The Top Fifty? Fiddy? Fitty? This is where things get very (berry?) interesting as team builds and paths dictate where different players go. Big men get swallowed up while dimes begin to dissipate. It’s an interesting area for sure and can make or break many of teams. Let’s get to it.
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.
- MIKAL BRIDGES – There was no more money in the bank. My wife slapped me upside the head and asked, “How could you be so stupid?!” Well, I calmly replied, the man said that he had a bridge to sell me. See, honey, I’m in the heart of fantasy hoops draft season and all I can think of is Mikal Bridges, so all I heard was that he had Bridges to sell me. I love Bridges this year. He hurts you in zero cats and contributes in all. He is the new Otto Porter, and at 25 years old, is just entering his prime. Double-digit points. Possible 1/1/1 player. Over 50% from the field and 84% from the line. Now you understand why there’s no more money in the bank? You would’ve done the same thing.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 12.7 4.25 2.08 1.12 .89 .8 1.82 49 81
- KHRIS MIDDLETON – Warm it up, Khris. I’m about to….win a freaking NBA Championship. What a run for the Bucks and everyone focuses on Giannis. And for good reason but they don’t win that chip without Middleton. He’s a professional getter of buckets but in the old-school fashion. No dunks or breaking ankles with a handle package. He drains Js and is a sniper in the mid-range. YMCAs across the globe have already hung his jersey on the brick walls. The only thing he doesn’t do is get his Mutombo on.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 19.2 6.08 4.8 1.12 .12 2.43 2.24 47 86
- MYLES TURNER – For the OGs, you know how many Myles I’ve walked. My abacus cracked from cataloging the endeavor. So, last season had me weeping from happiness. After years of disappointments, Turner finished as the 13th player on a per-game basis. Now, the overall value was due to an insane 3.4 blocks per game. That number will likely come down. I still wish that he would assert himself more on offense and grab boards, but he’s content to hang out in downtown and drain tres. I get it. Have you seen modern-day downtowns these days? Sheeiiittt. Turner does get his 211 on and could be a 1/1/1 player. If that happens, then cousin Tina will be singing angelic tunes. We know that drafting blocks often come with a hit in free-throw percentage, but Turner shot a more-than-respectable 78% from the line last season. These are the reasons why I walked all those Myles. And I will walk many more.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 12.03 6.6 1.2 .81 2.7 1.41 1.5 46 76
- CHRIS BOUCHER – Boucher is always a tough one for me. When I watch him play, he’s so freaking skinny that I feel that he should indeed be the water boy. But then he catapults a tres into the bucket and leaps over tall buildings to slam one home or mimics Plastic Man and swats a shot as if it were a fly buzzing around the house. On a per-game basis, he’s a freaking beast. I have come to acknowledge that. But will he get consistent minutes? That is the question. He obviously can’t play against bigs like Embiid and Nurse doesn’t always seem to trust him. Khem Birch will likely start at center and Pascal Siakam will return from injury at some point. That said, he’s going to get run. And we know what he can do when he’s on the court.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 13.8 6.72 1.08 .57 1.8 .84 1.56 48 78
- DEANDRE AYTON – I like Ayton a ton. I like Deandre Ayton. Got it? He disappointed fantasy owners last season, as expectations were high going into his third season. It took time to get acclimated to a Chris Paul-run offense. By the end of the season, though, he was doing exactly what we thought he’d be doing. Ayton was doing a ton of what Ayton do. Which is score points down low (he does have a nice free-throw range game), grab boards, block shots, and produce excellent percentages – over 60% from the field and mid-to-high 70% from the line.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 14.94 10.54 1.39 .62 1.24 1.55 .06 55 76
- JONAS VALANCIUNAS – He should change his name to Vonas Valanciunas because he’s no JV. Too good for that and he’s been killing it on the varsity team. Last season, he was tied for the third-most dub-dubs in the league. The blocks are a little light for a big man but the excellent percentages mitigate the impact. He now goes from Memphis to New Orleans. The big unknown is how many minutes will he play. Throughout his career, he’s averaged at least 28 minutes in only one season. I have him down for 28 and think he’s a big part of the Pelicans squad.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 15.82 11.48 1.79 .44 1.03 1.68 .34 53 77
- RICHAUN HOLMES – Orale, Holmes. I warned you in the intro that this is where big men get swallowed up. Holmes may be one of my favorite big men as he will provide a good amount of blocks without hurting the free-throw percentage. There’s a slight modicum of risk since Luke Walton coaches the Kings and he could morph into dummy head mode and play one of Alex Len, Tristan Thompson, Damian Jones, or Neemias Queta minutes. Hey, it’s Luke Walton. That said, I feel pretty good about projecting Holmes for 28 minutes. Orale, Holmes!
