I did welcome everyone back when I introduced all the writers this season but when I drop my Top 10 is when I feel things get real. Plus, I will use any excuse to post this song. Always gets me so amped.
Before I get into each player of the Top 10, I wanted to write a disclaimer: THIS IS NOT A RANKINGS PIECE. The order I have players is based on my projections and overall value for category leagues. Where I’d draft a player depends on ADP, categorical need, and roster construction. Keep that in mind when going through all my Top X pieces and when choosing who to draft in your leagues. The FG and FT numbers are weighted for volume.
Want the best tools and projections to help dominate your league? Check out the Stocktonator, the byproduct of Rudy and machine making love. Click HERE for a FREE 3-day trial.
- NIKOLA JOKIC – What a Jokic of a season Nikola had last season. He increased the per-game production in every category but rebounds from the prior season and played two more minutes per game. After languishing in the 10 to 20 range for fantasy over a four-year period, Jokic was the numero uno player by a wide margin. It helped that he played in every game last season while many of the top players missed multiple games but one cannot produce fantasy goodies if one is not on the court. He’s been a bastion of health throughout his entire career but so was KAT before….I’ll shut up now. As for where he lands on the Nikola Pantheon, I believe he sits atop the throne now. Tesla is cool and all but when’s the last time 30,000 people paid to see someone perform a damn chemistry experiment! That’s a line from The Program, one of the great American films of our generation. Some regression could come for Jokic, especially in the efficiency numbers, but with Jamal Murray out, he will have to carry the load once again and should finish near the top, health permitting.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 24.99 10.81 8.5 1.32 .68 3.12 1.19 51% 84%
- JAMES HARDEN – The usage and shot attempts plummeted once he took his talents to Brooklyn, but James still got fantasy managers Harden excited last season. Except for the injuries and games missed thing, he still finished as the number five player on a per-game basis. While the shot attempts went from 22 down to 16, the dimes went from seven to over 10. The efficiency from the field also increased. Not known as a defensive maven, Harden does get his D on and has an outside chance of being a 1/1/1 player. The pace at which the Nets play is juicy for fantasy which allows every side of the HKD triumvirate to be successful. Harden has been durable for much of his career and I didn’t knock him too bad for games played. He was out of shape last season which could have contributed to some of the injuries he suffered last season.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 24.16 8.1 10.62 1.36 .82 4.03 2.7 46% 84%
- STEPHEN CURRY – I was cruising down the fantasy streets when a sign caught my eye: Best Curry in the land. Intrigued, I spread open the beads draping down from the archway and made my way in. I was immediately greeted by another sign: 6. Definitely 6. Entering drafts last season, Curry was being overlooked a bit as he left a bad taste in many of mouths due to only playing five games the prior season. Many profited as Curry was spicy hot, finishing as the number two player in fantasy. Looking back at his history, prior to the 2019 season, he finished as the 4, 2, 3, 1, 2, 4, and 4 player. L. O. L. He’s elite in points, tres, and free throw percentage while chipping in boards, dimes, and steals.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 31.01 5.27 6.12 1.19 .17 3.4 5.1 48% 87%
- KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS – In KAT’s first three seasons, he never missed a game. He became the gold standard for fantasy because he contributed in every KAT while actually being on the court. Then an ankle injury, a concussion, and some knee issues forced him to miss some games. Last year, the floor exploded into a sinkhole as he suffered a wrist injury, caught the Rona, and had to deal with the death of his mother due to COVID. I initially had his games projection lower but last year seems like an outlier year so I bumped him back up. In his career, he’s finished as the 12, 6, 5, 5, 5, and 11 player for fantasy on a per-game basis. He contributes across the board and doesn’t hurt you in any category. There’s a chance you could get KAT at a slight discount a la Curry last year.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 25.09 11.56 4.08 .91 1.36 3.06 2.31 50% 82%
- DAMIAN LILLARD – The defensive stats are lacking a bit for Dame but he plays a ton of minutes and rarely misses games. And that’s half the battle. Yo, Joe! That said, he’s no Average Joe on the court as he’s hoisted at least 19 shots per game over the last six seasons and is elite in points, tres, dimes, and free throw percentage.
