The All-Star break is nearly over, the trade deadline has nearly passed, and fantasy owners are gearing up for one last push in the season's final weeks. We're typically focused on what players will do, but it can be just as helpful to look at what they've done -- in this week's column, I'm focusing on overall fantasy values from the past month, which accounts for 13-15 games for most players. When debating between two interesting pickups, reliable recent production is often enough to tip the scales.
The values below are explicitly 9-cat and 8-cat roto-based, but they give a reliable indication of value for most points leagues, too. If you care to play around with the numbers, or re-sort by specific columns, you can download the expanded spreadsheet by heading over to Google Sheets.
I'm excluding any players who have averaged fewer than 15 minutes over the past month, or appeared in fewer than 10 games. That brings the player pool down from 419 to a more fantasy-relevant 259 players. The games-played cutoff means that you won't find Joel Embiid (three games) on the list, but I carved out exceptions for Jahlil Okafor, DeMar DeRozan, Evan Fournier, Thaddeus Young, D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.
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After ranking those 259 players, I eliminated anyone who fell below the top-175 and re-ran the numbers to arrive at a more precise list. To reiterate, this isn't a projection of rest-of-season value. It's a guideline to players' existing values, from which you can extrapolate rest-of-season. For instance, Nerlens Noel is posting top-75 value over the past month. He should easily keep that up if Joel Embiid's knee injury keeps him on the sidelines, or if he's traded to a team that immediately slots him into their starting center spot. If Noel isn't dealt and Embiid gets healthy, of course, we can expect him to fall at least a few rounds from his current mid-round perch. Without further ado, here are the past-month rankings!
KAT has been a monster lately, as his owners know well enough, and KD continues to cruise as the top option in 9-cat leagues. It doesn't hurt that he's blocking 1.7 shots in the past month, while scoring with ridiculous efficiency. For 8-cat purposes, James Harden and Russell Westbrook leapfrog the pack to claim the top two spots. That's also the case in most points leagues, where heaps of turnovers don't have quite the same negative impact that they have in roto. Root through the names above and you might be surprised by some of the results, such as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist posting mid-round value, or Evan Fournier failing to make the cut in 9-cat.
You'll notice some young guys like Willy Hernangomez, Ivica Zubac and Marquese Chriss on the list, but there are many more players who didn't make the top-175 lists but nevertheless merit some attention as guys to watch down the stretch. All of them guys are interesting as younger players on teams that could decide to turn them loose, with varying degrees of likelihood. In no particular order...Aaron Gordon, Jusuf Nurkic, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Buddy Hield, Alex Len, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert, Kris Dunn, Willie Reed, Tyler Ulis, Mario Hezonja, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Stanley Johnson, Cristiano Felicio, Juan Hernangomez, etc. The first few guys are assuredly already owned and that's not a comprehensive list, but it's a good place to start if you're scrounging around for value in deeper, competitive leagues.
Finally, here is a breakdown for each position in the top-175 for 9-cat. I assigned each player one 'primary' position with the following results:
As usual, SGs and PFs are the most plentiful position. That's been the case for every ranking I've done in the past few years, so this comes as no surprise to regular readers. If you need help in those positions, you stand a good chance of pulling someone useful off the waiver wire. Otherwise, the positions are comparable enough that there are no huge advantages to be gleaned at this point in the season -- just remember those PG and C totals on draft day next season. You can always find me on Twitter @Knaus_RW if you have any questions or insights...and good luck in the final weeks of the season!