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Anthony Davis should be top pick in fantasy next NBA season

By Alex Rikleen, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports

With this season’s Fantasy Basketball champions crowned and the NBA playoffs here, let’s take an early look at how drafts could unfold for the 2018-19 campaign.

Assumes nine-category Roto settings

Round One

  1. Anthony Davis: Davis has missed less only 14 games over the past two seasons, after missing at least that many in each of his first four.
  2. James Harden: The 29-year-old just wrapped up his sixth straight top-8 season. As safe as it gets.
  3. Kevin Durant: More injury-prone than Harden, less upside than Davis, but each of these top 3 picks have similar floors.
  4. Stephen Curry: Ankle fears are the only reason he isn’t #1.
  5. Giannis Antetokounmpo: Two straight top-7 seasons and the 23-year-old is still getting better.
  6. Karl-Anthony Towns: Hard to justify taking KAT while Davis is available, but KAT is a reasonable choice as high as second overall.
  7. Nikola Jokic: Start of the second tier. Indefensible as a top-6 pick, but a great choice at 7.
  8. Kawhi Leonard: Don’t forget.
  9. Damian Lillard
  10. Jimmy Butler: Drops a spot or two if Thibodeau gets fired. No Thibs would be good for Butler’s limbs, but bad for his minutes.
  11. Chris Paul
  12. Russell Westbrook: Would rank 8th in 8-cat or H2H 9-cat.

Round Two

  1. Victor Oladipo
  2. LeBron James: He had a 20-game stretch where he was outside the top-30; by per-36 production, he was outside the top-50 after the All-Star break; he’s fading as a fantasy asset.
  3. Joel Embiid
  4. Paul George: Ranking could change dramatically depending on offseason moves.
  5. Rudy Gobert
  6. Kyrie Irving: Injuries. Always.
  7. Kevin Love: Drops if LeBron stays in Cleveland.
  8. Andre Drummond
  9. Ben Simmons
  10. Khris Middleton
  11. Gary Harris
  12. Otto Porter

Round Three

  1. John Wall: He’ll rise higher if he looks like his normal, healthy self during the playoffs.
  2. Kemba Walker
  3. Kyle Lowry
  4. Clint Capela: If you’re committing to a punt-FT build, Capela can go even higher.
  5. Draymond Green
  6. DeMarcus Cousins: This ranking assumes he’s not 100% his pre-injury self when he comes back, and that he returns close to New Year’s; he’ll be a good midseason trade target.
  7. Gordon Hayward: Don’t forget.
  8. Mike Conley: Again — don’t forget.
  9. Tobias Harris
  10. Nikola Vucevic
  11. Jrue Holiday
  12. Eric Bledsoe

Round Four

  1. Robert Covington
  2. Josh Richardson
  3. Klay Thompson: The three-point boom has devalued elite three-point shooters. Thompson’s, Beal’s, and Booker’s ranks will be the topic of a separate article.
  4. C.J. McCollum
  5. Bradley Beal
  6. Devin Booker
  7. Donovan Mitchell
  8. DeMar DeRozan
  9. LaMarcus Aldridge: It’s not safe to assume that a 33-year-old will reproduce one of the best seasons of his career.
  10. Myles Turner: An early favorite for Fantasy’s 2018-19 Comeback Player of the Year (I don’t care that it’s an NFL award), this already feels preposterously low.
  11. Marc Gasol
  12. Kristaps Porzingis: Will miss at least the first two months of the season, possibly more.

Round Five

  1. Aaron Gordon
  2. Hassan Whiteside: His ceiling is top-10. His floor is barely top-80. His FT’s are bad. His ranking will change.
  3. Lauri Markkanen
  4. Jamal Murray: Murray’s ranking would drop if the Nuggets bring in a “true PG” and shift Murray to SG/backup PG.
  5. Lonzo Ball
  6. Jeff Teague
  7. Al Horford
  8. T.J. Warren
  9. Julius Randle: This assumes he lands somewhere that wants him; Randle is H2H gold.
  10. Blake Griffin: If his FG% recovers, this will be theft; if not, it’s a minor reach.
  11. Brook Lopez: After the All-Star break he reminded us how good he is with only 27 minutes per game.
  12. Steven Adams

Round Six

  1. Joe Ingles: His age prevents me from putting him higher.
  2. Will Barton: I think he won’t be back with the Nuggets, and I think that hurts him.
  3. Evan Fournier
  4. J.J. Redick: He’ll have to accept a pay cut to stay in Philly, and if he leaves Philly his ranking here will drop.
  5. Darren Collison
  6. Brandon Ingram: Ingram this high requires significant optimism, but he’s improved a lot over his first two seasons.
  7. Trevor Ariza
  8. Dario Saric
  9. DeAndre Jordan: Managers committed to punting FT% can take him higher, but that’s not always a great idea in Roto.
  10. Serge Ibaka
  11. Paul Millsap: He’s fading, but at this price it’s worth the risk – he was a top-45 player from 2010-2017.
  12. Taurean Prince: Assuming the Hawks still aren’t good.

Round Seven

  1. Jonas Valanciunas
  2. Nicolas Batum
  3. Zach LaVine
  4. Buddy Hield
  5. Larry Nance, Jr.: Nance would be so much higher if you could promise me just 25 minutes per game.
  6. Tim Hardaway, Jr.
  7. Tyreke Evans: He’s unlikely to recreate 2017-18, especially next to a healthy Mike Conley
  8. Lou Williams: Very few players peak after age 30, and those who do tend to decline rapidly. Maybe the decline doesn’t start in 2018-19, but Williams is a risky bet.
  9. Thaddeus Young
  10. Ricky Rubio
  11. Jayson Tatum: I believe he’s the next Paul Pierce. I also believe that the Celtics have three starters for two positions (Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward), and that Tatum and Brown are the ones whose Fantasy values suffer.
  12. Kyle Kuzma

Round Eight

  1. Moe Harkless: I used up all of my bravery ranking Ingram too high; if I had any left, Harkless would be 15+ spots higher.
  2. Goran Dragic
  3. Jusuf Nurkic
  4. Derrick Favors
  5. Harrison Barnes
  6. Dennis Schroder
  7. Dejounte Murray
  8. Nikola Mirotic: His excellent 2017-18 stats were inflated by the tanking Bulls and the Boogie-less Pelicans; hard to imagine he comes close to repeating them.
  9. Allen Crabbe
  10. Dirk Nowitzki: Dirk will live forever.
  11. Eric Gordon
  12. Kris Dunn

Round Nine

  1. Al-Farouq Aminu
  2. Jaylen Brown
  3. Mario Hezonja
  4. Andrew Wiggins: He’ll get drafted a lot higher than this, but based on his actual production, he should be lower.
  5. John Collins
  6. Jarrett Allen
  7. Enes Kanter
  8. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  9. Kyle Anderson
  10. Terry Rozier
  11. Willie Cauley-Stein
  12. Jonathan Isaac

Just missed the cut: Austin Rivers, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Trey Burke, Jabari Parker.

Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley are not included above. At the moment, they are still outside my top-100, due to the dual concerns of: A) lack of meaningful information about their injury recovery and B) uncertainty over their future role in their current depth charts. If healthy, both are likely to join the top-100. If healthy and their surrounding roster looks favorable, both could crack the top-70.


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