Fantasy NBA Season Rankings: Week 18
Justin Fensterman gives you his rankings for fantasy basketball on a weekly basis
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|1||Luka Doncic||DAL||2||Doncic was able to return right before the break and he looks good, hasn't had any setbacks nor has he been sore. We don't have to worry about a minutes limit.|
|2||Trae Young||ATL||2||With no Clint Capela or Jabari Parker (traded), Young will continue to have to handle more of the offense along with John Collins . Expect him to take plenty of shots.|
|3||Russell Westbrook||HOU||2||The Rockets lack of frontcourt has benefitted Westbrook lately and he's been shooting better and the Rockets guards will continue handling most of the offense.|
|4||Ben Simmons||PHI||2||Simmons remains the second option as the Sixers look to have a better final few months of the season especially when on the road. Simmons produces points, boards, dimes and steals.|
|5||Kyle Lowry||TOR||2||The Raptors are still dealing with injuries and even if Marc Gasol returns, it shouldn't impede on Lowry's shots at all and he'll continue playing deep into games.|
|6||D'Angelo Russell||MIN||2||With Karl-Anthony Towns out with a Wrist injury, it looks like Russell will be the top option for at least the next week or two and just like with the Warriors, he won't have competition for shots.|
|7||Kemba Walker||BOS||2||Walker should see a little more usage if Jaylen Brown needs to sit out again. With Gordon Hayward playing more in the paint, that should help his assists rise a bit.|
|8||Devonte' Graham||CHA||2||Graham has seen his mid-season struggles, but he has been showing signs of overcoming these struggles by becoming more of a passer when his shots aren't falling and that will result in more dimes.|
|9||Chris Paul||OKC||2||Paul deserved to be the MVP of the All-Star game because he's been a leader, motivator and the Thunder wouldn't be where they're at without him. He'll continue being the primary playmaker.|
|10||De'Aaron Fox||SAC||2||Fox will get a lot of time with the ball and when it comes to transition offense, he's very dangerous because of his speed. His drive is fierce and he's better off sticking to that rather than shooting.|
|11||Tomas Satoransky||CHI||3||The Bulls have the most games of any team this week and Satorasnky is in a good spot because the Bulls are still dealing with a lot of injuries and he'll be the second scoring option behind Zach LaVine .|
|12||Spencer Dinwiddie||BKN||2||We don't know when we'll see Kyrie Irving back on the court as he hurt his Shoulder again. There's a chance that Dinwiddie could be running plays as the primary option for the rest of the season.|
|13||Lonzo Ball||NO||2||Ball is not the best shooter, but even with Zion Williamson in the mix, he's been able to keep himself involved, especially when Brandon Ingram was banged up. We'll see if it continues with Ingram back.|
|14||Malcolm Brogdon||IND||2||It's going to be very interesting to see who loses shots as Victor Oladipo picks up more playing time down the stretch. The good news for Brogdon is that he will have the most time with the ball.|
|15||Ricky Rubio||PHX||2||Rubio and Devin Booker have complimented each other very nicely and even with it looking like Deandre Ayton will be returning to the lineup next game, he'll still get a good amount of shots.|
|16||Jamal Murray||DEN||2||Murray is fully healthy and if Will Barton continues to sit, more will be asked of him when it comes to running the point and his assists should be higher this week.|
|17||Ja Morant||MEM||2||Morant will continue commanding a good amount of the offense and he'll log more minutes late in the season. He's made teammates such as Jonas Valanciunas more productive.|
|18||Eric Bledsoe||MIL||2||With Giannis Antetokounmpo healthy, Bledsoe's usage will drop unless he's off the floor. Bledsoe has helped put up defensive stats such as boards and steals and plays over 27 minutes per game.|
|19||Derrick Rose||DET||2||Rose is fully healthy and he should be able to see more minutes and shots because the Pistons are negotiating a buyout with Reggie Jackson and that will allow rose to be the Pistons top option.|
|20||Dennis Schroder||OKC||2||Schroder remains in the running for the Sixth Man of the Year because he leads the Thunder's second-unit in scoring and he'll log plenty of minutes behind Chris Paul .|
|1||James Harden||HOU||2||There's not too much explaining for Harden being at the top. The Rockets don't have a true big-man in the middle and Harden will be asked not only to shoot more, but to drive the lane more.|
|2||Zach LaVine||CHI||3||LaVine gets the second spot and he should be one of the top producers for the week being that the Bulls are the only team with three games this week and they are 70% injured as a whole.|
|3||Bradley Beal||WSH||2||Beal will continue getting the eternal green light and even when the Wizards are at full strength, still expect him to take a lot of shots and he'll even have time to operate out of the PG spot.|
