With the start of the season just three weeks away, here is my ranking of the top 150 players for the 2021-22 campaign.
It is imperative to note that this list is based on nine-category roto scoring formats (points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocks, three-pointers, field goal percentage, free-throw percentage and turnovers) .
I've added comments to a handful of players to help explain the rationale behind some of their rankings.
So without further ado, let's get to it.
1. Nikola Jokic PF, C (DEN)
2. James Harden PG, SG (BKN): The Beard was the top-ranked fantasy player in back-to-back seasons in 2018-19 and 2019-20. He's healthy and ready to rock in Brooklyn.
3. Luka Doncic PG, SG (DAL)
4. Stephen Curry PG, SG (GSW)
5. Karl-Anthony Towns C (MIN)
6. Damian Lillard PG (POR): Dame is one of only two players in NBA history to record at least 1,500 points and 400 assists in each of their first nine seasons; Oscar Robertson is the other.
7. Jayson Tatum SF, PF (BOS)
8. Giannis Antetokounmpo PF, C (MIL): There have been some mildly concerning signs regarding Giannis' left knee since the start of training camp. (The reigning NBA Finals MVP assures us he's alright.) He should be ready for opening night, but I fully expect the Bucks to rest their franchise cornerstone early and often to reduce wear-and-tear on the knee.
9. Kevin Durant SF, PF (BKN)
10. Joel Embiid PF, C (PHI)
11. Bradley Beal SG, SF (WAS)
12. Paul George SF, PF, SG (LAC)
13. Anthony Davis PF, C (LAL): AD finished both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 season ranked second overall in nine-category fantasy formats. Yes, the injury issues are certainly a concern, but he's a steal in the second round due to his unmatched ceiling.
14. Nikola Vucevic C (CHI)
15. Trae Young PG (ATL)
16. Jimmy Butler SF, PF, SG (MIA)
17. LeBron James PG, SG, SF, PF (LAL)
18. Fred VanVleet PG, SG (TOR): Last season, VanVleet joined Harden and Curry as just the third player in NBA history to average more than 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 made triples and 1.5 steals per game.
19. Domantas Sabonis PF, C (IND)
20. Bam Adebayo PF, C (MIA)
21. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander PG, SG (OKC): The Oklahoma City Thunder's max-man is primed for a breakout campaign.
22. Rudy Gobert C (UTAH)
23. Michael Porter Jr. SF, PF (DEN): MPJ shot over 40% from downtown in each of his first two seasons (42.2% and 44.5%). The only other active players to do that in each of their first two NBA campaigns (min. 100 three-point attempts) are the Splash Brothers: Curry and Klay Thompson.
24. Jrue Holiday PG, SG (MIL)
25. Chris Paul PG (PHO)
26. Zach LaVine SG, SF (CHI)
27. Donovan Mitchell PG, SG (UTAH): In the 19 games he appeared in after the All-Star Break, Mitchell averaged 29.6 points per contest. The only player with a higher post-ASB scoring average was Curry.
28. Tobias Harris SF, PF (PHI)
29. Khris Middleton SF, PF, SG (MIL)
30. Jaylen Brown SG, SF (BOS)
31. Myles Turner PF, C (IND)
32. De'Aaron Fox PG (SAC): Over a 12-game stretch late last season, Fox averaged 30.6 points (on 53.4% shooting), 6.7 dimes and 4.2 boards. If he can improve his offensive efficiency and cut down on his turnovers, Fox has a chance to establish himself as a fantasy stud.
33. Clint Capela C (ATL)
34. Julius Randle PF, C (NYK)
35. Devin Booker SG, SF, PG (PHO)
36. OG Anunoby SF, PF (TOR): In 2020-21, OG finished the year ranked 35th overall in nine-category leagues (one spot behind LeBron James).
