Small Forwards

All rankings are for 9-cat H2H leagues unless otherwise noted. All player positions are from Yahoo Fantasy Basketball. 

1) LeBron James (SF/PF) – Don’t expect a return to pre-Miami numbers but LeBron remains the safest pick in the draft after Durant. My only worry is that Rose goes down again and the Cavs run away with the conference. Cleveland’s playoff schedule is also an issue. The Cavs only play nine games during the fantasy playoffs and only two in Week 23, the fantasy finals.

2) James Harden (SG/SF) – Post-All-Star break, no player was more valuable than James Harden. With Lin now in Los Angeles, and Beverley not much of a creator, Harden has a very good chance to improve on his already awesome 6.1 APG. Harden averaged 7.4 APG after the break.

3) Carmelo Anthony (SF/PF) – Melo is a surprisingly well-rounded fantasy player. Despite his reputation as just a scorer, Anthony provided positive value in every category outside of FT% and TOs last season. His 2+ 3PM gives Melo a very high ceiling.

4) Kevin Durant (SF/PF) – Where to take Durant depends on your league settings. If say eight teams make the playoffs in your 12-team league, then I would be all over Durant at the end of the first. However, if you are playing in a league where only four teams make the playoffs, then I would stay away. Durant’s injury has held players out much longer than the 6-8 week timetable that has been thrown around. In roto, wait until the end of the second to start looking at Durant.

5) Kawhi Leonard (SG/SF) – Kawhi’s amazing finals performance was a devastating blow for those hoping to grab him on the cheap in drafts. It may not have been obvious due to his low points (12.8 PPG) but Kawhi did have the breakout many expected last season. Post-All-Star Break, Kawhi posted top-seven value. There’s huge upside here.

6) Nicolas Batum (SG/SF) – He’s a Swiss Army Knife who is always a part of or on the brink of the one three/one steal/one block club. He’s also coming off a season in which he averaged 7.5 RPG and 5.1 APG. Batum is a great fit for just about any build.

7) Thaddeus Young (SF/PF) – He’s going to have a massive role in Minnesota and now is a very good source of out-of-position threes (1.1 3PG) in addition to his usual outstanding out-of-position steals (2.1 SPG).

8) Trevor Ariza (SG/SF) – Arguably last season’s biggest surprise, Ariza finds himself taking over Chandler Parson’s role in Houston. His odds of repeating last season’s breakout are high as his minutes will remain in the upper 30’s and he’s going an average paced team (the Wizards finished 18th last season) to last season’s fifth fastest team.

9) Chandler Parsons (SF/PF) – Parsons arrives in Dallas coming off of back-to-back top 35 finishes. His minutes and role shouldn’t change much with the move across state. We could see an uptick in dimes with the Mavs lacking at lead guard. Parsons already averaged a very useful 4.0 APG in Houston.

10) Kyle Korver (SG/SF) – He’s going to go way too late in your draft. Korver is the easiest value pick in the entire draft and is coming off back-to-back 38th overall finishes. Reach for him a round early and enjoy the value all year.

11) Klay Thompson (SG/SF) – Klay is primed for a big season with Mark Jackson and his ISO-focused offense out of town. There’s a good chance this is the year he breaks 3.0 3PG. He still won’t give you much in terms of boards and dimes but is a good source of out-of-position blocks (0.5).

12) Terrence Jones (SF/PF) – Jones is a per minute stud who is an excellent source of FG% impact (54.2% on 9.4 FGA) and blocks (1.3 BPG). If he was to ever get 32+ MPG, he’d likely flirt with top-30 value despite his poor FT shooting (60.5 FT%).

13) Wes Matthews (SG/SF) – Matthews’ steals took quite a dip last season (0.9 SPG, down from 1.3 SPG in 2012-2013) but he compensated with improved production across the board. His 2.5 3PG makes him a great target if you missed out on threes in the early rounds.