|4||Jimmy Butler||MIA||2||Butler is fully recovered and nothing should hold him back and he'll have the ball in his hands a bit more as Tyler Herro continues to recover. Butler remains the top scoring option for Miami.|
|5||Devin Booker||PHX||2||Booker has had an incredible season in which we've seen growth and maturity. He doesn't chuck up shots with bad looks as much and he pushes the ball inside which helps him compile more dimes.|
|6||Jrue Holiday||NO||2||Surprisingly, it looked like Holiday was losing usage with Williamson in the lineup, but he's produced three straight double-doubles. We'll see what happens with a fully healthy Ingram back in the mix.|
|7||Khris Middleton||MIL||2||Middleton remains the second scoring option and if the Bucks are in any blowout situations, they'll let Middleton take command of the offense before pulling him mid-fourth quarter.|
|8||DeMar DeRozan||SAS||2||DeRozan says that he's feeling 100 percent after resting his Back during the All-Star break. He had been suffering from Back spasms. He should be able to handle a full workload this week.|
|9||Fred VanVleet||TOR||2||VanVleet should still see a lot of shots because he's not only earned his spot as the team's third scoring option, but Norman Powell still being out also helps.|
|10||Donovan Mitchell||UT||2||Mitchell is going to have to find a way to get to the hoop a bit more even when Mike Conley is on the floor with him. When Conley is running the offense, Mitchell is often relegated to the arc.|
|11||Andrew Wiggins||GSW||2||Wiggins will take even more shots than he did in Minnesota. He'll be the top scoring option until (if) Stephen Curry returns. He'll also help produce boards and dimes.|
|12||Buddy Hield||SAC||2||Fresh off of winning the Three-Point Shootout, we'll see if that gives Hield extra momentum. Hield's shots are safe for now as the Kings are still dealing with injuries in their frontcourt.|
|13||Shai Gilgeous-Alexander||OKC||2||Gilgeous-Alexander will continue to be the prioritized scorer for the Thunder, but he's been especially helpful grabbing boards this season and he'll continue help with steals as well.|
|14||CJ McCollum||POR||2||McCollum will become the Blazers top scoring option until Damian Lillard is ready to return to action. Expect McCollum to run the point a bit more over the next few weeks.|
|15||Jaylen Brown||BOS||2||INJ: Brown missed his last game with a Calf injury and the Celtics don't play again until Friday and we'll need to see if he can practice in full prior to the game.|
|16||Terry Rozier||CHA||2||Rozier will continue to be the second scoring option and he'll get a lot of time to run the point. He and Graham will toggle between being on and off the ball. Expect points and dimes.|
|17||Collin Sexton||CLE||2||Expect Sexton to see more shots if Kevin Love has to sit again. Andre Drummond being on the team could impact everyones time with the ball. Hopefully J.B. Bickerstaff continues to feed Sexton.|
|18||Kevin Huerter||ATL||2||Huerter should be able to take the court for the Hawks first game of the week on Thursday. He had been a bit ill so keep that in mind and watch his status. He should be the Hawks third option.|
|19||Joe Harris||BKN||2||No Irving creates openess in the Nets lineup and Harris is a strong defender and he'll get time both at SG and SF. He's a reliable long-range shooter and will attack the rim & burn teams from the FT line.|
|20||Marcus Smart||BOS||2||Smart has been excellent at filling in when needed and there's a chance he'll have a bigger role for his first game of the week if Brown needs to sit again.|
|1||LeBron James||LAL||2||For some reason, not as much focus has been on James this season, but he's had an MVP caliber season and spends a lot of time running the point and he's made the Lakers into a top team.|
|2||Brandon Ingram||NO||2||Ingram is fully healthy and the Pelicans will look to make a Playoff push and his minutes shouldn't be limited for the week and he'll remain the top prioritized scorer.|
|3||Kawhi Leonard||LAC||1||Leonard dominates when on the court and he'll get even more love in his one game this week if Paul George sits again. As strange as it looks that Leonard is this high up this week, he's a top producer.|
|4||Gordon Hayward||BOS||2||Hayward has been a monster on the glass lately and all I can say is FINALLY! The guy stayed at the arc way too much earlier this year and he's been more productive now that he plays in the paint.|
|5||Tobias Harris||PHI||2||I wish Harris would play in the paint a bit more because he's a slasher, but with the Sixers at full-strength, expect him to be taking more shots from the arc and grabbing boards on defense.|
|6||Kelly Oubre Jr.||PHX||2||Oubre's shots are safe and he's the team's best defender and he'll help grab long boards and steals. On the offensive end, he'll take shots from the arc but won't shy away from driving.|
|7||T.J. Warren||IND||2||Just like with Brogdon, with the Pacers at full strength, don't be surprised to see Warren lose shots as Oladipo gets more involved in the Pacers rotation. He's safe for this week at least.|
