Having positional tiers ready and sorted is essential when you’re heading into the draft day. When its your turn to draft, you draft the best player available in your first and second round pick but you should never draft according to your rankings in the rounds after that. If you do then you’re just the same as an auto-draft team. Preparing your positional tiers will cause you less stress and anxiety on draft day. You’ll be able to see which positions are scarce or in abundance in every stage of the draft. This is my cheat sheet that I’m going to use on draft day and maybe it’ll help you out too!
My rankings of the shooting guards is based on my projections of how they’ll do in this 2016-17 season. However, there are certainly other factors involved instead of just purely based on stats alone. The rankings below are for 9-cat leagues. Many players are eligible in multiple positions but I’ll only include them according to their positions listed on Yahoo!’s depth chart.
For all you lazy folks that can’t be bothered to read 3k words, there’s a TL;DR section all the way at the bottom of the page.
Harden is my number one pick in both 8 and 9-cat leagues. You can’t really go wrong with Harden especially with him being eligible for PG, SG and SF in Yahoo! leagues. Now that he’s playing for probably the most fantasy-friendly system under Mike D’Antoni, I can see his value increasing even higher. If you’re picking Harden as your first pick, you don’t have to worry about him resting games or his minutes being lowered. He played 82 games last season and 81 games before that. His durability and playing under a run-n-gun system makes him my number one pick.
I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think Oladipo is going to have his career year with the Thunder this coming season. I think he’ll have top-20 value now that he’s no longer in Scott Skiles’ doghouse. With Kevin Durant (30.6 USG%) and Dion Waiters (17.6 USG%) out of the city, there should be lots of opportunities for Dipo to pick up the slack. It’s risky to draft someone so unproven that high up but he’s in an ideal situation to have a breakout year. He’s being ranked 18 in Yahoo! leagues and is probably one of the most hyped player this year.
Klay is probably the biggest loser with Durant joining the Warriors. He’s still the third best shooting guard in fantasy though. His stats will take a dip but he’ll still have some solid fourth round value from his high percentages, insane threes and low turnovers. He doesn’t seem like he’s slipping in mocks though. His ADP is way too high for the value he’s going to bring this year and I’ll probably be passing him up.
McCollum had a breakout year last season and smashed his ADP projection. Everyone was on the C.J. hype train and it paid off, finishing the year with fourth-round value. He should be able to repeat the same production, with his assists dropping off a bit due to the new addition of Evan Turner. Between McCollum and Batum, I’d prefer the prior only because C.J. has a more efficient game than Batum. I wouldn’t spend a third-round on C.J. though.
I like Batum this year and I was going to reach for him before Yahoo! updated their rankings. Now that he got bumped up from 74 to 48, You’d probably wouldn’t want to reach for him again in the third round. After a mini-bounce back year by the frenchman, I expect Batum to do better this year. He’s in the prime of his career and is capable of flirting with triple doubles and grabbing triple-ones. His all-around game is worthy of a fourth round pick.
In a world where majority of the shooting guards have the ability to stretch the floor by their shooting ability, DeMar DeRozan is probably the best scorer in that position who doesn’t have a consistent 3-point shot. He shown improvement in his field goal percentage, which boosted his stock to top-50 value last season. He’s an elite contributor to the points and free throws category but with his ADP hovering 43, that’s still a bit too high for my liking.
With Yahoo! updating their rankings recently, Fournier’s ADP has been climbing up at a rapid rate. With Oladipo gone from Orlando, Fournier is going to soak in all the usage he can get and carry the scoring load for his team. He’s had himself a mini-breakout year, but heading into this season as the go-to scorer for the Magic, I’m going to expect big things from him. He’s going to provide some nice source of points, threes, good percentages and steals from his game. Fournier’s ADP is hovering around 109 but on your draft day, he’ll be gone by the top-60 mark.
When I see second year players breakout in the second half of the season, I never see it as fluke. I think you need to play a certain amount of games in the NBA for everything to click and that’s what exactly happened to LaVine. After the All-Star break, LaVine got promoted as the starting shooting guard and had top-70 value. There are many doubts on whether Coach Thibs would play LaVine for long stretches since he’s not really known for being a strong defender. However, I’m a believer of Thibs making good use of his godly athletic ability to turn him into a solid defensive player. Plus there’s also not much depth on the wing spots that are defensive stoppers so Thibs probably has no other choices. You’ll need to pay a premium on LaVine this year though as Yahoo! ranked him at 58. Even though I’m a fan of LaVine’s outlook for this season, picking him at the turn of the fourth round is a bit high when there are other better options.
