2017-18 fantasy basketball preview: Top 200 overall

You’ve read all of our team-by-team fantasy basketball previews. You’ve checked out our primers on the top players at each position. Today, you’re ready for the grand finale: our overall Top 200 big board.

A few caveats of note before we dive in:

These rankings are reflective of nine-category head-to-head formats. They take into account an owner’s ability to punt certain categories, so poor free-throw shooters such as Rudy Gobert, Hassan Whiteside, DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard will be ranked higher here than for rotisserie formats.

You should be mindful of your own league’s scoring format while perusing these. If you’re in an eight-category league where turnovers aren’t factored in, high-giveaway guys such as Russell Westbrook, James Harden and John Wall should jump up. If you’re in an eight- or nine-category rotisserie format, players who will submarine you in a particular category—such as poor free-throw-shooting big men or high-volume, low-efficiency scorers—should plunge accordingly.

These rankings will continue to change as the preseason gets underway. As we get a better sense of how new pieces fit in on their respective teams, players may rise or fall significantly. Injuries are sure to crop up as well, which will affect not only the injured player’s fantasy value but the value of his teammates, too.

Below the big board, you’ll find longer explanations for some of the particularly controversial selections—players who I’m either far higher on or far lower on than the rest of the fantasy community (according to the Expert Consensus Rank at FantasyPros). I can’t promise my stances are right and all other fantasy experts are off-base, but I’ll at least provide my rationale for why I have certain players ranked where I do.



As for some of the picks about whom I disagree with the fantasy community at large:

• Jeremy Lin, PG, Brooklyn Nets (Rank: 70; ECR: 102): A hamstring injury hobbled Lin for much of his first season in Brooklyn, but he still managed to finish as the 80th-ranked player on a per-game basis in nine-category leagues. With his hammy now healed, he should see far more than the 24.5 minutes per game he averaged last season. Lin and D’Angelo Russell each play both on and off the ball, which should help them establish a promising partnership. With Brook Lopez gone, I’m expecting Lin to set new career highs in points, rebounds and 3-pointers to go with roughly six assists per game. He isn’t going off the board until the 10th round on average in both ESPN.com and Yahoo leagues, but I’d happily pluck him a round or two before that.

• Rodney Hood, SG, Utah Jazz (Rank: 71; ECR: 106): Like Lin, injuries limited Hood’s effectiveness last season, which caused him to finish outside the top 175 on a per-game basis in nine-category leagues. In his first 15 games, however, he averaged 16.9 points on 45.1 percent shooting, 4.6 rebounds, 2.3 triples, 1.9 assists and 0.7 steals in 32.4 minutes, good for top-85 value over that span. With Gordon Hayward now in Boston, Hood figures to emerge as Utah’s No. 1 scoring option on the wing, which should enable him to set new career highs in points and 3-pointers. Though his field-goal percentage may continue sitting in the low 40s, he finished 95th overall in 2015-16 while shooting just 42.0 overall. I’m expecting Hood to have a breakout campaign in Hayward’s absence, making him a late seventh- or early eighth-round target.

Nikola Mirotic, PF, Chicago Bulls (Rank: 83; ECR: 113): Until Zach LaVine returns from his torn ACL, uh… who is the Bulls’ go-to scorer? Nikola Mirotic, who has yet to top 11.8 points per game in any of his three NBA season, may wind up inheriting that role by default. Mirotic was agonizingly inconsistent in 2016-17, but he wound up shooting a career-best 41.3 percent overall while chipping in per-game totals of 10.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 triples, 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks that were right in line with his career average. He’ll have Bobby Portis and No. 7 overall pick Lauri Markkanen breathing down his neck if he gets off to another poor start, but head coach Fred Hoiberg may have no choice but to stick with Niko given his ability to create offense for himself with herky-jerky step-backs. I’m fine with gambling on him in the ninth round in hopes he seizes a larger role in Chicago.

Derrick Favors, PF, Utah Jazz (Rank: 93; ECR: 135): You’ll notice a theme with most of the guys I’m higher on than the rest of the fantasy community: Injuries submarined them in 2016-17, but they’ve previously proved to be valuable fantasy commodities. Derrick Favors is the embodiment of that sentiment, having finished 29th overall on a per-game basis in nine-category leagues in 2015-16 and 145th this past season. Favors set four-year lows in points (9.5), field-goal percentage (48.7), rebounds (6.1), blocks (0.8) and minutes (23.7) in 2016-17, but Hayward’s departure could force him back into a larger offensive role. Assuming he proves compatible with Rudy Gobert in Utah’s frontcourt, I’m willing to spend a 10th-round pick on him in case a bounce-back season is in the cards.

