assist all in 35 seconds. SUCK IT. Projections: .596 fg/.575 ft/0.0 3pt/23.3 pts/15.3 rbd/1.7 ast/1.4 stl/2.9 blk/4.1 tov

9. Pau Gasol – Well, with Howard on the Lakers, Gasol is going to lose a little bit, but you know what? He shared the big man spotlight with Bynum last year, so to hell with it, I still like Gas-hole. He’s solid all around, and at 32, he is only about to begin his descent. Grab him while he’s still near the peak of his prowess. Projections: .520 fg/.809 ft/0.0 3pt/18.8 pts/10.1 rbd/3.9 ast/0.5 stl/1.8 blk/2.3 tov

10. Al Jefferson - He has the name that makes me think he can bring the funk, and so long as that funky music includes a double-double per night and a couple of blocks, I’m happy. Yes, I’m ranking him higher than Bynum (who is easily in my top 20, relax).  He is easily going to put up better percentages than Bynum, just like he did last season. For a Center, his free throw percentage is actually quite decent, and he is solid with FG% and assists as well. There’s a lot to like about Jefferson, and he’s moving on up. Projections: .495 fg/.770 ft/0.0 3pt/20.1 pts/9.9 rbd/1.9 ast/0.6 stl/1.8 blk/1.3 tov

  1. Shawn says:
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    sorry
    wade is not 5.. He just came out last week and said it’s going to take him a while to get back to 100%, plus he hasn’t touched a ball all summer… ( heat LOVE sitting him, why? bc they can) yes, he has the skill to be 5 on your list but thats in a peferct world.

    also no chance in ( hell) Pau Gasol is 9, for so so so many reaons im not even going to bother stating…
    Josh Smith is question on there, Dhoward ( the placing is wrong) .. everthing is wrong pretty much besides the top 3…
    sorry…
    like, wrong in the wtf are u smoking way, hence me wasting time writing.

    • ChrisV

      ChrisV says:
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      @Shawn, I love that you waste time writing me love songs. Never stop.

  2. Shawn says:
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    when bynum is rocking 20/20 and a stare you’ll breaking out the white out

  3. JP says:
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    Dwight Howard’s per game final fantasy rankings the last 6 seasons starting with 2011-12: 61, 29, 53, 47, 87, 89. So, coming off back surgery and heading to a new team where he will be the 2nd or 3rd option (instead of the clear #1 usage guy like he was in ORL) and he’s suddenly going to be a top 10 option? Obviously Dwight’s a great real life player but his game does not translate as well to fantasy. His Ft% is the single most harmful stat in roto and he’ll lose you FT% every week in H2H. LaMarcus, AlJeff, Milsap, Bynum, Dirk, Marc Gasol, Horford, Ibaka, are all better big men options in fantasy over Dwight.

    Othewise, the rest of your list is fine as it’s really hard to rank the the top 10 after the consensus top 4 guys.

    • James Redacted

      James Redacted says:
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      @JP, Dwight’s rank comes out that low because of the monster FT hit. He’s still immensely valuable but you have to change your drafting strategy if you get him. In H2H he is a no doubt 1st rounder because you can punt FT.

    • ChrisV

      ChrisV says:
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      @JP, I agree with you to some extent, but you’re really drafting Ibaka over Howard? Seriously? Ibaka is a blocks juggernaut, absolutely, but they are not in the same league (well, I mean, they are both in the NBA).

      • ChrisV

        ChrisV says:
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        @ChrisV, also, folks, you don’t have to punt one category just because your guy isn’t useful in every single category. You’re going to have to balance your draft board. If you take a Center in the first round, you should be focusing on a Guard in the second round, definitely the third round.

        • Fenris-77 says:
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          @ChrisV, I think you’re cukoo for coco-puffs if your plan is to mitigate Howard’s FT%. It’s so bad that even if you draft FT% as your #1 priority you’ll probably just claw your way back to mediocrity at best. With other C’s I agree with you completely, but Howard isn a special case. If you draft him, especially this high, you pretty much have to punt, otherwise you’re losing the implied value a Howard pick has relative to changing your valuation strategy.

          I also think I’d rank Paul over Love based on last year’s results, but it’s still a coin flip for the most part.

  4. Jif & The Choosy Mothers says:
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    I might be missing something. Is there a good place to post this?

    I’m a longtime fantasy basketballer, if you will, and a group of excellent owners recruited from Razzball, The Original, three years ago have formed a great new league. We have 12 owners and think we’ll move it to 14.

    The league costs $60 and is H2H points. It’s a salary cap league to encourage roster churn. Plan is for 12- or 13-man rosters with 1 IR spot. We’ll keep 7 players each season. Salaries assigned based on rounds drafted.

    Scoring categories are simple – points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Points carry slightly more weight – then rebounds and assists – then steals and blocks.

    FYI: The concept of this new league borrows heavily from a 26-year-old league that I joined 15 years ago but am bowing out of now for philosophical reasons – namely I don’t think we should pay for the site that it’s housed on. Waste of $179 every year.

    Thanks. If interested, write me about why you want to join at: dw.reds@gmail.com. We have a detailed League Charter already in place.

    If it matters, and it probably does, the owners I recruited three years ago (some 25 of us, believe it or not) have stuck together in two money baseball leagues, one free one and fantasy football too. Not everyone is in every league, of course, but turnover has been almost nil.

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