That song always gets me so pumped up and I should probably just make it my official theme song, as I’ve now posted it two years in a row. Whatever. We back baby!!! The offseason was absolutely nutty, and I apologize for not pumping out much content, but that will be rectified going forward. I’m here for you, the people. I am so looking forward to this upcoming season, as the landscape has changed tremendously. From a fantasy perspective, usage has been redistributed and the dreaded load management will take on an ever-increasing importance. As a result, I’ve incorporated games played into my projection model. Which brings me to this all-important public service announcement:

These rankings must be utilized in context….of your league settings, team roster construction, average draft position, and personal preference. For example, if you draft Mitchell Robinson, you could pair him with Rudy Gobert and dominate blocks or construct a more balanced roster and fill in at tres, assists, and points. Maybe you don’t care about turnovers or free throw percentage and decide to punt those categories. That obviously changes the value of everyone. I have someone ranked at 10 but ADP is at 25? If you want said player, you probably don’t have to take him in the first round. Some want to leave the first two rounds with one big man and one guard. The point is that the puzzle is always evolving and there are many paths to constructing it. Use these rankings as a guide, not as the be-all and end-all.

As for my process, I went to each team and tried to figure out their rotations with minutes distributions as best I could. Huge shoutout to Viz, who heads Razzball Hockey and is a knowledgeable hoops fan (even though he’s a Jazz supporter) for his assistance, as he provided a fresh pair of eyes and perspective in going through everything. Then I went to each player and projected the per minute stats for each player. So, yes, there is subjectivity in the process. With all the players in the overall pool, I then took the z-score for each category and added up those numbers to produce an overall value number. For free throw and field goal percentage, I weighted them for volume. In addition, I gave a slight boost to assists. As mentioned above, I incorporated games played into the process this season, which is subjective, so keep that in mind, but that’s what I’m rolling with because I think it will be an important factor going forward. For example, some players I’d use the average of the last three seasons, while for a player like Kawhi, I think 60-65 games is the likely outcome. I did not project anyone for 82 games. The highest number I gave was 78, for those that care.

So, there you have it. I hope I don’t make another Corey Brewer-type mistake this year, but at least I’m confident in knowing that you guys will keep me honest.

One last thing. I’m using Fantrax for the positional designations because Yahoo didn’t have their player pool up when I wrote this.

 

1) Anthony Davis (PF/C – Los Angeles Lakers)

When on the court, AD runs circles around every other player in fantasy. I even put his games played at 69, yet he still takes the top spot. He shoots over 50% from the field, 80% from the line, will chip in a tick under one tres, scores over 25 ppg, grabs double-digit boards, steals 1.5 and blocks over 2.5 shots per game, has a low turnover rate, and even dishes out a handful of dimes. He possesses the skills of a guard, yet is the same height as Alonzo Mourning and 10-15 pounds heavier! He arrives in Los Angeles to team up with LeBron James on a Lakers team that was third in offensive pace last season. Unfortunately, that pace will likely come down, as new coach Frank Vogel led the Pacers to finish 6, 19, 25, 20, 19, and 11 in offensive pace during his tenure in Indiana. Fortunately, it doesn’t matter. AD is that good. But the injury concern I hear from the whiners in the peanut gallery…..That’s always a concern, but the two seasons prior to last year, AD played 75 games each. Throw out last year’s 56 number due to the trade drama. Teamed up with LeBron and a bevy of shooters surrounding him, AD will have the space and opportunites to put up monster numbers. Just make sure to build that shrine, pray every morning and at night, and traverse the world to find and eradicate all the AD voodoo dolls in circulation.

Projection:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT GP
27.04 11.16 2.52 1.51 2.52 2.16 .86 50% 80% 69

 

2) Karl-Anthony Towns (C – Minnesota Timberwolves)

Last season left a bad taste in my mouth for KAT. Was it the five games he missed after he played all 82 the prior three seasons? Nope. He finished #5 in per-game value, so it’s not that. Naw, what soured me on KAT was how Jimmy Butler straight punked him. Butler is a dog and KAT is, well, a cat, so I guess it makes sense. Plus, Butler is a man while KAT is only 23 years old. Alright, I get it. I’m probably being a little too harsh, but I have a hard time believing KAT can lead a team to the championship. We here for fantasy, though, not that silly real-life world, so we good. Like AD, KAT contributes in every cat. Ha! I didn’t plan that. I swear. He provides more tres, boards, and dimes than AD, but he turns the ball over more and can’t hang in the steals and blocks….cats. He will likely play more games than AD, though. Regardless, it’s all there. Anyways, this may be a floor vs ceiling debate. Personally, I choose ceiling but don’t hate on anyone if they went with KAT. Meow. Before I go, there was one thing that got me thinking and almost motivated me to bring KAT’s mpg down, and that was Ryan Saunders. When Tom Thibodeau the Psycho was coach, we knew his rotations were set in stone so that every player would get the exact minutes he was slotted for. In the 42 games that Saunders coached, though, KAT only averaged 32 mpg. That number was around 36 with Thibs. So, I was going to bring the minutes for KAT down, until I saw that he gave Andrew Wiggins close to 36 mpg. I’m thinking if he wants to continue this coaching thing, he will probably give KAT his minutes.