|8||Taurean Prince||BKN||2||Prince's defense at the elbow will keep him in games more, but if his shot isn't falling, the Nets will take the ball out of his hands. His minutes are safe. He needs to attack the rim more.|
|9||Jae Crowder||MIA||2||Crowder will likely be moved to PF starting next week because that's where he has been filling in for the injured Meyers Leonard . The Heat have a crowded mid-court.|
|10||Josh Hart||NO||2||Hart has been playing better but that's probably a result of Ingram being hurt and now that he's back in full force, we'll have to see if it caps Hart's production a bit down the stretch.|
|11||Bogdan Bogdanovic||SAC||2||Bogdanovic's shots are safe for now, but we have to start focusing on Jabari Parker being involved because he's very shot-happy and someone in the rotation will likely lose shots in a few weeks.|
|12||Miles Bridges||CHA||2||All of a sudden, Bridges has been playing better, especially on the offensive end. He has taken shots away from PJ Washington and he's getting to the hoop a bit more rather than relying on jumpers.|
|13||Joe Ingles||UT||2||Minutes aren't as concerning for Ingles as shots are. We can rely on him more for assists and steals than scoring. The Jazz have a lot of offensive weapons, and Ingles earns his PT for his defense.|
|14||Harrison Barnes||SAC||2||Barnes will toggle between SF and PF and until Richaun Holmes comes back, expect Barnes to get more shots. He's scored 23-plus points and grabbed 7 boards in 2 of his last 3 games.|
|15||Tim Hardaway Jr.||DAL||2||Hardaway will continue being the Mavs third scoring option, but it's a distant third to Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis as they'll handle most of the offense. Hardaway can play multiple positions.|
|16||Troy Brown Jr.||WSH||2||Even though the Wizards are healthier now, Brown is one of the most familiar players with the offense and his playing time is safe for the rest of the way and he'll score in double figures consistently.|
|17||Duncan Robinson||MIA||2||Robinson will benefit with Herro being out of the lineup. We don't know when we'll see Herro again and Robinson will be used as a bailout shooter from the arc. He plays 29 minutes per game.|
|18||Danuel House Jr.||HOU||2||House will see more shots to start the week off for the Rockets if Eric Gordon needs to sit. He's been playing 30 minutes per game and he'll produce more with the second unit on the floor.|
|19||OG Anunoby||TOR||2||Anunoby's minutes are safe because of the Powell injury and he'll keep his rotation spot because of his defense. On offense, it's a bit more of a rocky road as he's still developing his offensive game.|
|20||Will Barton||DEN||2||INJ: The All-Star break came at a perfect time for Barton. He is praciticing a little and there's a chance he can suit up for Friday's game, but must get in a full practice today.|
|1||Giannis Antetokounmpo||MIL||2||The Greek Freak is fully healthy and he shouldn't be limited at all unless the Bucks are beating up a team to the point where he gets pulled to conserve his health.|
|2||Anthony Davis||LAL||2||Davis remains the second option as the Lakers look to finish the job and end the season as the Western Conferences top team and he continues to stay healthy for the most part.|
|3||John Collins||ATL||2||Collins will be the second scorer for the Hawks for the rest of the way and because Capela is still injured, he'll be set up a lot more in the post until he returns to action.|
|4||Pascal Siakam||TOR||2||Siakam has been the prioritized scorer for the Raptors and he's scored 23.5 points per game and he's an incredible driver and a very strong rebounder and averages nearly a steal and block per game.|
|5||Jayson Tatum||BOS||2||Tatum will see more shots and time with the ball if Brown sits and he doesn't have a lot of competition at the position and we should expect him to continue helping out with scoring and rebounding.|
|6||Kevin Love||CLE||2||INJ: Love missed his last game because ohis Achilles is sore and his status for the Cavs first game of the week on Friday is currently undetermined. They have a back to back and that could cost him.|
|7||Kristaps Porzingis||DAL||2||With Doncic fully healthy, Porzingis returns to being the second option for the Mavs, but he'll still take a lot of shots from the arc and he'll help a ton with boards and blocks.|
|8||LaMarcus Aldridge||SAS||2||Aldridge will return to being secondary to DeRozan now that he's back in the lineup, but he'll continue to get a lot of plays called for him in the post because the Spurs lack depth.|
|9||Zion Williamson||NO||2||Williamson will be given a full workload of minutes and he continues to thrive in the Pelicans offense and he's been attacking the rim with force and pulling down a good amount of boards.|
|10||Danilo Gallinari||OKC||2||Gallinari doesn’t have depth behind him and that will keep his minutes high. It would be much better for fantasy owners if he left the arc a bit more and played in the paint so he can grab more boards.|
