Fantasy Basketball: Small Forward Breakdown

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While all of America is gearing up for fantasy football, I feel that it’s never too early for fantasy basketball draft preparation. We’re in the process of breaking down each position into tiers, continuing in this post with the spot that starts with the game’s two best players.

Outside of LeBron and Durant, small forward is perhaps the only position more scarce than shooting guard. Undoubtedly, there will be players not on this list who have small forward eligibility, but they’ve probably already been mentioned as a shooting guard, or in Tyreke Evans case, as a point guard. I’m tempted to exclude Melo from it because of how much power forward he plays, but he’ll definitely be small forward eligible this year too.

This is as originally posted on DimeMag.com. Kevin writes as Dime Magazine’s Fantasy Doctor. For more extensive fantasy basketball advice, follow him on Twitter at @DimeFantasyDoc.

TIER 1

LeBRON JAMES, Miami Heat

KEVIN DURANT, Oklahoma City Thunder

The gap between these two guys and the rest of the small forwards is more significant than any other position. Even if you don’t like LeBron James, he’s worth taking for the sake of trade value alone, but the fact that he missed the last couple weeks of the fantasy season scares me half to death. Durant isn’t a bad consolation prize, but unless you have either of the top two picks, neither of these guys will be on your roster.

TIER 2

JAMES HARDEN, Houston Rockets

PAUL GEORGE, Indiana Pacers

Both of these guys were mentioned in our shooting guard breakdown, but will probably have small forward eligibility too. I would personally use Harden and George at the two, where they dominate their position, but you can’t go wrong if either of them are in your lineup.

TIER 3

CARMELO ANTHONY, New York Knicks

I hate empty stats (no steals and blocks), but Melo’s scoring is almost in a league of it’s own. He has a heavy impact on your percentages because of his volume of attempts, but probably won’t shoot too much higher than the 45 percent he shot last year.

TIER 4

JOSH SMITH, Detroit Pistons

NICOLAS BATUM, Portland Trail Blazers

I’m interested how Smoove will fit in next to Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in Detroit, but whether he’s at the three or the four, he can always block shots. It’s also no crazy to say that Monroe and Smith are best passers on the team. Batum may have reached his fantasy ceiling, but his stat line is diverse enough to warrant consideration ahead of the two guys ahead of him on this list.

TIER 5

RUDY GAY, Toronto Raptors

ANDRE IGUODALA, Golden State Warriors

Gay averaged 19.5 points and 6.4 rebounds after being traded to Toronto, and it’s possible those numbers could increase as he becomes more comfortable. As for Iggy, I’m expecting a rebound year out of him after inconsistency plagued his short stay in Denver.

TIER 6

THADDEUS YOUNG, Philadelphia 76ers

JEFF GREEN, Boston Celtics

This is called the “stat hounds on teams in flux tier.” These guys will account for the majority of their frontcourt’s offense and should have all the free reign in the world given their team’s situations.

TIER 7

LUOL DENG, Chicago Bulls

CHANDLER PARSONS, Houston Rockets

DANNY GRANGER, Indiana Pacers

DANILO GALLINARI, Denver Nuggets

KLAY THOMPSON, Golden State Warriors

J.R. SMITH, New York Knicks

ERSAN ILYASOVA, Milwaukee Bucks

After Tier 6, things even out pretty quickly. From here on out, you’re looking to draft a small forward specifically for scoring, and these are the best of what’s left at doing just that. Gallo, Smith, and Granger bring injury concerns, but could pay off in the long run.

TIER 8

MO HARKLESS, Orlando Magicpotential to be like green but round later

EVAN TURNER, Philadelphia 76ers

TOBIAS HARRIS, Orlando Magic

WILSON CHANDLER, Denver Nuggets

These guys have upside through the roof, and I won’t blame you for taking any one of them above the guys in Tier 7. Harkless and Harris came on strong at the end of last season and should be able to continue their success this year as there have been minimal changes to the Orlando roster.

TIER 9

PAUL PIERCE, Brooklyn Nets

ANDRE KIRILENKO, Brooklyn Nets

GERALD WALLACE, Boston Celtics

JOE JOHNSON, Brooklyn Nets

These guys are probably worth for to their actual teams than their fantasy ones, but that doesn’t make them totally irrelevant. I’m expecting Wallace to bounce back in his new digs, especially since he has half the talent around him that he did in Brooklyn. Unfortunately for the Nets, everyone is going to eat at each other’s fantasy values, and it’s impossible to predict who will go off on what night.

 TIER 10

KAWHI LEONARD, San Antonio Spurs

DANNY GREEN, San Antonio Spurs

AL-FAROUQ AMINU, New Orleans Pelicans

I love the upside that all these guys have, but it’s severely limited by the cast of guys around them. As long as TP and Timmy are running the show, it will be tough for Kawhi and Green to be consistent. Aminu can be a cheap source of rebounds for the guard heavy Pelicans.

TIER 11

MATT BARNES, Los Angeles Clippers

MARTELL WEBSTER, Washington Wizards

MARCUS THORNTON, Sacramento Kings

KYLE KORVER, Atlanta Hawks

MICHAEL BEASLEY, Phoenix Suns

HARRISON BARNES, Golden State Warriors

KYLE SINGLER, Detroit Pistons

At this point of the draft, you’re just rounding out the bottom of your roster. Still, these guys have more upside than the next tier.

TIER 12

MIKE MILLER, Memphis Grizzlies

SHAWN MARION, Dallas Mavericks

VINCE CARTER, Dallas Mavericks

WES MATTHEWS, Portland Trail Blazers

METTA WORLD PEACE, New York Knicks

JARED DUDLEY, Los Angeles Clippers

CARLOS DELFINO, Milwaukee Bucks

TREVOR ARIZA, Washington Wizards

CARON BUTLER, Phoenix Suns

These guys are all veterans that you’re going to want to avoid unless you only drafted one other small forward. They’re not dead quite yet, but at this point of the draft it’s worth taking a shot on someone with more upside, even if it doesn’t fit a position of need.

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