Projection:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT GP
24.66 12.7 3.16 .86 1.58 2.84 1.8 52% 81% 78

 

3) James Harden (SG – Houston Rockets)

Harden had a usage rate of 40.5 last season. Forty. Point. Five!!! That’s the second-highest usage rate in forever ever, more specifically since 1977 and 1968 if we include the ABA. You know who had the highest usage rate season of all time? Russell Westbrook in 2016 with a 41.65 rate. Now Westbrook and Harden are on the same team. You do the math. As a result, I have the shot attempts as well as the usage rate coming down for Harden. Historically, players that have had insane one-season usage rates weren’t able to maintain those levels the next year. Trying to figure out Harden’s usage rate this season is difficult because we don’t know how D’Antoni will utilize he and Russ. I did go back to the OKC days when Russ played with Durant, and both players had usage rates around 30, so I landed at 32 with Harden. With that said, he’s going to play a shit ton of minutes and has only missed 15 games over the past five years combined. The turnovers will be high but the across-the-board production and sky-high ceiling potential cannot be ignored.

Projection:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT GP
27.54 5.97 7.48 1.8 .57 4.5 3.96 45% 84% 78

 

4) Stephen Curry (PG – Golden State Warriors)

The year before Kevin Durant came to the Warriors, Curry had a career-high usage rate of 32.6 and delivered a season of epic proportions: 20.2 shot attempts, 30.1 points, 5.1 tres on 11.2 attempts, 5.4 boards, 6.7 dimes, and 2.1 steals!!! That was WITH Klay Thompson playing as well. To start this upcoming season, he’s going to be the Lone Ranger with his sidekick Tonto Green. Will Curry approach Harden’s insane 40% rate from last year? Probably not because the Warriors acquired D’Angelo Russell, but it’s still within the realm of possibilities. There are health concerns with Curry, as he’s played 69, 51, and 79 games in each of the past three seasons. As a result, I put him down for 66 games, yet Curry still ranks high due to the tres, points, boards, dimes, excellent free throw percentage, and steals. I did have one thought that had me considering lowering Curry and it was this: What if teams deploy the box-and-one on Curry during the regular season? I asked Viz about it and he said that teams don’t usually employ trickery during the regular season and that, bottom line, Curry is just too damn good. Makes sense to me, but it’s something to think about.

Projection:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT GP
28.02 5.1 5.98 1.39 .2 3.02 4.9 47% 85% 66

 

5) Nikola Jokic (C – Denver Nuggets)

Nikola Tesla may have given us the AC electricity system, but how many triple-dubs did he produce? Exactly. Nikola Jokic had 12 of those last season, which puts him at 32 for his career. Sorry, Tesla but Jokic has surpassed you on the pantheon of Nikolas. Last season, Jokic dished out 7.3 dimes, which put him in the top 10 amongst all players. You’ll also get good field goal and free throw percentages. While he only shot 30% from downtown last year, he’s a career 34% from that distance, and I expect a bounceback this season. Really, the only thing Jokic is light in is blocks, which he consistently ends in the .7 range per game.

Projection:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT GP
21.09 11.13 7.52 1.44 .73 3.2 1.18 49% 80% 76

 

6) Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF – Milwaukee Bucks)

Before I begin, I just want to let you all know that I can type Antetokounmpo like a freaking boss. I sure hope I spelled it right. The free throw shooting isn’t great, but everything else is μεγαλοπρεπής. It’s so crazy to think that G hasn’t even scratched the ceiling yet. I have a feeling he’s going to get the tres and free throw shooting up at some point. When he does, it’s game over for the rest of the league. I’m still a proponent of the Olympic handball offense for G. Just YouTube it and you’ll understand. Set two or three picks for him beyond the three-point line, give him space to jump behind the arc, then he could finger roll it in for….yup, it would be worth three points. My only concerns with G are that the Bucks will be too good as a team and his knee soreness issue. As a result, the Bucks could limit his minutes and give him rest because they will likely blow most of the teams out by halftime.

