Having positional tiers ready and sorted is essential when you’re heading into the draft day. Usually you draft according to the best player available with your first and second round pick. You don’t really continue to use that method later on in the draft. If you do then you’re just as good 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 power forwards 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!.
For all you lazy folks that can’t be bothered to read the lengthy post, there’s a TL;DR section all the way at the bottom of the page.
There’s no doubt that Anthony Davis is one of the top-2 players in fantasy on a per game basis. But we all know the Brow can’t stay away from injuries and has never played more than 70 games in his career. Those 15-20 games that he consistently missed in the past four seasons played an integral part on the landscape of your fantasy league. When healthy, he’s a beast and we’re hoping he can accomplish this never-been-done-before feat. If he can stay healthy for this season, people that drafted him around his ADP is going to be sued for theft. However, with Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans out for a big chunk of time, the Pelicans aren’t going to be on the hunt for a playoff spot and I could see those shut down rumours come swirling around towards the end of the season. I’m not that big on the Brow, mainly due to injuries. I have Towns, Leonard and Giannis then its a toss-up between him and Paul.
DeMarcus Cousins finished the year as the 20th ranked player in 9-cat. His high turnovers and his below average percentages hurts his value a lot. He does provide elite contributions to the counting stats department and is definitely worthy of a first round pick. Another concern of mine is that he missed 17 and 23 games in the last two seasons. He didn’t really suffer any major injuries and were mainly bumps and bruises which could be played through if his team was more relevant in the Western Conference but I don’t see the Kings play any part in the playoff picture this season. If you have Boogie on your team, you immediately need to think what type of player to build around him. There are a lot of punt strategies that you can run with Cousins and you really need pieces surrounding him that fits into your strategy or else having you’ll be wasting the value that Cousins bring. He’s there at the turn of the first round and I’ll be picking him there in H2H leagues.
With the arrival of Kevin Durant, Green’s points are going to take a hit even though you’re not really drafting him for points. Hopefully with better players (specifically Durant), it’ll elevate his efficiency. He did look horrible during the Olympics but I’m not too concerned about that. With Andrew Bogut gone, him and Durant are going to be relied on defensively and I’m going to expect more defensive stats from Green. His free throws are bad but they’re still manageable. His combination of elite boards, triple one stats and assists are hard to find in the draft and I won’t worry too much about Durant’s arrival for him.
I love myself some Porzingis. Was fortunate enough to be a Porzingis owner last season and was surprised by his production when a lot of people were sleeping on him. He finished the year within the top-50 in only 28 minutes per game. With better teammates around him, he’ll find easier shots which potentially could increase his efficiency, which is the next step to his game. He’s also an elite shot blocker with good free throw percentages, which are hard to find nowadays. With a coach that is miles better than his previous one and plans to speed the tempo up a bit, it could mean more possessions for the Knicks resulting in more stats. Lastly, he’ll definitely see his minutes per game increasing, possibly to 32-34 minutes per game. He’s ranked 24 in Yahoo! and I have no problems drafting him inside the top-20.
A lot has been spoken about Millsap’s age. He is turning 32 this season and a decline in his production is inevitable. I still don’t think his looming decline will be evident this season as his game is not dependent on his athleticism. However Dwight Howard’s arrival will result in a drop in Millsap’s rebounds and blocks. He’s not a top-15 player in my book anymore but because of his ability to grab the triple one on any given night, he’s still a top-20 player for me.
Aldridge is easily one of the most efficient big man in the game. He started off the year slow and had some difficulty fitting in with the Spurs. Towards the second half of the season, he found his groove and started being more aggressive. He played himself into the top-15 ranked players in 9-cat. His contribution during that span was elite at both percentages, points, rebounds, blocks and low turnovers. That’s 6 categories that your PF/C can contribute in. There’s always a typical concern for Spurs’ players, since they would usually take the occasional day off (DNP-Rest). Especially with the 31-year old Aldridge, they wouldn’t want to tax him too much in the regular season. I expect his production to be similar towards the second half of last season meaning you could make a case for drafting him just inside the top-20 if not at least the second round.