Gary Harris is another player who had a brilliant second half of the season in his sophomore campaign. Between the three guards in this tier, Harris faces the most competition in terms of minutes. The Nuggets are pretty stacked in the wing positions with players such as Will Barton, Wilson Chandler and lottery pick Jamal Murray. Harris outplayed Barton after the All-Star break and had top-70 value during that period. Murray would likely get some minutes at the one and two spot in the second unit but he’ll have some growing pains in the first half of the season. I expect Nuggets to trade one of their wings (most likely Barton and Chandler) before the trade deadline so that will free up some space for Harris. His efficient game along with some solid threes and steals will be a good bargain for a pick inside the top-75 but I’ll have him right behind LaVine.
In this tier of the shooting guards, they’re players who could finish the year just outside the top-75 mark. You might want to target these players in the sixth or seventh round if you need a shooting guard on your team. Avery Bradley is going to have some tough competition for minutes this year. With the emergence of Marcus Smart and the new rookie Jaylen Brown fighting for the two-guard spot, Brad Stevens is going to have a hard time dividing minutes between his players. His good source of points, threes, steals and low turnovers made him the 63rd best player in 9-cat last year. With the new addition of Al Horford, I believe some shots will be taken away from Bradley this year but his efficiency will increase. His ability to contribute over 1.5 threes and steals per game makes him a top-75 player.
I’m a big fan of Hood but he was only a top-100 player last season. Alec Burks and Dante Exum missing time which opened up some minutes for Hood. With both of them coming back this season along with the new acquisitions of George Hill and Joe Johnson, Hood is going to face some logjam at that position. He’s still the starting shooting guard going forward but if he faces a shooting slump, I can see Quin Snyder explore other options for stretches. I’m looking forward to see what Hood can bring this season. If he increase his steals and efficiency, he’ll easily have mid-round value.
Jordan Clarkson has the highest upside in this tier. With all the hype surrounding D’Angelo Russell, Clarkson is going to be flying under the radar for a lot of fantasy owners. He reminds me a little of Monta Ellis back in his Warriors day. If he can reach anywhere near Ellis’ prime, Lakers have their backcourt mates settled for the next half a decade. He can contribute a little bit of everything at the shooting guard position and won’t be detrimental to your percentages. I’m not a big fan of Walton using him as a sixth man though and this might hinder his value a little bit. He might flourish in that role and I’ll still keep an eye on him.
The last time I spoke about Booker, there were no confirmation of the starting lineup. Since then, Coach Watson has came out and said he’s going to start over Knight! That’s good news for everybody! I really like Booker’s game and his motor to be great is second to none for players his age. The return of Bledsoe is going to help Booker’s efficiency but he’ll need to prove that he can contribute to other categories other than points and threes. I’m a big Booker believer and reaching for him is definitely worth the risk.
There are probably a lot of owners who are holding a grudge on Danny Green. He went from being the 23rd ranked player to outside the top-130 in value in just 1 season. His field goal percentage dropped six percent and his three-point percentage dropped nine percent. It’s like someone erased his muscle memory and Green had to start from scratch. I believe he’ll have a bounce back year and when everyone is trying to avoid him, that’s where I’ll swoop in. His triple one’s and upside are what makes him so attractive. I’ll be gunning for him possibly in the seventh round.
Wesley Matthews really struggled after he returned from his Achilles surgery for the Mavericks. He was just outside the top-100 mark last season and his shooting percentages took a heavy dip. It usually takes a year for a player to return in full form after having their achilles operated on. Now people are thinking Matthews will never return to his Portland days. He’s called Iron Man for a reason! When Matthews was in Portland, he was always a top-60 player. His ceiling this year may not be as high but I still believe he has top-75 upside this year.
Redick is 32 and he’s heading into this 11th season. Hard to imagine him play more than 30 minutes at this point in his career especially with Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford returning to the Clippers this season. With Blake Griffin set to return this season, I believe Redick is going to be even more efficient this year, and he’ll flirt with 50-50-90. There isn’t much upside in picking Redick but I really like his contributions to both percentages, threes, points and low turnovers. He’s a workhorse and I believe he’ll continue to lead the league in three point accuracy. Let’s hope his podcast won’t distract him from his game. I have him ranked inside the top-90.
