When you’re looking into drafting power forwards, you’re going to want to be looking at the top couple of tiers and grabbing some solid players there. The talent level falls off dramatically after Tier 4, although there are a few later round upside plays to be had. PF’s should supply you with a steady supply of points, rebounds, blocks, and ideally, good percentages. Any contributions in steals, 3’s made, and assists are considered a major plus. With that in mind, let’s take a look into our power forward tiers for the upcoming 2013-2014 fantasy basketball season.
Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge
Tier 1 is all about upside vs. consistency. Love contributes in virtually every category except BLK, but is coming off an injury-riddled campaign that saw him play just 18 games. Owners taking Love in the first will be ignoring this and hoping for a bounce-back year – when he’s right, Love is the best PF in the game, and it isn’t close. LMA is simply rock solid. You’re getting 20 and 9 with a block per game and great %’s. He’s as near a sure thing as there is in the early rounds of fantasy drafts, and also makes a great foundation for any team.
Paul Millsap, Serge Ibaka, David Lee, Dirk Nowitzki
The upside on all the Tier 2 PF’s is large, the downside minimal, and any of them would be an excellent addition to any team in the early rounds. Millsap has finally been freed from questionable usage in Utah, and should be force-fed all the minutes he can handle in Atlanta. Ibaka is coming off another fantastic year, and should easily lead the league in blocks again. His scoring efficiency went up again last year, and the sky’s the limit as far as his potential. He should push to be a Tier 1 player in 2014. Lee is all about consistency – he’s a double-double machine with great percentages, limited only by his lack of blocks. He makes for an excellent, and safe, early round investment. Nowitzki struggled at the outset of 2012, hampered by a knee injury, but rounded into form as the year went on. He should again post excellent numbers and solid percentages, and should be helped this year by the additions of Calderon, Ellis, and Dalembert to the Mavericks.
Derrick Favors, Pau Gasol, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Greg Monroe, Zach Randolph, Carlos Boozer
Anthony Davis explodes out of this group as the pick with the most upside. You’ll have to use an early pick to snag him, but there aren’t many PF’s that have the potential to go .500/.800/15/10/1.5 BLK over a whole season. Favors is another Tier 3 player getting a ton of preseason hype. With Jefferson and Millsap removed from Utah, Favors and Kanter have the keys to the car and are ready to drive it. Favors will definitely break out in 2013, the only question is how high he can go, and how consistently. Griffin is a high-quality fantasy contributor, but he’s generally over-drafted due to name recognition. His FT% and lack of blocks continue to be a hindrance to his overall fantasy value. Randolph and Boozer are dominant double-double machines, but offer few other counting stats. Monroe is part of a crowded Detroit frontcourt that also includes Andre Drummond and Josh Smith. His overall usage should go down this year, and he’s rumored to be on the trading block. Gasol was formerly one of the most dominant PF in fantasy, but health concerns and a poor 2012 season have knocked him down to this tier. He’s a solid buy-low because the Dwightmare has moved on, Gasol’s knees seem to be healthy, and Kobe Bryant’s recovery timetable remains mysterious. The Spaniard should be in line for solid usage from the start of the 2013-2014 campaign.
Tim Duncan, Kenneth Faried, David West, Ersan Ilyasova, Ryan Anderson, Amir Johnson
Everyone always thinks this is the “the year” that Tim Duncan breaks down. He sure didn’t last year, posting 17 points, almost 10 boards, and 2+ blocks per game, along with excellent percentages. The Big Fundamental is a strong pick as long as you’re not depending on him as your #1 PF, a statement that is more or less true for all our Tier 4 players. West contributes solid numbers across the board, but is aging and no longer a focal point of the Indiana offense. Ilyasova and Anderson are stretch PF’s that can knock down 3’s at a high rate, but Anderson has some off-the-court issues and doesn’t contribute defensive stats, while Ilyasova has made a name for himself teasing fantasy owners with monster stat lines, but never delivering them with any kind of consistency. Either players makes for a risky, but high upside pick in the middle rounds. Faried and Johnson are strong plays for points, FG%, and defensive stats (rebounds and blocks) but both lack consistency and struggle to top 30 minutes per game.
Andrea Bargnani, Cody Zeller, Kevin Garnett, Markieff Morris, Tobias Harris
Sigh. I remember the days when Garnett was a top 10 play. Alas, they are no more. Garnett should be productive when he takes the court, but the questions remains how often that will be, and how many minutes he’ll see in those starts. Brooklyn looks loaded and they may not need much KG during the regular season, which is great for the Nets but bad for fantasy owners. Buyer beware, unless it’s the late rounds. Markieff Morris has a chance to really showcase his all-around game on a very thin PHX roster, and definitely has breakout potential. Bargnani looks like he’ll be the starting PF in New York, and still has his BLK / 3PT upside of years past. Whether he can stay healthy and in favor is another story entirely. Tobias Harris was a revelation for owners savvy enough to draft / add him last year, but the price tag has increased considerably. Fortunately, his minutes should do the same, and Harris’s well-rounded game seems well worth the middle round pick it will take to acquire his services. We’re ranking Zeller here solely based on upside. He was a lottery pick in the draft, and could easily develop into a 20-10 type guy on a Charlotte team that’s definitely talent thin. He’s a great later round flier pick.
Glen Davis, Tristan Thompson, Nene Hilario, Jason Thompson, J.J. Hickson, Amare Stoudemire
We’re really getting to the bottom of the talent barrel here in Tier 6. The Thompsons and Hickson are decent depth plays, double-double type guys (barely) but not much more than that. Their collective FT% isn’t much to look at either and they don’t contribute many counting stats outside of points and rebounds. Davis and Nene are coming off of injury-plagued campaigns, and will see their roles reduced in 2013. Neither is worth anything more than a late round flier, and the same goes for Amare. His body has simply broken down, and he is unlikely to average more than 25 minutes when he actually does play. It’s truly sad to see how quickly a formerly dominant NBA player can decline.
Jared Sullinger, Carl Landry, Luis Scola, Lavoy Allen, Greg Smith, Terrence Jones
This elevator has finally hit bottom, and the drop-off in talent between Tier 4 and Tiers 6 and 7 is extreme and should be noted on draft day. None of these players can truly be counted on for significant or consistent fantasy contributions, and are later round flier or deeper league material, if even that. Scola, Landry, and Smith will need an injury to become waiver wire additions in standard leagues, while Jones remains unproven against legit NBA talent. Of the group, Sullinger possesses the most upside, and could potentially average around a double-double within Boston’s thin and rebuilding roster. He’ll have to prove that he’s over his back issues and secure 30+ minutes per game to accomplish this, however, and neither is anywhere close to a certainty. He’s worth a late round look in deeper formats, but not worth a roster spot in standard leagues.