14) Rudy Gay (SF/PF) – Despite some epic chucking at the beginning of the year in Toronto, Rudy was actually a pretty good fantasy asset. Unfortunately the trade, while good for Rudy’s real life impact, tanked his fantasy value. There’s hope for a bounce back with Darren Collision and his lower usage taking over for Isaiah Thomas at point. Rudy should have the ball in his hands more and is one of the last very good sources of points (20.0 PPG) available.

15) Gordon Hayward (SG/SF) – The counting stats were there last season (16.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.4 SPG), but unfortunately the efficiency was not (41.3 FG%). The low FG% was due to Hayward’s 3P% falling off a cliff. After shooting 41.5% from deep in 2012-2013, Hayward only managed to hit 30.4% of his treys last season. Some of that drop is due to the increased defensive attention that comes with stepping into a go-to-scorer role but the drop really seemed like a bit of a fluke. Hayward has shot over 40% from deep in two of his three years in the NBA. If his 3P% normalizes, he’ll improve on that poor FG% as well as his 1.1 3PG.

16) DeMar DeRozan (SG/SF) – He still can’t shoot the three (0.8 3PG on 30.5% shooting) and he’ll hurt you from the field (42.9 FG%) but his counting stats are finally strong enough to offset those weaknesses. DeMar is a solid mid-round target if your team is hurting from the line (82.4 FT% ON 8.0 FTA).

17) Jimmy Butler (SG/SF) – He couldn’t break 40% from the floor last season but the return of Derrick Rose will help Butler’s shooting woes. His scoring may dip with Rose back in the lineup but his scoring is not why you’re picking him. Few wings give you more on the defensive end (1.9 SPG and 0.5 BPG). Butler is a great target if you are punting FG% (33rd overall last season without FG%).

18) Kevin Martin (SG/SF) – After two down years in Houston and Oklahoma City, K-Mart reclaimed his spot as a elite FT% anchor. Only Durant, Harden, and Dirk had a larger positive impact on the category last season. As always, he’ll be a threat to miss time.

19) JR Smith (SG/SF) – Yes, he’s a knucklehead and yes, he’s going to lose you FG% more than once but Smith is still a useful fantasy player. After a slow start to the year, Smith post top-60 value over the last three months. This was not a fluke, as he posted top-60 value in 2012-2013 as well. If you need threes in the mid-round he’s a good target but watch out for his FT% (65.2%).

20) Danny Green (SG/SF) – Green is a tough player to rank. He’s put up very good full-season numbers (79th overall in 9-cat last season and 59th in 2012-2013) but you never know what you’re going to get on a game-by-game basis thanks to Pop. Draft Green’s 1.9 3PG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.9 BPG with confidence in roto but don’t reach in H2H.

21) Andre Iguodala (SG/SF) – He doesn’t score anymore (9.3 PPG) but he still provides solid across-the-board production (4.7 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.5 SPG). The upside to the scoring decrease is that he now hurts you less from the line (65.2 FT% but on only 2.1 FTA).

22) Paul Pierce (SF/PF) – In his last three seasons in Boston, Pierce posted top-40 value. Things didn’t go to plan in Brooklyn but despite his minutes being cut to 28 a night, The Truth still managed to put up top-75 numbers. He doesn’t stand out in any category but he will give you a little bit of everything (4.6 RPG, 1.5 3PG, 1.1 SPG). Despite his age, Pierce has been relatively durable the last two seasons, playing in an average of 76 games.

23) Draymond Green (SF) – Harrison Barnes gets the hype but Draymond Green is the Warriors’ back up that you want to own. Don’t be surprised if Green is this year’s DeMarre Carroll. Golden State figures to give him a lot of run at PF and he has a legitimate shot at being one of the few 1 three/1 steal/1 block players in the league (0.7 3PG, 1.2 SPG, 0.9 BPG).

24) DeMarre Carroll – (SF/PF) – He’s still the starter but a repeat of last season’s top-60 finish is unlikely with Horford back and the additions of Thabo Sefolosha and Kent Bazemore. Even if his minutes dip, he’ll still give you solid contributions in threes (1.3 3PG), rebounds (5.5 RPG), and steals (1.5 SPG).

