The days are winding down. The new NBA season officially kicks off on October 22nd, and fantasy basketball enthusiasts are scrambling to do last-minute research for their drafts. Like the NBA itself, fantasy rankings this year are pretty wide open. There are plenty of players at each position that could warrant a spot in the top five in their respective positions.
The power forward spot is an interesting one. There’s no clear-cut top five here, and outside of the top two, it’s anyone’s guess. Stats are always tough to predict in sports. Does their injury-riddled past make them less valuable? Was last season’s strong run to end the season just a fluke or a sign of growth? What kind of player will they be on a new team in a new system?
With a million questions swirling, let’s take a look at our predictions for the top five power forwards in fantasy basketball this year:
5. Draymond Green
Before we talk about Draymond Green, let’s first recognize that there were plenty of great power forwards who could’ve been in the top five. Zion Williamson hasn’t played a single regular season NBA game, and many already have him slated as one of the best power forwards in the league. And if his preseason performance is any indication, they may be right. But until he actually proves he can live up to the hype, he’ll remain just outside the top five. LaMarcus Aldridge has been productive the past couple of years on the San Antonio Spurs, but he’s now 34 years old, and only seven players 34 or older have averaged 20 points and nine rebounds a game. Fantasy managers should take caution and bet, for now, that Aldridge won’t be making history this season.
So Draymond gets this slot as the fifth-best fantasy power forward. With the new-look Golden State Warriors, Green will have plenty of opportunities that he didn’t have when the Warriors were in their full-blown superteam glory days. His 7.4 points per game last season was disappointing for fantasy owners, but he should get back up to double-digit scoring this year, as he’s done in the four previous seasons.
The Warriors are thin at most every position, and currently have injuries to three of the centers on their roster to start the season. Draymond will get plenty of minutes, and will have the challenge of facilitating a new-look offense that features Stephen Curry and D’Angelo Russell. Draymond should pick up plenty of assists and scoring opportunities along the way.
4. John Collins
The 22-year-old John Collins had a breakout year last season with the Atlanta Hawks. Along with rising star Trae Young, Collins is part of a promising young core in Atlanta that added some more pieces this year, and hopes to make a significant jump in the standings. Last year, Collins rewarded fantasy owners with 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds a game. After averaging just 10 points a game his rookie year, it was clear that Collins had broken onto the scene as a major force for the Hawks and for fantasy teams.
His athleticism creates all kinds of matchup problems for opponents, and Collins should still be able to score with the best of them. As the Hawks look to make a jump this year, expect both Young and Collins to progress and mature as players. Collins will see north of 30 minutes a game, and the Hawks have a fast, fantasy-friendly offense. Last year, the Hawks ranked first in the NBA in pace. They like to get up and down, and a key cog in the system like Collins will continue to reap the benefits for fantasy owners.
3. Pascal Siakam
Last season’s Most Improve Player, Pascal Siakam will look to make another leap for the Toronto Raptors. Without the services of one-year rental Kawhi Leonard, Siakam will likely be one of the focal points of this offense. As a third-year player, he proved his worth last season, averaging 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds a game. It earned him over 30 minutes per contest, and that should continue to rise as he goes from role player to someone coach Nick Nurse may want to run his offense through.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility to think that Siakam, with his new role and increased usage, could be in the running again for Most Improved Player. Expect him to score close to, or over, 20 points a game as his all-around game continues to mature on a Raptors team that has an aging Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol as its other key pieces. Assuming Siakam is up to the challenge of leading this offense, he’ll put up some gaudy numbers this year for his fantasy owners.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
This year, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo looks to defend his crown. Last season, he wrecked opponents and stat sheets to the tune of 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. His 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks a game round out his game. His free throw percentage isn’t great and he doesn’t shoot three’s, but he’ll help you in every other fantasy category.
Giannis is going first overall in some fantasy leagues, and for good reason. The Milwaukee Bucks are centered around Giannis’ ability to get to the rim at will with his size and length. The Bucks have shooters that space the floor, and Giannis can roam free and gallop down the lane. Even without Malcolm Brogdon, the Bucks will look to do more of that same recipe this year.
Though he’s more traditionally known as a small forward, he’s listed as a power forward in fantasy, and can be slotted into that position. That ranks him as the second-best power forward in fantasy basketball this year, and a very strong argument could be made for him to be first.
1. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis and Giannis are pretty interchangeable here at the top spot. Many fantasy managers will take Davis with the first overall pick, and others would rather choose Giannis with that top overall pick. And both options would make perfect sense. In our rankings, however, Davis gets the nod for the top power forward in the game because of his change in scenery.
At only 26 and in his prime, Davis brings a star presence to the City of Angels alongside LeBron James. Davis will have a good amount of talent around him, so teams won’t be able to merely double-team him in the post every possession. AD will also have a new motivation, now charged with the task of bringing the Los Angeles Lakers back to their glory days and ushering in a new, exciting era of Lakers basketball.
As if external factors weren’t enough, his stats alone make him a fantasy machine who can stuff the stat sheet in both offensive and defensive categories. Last year on the New Orleans Pelicans, Davis averaged 25.9 points and 12 rebounds per game while shooting 52% from the field.
While his offensive stats are certainly enticing, no other power forward puts up numbers in the two traditional defensive categories like AD does. Last year, he averaged 1.6 steals and 2.4 blocks a game. He’s also led the NBA in blocks three times in his career, and he’s a reliable source for both steals and blocks. Fantasy owners rarely, if ever, get solid production in both categories from the power forward position.
Davis will have another monster season, and he warrants a strong look at the number-one overall fantasy player this year.