Fantasy Doctor, NBA / Sep 17, 2010 / 10:00 am

Top 10 Fantasy Small Forwards in 2010-11

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant (photo. Jared McMillen)

Point guards? Check. Shooting guards? Check. Now it’s on to the projected top 10 fantasy small forwards for the 2010-11 NBA season. The longtime king of this list has been toppled and there are some very intriguing players here, even beyond the actual top 10. Voice your reactions freely, and bear in mind that we’re assuming a nine-category scoring system.

1. Kevin Durant: He somehow managed to exceed expectations last season and is now the indisputable No. 1 pick of fantasy basketball. KD had a phenomenal summer with Team USA, showing off his unstoppable scoring skills to the whole world, and at the jaw-dropping age of 22 later this month, it’s clear that we’ve only scraped the surface of his brilliance. Hold onto your butts – this is going to be one helluva ride.

2. LeBron James: His reputation was absolutely hammered this summer, but his fantasy value remains mostly intact. James has the skills to average a triple-double in Miami this season, but he probably won’t have the ball enough to quite get there. Still, anything close to that and he’ll stand a shot at recapturing his throne from Durant by season’s end. He can convince all the haters that he actually has a killer instinct if he makes good on his vow to take “mental notes of everyone taking shots” at him during the summer and destroys opponents with a ruthless scowl this season. If that happens, his fantasy owners will certainly be smiling.

3. Danny Granger: Despite being a ticking DNP, Granger’s averages make it clear that he’s an absolute beast for fantasy purposes. With Troy Murphy out of town, Roy Hibbert set to be more of a low-post presence and Darren Collison running the point, Granger could be in for an improved season.

4. Gerald Wallace: He had himself a career year in 2009-10, averaging a double-double with strong across-the-board numbers, all while finding a way to play a career-high 76 games. There’s little reason to think anything will change too drastically for Wallace heading into this season with the Bobcats. It might be boring, but boring in the delicious way the next bite of Mallomars is boring.

5. Carmelo Anthony: After looking like a monster out of the gates last season, Anthony settled back to his norm: good scoring, decent overall stats and almost as many turnovers as assists. His real-life value tricks many owners into thinking he’s a better fantasy asset than he actually is. Don’t be one of them. He’s solid, but not yet a first-round stud.

6. Andre Iguodala: AI9 finds himself in a precarious situation this season. He’s playing alongside Evan Turner, who’s also an all-around player, and coach Doug Collins is voicing his desire to see Iguodala shoot fewer threes. However, the defensive stalwart for Team USA vows to drive to the rim more this season, which could boost his career-low 44.3 percent from the field last season. With a developing backcourt and the coach’s apparent pet project in Elton Brand, Iguodala will have to fight to retain his fantasy value. Chances are he’ll succeed.

7. Danilo Gallinari: Gallo was great last season and only missed one game, quieting concerns about his back. With Amar’e Stoudemire in New York, along with Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph and three-point threat Roger Mason, Gallinari has a real shot at benefiting from a better-spread floor and taking a huge step forward for the Knicks in 2010-11. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him average around 18/6 along with 2.5+ threes, a steal and a block per game.

8. Paul Pierce: While his points, rebounds and assists all dipped last season, his field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and steals all rose, and he shed 0.5 from his turnovers per game. Pierce has plenty in the tank for another solid run, and should continue to be a helpful and well-rounded fantasy player.

9. Rudy Gay: He’s not great at anything, but he’s good at everything. Gay fills in every column of nightly box scores, though it appears that he’s already reached his ceiling, from a statistical perspective. Nevertheless, he’s one of the few players in the league that can offer around a three, a steal and a block per outing, which makes him a valuable addition to any fantasy roster.

10. Antawn Jamison: He took a step back in his brief time in Cleveland last season, but with James gone, the door is wide open for Jamison to hoist his averages closer to what they were in Washington. Besides lower scoring and rebounding averages, not to mention a perplexing plummet in his free-throw shooting, Jamison performed pretty well in Cleveland last year. He should see an uptick in production this year.

On the cusp: Anthony Randolph, Trevor Ariza, Luol Deng, Andrei Kirilenko

Throughout the season, be sure to leave your questions, comments, concerns, trade offers, roster problems and more in the comments below.

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  • Jah

    I agree. I’m gunning for Kevin Durant in this year’s draft(s).

  • Jah

    Another thing, what about Caron Butler? You’d rank Luol Deng over him?

  • Bigdoggchad

    Caron plays the 2 in Dallas.

  • SJ

    I can’t wait to see what Granger can do with a PG who knows how to pass the ball well. He’s had enough time to get healthy, so I’m expecting some nice numbers from him. By the end of the season, people will see he should have been top 5 overall.

  • Alex “Robocop” Murphy

    I like to supplement this list Nicholas Batum (3′s, steals), John Salmons, and Richard Jefferson looking in from the outside possibly getting into the party if they actually show up.

  • QazQami

    @5

    Nicolas*

  • Heckler

    @ bigdogchad

    Caron plays small forward in Dallas–same position Josh Howard played. Jason Terry plays the 2 in Dallas

  • Heckler

    no mention for Corey Maggette?
    and do you seriously have Luol Deng ‘on the cusp’? didnt he peak already? is Luol Deng a better fanatasy investment than Marvin Williams?

    the sleeper for small forward is Travis Outlaw

  • Alex “Robocop” Murphy

    At least Marvin Williams shoot 3′s, Luol Deng does not.

    Second on Travis Outlaw

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @Jah: I don’t like Butler’s ever-shaky health and his huge drop in assists makes him way less appealing. As @Bigdoggchad notes, Butler is slotted to play the SG spot this season, which means he’ll have Jason Terry and, eventually, Roddy Beaubois breathing down his neck.

