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In week 9 of my fantasy basketball preview, I’ll take a look at one of the most constantly evolving positions in the NBA, the power forward. These days it’s known as the “stretch four” and not surprisingly, some of the best fantasy power forwards stretch the floor and do not fit into the traditional “power forward” box.

First up is a true big man with guard like skills. Anthony Davis has as much talent as any player in the league, and because of that, he’s the kind of player to build a fantasy team around. Though not really a “stretch” four, Davis is certainly unorthodox in his ability to create his own shot, knock down the midrange jumper, and go inside with power and finesse. He’s just as strong on defense and will fill up the fantasy box score with steals and blocks. He’s also really young. It’s hard to think of a better long term fantasy option at any position than Anthony Davis.

Perhaps the most surprising power forward this year is Draymond Green. Of course, Green has surprised each year he’s been in the league, going from being an afterthought as the 35th pick in the draft to one of the best players in the league for the very best team. Green, like Davis, breaks the mold. He is perhaps the first player that can be called a “point power forward” and it’s not inconceivable that he might one day average a triple double (ala Oscar Robertson). He doesn’t block shots or score as well as Davis, but otherwise, he’s right there.

Paul George may not like being a power forward, but I think I speak for all fantasy owners when I say it’s been a boon to his value. He’s having one of his best seasons as “small” power forward who can use his quickness and guard skills to get to the hoop at will. Add to that a 41% rate from three point land, and you have a recipe for fantasy dominance. George is also rebounding the ball well this year and one of the league leaders in steals at his position.

The only “traditional” power forward on the list is far from just a big body who can rebound and score inside. Not that he can’t do both of those, but this year’s Blake Griffin can do so much more. Griffin is second only to Green in assists among power forwards, and his offensive game has expanded well beyond the paint. Gone are the days when the only way Griffin was going to get his was in a full court up and down game. In fact, he’s developed a very nice and effective half court game, and he still manages to shoot the ball at a very efficient rate (51%).

Week 9 Fantasy Basketball Preview

TeamNumber of GamesSchedule FavorabilityMust StartConsider Sitting
Atlanta3 home
0 away
FavorablePaul Millsap, Al Horford, Jeff Teague Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore
Boston2 home
2 away
Highly FavorableJared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, Isaiah ThomasEvan Turner
Brooklyn2 home
1 away
PoorBrook LopezJarrett Jack, Thaddeus Young
Charlotte2 home
1 away
UnfavorableKemba Walker, Nicolas BatumAl Jefferson
Chicago1 home
2 away
NeutralPau Gasol, Jimmy ButlerDerrick Rose, Nikola Mirotic
Cleveland1 home
2 away
NeutralLebron James, Kevin LoveMo Williams, Tristan Thompson
Dallas1 home
2 away
NeutralDirk Nowitzki, Deron WilliamsChandler Parsons, Deron Williams
Denver1 home
2 away
NeutralDanilo GallinariEmmanuel Mudiay, Kenneth Faried
Detroit1 home
2 away
NeutralAndre Drummond, Reggie JacksonMarcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova
Golden State2 home
0 away
UnfavorableStephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay ThompsonAndre Iguodala
Houston2 home
2 away
Highly FavorableJames Harden, Dwight Howard, Trevor ArizaTy Lawson
Indiana1 home
2 away
FavorablePaul GeorgeMonta Ellis, George Hill, Ian Mahinmi
Los Angeles Clippers2 home
1 away
FavorableBlake Griffin, Deandre Jordan, Chris PaulNone
Los Angeles Lakers2 home
2 away
FavorableNoneKobe Bryant, Roy Hibbert, Julius Randle
Memphis1 home
3 away
Highly FavorableMarc Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph None
Miami2 home
1 away
UnfavorableHassan Whitehead, Chris BoshDwayne Wade, Goran Dragic
Milwaukee2 home
0 away
UnfavorableGreg Monroe, Giannis AntekokounmpoMichael Carter Williams, Jabri Parker
Minnesota2 home
1 away
PoorKarl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio, Andre Wiggins
New Orleans2 home
1 away
NeutralAnthony Davis, Tyreke EvansEric Gordon, Ryan Anderson
New York1 home
3 away
FavorableCarmelo Anthony, Kristaps PorzingisRobin Lopez
Oklahoma City2 home
2 away
Highly FavorableRussel Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Serge IbakaNone
Orlando2 home
1 away
NeutralVictor Oladipo, Nikola VucevicElfrid Payton, Tobias Harris
Philadelphia1 home
2 away
UnfavorableJahlil Okafor, Robert CovingtonNerlens Noel
Phoenix2 home
1 away
FavorableEric Bledsoe, Brandon KnightTyson Chandler, TJ Warren
Portland1 home
3 away
Highly FavorableDamian Lillard, CJ McCollumMason Plumlee
Sacramento1 home
2 away
UnfavorableDemarcus Cousins, Rajon RondoRudy Gay
San Antonio1 home
2 away
FavorableKawhi Leonard, LaMarcus AldridgeTony Parker, Tim Duncan
Toronto1 home
1 away
PoorKyle Lowery, DeMar DeRozanJonas Valanciunas
Utah1 home
2 away
NeutralDerrick Favors, Gordon HaywardRudy Gobert
Washington2 home
1 away
FavorableJohn Wall, Bradley BealMarcin Gortat, Otto Porter

Starts

Isaiah Thomas, PG, Boston Celtics

I’ve never been a huge Thomas guy. He’s fun to watch, but seems a little streaky to me, and those guys always make me nervous. Having said that, he’s having a great year for the Celtics, and this week he’ll see a very favorable schedule, so I wouldn’t hesitate to get him off your bench and into the action. 

Klay Thompson, SG, Golden State

Earlier in the year, I advised against starting Thompson. And it’s true that his numbers have been down, and at times, he’s struggled, but lately there have been some really positive signs, including a 27 point third quarter explosion against the Suns. Over the last two weeks, he’s been the best SG in my keeper league (which is a lot closer to where he should be all the time). Maybe he’s got it turned around. I’d take the risk and get him out there.

 

Sits

Monta Ellis, SG, Indiana Pacers

Shooting guards are hard to come by this year. In my league, finding a quality starter separates the good teams from the mediocre ones. Because there are so few that produce on a regular basis, it’s tempting to go with a guy like Ellis. I’d advise against it. The numbers simply aren’t there.

Kenneth Faried, PF, Denver Nuggets

I’m not sure what happened to Kenneth Faried. At one time, he looked like he might be one of the best young prospects in the NBA. Add to that his excellent international performance a few years ago, and he seemed like a sure bet to be if not a fantasy stud, but at least a serviceable starter for years to come. It just wasn’t meant to be. He’s currently the 21st rated power forward in my keeper league, and I just don’t see him getting it together any time soon.

 

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