37. Richaun Holmes PF, C (SAC)
38. Brandon Ingram SF, PF (NOP)
39. Deandre Ayton C (PHO)
40. Christian Wood PF, C (HOU)
41. LaMelo Ball PG, SG (CHA): I'm not nearly as high on LaMelo as the rest of the industry seems to be. He exceeded expectations as a rookie, but I'm worried about his effective field goal percentage (eFG%) dropping and his turnover rate increasing.
42. CJ McCollum PG, SG (POR)
43. Zion Williamson PF (NOP): Zion underwent surgery to repair a fracture in his right foot early in the offseason. The team "hopes" he'll return by the start of the regular season, but this is a problematic injury for the high-flying big man.
44. Russell Westbrook PG (LAL)
45. Kristaps Porzingis PF, C (DAL): If KP plays even 65+ games, he's a steal in the fifth round.
46. Dejounte Murray PG, SG (SAS)
47. Malcolm Brogdon PG, SG (IND)
48. Terry Rozier PG, SG (CHA)
49. John Collins PF, C (ATL)
50. Kevin Porter Jr. SG, SF, PG (HOU): KPJ is gonna get buckets and dimes (he averaged 17.2 PPG and 6.3 APG over the final two months of the 2020-21 season); my only concerns are his high turnover rate and poor percentages.
51. Mikal Bridges SG, SF (PHO)
52. Jaren Jackson Jr. PF, C (MEM): Jackson is one of two active players averaging at least 1.5 blocks and 1.5 three-pointers per game for his career. The issue has been staying on the floor, as injuries have limited JJJ to a total of just 126 games in three seasons.
53. Lonzo Ball PG, SG (CHI)
54. Gordon Hayward SG, SF (CHA)
55. Ja Morant PG (MEM): The upside is tantalizing, but Morant was the only player in the NBA last season to attempt more than 15 shots per game and shoot below 45% from the floor, below 75% from the FT and below 31% from downtown.
56. Jusuf Nurkic C (POR)
57. Bogdan Bogdanovic SF, PF, SG (ATL)
58. Darius Garland PG, SG (CLE)
59. Chris Boucher PF, C (TOR): Boucher finished last season ranked 40th overall in nine-category formats despite logging just 24.2 minutes a night. However, he just had surgery on his dislocated left middle finger and is expected to miss a "minimum" of 3-to-4 weeks.
60. Anthony Edwards SG, SF (MIN)
61. DeMar DeRozan SF, PF, SG (CHI)
62. Kyle Lowry PG (MIA)
63. Pascal Siakam PF, C (TOR): Once fully healthy, I think Siakam will bounce back in a big way and inherit plenty of scoring opportunities with Kyle Lowry no longer in the picture. Still, Siakam had shoulder surgery in June and will likely miss at least the start of the season.
64. Robert Williams III C, PF (BOS)
65. Tyrese Haliburton PG, SG (SAC): He finished last season ranked 65th overall in nine-category fantasy formats, and I think he has a chance to crack the top-50 this year.
66. Derrick White PG, SG (SAS)
67. Jonas Valanciunas C (NOP)
68. Kyrie Irving PG, SG (BKN): Kyrie could end up missing every Nets home game if he refuses to get vaccinated. So many unknowns are swirling around him right now. I'll pass.
69. Draymond Green PF, C (GSW)
70. Mike Conley PG (UTAH)
71. Jalen Suggs PG, SG (ORL): My pick for Rookie of the Year. Suggs can do it all and should see all the minutes he can handle for a rebuilding Orlando Magic squad.
72. Spencer Dinwiddie PG, SG (WAS)
73. Cade Cunningham PG, SG (DET)
74. Caris LeVert SG, SF (IND)
75. Jerami Grant SF, PF (DET)
76. D’Angelo Russell PG, SG (MIN)
77. Collin Sexton PG, SG (CLE): Last season, Sexton became the second-youngest player in NBA history (behind only KD) to average more than 24 points per game while shooting above 47% from the floor and 37% from downtown.
