Center looks to be a fairly well balanced position for the 2013-2014 season. As always, there are some premium players at the position, but there are also good values to be had in some of the lower tiers as well. Savvy drafters will select a player from several tiers to make sure of good depth without sacrificing strong picks elsewhere. A strong C should help you in points, rebounds, blocks, and FG%, and ideally not be a detriment to your FT%. Contributions in other categories are considered a plus. Most leagues start 2 C’s at this point, so depth there is something to consider as we examine our center tiers for the 2013-2014 fantasy season.
Al Jefferson, DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard
These Tier 1 guys are all about their floor, since we know what their upside is. Al Jeff should be utilized a ton more on a thin Charlotte roster, and makes for a very safe high C pick. Cousins figures to rebound from an off-year and a new contract, but you’re hoping for a step forward in BLKs because his game is excellent everywhere else. Howard dominates BLK, FG%, and REB, but you’re required to set your team up around him as far as his miserable FT%.
Al Horford, Marc Gasol, Roy Hibbert, Brook Lopez
All of these Tier 2 guys very well could end up as Top 5 C’s this year, and are all worthy of being your #1 C coming out of the draft. Gasol has very high upside, especially if he can continue to remain healthy, because his game is legit in all areas. Hibbert took major strides forward last season and has reportedly added 10 pounds of muscle over the summer. Lopez was possibly the steal of the 2013 season in fantasy terms, also packed on muscle, and is looking fully recovered from his offseason foot surgery. Horford should be steady as always, but owners are hoping he can rebound from his career low 64% from the charity stripe in 2013.
Nikola Vucevic, Joakim Noah, Chris Bosh, Andre Drummond, Nikola Pekovic, Jonas Valanciunas, Larry Sanders
This tier is simply packed with upside C plays, and owners who can take one of these players as their #2 C should find themselves well positioned in big man stats. Vecevic and Pekovic exploded onto the fantasy scene from nowhere in 2013, and by season’s end had established themselves as double-double machines. Drummond has simply been beasting this preseason, and may possess the single highest upside of any C pick on this list. He will be slowed by consistency and a very poor FT%. Larry Sanders averaged 2.8 BLK per game last season, and is an excellent bet to contend for the blocks title again. Noah and Bosh are steady veterans with established games, and make excellent early-middle round selections. Finally, JVC has been a preseason darling after destroying opponents during the offseason, but remains unproven as a quality big man as yet – he makes a great middle round selection, but don’t reach much higher than that.
Enes Kanter, Tyson Chandler, Marcin Gortat
All three of these guys should produce somewhere near a double-double every night, assuming they can stay healthy. Kanter could be a strong sleeper pick due to a dramatic usage increase with both Jefferson and Millsap now gone from Utah. Gortat will have Alex Len challenging him for C minutes from the outset, but is a good bet to remain productive on a thin PHX team.
Tiago Splitter, Kevin Seraphin, Andrew Bynum, JaVale McGee, Jason Smith, Robin Lopez, Chris Kaman
Our Tier 5 centers are all strong depth plays, but shouldn’t be relied on a starting options night in and night out until proven otherwise. Of note, McGee seems ticketed for a strong uptick in usage, which should translate into strong upside and numbers for owners. Splitter will begin 2013 as the unquestioned starter in San Antonio, and should improve on his counting stats from last season. He seems like an excellent value pick later on in drafts. Seraphin, Lopez, and Kaman are all starting C’s for their respective teams, but offer little in the way of upside and make only for good depth. Smith and Bynum are late round fliers at best.
Kris Humphries, DeAndre Jordan, Kelly Olynyk, Spencer Hawes, Andrew Bogut, Alex Len
Unless you’re in a deeper league, we’re hopeful that you won’t own more than one of these characters, but they should all be on your radar. Jordan chips in high FG% and BLK, but hurts you at a Dwight Howard level from the strip and doesn’t chip in elsewhere. He’s not a top 150 play. Hawes and Bogut have proven they can play in the past, but are injury risks, if not injury-prone. They are decent upside stashes but not much more. Len is coming off of double ankle surgery and will need time to adapt to the speed and quickness of the NBA game. He could make an impression later in the season. Olynyk and Humphries should both see minutes at C for a Celtics team that is every bit the rebuilding project. Neither figures to be a top-25 play at C.
Brandan Wright, Samuel Dalembert, Tyler Zeller, Elton Brand, Anderson Varejao, Omer Asik
Even at bargain bin Tier 7, there is some upside to be had, and owners would do well to know these names. Varejao was a top 10 C before a quad injury ended his season. He’s been injury-prone throughout his career, but not many guys this late have averaged 14 and 14 either. He’s an excellent later round pick for his upside alone. Asik averaged a double-double last season, but the arrival of Dwight Howard puts a serious cap on his upside. Brand, and Zeller are serviceable C options in a pinch, but little more. Wright has a fractured shoulder, and can be dropped from your draft list. However, this creates more minutes for Dalembert, and if he can stay healthy (however unlikely that is) he will help your team with decent %’s, boards, and blocks.