You can’t go wrong with any of the power forwards in tier 2. I really like this tier and I think they’re definitely more durable than the players in the tier above. The players in this tier is basically down to your own personal preference and what you’re trying to build on your team. Each power forward in tier 2 brings a specific set of skill set which could compliment very well with your first round pick. For example, if you have Kevin Durant, picking Aldridge as your second round pick to maximise your advantage on both percentages would be an ideal move.
Favors is a big I really like in Utah. He’s a solid big that can contribute to both defensive stats, grab a decent amount of boards, good field goal percentages with low turnovers. He also improved on his free throw shooting significantly which really increased his value. He ranked inside the top-30 last season on a per game basis but he did miss 20 games because of back spasms. As we all know back spasms for players are a nagging and annoying injury so let’s hope this doesn’t bother him anymore this season. Furthermore, Favors’ knee is inflamed and swelled up before the season even started. It’s not a good sign and I’m expecting him to start off slow when season starts. He has top-30 upside this season but the Jazz front court is stacked so I’m playing it safe and drafting Favors just outside the top-3o would be ideal.
Torn quad and broken hand caused Griffin missed 47 games last season. Although the broken hand was due to his stupidity, the quad injury that he suffered and re-aggravated in the playoffs is a little bit concerning. He no longer relies on his athleticism though and somehow became an a threatening mid-range shooter and an elite post scorer. It’s also pretty hard to find a power forward that can hand out five assists per game. He did manage to improve on his free throws to an extent where it’s manageable and not punt-worthy. His lack of blocks is still a turnoff, which was always strange to me since he could always use his athleticism to reject a lot of shots. What’s interesting is the fact that he’s been hitting threes consistently in the preseason and this might carry on to the regular season. This increases his value and I would start to consider drafting him towards the end of the third round.
I’m still a little salty about the Magic trading for Ibaka this offseason. It really occupies Aaron Gordon’s ideal position and now he’s playing three. Anyways, it’s safe to say we’re not going to see the Ibaka of old where he’s blocking three shots every night. As more and more power forwards are becoming a stretch four, it’s dragging Ibaka away from the basket. This is also a reason that his rebounding numbers took a massive hit last season where he averaged 6.8 per game, which is pretty unacceptable from your power forward/center position. I still think he’ll have a bounce-back season under a new coach and new team, it’s time for him to have a fresh start. I’m also not too worried about his minutes since he’s the only big that can play both sides of the court on the team. I’d still take him a round below his ADP though.
I’m going to pray for Dieng to earn Thibs trust this season. Trust is very important for Thibs and if you lose it, you’re gone. I’m a big fan of Dieng but the only obstacle that prevents him from really flourishing are his coaches. Looking at preseason games, Thibs likes Nemanja Bjelica because of his ability to make plays at the top of the key and spread the floor. This isn’t looking good for Dieng. Let me give you this stat that I read on Basketball Monster: Dieng and Kevin Durant are the only players who averaged a steal and a block, shot at least 50 percent from the field and 80 percent at the line last season. Credits to Basketball Monster. He’s crazily efficient and has tremendous upside so let’s hope Thibs doesn’t make the same mistake as Sam Mitchell.
It’s Love’s third year in Cleveland and despite his name is always in the rumour mill, he’s still a core part of this championship team. I don’t quite understand why the Cavs are looking to see what they can get with Love since they just got a ring. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Assuming he’s still going to wear a Cavs jersey after the trade deadline, not much about his stats is going to change compared to his previous two years. His lack of steals, blocks and low field goal percentage is a turnoff but you can also look at it as he’s a good fit to a punt strategy. Just lower your expectations a bit and don’t expect you’d see the Love from Minnesota and you’ll get good value from his points, rebounds, threes and free throw percentages. He’s been going in the third round, which I can understand but there are other power forwards so much better than him. I’d have him just inside the top-50.