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 13.05 7.98 1.4 .78 1.4 1.12 .03 55 78
- OG ANUNOBY – To start his career, OG finished as the 287th, 290th, and 73rd player for fantasy on a per-game basis. Then last season he broke out to finish 37th, as the playing time increased, points were more voluminous, and dimes ticked up. After being a 15% usage player, that number ticked up to 20% last year. In Masai We Trust. Man, he really knows what he’s doing and OG is on the precipice of breaking out as the offensive game has caught up with the defensive prowess.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 17.08 5.95 2.45 1.57 .77 1.75 2.52 48 76
- TRAE YOUNG – Trae will be long gone by now. In NFBKC drafts, his ADP is 13th overall. Granted, those leagues are 8-cat so Trae gets a big bump up without turnovers. That said, he has a lot of holes in his fantasy game. The field goal percentage is poor and contributions in the defensive cats are lacking. Many just focus on the points, tres, and dimes. Speaking of tres, the attempts from downtown fell by almost one from the prior year. During that 2019 season when he finished as the 17th overall player, the usage rate was 36% and he attempted 3.4 tres per game in 35.3 minutes. Last year, the usage rate dropped to 32%, the tres plummeted to 2.2, and he played 33.7 minutes per game. Remember that it’s a category game that we play (unless it’s a points league, duh) and they all have equal weight. Trae requires a certain build so be cognizant of his strengths and weakness when drafting him.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 25.13 3.91 9.35 .9 .2 4.21 2.31 44 87
- CJ MCCOLLUM – Ha! I can never resist. McCollum has had two forays into the top 30s for fantasy in his career – last season and in 2016. Outside of that, he’s usually been in the top 40 to 60 range. What’s the allure or CJ? He scores a ton of points with plenty of tres. The free-throw percentage is decent in the 80% range and the turnovers are super low. He also chips in a healthy amount of dimes and boards. The bad? Lack of defensive stats and the field goal percentage isn’t terrible but isn’t great either.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 22.75 4.13 4.55 .8 .45 1.5 3.29 46 80
- ISAIAH STEWART – Yosemite Sam barged into my house and said, “I say…well, I say…Draft Isa….well, draft Isaiah Stewart.” Ok, Yosemite. Now please leave and stop firing your pistols in the house. As a rookie last year, he had a respectable year, finishing as the 136th player on a per-game basis. He only played 21.4 minutes per game but grabbed boards, blocked shots, and was efficient from the field. He even chipped in some steals. As with most big men, no tres or dimes and poor free-throw shooting. That said, in 14 games as a starter, he was a top 35 player and shot 78% from the line. With Plumlee out of town, the center position is his presumably. Kelly Olynyk was signed to a big contract but I think both can coexist. He should play 28-30 minutes and get Yosemite Sam blasting his pistols into the air quite often.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 10.75 8.96 1.17 .84 1.73 1.37 .42 51 73
- SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER – Oh, Shai. May I call you Shai the Great? When I watch you play basketball, the way you move is so Gilgeous-Alexander. We have a future superstar in the making here with Shai. Now, there are some concerns. OKC has no intention of winning games so he could miss games down the stretch. Drafting Josh Giddey could take the ball out of his hands at points and decrease the dimes a bit. That said, when he’s on the court, he’s going to play a ton of minutes, garner a high usage, provide tres, boards, dimes, chip in a little something something in the defensive categories, aaaaaaannnnndddd……..*takes a puff from inhaler*…..convert a high percentage from both the field and line.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 24.14 4.76 4.76 1.02 .68 2.38 2.04 48 79
- JAYLEN BROWN – Apparently a lot, as he finished as the 36th player on a per-game basis last season. The usage increased from 24.7 to 28.5 which resulted in four more shots a game and almost five more points. He learned that sharing is caring and upped the dimes by over one per game. The biggest improvement in Brown’s game since his rookie year has been the free-throw shooting. He used to shoot in the mid-to-high 60% range. Two years ago, he finished with a 72% mark and last year increased that to 76%. With Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier both taking their talents to NYC, the duo of Brown and Jayson Tatum will soak up most of the usage and guide the Celtics to…..As a Lakers fan, hopefully not to the Promised Land. I’m cool with a meeting in the Finals, though. I miss those Lakers/Celtics games back in the 80s.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 25.3 6.12 3.63 1.19 .54 2.72 2.89 48 78