Projection:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT GP
25.98 11.64 5.82 1.24 1.44 3.39 .86 52% 75% 76

 

7) Damian Lillard (PG – Portland Trail Blazers)

Y’all know how much I love Dame Dolla! For those new to the community, now you know!

Never gets old. Anyways, the Clark Kent to Dame Dolla is Damian Lillard, who ain’t bad himself. Or is it the other way around? He’s so dope that his personas are like reversible jerseys. Like Harden above, Lillard does it all except contribute much in blocks. Also, the field goal percentage isn’t great. Whatever. The low turnover rate mitigates some of those negatives, but what puts the cherry on top for Lillard is that he’s so consistent and durable. In this new era of load management, actually playing is half the battle. Yo Joe!

Projection:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT GP
25.99 4.6 6.8 1.11 .39 2.8 2.99 44% 86% 76

 

8) Bradley Beal (SG – Washington Wizards)

This year, I want a top 5 pick. I’d feel okay with Giannis or Lillard, but they are a tier below the rest. At 8 is where things get the stomach churning. You’ll get a good player, but you’re way behind with little chance to match ceilings. Now, Beal really impressed me last year, as he showed that he could be the number one option on offense. He’s always been an excellent shooter, whether it be from spotting up, pulling up, or utilizing screens, but last year, displayed the ability to be the primary ball handler in pick-and-roll action. As a result, the dimes increased to a career-high 5 per game. He’s played 82 games in each of the past two season and averaged over 36 minutes per contest. Yo Joe! Beal will be in the same role for 2019, as John Wall is unlikely to play at all. My only concern is if the Wizards trade him at some point during the season. All indications are that both the Wizards and Beal are committed to each other, but life often comes at you fast.

Projection:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT GP
24.12 4.96 5.47 1.47 .57 2.59 2.52 46% 78% 78

 

9) Kemba Walker (PG – Boston Celtics)

The allure of Brad Stevens may have taken a hit after last season’s “debacle” (Celtics still finished 49-33 and ended as the #4 seed in the East), but he’s still an excellent coach and think Kemba will thrive in his system. The loss of Al Horford will hurt for sure, as he was a big that could space the floor, but I have confidence that Stevens will conjure up sets to best utilize the talent. Let’s not forget that the Celtics still have Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Gordon Hayward on the roster. And he was able to pull a career year from Isaiah Thomas in 2016. Like Lillard, Kemba has a low turnover rate and has played at least 79 games in each of the last four seasons. He will also provide across-the-board production except for blocks. In the first round, I’m of the belief that you want players that will contribute in as many categories as possible. In addition, most years you want to grab point guards early, as the quality falls off quickly, and that looks to be the case again this year.

Projection:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT GP
20.71 3.97 7 1.29 .4 2.21 2.55 44% 81% 78

 

10) Joel Embiid (C – Philadelphia 76ers)

It was very strange how the 76ers managed Embiid last season, as they unleashed him early in the season, only to give him rest down the stretch. Did management think they were in bizarro world? Regardless, they seem like a smart organization, so I’m of the belief that they will rectify that mistake. Which is good because, while he will miss games early in the season, he should be available down the stretch if need be. Could he miss games if they wrap up things in the weakened East? Sure, but there are two things that mitigate that fear for me from a general persepective. One, the trend for how the 76ers have utilized Embiid over his career has been a good one, as they’ve allowed him to do more each and every season. The comfort level is there. He will likely never be unleashed, especially since they brought in Al Horford to carry the load this season, but he doesn’t need to be. Which brings me to point number two. Embiid is a freaking amazing player! In real life and for fantasy. He’s so skilled and versatile that he contributes in every category. He’s a little light in steals, but 0.7 per game ain’t bad. If he were to get to 1 steal a game, he’d be in the 1/1/1 club. I have Embiid projected for 69 games, which I think is fair, as he’s played 64 and 63 games the past two seasons. Regardless, he still grades out as a top 10 player.

Projection:

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT GP
26.24 12.6 3.39 .66 2.73 3.49 1.19 48% 78% 69
  1. Phamtastic

    Phamtastic says:
    (link)

    Very nice rankings Son! You’re gonna get a lot of flak for ranking Giannis 6th lol, but I agree. So glad you have Kat at 2. Also a bold ranking but he’s as safe as they come.

    Also love Kemba in the top 10. I think he’s going to beast playing for Stevens. No Paul George in the top 10? As much as I hate Kawhi right now, I think he’s prob tdeserves to be in there too.

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      Thanks Pham! The lack of tres and minutes/games played lower G for me. KAT is as solid as they come. He could easily be the #1.

