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NBA Fantasy Trends

Early 2019-20 Fantasy Basketball Rankings 2

by Mike Gallagher

It's early and rankings will change a whole lot when we get to July, but usually the stud players hold most of their value even when they're on better teams. Most of the high-end guys who need the ball to produce points also add a lot of other stats to their box scores. James Harden's 36.1 points per game is an absurd number, but he's also helpful in dimes, treys, steals, FT% and even some boards. If a player isn't filling it up besides scoring, that's why Andrew Wiggins might not even get drafted in 12-team leagues next year. 

Besides drafting players you can count on, it's important to draft positions or stats. Just about everyone knows all about stat and position scarcity. That starts right off the bat in the early rounds, and you'll notice that assists can dry up fairly quick in the first 50 picks. Plus, centers are not being used as much for big minutes in today's NBA, which explains why some fantasy teams struggle to fill up their two center spots in some formats. We'll dive in more on these subjects this summer and talk about players who pair well with others.

If you missed the top 10 and some talk about reliability factors, check it out right here. We'll also do a bunch of stuff this offseason, so follow me on Twitter @MikeSGallagher for some mocks and more. After you do that, here's the next set of 10 for early rankings for the 2019-20 season for standard nine-category leagues.

 

11. Rudy Gobert (27 years old when the 2019-20 season starts) - He has been healthy all season and did not miss a game yet in 2018-19. Gobert’s only injury scare was a minor hamstring issue with a questionable tag, and he played through it with an 18-point, 16-board, four-block game back on Jan. 25. Gobert has been a bit bumpy with the game logs over the last five with 82 games in 2014-15, 61, 81 and 56 last season. Gobert also vastly improved as a scorer with his 15.8 points per game on a league-best 67.0 FG% and nobody even close (Clint Capela 64.5 FG%), and Gobert is the only qualifier to be in the top five for FG%, blocks and rebounds per game. The Jazz should be firmly in the Western Conference playoff race next year and Gobert likely won’t get rested as much as some of the other elite bigs.

12. Bradley Beal (26) - On Wednesday last week before I published my top 10, Beal was in the No. 10 spot, but he was knocked down a couple spots because of the Wizards possibly having a new plan. Owner Ted Leonsis said the Wizards are going to have a “reboot” now that Ernie Grunfeld is gone. Beal also suggested he’s not too into the money side of things for his career. “My biggest concern, just like I tell everybody else, is just making sure that we’re going in the right direction. It’s easy to secure money. Money is not the problem,” Beal said. “I already have one max contract, and I can live off that and be cool. So, money is not the problem.” Even if Beal is dealt, he would still likely be a top-25 player as a No. 2 option on a good team. If not, John Wall (Achilles) could also miss next season, and Beal had been a top-eight player since his first game without Wall back on Dec. 28. He’s going to hit 82 games in back-to-back seasons with career-highs basically everywhere, averaging 25.7 points, 5.0 boards, 5.5 dimes, 0.7 blocks, 1.5 steals and 2.6 treys on a 47/35/81 shooting line. Real Deal Beal.

13. Clint Capela (25) - A freak thumb injury kept Capela to just 66 games, and he hasn’t hit 75 starts in is career yet. The Swiss big man answered the bell with his increase in playing time, getting to 33.5 minutes per game this season from 27.5 last season. Plus, the potency of his stat lines didn’t drop off much, averaging 16.6 points, 12.7 boards, 1.4 dimes, 1.5 blocks and 0.7 steals on 64.5 FG% and 63.8 FT%. Capela’s FT% has seen a steady increase throughout his career: 17.4, 37.9, 53.1, 56.0 and 63.8 FT% last season. Not bad for a guy who missed is first 14 attempts from the line in his NBA career. Capela has also improved since the break at the line and perhaps he can get to 70% next season. He's a younger version of Gobert, and there is still room for improvement.

14. DeMarcus Cousins (29) - If you stashed him, made the playoffs, and your team was fairly healthy, I’d bet you had a great shot at a title. Besides a minor ankle tweak that kept him out for two games last month, Boogie’s only DNPs after his season debut were because of rest or something close to it. Despite just 26.6 minutes per game since Feb. 26, Cousins has still been a top-25 player per game. There’s no doubt that Boogie has top-10 upside, but he hasn’t exactly been the most durable player in his career. Since 2014-15, Boogie missed at least 10 games per season. He takes on a lot of contact and gets to the line, and now he’s pushing 30. Still, there’s enough upside here, especially after he showed he can crush even with some high-volume players next to him.