Usually if you don’t breakout in your second year, you’d tend to breakout in your third year right? Let’s hope that’s the case for Mirotic. He had a disappointing season for a lot of owners when so much hype was surrounding him this time last year. However, he did finish the season strong and had top-60 value. Bulls are in dying need of players who can shoot and Mirotic fits the bill. Let’s hope Fred Hoiberg won’t play Gibson over him this season and trust him a little bit more. If you think about it, a Rondo-Wade-Butler-Gibson-Lopez line up is a nightmare in today’s NBA because of the lack of spacing offensively. Mirotic is going to play a key role on this Bulls team even though he’s going to have his ups and downs. It’s a risky gamble with Mirotic but he does have top-40 upside and is a threat to grab you a triple one on any given night. I’d sneak him in a round earlier.
After the trade to the Pistons last year (which was a theft by the way), he finished the season strong and had top-50 value. However that value is inflated by his free throw percentages at 91.1 percent. It really boosted up his 9-cat value and I expect that number to regress back to the mean. Apart from that, his rebounding numbers also took a hit since playing with Andre Drummond would do that to you. What you can expect from Harris is an all-rounded contribution to your team and he wouldn’t harm or win you in any specific categories. He’s a roto-friendly player and because of that fact, he doesn’t really suit my tastebuds. He’s ranked 42 on Yahoo! which is too high for me. A round and a half later would be decent.
This guy is 38 years old and for the last five years, he’s never been ranked outside the top-50 in 9-cat and yet everyone (including me) is still sleeping on him. He was ranked 30 last season and played in 75+ games for the last three years. Dirk is going to be able to keep this up as long as Rick Carlisle revolve the system around him and his pick and pops. His legs are starting to turn on him and he can’t get as much lift for those fadeaways anymore. His field goal percentage is starting to decline year by year. He’s still a good mid-round source of points, threes and free throw percentages from your power forward spot. Almost like a Kevin Love lite. I’d expect the teeniest drop of production across the boards but still good enough for some top-60 value this season. Personally, the age and low upside is not that appealing to me and I wouldn’t touch on him until the sixth round unless I’m in need of his contributions.
Parker stepped it up after the All-Star break last season and played himself to seventh round value during that stretch. With a healthy offseason and a full training camp under his belt, he’s set to have a break out year especially with Khris Middleton expected to miss majority of the season. He’s set to absorb some of Middleton’s usage rate and should be heavily relied on to put points on the board. He also provides decent percentages, rebounds and low turnovers. Hopefully he adds a three point shot to his game as it will elevate him to a top-50 player in fantasy. The upside is there and I’m really liking myself some Jabari this year. Sixth round is where he’s being drafted and if I were to reach for him, earliest I would pick him is late fifth round.
New team, starting power forward, Mike D’Antoni as head coach results in more points and threes for Ryan Anderson. Apart from that, there’s not much else he contributes to your team. He hurts your field goal percentage most of the time and he’s a horrible defender and has no defensive stats. He’s another player that you would want to draft if you’re adopting a punt strategy or you’re desperate for points and threes. Points are indeed harder to find towards the later stages of the draft but hopefully your team could stomach his negatives. By the way, he’s also very injury prone. Anderson played in 66, 61 and 22 games in the last three seasons and he’s never played more than 67 games in his 8 year career except for that one season in ’12-’13. Honestly, I still like him better than his Yahoo! rank and in some certain situations, I would prefer him over some of the players in this tier.
A Marvin Williams’ owner would tell you he was amazing for their team last season. He played himself to a top-50 value season and he was probably a waiver wire pick for majority of you guys. It’s hard to imagine how he could improve from there. His upside is limited but if he’s able to replicate similar stats across the board, you’re going to find heavy value from him this season. The ability to grab a triple one is a major turn on and to be able to do that and average less than one turnover along with decent percentages makes it even better. He’s ranked 92 in Yahoo! leagues and that was already buffed up from the previous update. I still think it’s a bit low when he could potentially have a top-50 season again.
Young had himself a top-40 campaign with Brooklyn last season. With the trade to the Pacers, I can’t see him replicate the same kind of production now that he’s with better players. He’s basically going from the second option on the team to potentially the fifth. He’s going to take a hit in points and also rebounds as well since he’s playing with Myles Turner and Paul George who are both strong rebounders in their positions. He’ll still provide elite steals in the power forward position and he’s also been taking more threes in this Pacers team. However, this could mean a slight drop to his field goal percentage, which was really good. I’m not liking myself some Young this season.