Monta Ellis has been disappointing for fantasy owners last year. He had a career low in points since his rookie year and is clearly trending down. With the new addition of Jeff Teague, I’m not sure how he can fit in Pacers system. There’s just too many ball dominant players on the team. At this point in Ellis’ career, he doesn’t really add much to your fantasy team aside from the steals. He’s ranked in the top-90 in Yahoo! which is a little bit high for my liking. I would start putting him on my radar if he’s near the 100th pick.
This tier of shooting guards warrants a stay clear sign from me. They’re either declining, very injury prone or not really in a good situation for them to produce good stats. You could probably make a case of drafting players in the next tier instead of them or just go for other positions in general would be more benefitting.
Wade’s move to Chicago doesn’t look good for his fantasy stock. Playing with Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo will do that to you. He’s shown that he can play off-the-ball during his LeBron days but at the age of 34, you’d expect his production to have a decline across the boards. The only real possibility of a stat increasing are his threes but in return, his efficiency will take a big dip. He’s not really a guard you would want to target but more of a late-round flier especially if you’re punting triples. If he’s picked earlier than that then leave him to the others.
I’ve had first hand experience of owning Beal last year and let me save you from the disappointment. You should definitely stay away from him. I’m not oblivious from his fantasy upside but he suffered from stress fractures related injuries every year he’s been in the NBA. Be careful of drafting Beal on to your team and make sure that your team will be fine in points and threes just incase he misses time (a when-and-not if kind of situation.
Gordon is another player who has never caught a break from injuries. He has never played more than 65 games since he came out of college. Hopefully with the move to Houston, he can have a clean slate and revive his career. He fits perfectly in Mike D’Antoni’s system and when healthy, he’s going to be given heavy minutes. He’s probably going to slide in your drafts and if he’s still there in the last two rounds, he’s a reasonable investment.
Knight has been plagued by injuries ever since he landed in Phoenix. When healthy, he’s shown that he can play alongside Eric Bledsoe but his coach decided to demote him to the sixth man role and instead Booker is going to be starting over him. His value and ADP should be dropping as of this moment. With drafting Knight, you’re drafting a player who’s injury prone, battling for minutes and surrounded by trade rumours. It’s not looking good for Knight this season and if he slides to the last couple of rounds (which I doubt), I’ll consider picking him up.
I’m excited about Hield’s outlook in the Pelicans this year. With Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans missing time, Hield suddenly became their number two option behind Anthony Davis. He’s going to be thrown into the fire on opening day and he’ll have his bumps and bruises as a rookie. But he’s well known for his scoring and points are hard to find towards the later rounds. He’ll also contribute a decent amount of threes for your team and is worthy of a late-round pick.
Caldwell-Pope’s a typical late-round swingman if you’re in need of threes and steals. He’s young and he’s already earned Van Gundy’s trust into heavy minutes. The next step for him is to turn that into fantasy production. His field goal percentage really hinders his overall fantasy value and he doesn’t have much upside but you can’t go wrong with 1.5 threes and steals in the last couple of rounds in the draft.
I was pretty high on Richardson but his partially torn MCL that would cause him to miss training camp and the start of the season leaves a bad taste in my mouth. He’s also competing with Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson for the two guard position. If one of them gets hot, I can imagine Coach Spolestra playing them for long stretches. He’s definitely going to be there in the last round of your draft and it’s hard to find positive contributions from players that won’t negatively impact your team.
Lee is a sneaky pickup towards the late rounds of the draft. He has little upside but he’s another decent source of steals, threes along with good percentages and low turnovers. The stars on the Knicks are going to attract a lot of attention and that’s where Lee is going to fly under the radar and knock down a lot of threes from the corner. He’ll probably finish the season between the top-100 to 110 rank.
- Tier 1: James Harden
- Tier 2: Victor Oladipo
- Tier 3: Klay Thompson, C.J. McCollum, Nicolas Batum
- Tier 4: DeMar DeRozan
- Tier 5: Evan Fournier, Zach LaVine, Gary Harris
- Tier 6: Avery Bradley, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson
- Tier 7: Devin Booker, Danny Green, Wesley Matthews
- Tier 8: J.J. Redick, Monta Ellis
- Tier 9: Dwyane Wade, Bradley Beal, Eric Gordon, Brandon Knight
- Tier 10: Buddy Hield, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Richardson, Courtney Lee
I hoped this was useful for you all and remember to follow me @BFantasyHoops on Twitter. Stay tuned for the tier rankings of small forwards!