78. Robert Covington PF, C, SF (POR)
79. Jarrett Allen C (CLE)
80. Miles Bridges SF, PF (CHA): Over his final 15 games last season, Bridges averaged 21.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.1 blocks and 3.1 made three-pointers. He did so while shooting over 50% from the floor, 42% from downtown and 84% from the charity stripe.
81. Marcus Smart PG, SG (BOS)
82. Kelly Olynyk PF, C (DET): Kelly-O averaged a whopping 19.0, 8.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.8 treys and 1.4 steals in the 27 games he played in Houston last season. The Pistons signed him to a big contract in August, hoping he can come close to replicating those numbers.
83. Isaiah Stewart PF, C (DET)
84. Kemba Walker PG (NYK)
85. Andrew Wiggins SG, SF (GSW): Now that he's vaccinated, we know he'll be cleared to play in all Golden State Warriors home games this season.
86. Devonte’ Graham PG, SG (NOP)
87. Evan Fournier SG, SF (NYK)
88. P.J. Washington PF, C (CHA)
89. Buddy Hield SG, SF (SAC): Dating back to the start of the 2018-19 campaign, Buddy has knocked down more triples (831) than any other player in the NBA (Harden, Lillard and Curry rank second, third and fourth, respectively).
90. Nickeil Alexander-Walker SG, SF, PG (NOP)
91. NOPman Powell SG, SF (POR)
92. Kyle Anderson SF, PF (MEM)
93. Mitchell Robinson C (NYK): In 2018-19, Mitch Rob led all rookies in blocks (2.4) and field goal percentage (69.4%). As a sophomore in 2019-20, he made 74.2% of all field goals he attempted, setting the all-time NBA record for the highest single-season field goal percentage ever, passing Wilt Chamberlain. Can he stay healthy in 2020-21?
94. Larry Nance Jr. PF, C (POR)
95. RJ Barrett SG, SF (NYK)
96. Jakob Poeltl C (SAS)
97. Ben Simmons PG (PHI): Impossible to try and figure out this Simmons situation going forward. I'm not willing to roll the dice until the value starts getting ridiculous.
98. Jonathan Isaac SF, PF (ORL)
99. Wendell Carter Jr. C (ORL)
100. Reggie Jackson PG, SG (LAC)
101. Brook Lopez C (MIL)
102. Harrison Barnes SF, PF (SAC)
103. Mason Plumlee PF, C (CHA)
104. Bobby Portis Jr. PF, C (MIL)
105. De’Andre Hunter SF, PF (ATL)
106. Dennis Schroder PG (BOS)
107. Malik Beasley PG, SG, SF (MIN): Beasley has appeared in just 51 games for the Wolves since being acquired at the trade deadline in 2020, but has averaged 19.9 points, 4.6 boards, 2.4 dimes and a whopping 3.5 made treys. A great late-round value pick if he can stay on the court.
Malik Beasley 29 points in 32 minutes last night... averaging 20/5 on the season... time to starting giving him his flowers as a top young talent in the NBA pic.twitter.com/wz7XnezAzf— Ben Stinar (@BenStinar) February 4, 2021
108. Thaddeus Young PF, C, SF (SAS)
109. Jordan Clarkson PG, SG (UTAH)
110. Joe Ingles SG, SF, PF (UTAH): He's not the sexiest pick, but Ingles will help in nearly every fantasy category and doesn't hurt you in any way.
111. Lauri Markkanen PF, C (CLE): The Cleveland Cavaliers have excess depth up front, but coach J.B. Bickerstaff has been raving about Markkanen during camp. He was a forgotten man in Chicago last season, but the dude is a 7-footer who can stretch the floor, is still just 24 years of age and averaged 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds during his age-21 season.
112. Daniel Gafford C, PF (WAS)
113. Joe Harris SG, SF (BKN)
114. Keldon Johnson SF, PF (SAS)
115. T.J. Warren SF, PF (IND): Yes, Warren's injury history is undoubtedly concerning — and he is currently still recovering from a stress fracture in his foot — but this is a guy who finished inside the top-50 overall back in 2019-20.
