2015-16 Fantasy Basketball Big Man Rankings: Anthony Davis Leads the Way
After an impressive junior season, where Anthony Davis not only led his Pelicans to the playoffs but also finished as the best overall player in fantasy, "The Brow" remains the cream of the crop in our fantasy basketball big man rankings. An absolute beast at only 22-years-old, Davis is our no doubt about it top ranked player in all of fantasy.
While Davis is the clear choice at number one overall, there are plenty of other bigs worthy of your attention, especially in the first three rounds. While only two bigs (Davis and DeMarcus Cousins) finished in the top 12 in per-game value last season, per BasketballMonster.com, a whopping total of 9 finished between 13 and 24. With 10 power forwards and centers in our top 25 projections, the group is definitely top-heavy, making it all that much more necessary to grab one in the early rounds.
While lacking the overall star power as the point guards or wings, the power forwards and centers are the backbone to your fantasy squad. More workmanlike than flashy, they are your primary source of rebounds and blocks, while also helping to limit your turnovers. Big men also lead the way in field goal percentage, helping you offset the lower rates of guards and wings. If you can find a big with a high free throw percentage, steals, and/or assists, you will be ahead of the game.
The following rankings are based on our system’s projections for each player this season and his given Fantasy Score (as seen on our
1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Some will make an argument for Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant to be the top choice in all of fantasy over Davis, but you will see no debate when it comes to the bigs. The Brow is head and shoulders above the rest, and it is really not that close. In his third NBA season, Davis ranked fourth in points, seventh in field goal percentage, eighth in rebounds, first in blocks, and third in turnover percentage. The Pelicans' superstar gives you elite big man production (field goal percentage, rebounds, blocks, low turnovers) while providing the points, steals, and free throw percentage of a wing or point guard. With the rumored addition of a three-point shot and coach Alvin Gentry's uptempo system, Davis has the potential to help in all nine categories in 2015-16.
2. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Last season was an unusual fantasy campaign for Blake Griffin. While he finished in the top 10 in scoring for the third time in his career, he saw his rebounds drop to under eight per game and his field goal percentage fell over two and a half percentage points. How much of that can be pinned to the elbow injury that cost him 15 games is unknown. On the plus side, his free throw percentage steadily improved for the third year in a row, and his assists jumped to over five per game: pure fantasy gold from a power forward. With career averages of 21.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and plus 52 percent from the field, the Clippers' superstar is as dependable as the come in fantasy. Griffin is absolutely worthy of a late first-round or early second-round pick.
3. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Good for eight rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block and a half per game throughout his career, last season Marc Gasol finally found the offensive game to complement his contributions. Behind a career-high 17.4 points per game, .494 field goal percentage, and .795 free throw percentage, the Grizzlies' center rounded out his fantasy game in 2014-15. Already one of the best ball handling big men in the game, Gasol is in line to take on an even larger role in the Grizzlies' offense. Given the three percentage point bump in usage last season and a declining Zach Randolph, we project Gasol will have another career year in 2015-16. Coming in at 12th in our overall rankings, Gasol brings you a lot of value at his third-round ADP in Yahoo drafts.
4. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
Cousins has the potential to rival Davis as the top big man in all of fantasy. He finished in the top five in scoring and rebounds and was the only player in the NBA to average 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game last year, per Basketball-Reference.com. While we wish for better field goal percentage from his position, his free throw perentage for his volume (.782 at 9.2 attempts per game) is a plus compared to other big men. The real drag with Cousins is turnovers. His 4.3 per game last year were second to only Russell Westbrook, an absolute disaster for a PF/C. A top-10 pick regardless, Cousins climbs even higher if you are punting turnovers.
5. Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
A similar resume to Gasol, Paul Millsap has been an undervalued fantasy asset throughout his career. In his last two seasons with Atlanta, the power forward has averaged 17.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.0 blocks, and 1.0 three-pointers per game. Millsap led all big men with 1.8 steals per game in 2014-15; he even ranked in the top eight overall. Along with Cousins, the Hawks' power forward was the only big man to have over 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season, both stats usually not found from a frontcourt player. Our 17th ranked player in all of fantasy, Millsap gives you solid contributions in six out of nine categories
6. LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
A top-14 player in all of fantasy the last five seasons, LaMarcus Aldridge falls a bit in our projections this season. The obvious change is location. Now playing in San Antonio, Aldridge will see less time on the court and, in turn, fewer opportunities to add to his counting stats. The 30-year-old power forward averaged over 37 minutes per game the last five seasons in Portland, while no one on the Spurs averaged over 32 minutes per game last year. One of the best free throw shooting big men, Aldridge will still give you substantial points, rebounds, and a block per game despite the lower minutes.
7. Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks
A great contributor in points, rebounds, blocks, and steals over his career, Al Horford's big issue is his health. Justifiably so, as he has missed 122 games the last four years. When on the court, though, Horford has been a top 17 player over the last three seasons. He continually ranks near the top in field goal percentage with the fantasy impact amplified due to his high volume field goal attempts. His 1.3 turnovers per game last season are minuscule, even for a big man. A career 9.2 per game rebounder, Horford is projected to increase his boards from last season and finish 20th in our overall ranks.
8. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
After concluding his Minnesota career as the sixth best fantasy player in the 2013-14 season, Kevin Love had a tumultuous first year with the Cavs. Playing alongside LeBron James in a complementary role, the power forward saw his points, rebounds, and assists all fall by over 25 percent. Year two starts with more concerns as well, this time with his health. After suffering an ugly shoulder injury in the playoffs, questions remain if Love will be ready to play at the start of the season. Despite the risks, Love remains a solid source for points, rebounds, and three-pointers. Entering his second season in Cleveland, he is looking to bounce back and return to the double-double machine he was in Minnesota.
9. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Over the final two months of the season, Rudy Gobert was the 19th ranked player in all of fantasy. Not coincidentally, Enes Kanter was traded out of Utah, and Gobert assumed the starting center spot for the Jazz on February 20. Averaging 11.1 points, 13.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 2.6 blocks per game the final 29 games, the "Stifle Tower" established himself as a fantasy force in only his second season in the league. With two seasons under his belt and a starting job in hand, the much hyped Gobert is bound to finish in the top five of rebounds, blocks, and field goal percentage in 2015-16.
10. Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets
When on the court, Brook Lopez is a fantasy wonder. Providing exceptional results in six categories (points, rebounds, blocks, turnovers, field goal percentage and fre throw percentage), Lopez could easily be a second round pick, if not for his health. Missing a whopping 160 games the last four years, the Nets' big man consistently finds himself on the trainer's table. In 2014-15, Lopez finished the season healthy and strong after resuming his starting role. Over the final 22 games, Lopez posted 21.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting .563 from the floor. He is a high-upside pick in the third round of fantasy drafts in 2015-16.
The rest of our rankings can be found here.