- JOHN COLLINS – Yes, I’d like a martini. Shaken, not stirred. Calm down, folks. I know that’s a James Bond thing but every time I read John Collins in my head, I think of that. Yeah, I hear ya. I definitely need to check many of the neural network connections in my dome. Two years ago, Collins finished as a top 10 player, so there were high expectations going into last season. Things were weird in Atlanta last season, though. The pace went way down and even Trae stopped shooting as many tres. That should require a legal name change. Anyways, for Collins, the minutes decreased by four a game which contributed to a decrease across the board. He finished as the 46th player on a per-game basis. Collins has F and C eligibility and provides plenty of points, boards, some blocks, tres from the big man position, and excellent percentages. The dimes and steals are light, though.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 17.52 7.98 1.35 .6 .99 1.5 1.38 52 79
- JRUE HOLIDAY – Jrue definitely deserves a Holiday after last season. NBA Champion. Olympic gold medal. Oh, he also donated a large portion of his salary to help Black-owned small businesses and nonprofits. Respect. What an acquisition for the Bucks, on the court, and in the community. He took over games when needed but it was his defense that really made an impact. For fantasy, he’s solid across the board and finished as the 20th player. He provides points, tres, boards, dimes, and steals. He also blocks a decent number of shots for a guard and the percentages are great from the position – 50% from the field and 78% from the line. Maybe I have him too low.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 17.25 4.48 6.4 1.6 .73 2.88 1.86 47 77
- KRISTAPS PORZINGIS – Every time I watch Porzingis play, these are the thoughts in my pea brain. How does a man so tall move around so well? He sure does shoot well for a big man. He’s 7-foot tall. Why doesn’t he play down on the block more? Is that Ivan Drago reincarnate? Then I just keep hearing, “If he dies, he dies.” Unfortunately, Drago reincarnate has done plenty of dying over the years as he’s missed 104 games in his career. That said, on a per-game basis, Porzingis is a beast. He’s never finished outside the top 50 and has been in the top 25 the last three seasons. He doesn’t dish out many dimes or get his 211 on. The field-goal percentage is poor for a big man. The free-throw shooting is elite, though, and the blocks, boards, and points are voluminous. Will he die again? That is the question.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 20.15 8.99 1.7 .62 1.55 1.55 2.33 46 80
- DERRICK WHITE – Mr. Black? Yes, Mr. Pink. How may I help you? Where did Mr. Blue go and will Mr. White lead the Spurs to the Promised Land? With DeMar DeRozan no longer in San Antonio, Mr. White should see a big usage bump. The field goal percentage is poor but the blocks are excellent from the guard position. There’s an injury concern for sure but if he can stay healthy Mr. White could score close to 20 points with a trifecta of tres and boards, a handful of dimes, with steals, blocks, and excellent free-throw percentage. He has an outside shot of being a 1/1/1 player if he does what Mr. White does, which is be a criminal.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 20.16 3.58 5.44 .76 1.12 2.08 2.78 45 82
- DONOVAN MITCHELL – Mitchell and Bam were the two players in recent memory who I immediately fell in love with during the Summer League. He was such a dog, getting to the rim at will and locking down opposing players. He played with such a passion that you would’ve thought that it was March Madness. The usage rate was over 33% last season and he attempted 20.6 shots per game. That translated to 26.4 points and 3.4 tres. He also grabbed over four boards and dished out five dimes while racking up a steal per game. The free-throw shooting is excellent. The only blemishes to his game are the lack of blocks and spotty efficiency from the field. I will slide into this DM any day of the week.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 25.57 4.42 5.1 1.02 .34 2.72 3.06 45 81
- JARRETT ALLEN – Basketball Monster projects Allen at 100 on a per-game basis. Hmmm, I trust BM a lot and I’ve gone over Allen many times. This is what the projections spit out. Allen is all about the boards, blocks, and field goal percentage, and he is damn good at those three things. The free-throw shooting isn’t great like most big men and there are no tres, little steals, and few dimes. Hey, but at least the turnovers are low! Allen did finish as the 84th player on a per-game basis last season but he doesn’t miss many games. I did weight total numbers more than per-game numbers so he gets a big boost and is likely the reason why he’s situated here.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 13.16 10.2 1.71 .51 1.44 1.5 .11 55 72
