Welcome to the 2018-2019 Fantasy Basketball preseason rankings. Because this is the first post in a series to come, it’s worth giving a brief overview of what will be covered in each article. Of course, there’s rankings that are mostly based on category scoring systems. To try to account for that, the “Better Format” column identifies if a player is better suited for the points or category leagues. To accommodate for optimal roster construction, the “Punt” column identifies categories that it will be difficult to win when drafting that player.
Finally, below the rankings, there are brief write ups identifying some players to avoid, some players worth reaching for, and some sleepers to target in later rounds.
|4||Russell Westbrook||OKC||Points||TO, FG%|
|8||Ben Simmons||PHI||Points||Percentages, TO|
|10||Kyle Lowry||TOR||FG% (borderline)|
* Dejounte Murray is out for the season with a torn right ACL and has been removed.
Players Worth Reaching for
Dennis Smith Jr. could be in for a leap similar to what we saw from Jamal Murray in his second season. The Mavs added talent in the offseason, which should help him improve his efficiency.
It’s difficult to reach on Jrue Holiday, considering his overall ADP is currently 20th on Yahoo! and 26th on ESPN. However, there should be no hesitation taking him there, as his usage and assists went up after DeMarcus Cousins’ departure. That sets him up for a big year, as he and Anthony Davis will be the primary options in the offense. He also illustrated that he can stay healthy for an entire season, appearing in 81 games.
Players to Avoid
Chris Paul is still getting drafted highly, and based on skill that’s the right move. However, he’s now 33 and has played just 61 and 58 games respectively the last two seasons. Injuries can happen to anyone and can’t be predicted, but steering into the risk this early into the draft isn’t necessary.
Lonzo Ball is a big name but things aren’t setting up well for him in the short-term. While he is cleared for practice after knee surgery in the offseason, the Lakers still plan to ease him into work. The signing of LeBron James also means that when on the floor, Ball will almost certainly not handle the ball as much as he did last season. While Magic Johnson is pumping up Ball’s new jumper, scoring ability isn’t the reason to target him.
Mike Conley is coming off a heel injury and entering his age 31 season. While he played well in his brief time on the court last season, it’s unclear how effective he’ll be upon his return. Conley is plenty talented so there’s a chance he’s still very effective for fantasy purposes, but with a current ADP of 47 overall there isn’t a lot of margin for error accounted for.
Someone has to play point guard for the Magic. That role certainly appears to be D.J. Augustin‘s for the taking, and while he is even less flashy than Collison (below), he has starters minutes and is currently the 103rd guard off the board according to FantasyPros current ADP.
Darren Collison isn’t a flashy name, but he’ll play for a good team and have safe minutes. He should score 12-13 ponts and dish five assists per game, all while shooting well from the line and field. He’s not an upper-tier player, but could be a poor man’s Jeff Teague or Goran Dragic.
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