25) Lance Stephenson (SG/SF) – Despite the impressive counting stats (13.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.6 APG) and solid shooting from the floor (49.1 FG%), Lance still couldn’t break the top-100 last season. He’s an overrated fantasy player thanks to his lack of defensive stats (0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG) and his poor free throw shooting (71.1 FT%). Expect his usage and in turn his counting stats to go down now that he is playing next to a true point.

26) Josh Smith (SF/PF) – Josh Smith is a terrible player when he is forced to play SF. He’ll still provide solid defensive stats from the three (1.4 SPG, 1.4 BPG) but the efficiency is now uglier than ever (41.9 FG%, 53.2 FT%). He hits the odd three (0.9 3PG) but that is a bad thing due to the drag all those attempts have on his FG%. I’d only consider him in a FT% punt build. There’s been some positive news coming out of Detroit regarding Smith. Smith has been seeing plenty time at PF during the preseason. This would mean a move to bench but any minutes drop should be at least equaled out by an efficiency increase.

27) Tobias Harris (SF/PF) – The talent is there but the opportunity may not be with the Magic having such a crowded frontcourt. He’ll likely play most of his minutes at SF as he did last season. This is bad news for Tobias’ fantasy value as his block rate predictably drops when he plays SF. Tobias is mostly a popcorn stats guy (14.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG), but there’s lots of upside here if Jacque Vaughn ever truly unleashes Harris.

28) Luol Deng (SF/PF) – He’ll have a sizable role in Miami but he looked like he regressed in Cleveland. Some of that may have been due to lack of motivation but it’s very possible that all those years of Thibs running Deng into the ground have caught up with him. Deng is only averaging 64 games played over the last three seasons.

29) Joe Johnson (SG/SF) – His role should increase with Pierce and Livingston gone. He doesn’t give you anything on the defensive end (0.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG) and isn’t asked to create as much these days (2.7 APG). Still, he’ll be a solid source of points (15.8 PPG) and one of the best three-point threats in the game (2.1 3PG).

30) Jabari Parker (SF) – Over the last five years, only two rookie wings have managed to post top-100 value (Kawhi Leonard and Landry Fields). I’m always low on rookie wings because the efficiency is almost never there and they generally can’t make up for it by contributing the rarer stats such as assists and blocks. Parker’s efficiency projects to be poor. This year’s second round pick only shot 47.3% from the floor and 74.8% from the line at Duke. Add in that he isn’t much of a three-point shooter (1.1 3PM on 35.8% from deep) and the odds are stacked against Jabari. Expect solid popcorn stats but weak fantasy value. As is the case with Wiggins, his current mid-round ADP is ridiculous.

31) Ersan Ilyasova (SF/PF) – It took three years but I’m finally over Ersanity. Jason Kidd often went at least ten deep into his bench while in Brooklyn so expect Ersan’s minutes to be up and down. He’ll likely outplay this rank on a per game basis but there will likely be times when he will be droppable. When Ersan’s on, he’s a good source of out-of-position threes to go along with his solid scoring and rebounding.

32) Danilo Gallinari (SF) – Gallo hasn’t played for over a year but before tearing his ACL, he posted three consecutive top-55 finishes. He should flirt with 2.0 3PG. Just watch out for that FG% (41.8 FG% in 2012-2013).

33) Wilson Chandler (SG/SF) – Last season, Chandler did what he always does. Show some flashes and get hurt. He’ll score (13.6 PPG), and hit a couple threes a night (2.0 3PG), but that efficiency is ugly (41.6 FG%, 72.4 FT%). The blocks that once made him so intriguing are largely gone as well (0.4 BPG over the last two seasons).

34) Matt Barnes (SF) – Barnes is a great, late punt points target. Over the last three months of the season, Barnes averaged 1.8 3PG, 4.8 RPG, 1.0 SPG, and 0.5 BPG. Expect him to play more than the 27.5 MPG he averaged last season as Reggie Bullock is the only other SF currently on the roster.