Reggie Jackson, PG, Detroit Pistons (Rank: 106; ECR: 143): Knee tendinitis hobbled Reggie Jackson for much of last season, causing him to finish outside of the top 175 on a per-game basis in nine-category leagues. He may be limited to start the year — he just participated in his first full-contact practice Friday, per Rod Beard of the Detroit News — but when healthy, he shouldn’t have trouble staving off Ish Smith and Langston Galloway for the Pistons’ starting point guard gig. Considering he finished as the 90th-ranked player in 2015-16 despite averaging only 30.7 minutes per game, a slight minutes restriction won’t prevent him from posting top-100 value. At this point in drafts, you’re looking for high-upside fliers anyway. Why not swing for the fences on Jackson in Round 11 and hope his knee holds up?

Jonas Valanciunas, C, Toronto Raptors (Rank: 97; ECR: 69): Did the Toronto Raptors suddenly stop hating Jonas Valanciunas? No? Then why would anyone spend a top-75 pick on him? JV finished as the 69th-ranked player on a per-game basis last year, but that was before the Raptors aggressively shopped him all summer, began talking up young big men Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam and flirted with the idea of Serge Ibaka manning some minutes at the 5. Valanciunas is a cheap source of points, rebounds and field-goal percentage, but he doesn’t contribute enough elsewhere to make for an enticing mid-round pick.

Gorgui Dieng, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves (Rank: 110; ECR: 76): Gorgui Dieng’s ECR and average draft position may begin to plunge once fantasy owners realize Taj Gibson is locked in as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ starting power forward. Dieng has been a sneaky source of mid-round value over the past few seasons, but after Minnesota signed Gibson to a two-year, $28 million deal this summer, the writing was on the wall for the Senegalese big man. Dieng will help you with rebounds, blocks and field-goal percentage, but there’s no sense in paying a mid-round price for someone who may struggle to play 20 minutes per game.

Dario Saric, PF, Philadelphia 76ers (Rank: 129; ECR: 82): After the All-Star break last season, Dario Saric averaged 17.3 points on 43.2 percent shooting, 7.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.4 triples, 1.0 steals and 0.6 blocks in 30.5 minutes per game. Regardless, he finished just outside of the top 100 on a per-game basis in nine-category leagues over that span. With Ben Simmons now in the fold, Saric will slide to the bench, where he’ll be hard-pressed to replicate his late-season playing time from 2016-17. He makes for a fine late-round flier in case Simmons gets hurt or completely busts, but there’s almost no way he puts up mid-round value this year.

Jabari Parker, PF, Milwaukee Bucks (Rank: 159; ECR: 92): Did Jabari Parker’s ACL magically heal overnight? That’s the only rational explanation for why he’d be ranked among the top 100 overall this season, even though he’s likely to miss the first few months while rehabbing from his knee injury. Even once he returns — whether in February or earlier — the Milwaukee Bucks are likely to limit his playing time to ease him back into the swing of things. If you have an IR spot in your league, he’s a fine last-round gamble, but there is zero reason to spend a top-100 pick on someone who would be lucky to play 30 games in 2017-17.

Zach Randolph, PF, Sacramento Kings (Rank: 180; ECR: 118): Hypothetically, let’s assume the Sacramento Kings don’t embrace a youth movement at first and slot Zach Randolph into their starting lineup alongside Willie Cauley-Stein. Is he likely to outpace the 14.1 points on 44.9 percent shooting and 8.2 rebounds he averaged in 24.5 minutes per game with the Memphis Grizzlies this past season? If not, his 184th-place finish on a per-game basis in nine-category leagues should be all the deterrent you need to avoid targeting him in a standard-sized 10-team leagues. Given the dearth of 3-pointers and blocks he provides, you’d be better off going after someone like Ersan Ilyasova or Taj Gibson with a late-round pick.

Other positional rankings

Top 10 PGs

Top 10 SGs

Top 10 SFs

Top 10 PFs

Top 10 Cs

All average draft position info via FantasyPros. All rankings via Basketball Monster are based on nine-category leagues.