The 2022-23 NBA season is less than two weeks away, which means it’s very nearly time for fantasy basketball season. Fantasy basketball offers fans a unique way to keep up with their favorite players and teams as the season progresses, and has become increasingly popular over the past few years. The upcoming season could be the most exciting fantasy basketball season in quite some time, and it feels like a good time to look at our top fantasy basketball small forwards for the upcoming season.
When it comes to filling out your fantasy teams, you have a lot of different options due to the number of good players in the league and the amount of positional versatility most players have. The small forward position has some of the top fantasy options in the league, but the position isn’t exactly deep, and doesn’t have a lot of positional versatility, making it very important for fantasy owners as the season nears. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top fantasy basketball small forwards for the upcoming fantasy season.
15. Khris Middleton
Khris Middleton is an effective scorer who can also hold his own in the rebound and assist categories. He plays second fiddle in the offense behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, which limits his value, and he may end up missing the start of the season with a wrist injury. If it weren’t for that injury, Middleton would move up this list a few spots, making him an interesting candidate for the early to middle rounds of your drafts.
14. Buddy Hield
Buddy Hield isn’t the most exciting player ever, but he could be in line for a big season with the Indiana Pacers. Hield’s game took a huge step forward after he was traded to the Pacers, and given how they are gearing up for a rebuild, Hield figures to be a big part of their offense this season. For that reason, Hield could be a sneaky good option at small forward this season.
13. Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins was the Warriors second best player during the NBA Finals, and he will probably have a bigger role for him in store this season. Wiggins is a solid scorer and defender, which should help him maintain his value, but his rebounding and assist totals aren’t great. Wiggins isn’t worth jumping the gun for, but he could hold value if his role expands this season.
12. Zach LaVine
Zach LaVine took a step back last season after a breakout 2021-22 campaign, but he still was an effective scorer for fantasy owners at small forward. LaVine struggled to handle the addition of DeMar DeRozan to the Chicago Bulls offense, and he will have to properly adjust this season. LaVine is a bit of a risky pick, but he’s at least established a solid floor for himself moving forward.
11. Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram established his floor as a 20 point per game scorer, but he showed some potential last season to be able to offer more as a rebounder and a passer. Ingram could also benefit from the return of Zion Williamson to the court for the New Orleans Pelicans. Ingram has been improving with each passing season on the Pelicans, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that trend continue this upcoming season.
10. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler isn’t the most conventional fantasy option available, but he always gets the job done. He’s the main source of scoring for the Miami Heat, and while his rebounding and assist totals dropped last season, he still had pretty strong averages in both categories. Combine that with the fact Butler has averaged at least 1.6 steals per game over the past three seasons, and it’s clear to see why he’s such a valuable fantasy player.
9. Jaylen Brown
Jaylen Brown seems to get better every season he’s in the NBA. His scoring took a bit of a step back last season, but he made up for it with slight increases in his rebounding and passing. Brown is working on becoming a more well-rounded player, and getting more involved as a playmaker is an area he has been working on becoming better at this offseason. If he can make a jump as a passer, Brown could shoot up this list.
8. Scottie Barnes
Scottie Barnes quickly became an invaluable member of the Toronto Raptors last season, and his role seems set to increase this season. Barnes is a very strong interior scorer, and he’s shown potential to average a double-double in points and rebounds. Barnes is a pretty good passer too all things considered, and his all-around skillset makes him a strong fantasy option this upcoming season.
7. Kawhi Leonard
Last time we saw Kawhi Leonard, he was one of the best players in the NBA. Then he ended up missing the entire 2021-22 campaign with a torn ACL, leading many to wonder how he will look in his return to the court this season. If Leonard can play like he did prior to his injury, he will move up a few spots on this list, but for now, there are a few players from a fantasy perspective that come in ahead of him.
6. Anthony Edwards
Anthony Edwards improved his scoring output last season, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him do the same thing this season. Edwards also took a small step forward as a playmaker, but in a sense, he’s still a very raw player. If Edwards can continue to improve this season, he may find himself as one of the top five small forwards in the game this season.
5. Paul George
Paul George was one of the best fantasy basketball players when he was on the court last season; the problem was that he only played in 31 games. George can provide solid rebound and assist numbers while averaging 25 points per game, and he may have to take on a bigger role to help Leonard his way back into action. If George can stay healthy, he will likely have a huge season, making him an easy choice on our top fantasy basketball small forwards list.
4. DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan was one of the biggest surprises in the NBA last season, but he won’t sneak past fantasy owners this season. DeRozan averaged 27.9 points per game on 50.4 percent shooting last season, and he should continue to have a huge role in the Bulls offense. DeRozan may look to get more involved as a playmaker this season, but that certainly wouldn’t hurt his already sky-high fantasy value.
3. Kevin Durant
The top three players on this list are pretty secure in their spots, with Kevin Durant’s fantasy value being pretty clear. Durant is one of the most efficient scorers in the league for a guy who will take 20 shots a game, and he also can chip in as a rebounder and a passer as well. Durant will have more consistent help in Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons this season, which should only make his fantasy value go up.
2. LeBron James
Not only does LeBron James have a lot of value for his production on the court, he can also play three different positions for fantasy owners this season. James was also ranked the second best point guard option for this upcoming season, and he will finish in the same spot on this list. James can do it all on the floor, and if he can stay healthy this time around, he could end up snatching the top spot away in this position group.
1. Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum finished as the leading fantasy scorer for small forwards last season, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again this season. Tatum took some massive steps forward as a passer in the playoffs, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him have more control of the Boston Celtics offense this season. Tatum is already very well-rounded, and it’s clear why he’s leading the pack for the top fantasy basketball small forwards.