Fantasy Basketball 2017: Latest Rankings for Top NBA Players and Sleepers

Jared JohnsonFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2017

Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder, of Germany, looks on during the first half in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Washington Wizards, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Associated Press

The NBA has never been more star-studded than it is today. While some people may complain about the league's lack of parity, the fact remains that there are excellent players all across the NBA's 30 teams.

For fantasy basketball fans, the sheer amount of talent can make it difficult to decide how players stack up from a roto standpoint. Below you'll find a top 20 list that predicts how players should score in 2017-18, according to ESPN's standard scoring system.

The later rounds of your fantasy draft are crucial, too, so we'll also look at three sleepers who have a good chance of outperforming their expected draft position.

        

Fantasy Basketball Top 20

1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (PG)

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (SF/PF)

3. James Harden, Houston Rockets (PG/SG)

4. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (SF/PF)

5. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors (SF/PF)

6. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (PF/C)

7. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (PG/SG)

8. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs (SG/SF)

9. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves (C)

10. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets (PF/C)

11. John Wall, Washington Wizards (PG)

12. Chris Paul, Houston Rockets (PG)

13. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (PG)

14. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz (C)

15. DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans (PF/C)

16. Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves (SG/SF)

17. Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics (PG/SG)

18. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers (PF/C)

19. Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder (SF/PF)

20. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers (PF/C)

              

Top Sleepers (Fantasy Pros consensus ranking in parentheses)

Dennis Schroder, Atlanta Hawks (51)

Dennis Schroder is by far the No. 1 offensive option on the rebuilding Hawks. In the preseason, the 24-year-old floor general has asserted himself with strong numbers in several raw statistical categories, with averages of 23.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists per 36 minutes. He's also attempted 22.6 shots per 36 minutes, which hints at a massive workload this season.

Dennis Schroder will easily pace the 2017-18 Hawks in points and assists per game.
Dennis Schroder will easily pace the 2017-18 Hawks in points and assists per game.Nick Wass/Associated Press

There really aren't many other guys who will put a significant dent in Schroder's production. The Hawks players who will likely play the most minutes outside of Schroder are Taurean Prince, Kent Bazemore, Dewayne Dedmon and Ersan Ilyasova. All of them play best off the ball and don't tend to put up shots at a high rate.

The speedy Schroder won't be without his weaknesses in fantasy. His turnovers will be high, and he'll be a negative in the field-goal percentage and block categories. However, the guarantee for lots of minutes and a huge offensive role makes him a great sleeper at No. 51.

        

Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic (68)

Aaron Gordon's breakout started after the All-Star break in 2016-17. In that span, he put up 16.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.7 blocks per game on 50.3 percent shooting from the field and 83.8 percent from the free-throw line. The trade of Serge Ibaka opened up more minutes for Gordon at power forward, which is Gordon's best position.

There's no reason why the blossoming 22-year-old forward can't top those numbers in 2017-18 now that he's been established as a 4. He had a stellar preseason, too, posting per-36 minute numbers of 27.8 points and 11.2 rebounds on great shooting efficiency.

Aaron Gordon is known for his dunking prowess, but he's shown a more diverse offensive arsenal in the preseason.
Aaron Gordon is known for his dunking prowess, but he's shown a more diverse offensive arsenal in the preseason.Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Maybe the most exciting development for Gordon's game has been the three-point shot. He went 9-of-21 from downtown in the Magic's five-game preseason slate despite playing limited minutes in four of them. If that's a legit development for the bouncy forward, he'll become a much more versatile fantasy contributor.

Plus, the prospect of a huge payday often motivates young players to post breakout seasons. Barring an unexpected change in Gordon's status before Monday's extension deadline, he'll be a restricted free agent next summer.

        

Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz (114)

Remember when Derrick Favors was awesome in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons? He was a fringe All-Star player who put up efficient 16-8 stat lines and contributed decent production in peripheral categories.

Last season, he took a major step back due to a knee injury and a few other nagging issues. He was a solid backup big man, but nothing more.

If you're willing to take the gamble on Derrick Favors' health, he's a late-round player with very high upside.
If you're willing to take the gamble on Derrick Favors' health, he's a late-round player with very high upside.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

All early signs point to the 26-year-old forward being completely healthy and ready for a starting role in 2017-18. In the preseason, he's looked much slimmer and has put up fantastic across-the-board stats: 15.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 blocks and 2.2 steals per 36 minutes on 55.6 percent shooting from the field.

On a Jazz squad missing a bona fide No. 1 offensive option, Favors' versatile game will be called on to replace a good chunk of the shots that were taken by the departed Gordon Hayward and George Hill last season.