- CLINT CAPELA – C&C Music Factory is always making us dance. Except when he’s at the free-throw line. In his rookie season, he shot 17% from the line. Granted, that was in only 12 games but still. The following season, he shot 37% from the line. How is that possible? At least he’s improved to the 50% range but it looks like he’s topped out in the high 50 to low 60% range. The crazy thing is that he was a top 25 player despite the poor free-throw shooting. 14.3 boards, two blocks, and 59% from the field will do that. As with Gobert, Capela requires a certain build so be cognizant of his strengths and weaknesses.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 13.8 14.1 .9 .72 1.92 1.29 0 54 62
- ZACH LAVINE – LaVine should ask the league office if he can change his number from 8 to Z, in the Zorro font. I imagine that the league response is, “Well, Zacharius. 8 is a number and Z is not, so no.” LaVine should respond with, “That 8 is in fact not for a number but for the symbol of eternity. As a result, that should warrant me from changing the symbol from 8 to Z.” League response……crickets. Zacharius Zzzzoro LaVine was freaking amazing last season. For the first time in his career, he cracked the top 25 for fantasy as he scored a shit ton of points, drained a shit ton of tres, grabbed a shit ton of boards, and dished out a shit ton of dimes. The defensive stats are somewhat lacking, though, but the percentages. Oh, those percentages. 50% from the field and 84% from the line. There is a modicum of uncertainty due to all the new acquisitions in Chicago, but he should still maintain a usage rate in the 30% range and hoist around 19 shots per game.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 24.47 4.9 4.9 .8 .52 3.5 3.12 47 81
- TYRESE HALIBURTON – Last year, board members at Halliburton were losing their shit. Oil prices went below $20 a barrel. The world was awash with Green this, Green that. The only green that they were accustomed to was $$$. “We need to pivot, gentlemen. This black gold isn’t going to last forever and now we got electric cars zooming around all over the place.” The young intern in the back with the crooked tie stood up. Cleared his throat. Then said, “Tyrese Haliburton shall lead us to the Promised Land.” As a rookie, he posted top 70 numbers on a per-game basis. He probably won’t ever be a prolific scorer but he can drain tres, sees the court so well, and is always so poised. The percentages are good and he gets his 211 on. From the guard position, 0.5 blocks ain’t bad, yo and he rarely turns the ball over. Unlike the black gold that Halliburton use to drill up from the Earth, this Haliburton doesn’t hurt you anywhere while being a positive contributor across the board.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 13.17 3 5.4 1.35 .54 1.62 2.1 47 80
- BRANDON INGRAM – I always feel joy when I see Ingram ball out now. He was a young pup when he joined the Lakers, ridiculed for his stony eyes and frail physique, clowned for his shooting woes. But he worked. And worked. And worked. Once, a 62% shooter from the line and 40% from the field, Ingram now shoots 46% from the field and 87% from the line. With his length, he’s able to get his shot up against anyone and now drains tres after being negligent from that distance earlier in his career. He double-fists dimes and boards….Phrasing, Son. Phrasing. Fine. He provides a handful of boards and dimes. If only he could contribute more in the defensive stats. Until he does that, he will languish in this area for fantasy. Which is good. Just not great.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 22.97 4.95 4.75 .75 .66 2.47 2.24 46 84
- ROBERT COVINGTON – Lord Covington used to rule the fantasy lands with his across-the-board production and low turnovers. Now, his lordship has been revoked but that doesn’t mean he’s a peasant. The field goal percentage has always been rough but he’s still a 1/1/1 player. He just doesn’t score as much as he used to.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 8.58 6.72 1.69 1.4 1.18 .96 1.86 43 78
- JUSUF NURKIC – He just needs to stay healthy. Back in 2018, he finished as a top 40 player and could replicate the feat this year if he can stay on the court. There’s a new coach in town who could make him a little more of a priority on offense. And why not? He shoots 50% from the field and is an excellent passer, as the four dimes per game indicate. The free-throw shooting isn’t great in the low 70% range and he doesn’t provide tres, but he grabs a ton of boards, gets his Mutombo on, and is a capable criminal. Just stay healthy.
PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT 14.9 10.36 4.03 1.12 1.4 2.24 .34 48 76