All-Star Break Fantasy Basketball Rankings: Forwards
The deepest position in fantasy basketball is without a doubt the forward spot. Not only does the group contain the top two fantasy players in Kevin Durant and LeBron James, but it also has a tremendous amount of depth. In just his second season, Anthony Davis has lived up to his draft day potential in New Orleans. On the year he is averaging 20.7 points, 1.4 rebounds and a league leading 3.2 blocks a game. Despite fighting off a few injuries this year, Davis has remained a solid force in his 36 minutes a game. Unlike some big men, Davis also excels shooting the ball at 52% from the field and 77% on the line thus far. For fantasy purposes you cannot ask for much from a player who not only is good offensively but also great defensively. Considering Davis has games of 6, 7, and 8 blocks in just the last two weeks alone, it should be no surprise that he comes in at number three in our rankings.
In Utah, Gordon Hayward had high hopes coming into this season that he could be the go to player for the Jazz. His diversified game has been stellar with a yearly average of 16.3 points to go along with 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists a game. When you add in Hayward’s 1.2 three pointers made a game and 1.4 steals and some wonder how he can only 16th in the rankings. His pitfall comes in his shooting and turnovers that hurt his game. Hayward is shooting just 40.8% from the field this year and that has continued to decline as his last weeks have been a putrid 32%. For a player getting 11 shots a game that can be a huge burden on a fantasy team. Also along with his higher usage rate this year, his turnovers have crept up to nearly 3 a game. If you play in a league that does not count field goal percentage and turnovers bump up Hayward, however if you do, be sure to surround him with players who excel in these areas.
As we move into the second half of the year, Taj Gibson continues to put a stranglehold on the power forward spot in Chicago over incumbent Carlos Boozer. Over the entire season Boozer has bested Gibson in points, rebounds, steals and blocks, however those roles have nearly reversed over the past two weeks. In those last few games Gibson has replaced an injured Boozer and put up huge games, including a 26 point and 13 rebound performance against Golden State. Boozer has been solid recently with three double-doubles in his last five games played, but a calf injury has slowed him. Where Gibson shines over Boozer is on the defensive end, and as long as coach Tom Thibodeau remains, Gibson will continue see an increased role for the Bulls.
The bottom of the rankings offer a wide variety of new players and along with some old reliable options. After missing all of last year, Channing Frye has been a part of the revitalization in Phoenix. The veteran big man has been his typical solid option of scoring and shooting this year with 12.2 points a game on 2.2 three pointers made per contest. The last player in the rankings, Ryan Kelly, is similar to Frye in that most of his value will come from his shooting. The newly minted starter in the Lakers fast paced offense has been scoring over 12 points a game while making 1.3 three pointers a game in the last two weeks. Coach Mike D’Antoni can never seem to settle on one rotation, but with the Lakers struggling to one of their worst seasons ever, there is no reason to not play the young Kelly going forward.