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
|Team||Number of Games||Schedule Favorability||Must Start||Consider Sitting|
|Favorable||Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Jeff Teague||Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore|
|Highly Favorable||Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas||Evan Turner|
|Poor||Brook Lopez||Jarrett Jack, Thaddeus Young|
|Unfavorable||Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum||Al Jefferson|
|Neutral||Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler||Derrick Rose, Nikola Mirotic|
|Neutral||Lebron James, Kevin Love||Mo Williams, Tristan Thompson|
|Neutral||Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams||Chandler Parsons, Deron Williams|
|Neutral||Danilo Gallinari||Emmanuel Mudiay, Kenneth Faried|
|Neutral||Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson||Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova|
|Golden State||2 home|
|Unfavorable||Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson||Andre Iguodala|
|Highly Favorable||James Harden, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza||Ty Lawson|
|Favorable||Paul George||Monta Ellis, George Hill, Ian Mahinmi|
|Los Angeles Clippers||2 home|
|Favorable||Blake Griffin, Deandre Jordan, Chris Paul||None|
|Los Angeles Lakers||2 home|
|Favorable||None||Kobe Bryant, Roy Hibbert, Julius Randle|
|Highly Favorable||Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph||None|
|Unfavorable||Hassan Whitehead, Chris Bosh||Dwayne Wade, Goran Dragic|
|Unfavorable||Greg Monroe, Giannis Antekokounmpo||Michael Carter Williams, Jabri Parker|
|Poor||Karl-Anthony Towns,||Ricky Rubio, Andre Wiggins|
|New Orleans||2 home|
|Neutral||Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans||Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson|
|New York||1 home|
|Favorable||Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis||Robin Lopez|
|Oklahoma City||2 home|
|Highly Favorable||Russel Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka||None|
|Neutral||Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic||Elfrid Payton, Tobias Harris|
|Unfavorable||Jahlil Okafor, Robert Covington||Nerlens Noel|
|Favorable||Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight||Tyson Chandler, TJ Warren|
|Highly Favorable||Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum||Mason Plumlee|
|Unfavorable||Demarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo||Rudy Gay|
|San Antonio||1 home|
|Favorable||Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge||Tony Parker, Tim Duncan|
|Poor||Kyle Lowery, DeMar DeRozan||Jonas Valanciunas|
|Neutral||Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward||Rudy Gobert|
|Favorable||John Wall, Bradley Beal||Marcin Gortat, Otto Porter|
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
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) December 17, 2015
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.
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.
- Week 23 Fantasy Basketball Preview: Westbrook Remains a Top Pick - March 28, 2016
- Week 22 Fantasy Basketball Preview: Draymond Green, Man of Many Talents - March 20, 2016
- Week 21 Fantasy Basketball Preview: Building a Champion - March 13, 2016