35) Arron Afflalo (SG/SF) – Afflalo’s popcorn stats were flashier than they’ve ever been in 2013-2014 (18.2 PPG, 1.8 3PG) but he was barely able to post top-100 value. He won’t give you any defensive stats (0.5 SPG, 0.0 BPG) but he did post back-to-back top-100 finishes in his last two years in Denver.

36) Jeff Green (SG/SF) – Yet another player who is overrated due to his PPG (16.9). Green only posted positive value in three categories last season (points, threes, and FT%). He’ll be the main option in Boston once again and that means another year of big scoring numbers on poor efficiency (41.2 FG%). Green will also drag down your steals (0.7 SPG).

37) PJ Tucker (SG/SF) – He’s the best defender on the Suns and is locked into a major role. He’s another solid late-round target for those punting points. He’s an above average rebounder for his position (6.5 RPG) and will be a nice source of swipes (1.4 SPG). Tucker is suspended for the first three games of the season due to an off-season DUI.

38) Andrew Wiggins (SF) – Wiggins projects to have the same issues as Parker. Like Parker, his efficiency in college was only mediocre as was his three ball (1.2 3PG). While he does have all the tools to be a great defender, don’t expect those tools to translate to fantasy value right away. Wiggins only averaged 1.2 SPG while at Kansas.

39) Wes Johnson (SG/SF) – Playing Swaggy P along side Kobe is not a good idea and could possibly rip a hole in the space-time continuum. Expect Johnson to start again. Last season, Johnson was a member of the one three/one steal/one block club and should come close to renewing his membership this coming season.

40) Vince Carter (SG/SF) – With the Grizzlies starved for offense, Vince could once again provide sneaky value. Vince was a top-60 player on a per 36 basis last season so he doesn’t need more than 25 MPG to be valuable. He won’t score efficiently (40.7 FG%) but should hit 1.5+ treys a night.

41) Terrence Ross (SG/SF) – At this point in his career, Ross is only a three-point specialist (2.0 3PG). Those threes will keep him rosterable, but there’s no signs of him providing value outside of threes and scoring (3.1 RPG, 0.8 SPG). James Johnson could push Ross for minutes.

42) Giannis Antetokounmpo (SG/SF) – The Giannis hype train is rolling but I will not be buying a ticket. Unfortunately, highlight reel blocks are not a category in fantasy. From a fantasy perspective, there’s nothing in the numbers that suggests a breakout to mid-round value. Giannis was the 234th ranked player over the last three months of the season and was even worse on a per 36 basis (274th over that same period). There’s potential for some nice defensive stats this year (0.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG) but the Greek Freak would have to take a massive jump on the offensive end to provide more than late-round value (6.8 PPG, 0.5 3PG, 41.4 FG%, 68.3 FT%).

43) Tyreke Evans (SG/SF) – Tyreke is only useful when the ball is in his hands. Unfortunately with Jrue back and healthy, and Gordon being a high-usage player, that likely won’t happen this season. Despite some impressive popcorn numbers (14.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.0 APG) Tyreke still couldn’t break the top-130 last season thanks to his poor efficiency (43.6 FG%, 77.1 FT%, 2.4 TOPG) and complete lack of three-point shooting (0.3 3PG). Let the casual players in your draft over-draft him.

44) Gerald Green (SG/SF) – Green’s minutes should be squeezed with the arrival of Isaiah Thomas. Don’t expect 15.8 PPG again but he’ll still be a useful three-point specialist (2.5 3PG).

45) Manu Ginobli (SG/SF) – From a fantasy perspective he’s still elite when he’s on the court (19th overall on a per 36 basis last season) but in addition to the usual high amount of missed games, Manu’s minutes continue to trend downward (22.3 MPG). He’s a better pick in roto where you can pick your spots with him and take advantage of his 12.3 PPG, 1.3 3PG, and 4.3 APG.

46) Mike Dunleavy (SG/SF) – Dougie Buckets looked great in summer league and with how desperate Chicago is for scoring, I expect him to crack the rotation. However, Dunleavy is still expected to start and should once again be a nice source of points (11.3 PPG) and threes (1.5 3PG).

 

 

 

 

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