The NBA season is set to begin next week on the 16th of October. That date will also mark the first day that fantasy basketball match-ups begin and line-ups will have to be set.
As much fun as it is to watch the beautiful game of basketball for sheer enjoyment, fantasy sports allows us to track and follow players around the league that otherwise, we would be unfamiliar or unaware of. By peaking at the waiver wire for a player who is productive, a fantasy owner might ‘scout’ him and track his performance, thus expanding and rounding out a further knowledge of the abundance of talent that exists league-wide.
While waiver wire pick-ups and trades with other fantasy owners are factors involved in order to win your league championship, the clear and most obvious way is to select a superstar. Below is a list compiled that ranks which of these NBA superstars to draft from.
Without further delay, the top 10 fantasy basketball players for the 2018-2019 season.
10. Stephen Curry – PG – Golden State Warriors
I could go on and on about the accolades that this man has accomplished but that is not what fantasy is about. That being said, Curry is one of the most efficient and lethal scorers that preside in the NBA today.
To be included on the scoring list, a player must surpass the NBA’s statistical minimum of 58 games played. Curry missed out on that by only playing in 51 of the Warriors 82 regular season contests. Be that as it may, Curry finished with 26.4 PPG which would have put him tied for sixth place with teammate Kevin Durant.
The three-point percentage for the Warriors star point guard continued to be on-point as he connected on 42.3 percent of his shots from deep last season. Good enough for 13th in the NBA. It is unlikely you are going to find a player who is as efficient and consistent shooting the three ball when he is healthy.
Although his scoring and efficiency are enough fantasy draws, Curry’s passing ability also allows fantasy owners to look upon him favorably. Not reaching the statistical minimum in this category as well, Curry would have ranked in the top 15 in assists with 6.1 APG last season. A category that is likely to go up once he gets another toy to play with in DeMarcus Cousins when he heals from an Achilles injury.
Yes, it might be scary to select a player surrounded by talent and the thought that the fantasy output might suffer as a direct result. However, the Warriors players still continue to remain relevant in fantasy and are able to produce valuable contributions in several categories.
9. Nikola Jokic – C – Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets finished 6th in the NBA last season in scoring offense. Leading the charge for them was their sensational big man Nikola Jokic. Jokic has flourished into one of the leagues top big men and has done so with an astounding fusion of scoring ability, facilitating prowess, and rebounding expertise.
In spite of the Nuggets missing out on the playoffs last season, Jokic was able to construct one of his best years statistically, having all fantasy owners clambering to secure him onto their roster for the upcoming season. Jokic finished with career highs in points (18.5 PPG), rebounds (10.7 RPG), assists (6.1 APG), and three-point percentage (39.6 3PT%).
Jokic attacks Kuzma and comes up with the easy layup. This is an issue LAL will face time and time again when they go small.
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) October 1, 2018
Now entering his fourth NBA season, Jokic is expected to take an even further step in his development and finish amongst the league leaders in points as well as assists. Having a player of this caliber who is the focal point of an offense is crucial in fantasy sports. The usage will be there and given the talent that Jokic has demonstrated in the preseason thus far, he is a home-run of a pick if he is available when the draft room looks to your selection.
8. Joel Embiid – C – Philadelphia 76ers
Already solidified in the Eastern Conference as the best center, Joel Embiid makes fantasy owners just as happy as he makes 76ers fans. As he enters his third season in Philadelphia, Embiid carries a skillset that is reminiscent of a seasoned veteran. Possibly the NBA’s modern version of Hakeem Olajuwon.
What Embiid brings to the table in terms of fantasy is his ability to aide heavily in several categories, which is all you can ask for out of a player. Last season Embiid averaged a double-double with 22.9 PPG and 11.0 RPG, both of which ranked in the top 12 of the NBA. To go along with his wonderful sophomore campaign, Embiid was able to become a prolific rim protector as he swatted away 111 total blocks.
While he is not elite at shooting the three ball, he has proven the capability to stretch the floor and be a viable threat from the perimeter. The next step is becoming more efficient from that area as he only shot 30.1% from long range.
Having a play-maker like Ben Simmons makes things a lot easier on Embiid and there is no doubt that both of these young and hungry players make not only each other better but your fantasy roster better.
7. Kevin Durant – SF – Golden State Warriors
Although he is one of the most prolific scorers that dwell in the NBA today, it is his commitment to defense has taken the four-time scoring champion, Kevin Durant, to the next level in terms of his elite fantasy ranking.
Durant ranked in the top five in blocks per game with 1.75 in 2017-2018, the only non-power forward or center to be ranked in the top 20. His absurd 7’5″ wingspan on a 6’9″, 240-pound frame allows him to guard all five positions on the court and get his hands on steals and blocked shots.
It would a travesty if his offensive statistics were not noted. Last season, Durant kept his streak of seasons with 25-plus PPG up as he went for 26.4 PPG. The streak is at 10 seasons now. He has been in the league 11 years, let that sink in.
Durant has been able to evolve his game over the years and we see him now playing in the post more and letting his size and length take over opponents as he elevates over them. In his last season, the shooting stroke was still there and proved to be even better than his previous season. The three-point percentage from Durant rose from 37.5% in 2016-2017 to 41.9% last season (with an increase of 1.1 three-pointers attempted per game), his second highest in his career.
He WILL help bring a championship your way just like he has done in his first two years in Golden State.
6. Karl-Anthony Towns – C – Minnesota Timberwolves
Jimmy Butler may or not be on the roster this year, but whether he’s there or not, Karl-Anthony Towns will not suffer in his absence. While questions about Towns’ work-ethic have come under fire, it is impossible to overlook the sheer talent that he possesses.
Although his points per game took a dip last season (a 3.8 PPG drop from his 2016-2017 PPG output), his productivity still shined through elsewhere. Towns gives you, the fantasy owner, a top-tier rebounder (finished 4th in BPG), an elite level rim protector (11th best BPG average last season), and an exceptional sniper from long range (finishing 14th in 3PT%). In each of those stat categories, Towns would average 12.3 RPG, 1.4 BPG, and 42.1 3PT%.
The ability for a seven-footer to shoot the ball better than a guard speaks to how impactful he can be on a fantasy roster. Had it not been for another Kentucky Wildcat on this list, Towns would rank as the best fantasy big man.