by Will Overton
The small forward position is the cream of the crop in this year’s fantasy basketball world, especially at the top. There could be as many as five small forwards selected in the first round of fantasy basketball drafts this season. It’s not just top heavy either with some good young talent in the middle rounds as well:
1) Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors
2) Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs
3) LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers
4) Paul George – Indiana Pacers
5) Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks
6) Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks
7) Gordon Hayward – Utah Jazz
8) Danilo Gallinari – Denver Nuggets
9) Rudy Gay – Sacramento Kings
10) Chandler Parsons – Memphis Grizzlies
11) Jae Crowder – Boston Celtics
12) Tobias Harris – Detroit Pistons
13) Trevor Ariza – Houston Rockets
14) Evan Fournier – Orlando Magic
15) Harrison Barnes – Dallas Mavericks
16) Otto Porter Jr – Washington Wizards
17) Kent Bazemore – Atlanta Hawks
18) DeMarre Carroll – Toronto Raptors
19) Brandon Ingram – Los Angeles Lakers
20) Dario Saric – Philadelphia 76ers
21) Evan Turner – Portland Trail Blazers
22) Robert Covington – Philadelphia 76ers
23) Luol Deng – Los Angeles Lakers
24) Andre Iguodala – Golden State Warriors
25) Justice Winslow – Miami Heat
26) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Charlotte Hornets
27) T.J. Warren – Phoenix Suns
28) Bojan Bogdanovic – Brooklyn Nets
29) Tyreke Evans – New Orleans Pelicans
30) Wilson Chandler – Denver Nuggets
Sleeper: T.J. Warren – The 23 year old wing player is going undrafted in most leagues at this point, and that is a mistake. An injury to P.J. Tucker has opened the door for Warren to take the starting job this preseason and he’s been doing his part to stake claim. Warren is just 23 years old, but he’s more polished as a scorer than we have seen from him yet and he’s good for a three-pointer and a steal per game, with the upside of 1.5 per game at each if he’s playing 30+ minutes. I like Warren to take and hold the starting job and to really establish himself on fantasy radars when he does it.
Deep Sleeper: Jerami Grant – The Sixers rotation is deep and a little bit hard to predict, but the injury to Ben Simmons has created an opportunity for Jerami Grant. At this point Grant is being drafted in about the same amount of leagues as Warren, I just have him as the deeper sleeper because of the rotation unpredictability. Grant’s highlight reel jumps off the computer screen and you can’t help but wonder what he could do with regular playing time. Grant is a big time shot blocker who also gets close to a steal per game, grabs some boards and had an inconsistent, but sometimes successful offensive game. Grant is a great flier in deep leagues because of his potential.
Bust: Tyreke Evans – It’s so hard to know what to do with Tyreke Evans, especially given the recent information about his having blood clots after the knee surgery. There is no timetable for his return, though at this point we know he won’t be ready for opening night. His potential is alluring, especially with Jrue Holiday also likely missing a lot of time. That said, it’s impossible to predict when he’ll be back and right now he is being picked around Otto Porter Jr and DeMarre Carroll which just doesn’t make sense for the risk. Evans is really only a late round flier.
More Small Forward Notes
- Knowing where to pick the Greek Freak this season is very difficult. The guy has flown up the draft boards to where he is now being picked towards the end of the first round or beginning of the second round. The draft position has a lot to do with his second half where he averaged 18.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 7.2 APG, 1.9 BPG and 1.4 SPG. Those numbers are absolutely insane and now he has to prove he can do it for a full season and not just a half one. Because of his potential he’s absolutely worth his draft position.
- No one will argue that Carmelo Anthony isn’t on the decline, but as a third round pick he’s still tempting. Anthony is still a great pure scorer and a three-point shooter. Maybe his points declined a bit last year, but he’s still almost guaranteed to be somewhere in the 20 – 23 PPG range. Anthony also does more than score that people don’t recognize. Carmelo grabs rebounds (7.7 RPG last year) and had a career high in assists last year with 4.2 APG. Anthony might not be a sexy pick to make in round three, but he’s a solid one for sure.
- The Detroit Pistons are going to be without Reggie Jackson for the first month or so of the season and someone has to take his place as the go to scorer in Detroit. I think the frontrunner for that job is Tobias Harris who joined the team in midseason last year. Harris had a lot of success after joining Detroit last season, including raising his three-point shooting, hitting 37.7% of the his attempts after the trade. Harris isn’t the do it all contributor we once hoped he’d be, but he’s a solid scorer and rebounder who hits threes and should get a steal per game too.
- The wildcard of all wildcards in the fantasy basketball world this preseason is Dario Saric of the Philadelphia 76ers. Saric was drafted a few years ago by Philadelphia and is just coming stateside this year for his rookie campaign. With Ben Simmons out for the year there is little doubt that Saric is in for a starting job now and a bigger role on the team as well I presume. Saric is a solid scorer with good range and athleticism to get to the hoop. Saric also has potentially to be a solid playmaker and could see a lot of time with the ball in his hands which would give a huge boost to his fantasy value. Saric has work to do, but he’s still going to be a solid fantasy asset this season, just with some ups and downs.
- As far as late round three-point specialists go, Bojan Bogdanovic might be my favorite one, and I am finding myself owning him in a lot of leagues this season. Bogdanovic is a sharpshooter from downtown, hitting 1.6 threes per game last season and hitting 38.2% of his attempts. In the second half is when he really took off, knocking down 2.2 per game and shooting over 40% while scoring 15.1 PPG. Bogdanovic won’t do much more than score points and hit threes, but he should do both of those things in bunches on a really weak Brooklyn squad.