I always love this:
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 27.9 4.42 7.38 1.08 .28 2.88 3.78 46% 87%
- KEVIN DURANT – Durant looked damn good last season and over the summer during the Olympics. The injury risk is real, and I did knock him down in the games played projection as a result. That said, even with that, he’s so damn good on a per-game basis that he slots in here. He can legitimately be the number one player on a per-game basis, which he’s done three times in the last eight years. During that span, he’s never been lower than 8. Crazy. Durant stuffs the stat sheet and could be a 1/1/1 player if he upped the steals a bit. The efficiency is insane and the Nets play at a fast pace so everyone can eat.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 26.93 7.48 5.78 .98 1.25 3.19 2.31 50% 85%
- ANTHONY DAVIS – As with Durant, the injury risk is real. How many players have a dedicated Twitter account to document whether they are hurt or not? Last season, AD only played in 36 games. The prior year, he played in 62 and has finished as the 2, 2, 1, 2, 5, 1, and 2 player on a per-game basis. The efficiency numbers aren’t as robust as Durant’s but he delivers more defensive stats. Now, the addition of Russell Westbrook could take away some rebounds but he could also get more easy buckets since Westbrook is so good at breaking down and making defenses converge on him. There’s also been chatter of Marc Gasol retiring, which could mean more center minutes, where he thrives. AD can legitimately be the numero uno player for fantasy and could be a bargain for those drafting in the middle or end of the first round this season. Hmmm, kind of like how Jokic owners scooped him up in the middle of the first last year. He just needs to be on the court.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 23.6 8.84 3.19 1.42 2.1 2.38 .92 49% 79%
- JAYSON TATUM – The progression has been incremental for Tatum since his rookie season. The minutes, points, boards, and dimes have increased every season. He was a top 60 player the first two years but was top 15 the last two seasons. I don’t think he has top-five upside, since the blocks are light and the field goal percentage isn’t great. That said, he’s super solid and provides plenty of tres, boards, and dimes while playing around 36 minutes per game. He’s the vanilla ice cream with no toppings or sprinkles of fantasy hoops.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 25.62 7.17 4.55 1.22 .7 2.62 2.98 45% 83%
- NIKOLA VUCEVIC – Just how competitive is the Nikola Pantheon? Geez. Vuc is a top 10 player in the Son projections, yet security won’t even give him the time of day. The defensive stats are lacking for a big man, which kind of stinks, but he delivers tres from the position, shoots very well from the free-throw line, and posts a low turnover rate. There are tons of points and boards as well. Last season, he posted 48 dub-dubs, good for fifth in the NBA. Nikola Jokic led the league with 60. The Bulls added a ton of new pieces so it will be interesting to see how the puzzle fits and operates, but Vucevic should be an integral part of it and continue to garner a high usage rate.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 20 10.88 3.2 .92 .8 1.76 2.08 48% 80%
- KYRIE IRVING – Three Nets in the Top 10. Crazy. Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short were iconic as the Three Amigos. Can Harden, Kyrie, and Durant hang? Are they better? Hmmm, now that I think about it, they are not even in the same stratosphere. Win a chip and we’ll start the conversation. Better yet, play in the same game together first. Has a team ever had three players in the Top 10 for fantasy before? I can’t think of one. As with Durant and AD, Kyrie has missed plenty of games throughout his career, whether it be for injury or “other” reasons. When he’s on the court, though, he’s a fantasy beast and has finished in the top 10 in the last three seasons. He has the AND1 handle package and literally stuffs the stat sheet, even notching 0.7 blocks last season. It’s the efficiency that’s really been impressive, as he shot over 50% from the field last season and 92% from the line. Tons of points, tres, dimes, and steals. He even boards well for a guard. The environment is so fantasy-friendly in Brooklyn.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 25.09 4.42 5.95 1.36 .51 2.38 2.72 47% 86%