My confidence level in Derrick Rose has been re-instilled after seeing him survive the first few contests. Although I was higher on him than most to begin with, I still don’t see why he won’t be a first-round talent this season.
The biggest jump goes to Anthony Davis, who’s up 13 spots from last time, thanks in part to a strong preseason effort so far. I always stress how important it is to take safe players early, and reach for the upside later on in your drafts, but Davis is my exception. The beginning of the second round is probably too early for me, but anytime after that is fair game.
New to the party are Ryan Anderson, Andre Drummond and Derrick Favors. You’ll find all three of them towards the end of this list, but they have nowhere to go but up. Ousted are Paul Millsap, Rajon Rondo and Russell Westbrook.
Almost everybody received a bump when word got out about Westbrook’s knee surgery. Just a reminder that hurt players won’t be ranked. The varying opinions on them are way too difficult to judge. To each his own. That’s why you wont find Westbrook, Rajon Rondo or Kobe Bryant on this list.
Don’t forget you can ask any of your draft questions on Twitter at @DimeFantasyDoc.
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1. LeBRON JAMES, Miami Heat (Previously: 1)
Can’t fault you for taking Durant here if you’re worried about Spoelstra resting his stars during the fantasy playoffs, but assuming LeBron has been working at his post game this summer, it’s possible he becomes even more efficient. Scary thought.
2. KEVIN DURANT, Oklahoma City Thunder (Previously: 2)
Durant should see an uptick in production until Westbrook returns from knee surgery. Without him in the playoffs last year, KD put up averages of 31.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists, with 2.1 treys, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Looks like LeBron numbers to me.
3. CHRIS PAUL, Los Angeles Clippers (Previously: 3)
The main reason I like CP3 in this spot is because of safety. With tons of new weapons around him, and a long resume of past success, there’s no reason to think Paul will fall off at all. Sure, Harden might have a better season, but Paul is as much of a sure thing as you can draft.
4. JAMES HARDEN, Houston Rockets (Previously: 4)
Harden was hands down the best player not named LeBron James or Kevin Durant last season, but how will he be affected by Dwight Howard‘s presence? If you’re confident that it will only help his efficiency, then he’s your guy.
5. STEPHEN CURRY, Golden State Warriors (Previously: 7)
Curry vs. Westbrook was a heated debate amongst fantasy basketball fans heading into the season, but now that the latter is out of the picture, does anyone have the guts to take Curry over Paul? Shooting guard eligibility and record breaking three-point potential makes it far from a crazy idea.
6. DWIGHT HOWARD, Houston Rockets (Previously: 5)
It’s tough to need to punt a category with your first-round draft pick, but if you’re going to do it with anybody, Dwight is your guy. Now that he’s happy in Houston, you can expect him to dominate field goal percentage, rebounds, and blocks.
7. KEVIN LOVE, Minnesota Timberwolves (Previously: 6)
Whether you go for Dwight or Love depends on how you like your cup of tea. If you like players who get stats that aren’t normal for their position, then Love is your guy. He has made 213 treys over the last three seasons, albeit in only 146 games.
8. DERRICK ROSE, Chicago Bulls (Previously: 11)
Any questions about Rose’s health have already been answered this preseason. Considering the Bulls will be just as reliant on his offense as usual, there’s no reason to think he won’t play to a first-round level.
9. PAUL GEORGE, Indiana Pacers (Previously: 9)
No need to worry about Danny Granger‘s return affecting George’s stats. George had a breakout season last year and is only going to get better. Multi-positional eligibility makes him even more valuable.
10. KYRIE IRVING, Cleveland Cavaliers (Previously: 10)
Either Irving is going to be a steal in the mid-late first round or he’s going to be a bust while missing tons of games due to injury once again. You have to pay to find out.