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @Alex “Robocop” Murphy: I really like Batum’s potential this season, though I’m not high on Salmons and his new, deeper squad. RJ should bounce back, but not in a huge way.

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @Heckler: Concerning Butler’s position, please see:
    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/teams/dal/depthchart
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=dal

    I don’t like Maggette’s chances on a slower team (MIL was 22nd in scoring last season, compared to GSW, which was 2nd) that has another versatile SG/SF in Salmons.

    Concerning Deng, he gets more steals, blocks, points and rebounds than Williams. I’m not too high on Deng, given Carlos Boozer’s arrival, but them’s the facts. If you’re in a league where Williams is drafted over Deng, I’d love to be part of that.

  • Jah

    …but why so high on Luol Deng? What do you see that we don’t? I’m curious about your insight here!

  • Nizzio

    LeBron is a better fantasy player than Kevin Durant. LeBron will still manage to average a near triple double with two steals and a block, while KD will probably stay at 32 points and 7 rebounds. I gotta stick with LeBron.

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @Jah: Again, I’m not in love with Deng, but he offers solid all-around value and should be able to be more efficient with Boozer around to draw a lot of opposing defenses’ attention — higher FG%, some more threes, more energy to spend on steals/blocks. He’s not great at anything, but he’s solid across the board.

  • Jah

    @Nizzio:

    Kevin Durant will DEFINITELY best LeBron in the following categories:

    PTS, 3PM, FG%, FT%

    LeBron James’ll have the SLIGHT edge in:

    REB, STL, BLK

    I think that’s the main difference. My top choices in Fantasy League would be:

    1. Kevin Durant
    2. LeBron James
    3. Chris Paul
    4. Kobe Bryant
    5. Danny Granger
    6. Dwyane Wade
    7. Deron Williams
    8. Dirk Nowitzki
    9. Dwight Howard
    10. Pau Gasol

  • Jah

    Actually…scratch that.

    Replace #10 with Amaré Stoudemire instead.

  • Jah

    @Fantasy Doctor

    Thanks for the feedback, Doc. I’ve got a question for you, I’m interested in getting down in some leagues for some $$$ this year. I’ve been doing very well in my leagues for the past few years and I’m ready for the upgrade. Any suggestions/recommendations to offer?

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @Jah: Anytime. Are you asking about leagues where you pay to get access to premium features, etc.? Or leagues with a pot of money up for grabs?

  • JA

    Antawn Jamison as a SF? I thought he only plays/qualifies as a 4?

    I also like Batum as a guy with huge upside this year – being the fulltime starter and not having to split time with Webster this year.

  • Jah

    @ Fantasy Doctor:

    MONEY POT. All the way.

  • S.A.C

    @ Fantasy Doctor

    Not sure if Kevin Durant’s lack of assist, shooting percentage, low steals, assist and 7 rebounds a game would supplant Lebron as a fantasy leader at small forward (even on the heat).

    Check the stats. Durant is kinda one dimensional. Lebron is a much better all around player and stat filler.

    I also don’t see how Carmelo is 5? Are the other two guys in front of him that much better in all around numbers (if at all), that they would total more fantasy numbers than Carmelo Anthony?

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @JA: Nope, he’s always been a SF/PF. Granted, the Cavs’ starting lineup is not set, if J.J. Hickson starts, he’ll likely be the PF.

    Batum is a great sleeper.

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @Jah: The easiest way to play for money is to make a league with people you know and take care of it that way. Fanball.com is another option, and I’m sure there are others, but I’m not aware of them.

  • G

    You telling me if Pierce and Rudy Gay are still on the board you’re really taking The Rooster over them?

  • http://dimemag.com/author/the-fantasy-doctor/ The Fantasy Doctor

    @G: In a heartbeat.

  • http://dimemag.com Guy who interviewed spike lee

    “Hold onto your butts – this is going to be one helluva ride.”

    PAUSE

  • goat

    Last year, I picked up Durant in the first round in one league and had him as a keeper in another league (drafted in the 4th round the year before) and I dominated both leagues behind his scoring impact. You need to consider that while some players shoot 90% from the line when they get there a couple times a game, KD is burning 13 of 14 on a nightly basis. What’s LeBron’s ego shooting at the line these days? 68% or some ish? gimme a break!

    Jah post 16 broke down the category comparision nicely too. And those cats that LeBron does take (boards, steals and blocks), Durant isn’t too far behind him

  • Stokely

    Luol deng Sucks.

  • UncheckedAggression

    goat and Jah–Yeah I see the interest in taking Durant over Lebron. But saying that Durant will have a higher shot% is pretty over the top. It’ll be interesting to see how Lebron’s TOs change this year. That’s something worth looking at for Durant too

  • Peter

    Agree with @heckler: why no discussion of Corey Maggette? He’s not going to drop a lot of 3′s, granted. However he’s a threat for 20/5/3 every night even with out a lot of looks because he will shoot close to 50% and is always in the top-10 in free throw attempts. He has a chip on his shoulder after being dismissed from Golden State and he’s finally, for the first time in his career, on a legitimate playoff team in Milwaukee. Good bet (oh, but none of you put money on this stuff, right?) that he will have a strong fantasy season, excellent sleeper pick.

  • S.A.C

    I don’t think Durant will have a better shooting percentage than Lebron. Did you see him against the Lakers this spring/summer in the playoffs? I agree with your smirk/raised eyebrow on that prediction Unchecked Agression!

    We’ll see though.

  • ay yo..

    List is dead on..