15. Devin Booker (22) - So his last 11 full games were something else. In those, Booker averaged 36.2 points, 5.2 boards, 8.0 dimes, 0.8 steals, 5.0 turnovers 2.4 treys and 0.3 blocks on a 50/32/86 shooting line. He was a top-five player per game in eight-category leagues over that time, and the Suns were not resting Booker down the stretch. Booker has been very vocal about wanting to suit up for his team and for the Suns to get out of their multiple-season rut. If not for his ankle sprain when he landed on Royce O’Neale’s foot, Booker may have even climbed higher. He’s still just 22 years old and we haven’t seen his best play yet. Hopefully, the offseason gets his back and hammy issues healthy again.

16. Trae Young (21) - Hot take time! Point guard thins out a bit and Young’s only missed game of his NBA career was a DNP-REST on Sunday. Plus, he’s been an absolute star since the break, averaging 24.8 points, 4.7 boards, 9.1 dimes, 0.9 steals and 2.5 treys on a 45/36/88 shooting line. He’s been a top-25 player in that span per game and he could get even better. The Hawks continue to play fast and they may actually have a shot at a playoff spot next year.

17. Russell Westbrook (30) - He’s been fairly efficient since the break, averaging 25.8 points, 10.7 boards, 9.5 dimes, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 2.6 treys on a 44/34/66 shooting line. Westbrook’s foul shooting as really fallen off after 84.5 FT% in 2016-17 and 73.7 FT% last year, so ideally you’re pairing him with Andre Drummond or Rudy Gobert. Despite Westbrook having surgery on his knee yet again, Westbrook only missed one game since Nov. 19 and that was because of a suspension. He is still a really tough target in Roto-style leagues because he is going to hurt three categories and maybe four considering he’s not a reliable 3-point guy.

18. Kawhi Leonard (28) - Ah, Kawhi. He’s been the No. 8 player per game and he hasn’t really had any non-minor injuries this year, but of course he’s down to just 59 games because of all of his rest. Part of this has to be due to it being a contract year for Kawhi, but not playing in both sets of a back-to-back all season puts up a red flag even when he gets a max deal this summer. Kawhi scored a career-high 26.7 points with his 49.5 FG% as his highest in the last three seasons. If we knew he’d play 75 games, he’d be a top-six pick, but we’ve seen Kawhi nonsense for two seasons now.

19. Kyrie Irving (27) - We’ve reached the risky portion of the ranks. Irving had one of his healthiest seasons of his career, playing 67 games and not missing more than two games in a row all season. Most of those days off were about the schedule or some minor ailment because Irving and/or Boston didn’t want him to be limited in the postseason after he missed last year’s run. Of course, the main issue with Irving is if he is going to play with the Knicks, the Celtics or somewhere else. Like Kawhi, maybe Irving getting a new contract could keep him in the lineup more often, but he has missed a lot of time due to injury and he is now 27. Irving had a big year and was still No. 10 per game, so he still has some risk in the top-20 picks.

20. Kemba Walker (29) - Will he stay or will he go? Ideally, Walker stays in Charlotte where coach James Borrego has shown he will throw heavy usage his way. Walker came through on volume as a top-15 player this year, scoring a career-high 25.5 points with 3.2 treys. If he does go home to New York, he’ll likely be a top-two option on that team and maybe his efficiency goes up, too. Walker has also been super durable in the last four seasons: 81 games in 2015-16, 79, 80, and maybe 82 this year if he doesn’t sit out in the final two.
 

Other names that crossed my mind in no particular order. Not necessarily guys I’d rank in the top 25, but just guys I want to research a whole lot this summer or am curious to see where they wind up going in drafts.

Mitchell Robinson - If the Knicks don’t add a top-of-the-line center, Robinson would be in my top 20. Probably top 15.

Nikola Vucevic - It all clicked for him this year, but he wasn’t the most durable guy prior to this season.

Joel Embiid - All this late-season rest probably won’t change as he gets older.

Jrue Holiday - On any other team, he’d be top 15. It’s impossible to trust the Pelicans with their shadiness this spring.

Pascal Siakam - If Kawhi Leonard is gone, Pascal will probably go top 30. Maybe 20.

Zion Williamson - Top five for Dynasty?

Myles Turner - Some injury concerns, but league’s leading shot blocker and really turned it on late after slow start.

Brook Lopez - Besides his foot issue from over five years ago, Brook has been an iron man.

Buddy Hield - Doesn’t miss games, will set the record for most 3-pointers in first three seasons to start a career.

Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher has covered fantasy hoops for eight years and this season is his second with Rotoworld. You can find him on Twitter talking about a player's shots at the rim.