Morris was pretty disappointing last season and was barely worth owning in standard leagues. He was a top-70 player in Phoenix two season ago and hopefully we’ll see him bounce-back under a new head coach in Scott Brooks. He should see more minutes this season as the Wizards are a little thin in the front court department. Now that Ian Mahinmi is out 4-6 weeks, Wizards could play a smaller line up more often which could be beneficial for Morris. He’s a fantasy friendly player who wouldn’t hurt your team in any categories. It’s hard to find towards the end of the draft and he could potentially give you a triple one on any given night. He’s going to shoot more threes this season and this could potentially boost or drop his value since it could result in a decline in his field goal percentages. His ADP is at 121 right now and you could probably draft him earlier to get some top-75 upside.
I really like Aminu this season. He played amazingly well in the playoffs as Portland’s power forward in those match ups. Now that he has the full time job of playing the four, he should flourish in this role. He improved on his three point shot last season and could block more shots now that he’s more close to the rim defensively. He’s going to be another triple one threat towards the end of the draft and he wouldn’t hurt you much in any categories. If you need a power forward towards the last couple of rounds in the draft that could give you good rebounds, threes, steals and blocks, Aminu is a good pick.
A month ago, I was a pretty big fan of Nance but now that I’ve seen a couple of preseason games from the Lakers, I don’t think he’s going to win the starting gig over Randle this season. Walton seems like he wants to have an athletic, young and quick second unit behind Clarkson, Ingram and Nance. His rotations are pretty much set and I don’t think he’ll alter it that much throughout the season. His upside and ceiling is definitely higher than Randle but opportunities are slim. He’s a late-round flier and you’re hoping he gets more minutes as season goes on. I’m tempted to drop him a tier lower but his upside is still there for me to pick him earlier than the tier below.
David Fizdale, the new coach for the Grizzlies is shaking things up and putting Randolph on the bench. This means opportunities for Green to step it up. He stepped up his play towards the end of last season but he was still just inside the top-150 in 9-cat leagues. Fizdale wants to run more and speed up the pace a little bit and he certainly can’t do that with Randolph jogging around. Green has potential to have a mini breakout year but his lack of blocks is holding him back right now. I wouldn’t mind using my last pick on him though.
Before Simmons was injured, Saric was already in the starting line up. Now that Simmons might miss the entire season, Saric is going to get a lot of opportunities to make plays for others and step into the point forward role for the Sixers. He has an all-rounded game that could potentially reap in a lot of fantasy goodies. Playing 30+ minutes per game for Saric is now a realistic option but he’s still a rookie so growing pains are expected. You can expect some out of position assists, decent amount of boards and some threes from Saric this season and he has the coolest nickname so far, The Homie.
I thought Randle could have the potential to be a combination of Lamar Odom and Zach Randolph but as long as Randle is keeping his head down when he’s driving to the rim, he’ll never be the prior of the two. Fantasy wise, his ceiling is not as high as his understudy in Nance but fortunately, he’s getting majority of the minutes. He’s a good source of points and rebounds but that’s about it. Playing under Walton, he’s going to be utilise in the Draymond Green role for the Lakers which could see a hike in assists. He has shown ability to play well in this role in preseason games but again, it’s preseason. A last round pick for Randle wouldn’t be too bad.
- Tier 1: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins
- Tier 2: Draymond Green, Kristaps Porzingis, Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge
- Tier 3: Derrick Favors, Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka, Gorgui Dieng
- Tier 4: Kevin Love, Nikola Mirotic
- Tier 5: Tobias Harris, Dirk Nowitzki, Jabari Parker, Ryan Anderson
- Tier 6: Marvin Williams, Thaddeus Young
- Tier 7: Markieff Morris, Al-Farouq Aminu, Larry Nance
- Tier 8: JaMychal Green, Dario Saric, Julius Randle
I hope this was useful for you all and remember to follow me @BFantasyHoops on Twitter. Stay tuned for the tier rankings of the centers!