116. Jae'Sean Tate SF, PF (HOU)
117. De’Anthony Melton PG, SG (MEM)
118. Daniel Theis PF, C (HOU): Theis ranked inside the top-100 overall when he logged starter minutes for the Boston Celtics in 2019-20. He could see 25 or more minutes a night for a Houston team that has little depth up front. Don't sleep.
119. Jalen Green SG (HOU)
120. Brandon Clarke PF, C (MEM)
121. Jordan Poole PG, SG (GSW): In the seven games Poole started last season, he averaged 21.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.8 made treys. With Klay still sidelined, Poole is expected to start early on this season. (And he's already off to a fast start, having dropped 30 points in Golden State's preseason opener.)
122. Saddiq Bey SF (DET)
123. Klay Thompson SG, SF (GSW): I'm concerned that the Warriors will limit Klay's minutes and rest him often, even after he is cleared to return to game action (whenever that is). The Dubs have to think long-term, as Thompson still has three years and $120-plus million left in his contract.
124. Ivica Zubac C (LAC)
125. Derrick Favors C, PF (OKC)
126. Al Horford PF, C (BOS)
127. Kyle Kuzma SF, PF (WAS)
128. Dillon Brooks SG, SF (MEM)
129. Matisse Thybulle SG, SF (PHI)
130. T.J. McConnell PG, SG (IND): McConnell led the NBA in steal percentage last season at 3.4% and shot 55.9% from the floor. He was one of just eight players to record an assist rate above 34% and a True Shooting percentage above 58% (the other seven members of this elite club were Lillard, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, LeBron James, Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Jokic.)
131. Evan Mobley C, PF (CLE)
132. Nicolas Batum SF, PF, SG (LAC)
133. Derrick Rose PG, SG (NYK)
134. Marcus Morris Sr. PF, C, SF (LAC): Mook will see an increased share of the offensive pie with Kawhi Leonard sidelined for the first half of the season (and possibly more).
135. Mo Bamba C (ORL): This is a make-or-break season for Bamba. The Magic will give their former lottery pick every opportunity to earn playing time. If he plays significant minutes, he'll supply blocks and treys. (Bamba has looked sharp early on in the preseason.)
136. Tim Hardaway Jr. SG, SF (DAL)
137. Montrezl Harrell PF, C (WAS)
138. Kelly Oubre Jr. SG, SF, PF (CHA)
139. Thomas Bryant C (WAS)
140. Nerlens Noel PF, C (NYK)
141. Alperen Sengun PF, C (HOU): Sengun looked fantastic in Vegas, averaging 14.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.8 dimes, 1.3 steals and 3.0 blocks in 25 minutes a night during summer league action. He'll have a chance to stuff the stat sheet for a Rockets team looking to play its youngsters.
142. Eric Bledsoe PG, SG (LAC)
143. Khem Birch PF, C (TOR)
144. Isaiah Roby C, PF (OKC)
145. Kevin Huerter SG, SF (ATL)
146. Tyrese Maxey PG, SG (PHI): Maxey will be one of the primary beneficiaries of Simmons' eventual departure from Philly.
147. Aaron Gordon SF, PF (DEN)
148. Andre Drummond C (PHI): If you draft Embiid early, you probably want to handcuff him with Drummond later on.
149. Steven Adams C (MEM)
150. Josh Giddey PG, SG, SF (OKC): Giddey started the Thunder's preseason opener and looked good, tallying 18 points (8-of-12 FGs), 7 rebounds, 3 assists and two triples. Considering his talent, the No. 6 overall pick is worth a late-round dart throw.
⭐ 18 points (8-12 in the field inc. 2-4 from range)— ESPN Australia & NZ (@ESPNAusNZ) October 5, 2021
⭐ 7 rebounds
⭐ 3 assists
Josh Giddey looked at 🏠 at NBA level!
FULL HIGHLIGHTS ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Sw7U4nEjdT