The small forward position offers a wide range of players and skill sets. Drafting anyone early in this position will yield high volume scorers but do not overlook the value that players in the middle to late tiers bring. Due to the fact many NBA small forwards are so versatile you can typically round out your team with smart drafting of small forwards in the later rounds of your league. Let’s take a look at our small forward tiers for the upcoming 2013-2014 fantasy basketball season.
Kevin Durant, LeBron James
The games two best players make up the top two small forwards and best players in fantasy. They are really 1a and 1b but we ranked Durant over LeBron since we feel there is still a little bit of upside to his game. With Westbrook out the first couple months of the season Durant could average over 35 points to start the year. LeBron on the other hand is a point guard and a power forward all rolled into one player. He will come as close to anyone to average a triple double and will continue to put up monster stats.
Carmelo Anthony, Paul George
Anthony is one of the league’s best all-around scorers. He can drill threes (averaged 2.3 a game last year), take it to the rack, and of course hit his pull up jumper. Often overlooked is the fact Melo grabs almost seven boards a game. George was a huge breakout star last year and the youngster should only improve on this numbers heading into the 2013-2014 fantasy basketball season. Often overlooked on his game are his defensive stats; grabbing close to eight boards a game and pairing that with almost two steals a game makes George of the league’s most complete players.
Nicolas Batum, Rudy Gay, Josh Smith
Tier three consists of players that fill up the stat sheet but none of them broke the 20 point per game barrier last season. If one was to add up their stats from last season (boards, threes, blocks, steals, and assists) all three of these players hover right at or over 30 a game. That is significantly higher than the league average. Fantasy championships are not won by the team that scores the most points so look to this tier for your all-around players.
Jeff Green, Kawhi Leonard, Thaddeus Young, Chandler Parsons, Luol Deng, Paul Pierce
This tier has four players that really came into their own a season ago and two aging veterans that can still get it done however, one player in this tier has the biggest upside. Jeff Green will be asked to do so much for Boston this season and he has showed flashes that he will be able to handle the load. His range and size can give defensives fits so if you are looking for a big time upside guy to draft, look no further. The reason he will be asked to do so much is because Rondo is hurt for the first few months and KG and Pierce have been shipped to the Nets. Pierce, in his old age, still might be a better player than Green but is ranked lower than him in this tier due to the fact he will have to share the ball with a ton of other all-stars. Be careful to draft Pierce too high based on this name alone.
Tyreke Evans, Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless, Gordon Hayward, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Wilson Chandler
This tier mixes crafty vets with upside talent. Harkless came own huge at the end of last season and is certainly becoming a favorite sleeper pick for many sites (including ours). With that said please note he is in tier 5 not tier 3, what I mean by this is that sometimes the hype gets too out of control on players like Harkless. So no matter how much we love him can be over drafted. Also in this tier one must take notice of Gordon Hayward, coming off his best season as a pro Hayward has been lighting it up in the pre-season. Someone will have to shoot the ball when the Jazz are not dumping down to their two young big men and that someone is Hayward. Still he is more than just a scorer and with 35 minutes a game being a realistic expectation all of his stats should improve yet again this season.
Earl Clark, Gerald Wallace, Danilo Gallinari, Harrison Barnes
Two youngsters and two old and always banged up guys makes up this tier. Clark should have a real chance to start for the Cavs and his style of play could lead to a nice value pick in later rounds. He will not be asked to score too much but his defensive stats should be solid in deeper leagues. Barnes is the other young gun in this tier has a much more crowded situation that last year with Golden State adding Iguodala to the team. Still, Barnes should get plenty of run as head coach Mark Jackson loves to run up and down the floor with a smaller team.
Kyle Korver, Otto Porter, Nick Young, Jared Dudley, Corey Brewer, Caron Bulter
Young and Butler are penciled in as the starters in their new homes but neither of them provide a huge upside for the long haul. Nick Young could give a nice spark in scoring categories to start the season as we fully expect Kobe Bryant to miss a decent amount of time to start the year. (Regardless of what the reports are saying we cannot see how Bryant is going to play anytime before December) Out of the remaining players in this tier Korver is an interesting three point specialists to draft in deeper leagues as he should get quite a bit of run for the Hawks.
Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Andrei Kirilenko, P.J. Tucker, Tayshaun Prince, Trevor Ariza, Alonzo Gee
This is basically the old man tier. All of these players should yield some value in deeper leagues but are often over drafted based on their names. It is not 2008 anymore so do not be that guy in the league that panics in the middle rounds and grabs Carter, Marion, Prince, or Kirilenko because of their names alone.