      I love both PG and Kawhi, but I’m really concerned about the number of games each play.

  2. Joe says:
    (link)

    My top 10 is similar..
    Harden
    Davis
    Curry
    Towns
    Jokic
    Lillard
    Beal
    Embiid
    Irving

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      I’m good with that

      • Joe says:
        (link)

        I can’t wait to see where you have these guys..
        Oubre Jr. K
        Harris, T
        Harris, G
        Brogdon, M
        Holiday, J
        Love, K
        Porzingis, K
        Paul, C

        • Son

          Son says:
          (link)

          I’m curious where you have them as well. Should be fun comparing

        • Phamtastic

          Phamtastic says:
          (link)

          I love Oubre a lot this year. Around top 50 for me.

          • Joe says:
            (link)

            My top 100 right now..which is a rough draft (above players)

            22) Holiday
            24) Porzinger
            30) Paul
            34) Harris,T
            35) Love
            49) Brogdon
            57) Oubre Jr.
            73) Harris, G

            • Son

              Son says:
              (link)

              We close on Jrue. Thought everyone would be much higher on him.
              Waaaaay lower on Porzinger
              Close on CP3, Tobias, Brogdon
              Lower on Love and Oubre
              Much lower on Harris

          • Son

            Son says:
            (link)

            I’ve got him lower. Spoiler alert: won’t be written about this upcoming post

      • Joe says:
        (link)

        EDIT:
        I have G right behind 🃏 Joker.. and PG13 12th Kemba 13th

        I knew something looked off.

        • Son

          Son says:
          (link)

          We the same on Joker and G. PG is the one where we have the biggest discrepancy. It’s similar to our Kawhi difference last year, although I didn’t knock PG down as much this year. Still in the top 25, but I got him down missing quite a few games

  3. Joe says:
    (link)

    I’m the one who whacked ya last year for kawhii being 50th. This year I’m ranking him 18 right after siakam.

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      Ha! Good call on Kawhi. I had my reasons, which were obviously wrong. I have Kawhi around there but Siakam way lower

      • Joe says:
        (link)

        I love Siakam in Roto… I see 53% 80% 1.1 18 7 3.8 1.1 1.1 1.6 but who knows

        • Son

          Son says:
          (link)

          I can see the upside for sure.

          I have him down for more points, lower field goal and free throw percentage, fewer boards, slightly less dimes, a little under 1 for both blocks and steals (your numbers may be more correct, but that’s factoring in some nice progression), and have more turnovers, as he will likely be handling the ball more with Kawhi out.

          We are close, though. I’m probably more conservative, especially since he’s transitioning into a new role, but the upside and development is within the range of outcomes for sure, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he matches or exceeds your numbers

  4. Joe says:
    (link)

    Yea and I chose these guys because I think they are all polarizing players for the upcomming season. Like I’m shocked you’re waaay lower on zinger. Are you worried a out time restrictions? Gary Harris IMO could finish anywhere from 45-110 or worse. I think he returns to health and 2017-18 form. Zinger just too much potential to rank much lower for me. Oubre Jr. will be interesting to see on your board. Love your work Son.

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      Yeah, I’ve got Zinger at 30 mpg, but only 58 games played.
      Agreed on Harris. His range of outcomes is wide. He should be healthy, but there are so many options on that squad. Plus, he doesn’t contribute much in boards, dimes, or blocks.
      I hear you on Zinger, but it doesn’t sound like they are going to unleash him this season. Next year, perhaps.
      Oubre was a tough one for me. I recognize I could be way off with him, but my reasons will be explained when I write him up. We will likely have some lively debates about him.
      Thanks Joe! Much appreciated

  5. I Just Wanna Kawhi says:
    (link)

    Finally a new season is upon us. Hah Nice list, Son! I got KAT as #2 on mine as well. Giannis I placed at 5, Jokic 6 and Dame 7. Pretty much the same as yours! G without having a realible 3 point shot and marginal FT% is such a bummer. While Lillard I think will have an MVP type of season. I’d like to think that players have a different kind of motivation for this upcoming season!

    I see you placed Jrue at 24 in your new post. Serves him right. I remember him sitting out games during our playoffs. And he’s still on a team that looks to finish in west bracket at no. 12 infront of my Suns. Lol A vet in a srubby west team, I’ll definitely pass.

    • Son

      Son says:
      (link)

      There he is!! Good to hear from you again. The season is right around the corner.

      As for Jrue, I feel your pain. Those things sting and linger for a while. With that said, I’m not sure if I have Jrue too low. He does do everything and the Pela will play fast. I’m just thinking there will be a lot of guys that will suck up usage.

Comments are closed.