|11||Serge Ibaka||TOR||2||Ibaka has been getting more minutes because of Marc Gasol 's injury, but if Gasol returns, unless he's restricted, Ibaka will move back to the bench. He'll still be in the rotation but will get fewer shots.|
|12||Bojan Bogdanovic||UT||2||Bogdanovic is an excellent scorer and his minutes will always be safe because the Jazz lack depth up front, but we often get just consistent scoring from him. His rebounding numbers are up and down.|
|13||Jaren Jackson Jr.||MEM||2||Speaking of players who don’t always help when it comes to rebounding, Jackson at least makes up for it by blocking 1.7 shots per game while scoring 17.1 points per game.|
|14||Al Horford||PHI||2||It's been a very different type of season for Horford as his role remains undefined. He gets the minutes, but he can't always be relied on for scoring. He's been doing just enough with boards & blocks.|
|15||Draymond Green||GSW||2||Don't expect too much scoring help from Green even with the Warriors being bare overall when it comes to depth. Depend on him more for boards, dimes and steals.|
|16||Nemanja Bjelica||SAC||2||Bjelica continues to benefit from Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley III being out, but with Parker now on the squad, hopefully he doesn't take away shots from Bjelica. Parker plays ZERO defense.|
|17||Robert Covington||HOU||2||Covington will continue being the third scoring option for the Rockets and he'll get time at PF and even Center as they lack frontcourt depth. He'll still take a lot of shots from the arc.|
|18||Myles Turner||IND||2||Even though it's been a very up and down season for Turner, he's scored in double figures in his last three games and he's blocked shots in four of his last five contests as well.|
|19||Carmelo Anthony||POR||2||Anthony should benefit with Lillard being out by seeing more shots. Opposing defenses will collapse on McCollum and Anthony should be fed more as a result. He'll help a bit with boards as well.|
|20||Paul George||LAC||1||INJ: George injured his Hamstring the day before the All-Star break and it's hard to determine if George will have to sit for the Clippers one game of the week on Saturday.|
|1||Andre Drummond||CLE||2||So far, new team, same story, Drummond is a double-double machine and he should remain the league's top rebounder even on a different team. He's also blocked shots in his last two games.|
|2||Nikola Jokic||DEN||2||Jokic continues to play better and he's seen higher scoring games in the last month and if Barton needs to sit again, he'll have some more time to bring up the ball and compile assists.|
|3||Joel Embiid||PHI||2||Even though the Sixers problems seem to center around Embiid, it hasn't impacted him negatively from a fantasy perspective and he should be able to dominate points and boards and help block shots.|
|4||Domantas Sabonis||IND||2||Sabonis has been one of the most dominant Center's in the league and he controls the paint better than most and he could even step outside and hit three-pointers if needed.|
|5||Hassan Whiteside||POR||2||Whiteside remains the only game in town when it comes to the Blazers low-post options and naturally, he'll move up the priority chart when it comes to plays called for him with Lillard out.|
|6||Rudy Gobert||UT||2||Gobert is another Center with hardly any competition for minutes behind him and he's been dominant with inside scoring, rebounding and he's been blocking nearly two shots per game.|
|7||Deandre Ayton||PHX||2||INJ: Ayton is practicing and he should be ready to return to the court for the Suns first game of the week on Friday. He's been dealing with an injured Ankle.|
|8||Bam Adebayo||MIA||2||It's no surprise that Adebayo won the Skills Challenge during the All-Star break because he is a very good ball-handler and he'll also contribute assists along with points and boards consistently.|
|9||Jonas Valanciunas||MEM||2||Hopefully, the Grizzlies continue to give Valanciunas more minutes and down the stretch he plays at least 30 minutes per game. The Grizzlies did trade for more depth that hopefully doesn't impact him.|
|10||Nikola Vucevic||ORL||1||Vucevic would be much higher in these rankings, but he's sitting with the short slate this week along with the Knicks and Clippers. He continues to be the Magic's top option.|
|11||Jarrett Allen||BKN||2||Allen is more productive when Irving is off the floor and it's looking like that will be the case for at least the next few weeks and he doesn't need a ton of minutes to put up points and boards.|
|12||Steven Adams||OKC||2||Adams has been playing better lately and he looks to be moving around quicker which proves that he's healthier. He's grabbed double-digit boards in his last three games.|
|13||Davis Bertans||WSH||2||Bertans will see playing time even when the Wizards are at full strength. We don't know if Thomas Bryant will be ready to return Friday. Bertans has been one of the best three-point shooters this year.|
|14||Derrick Favors||NO||2||The Pelicans have a lot of mouths to feed when it comes to scoring and even though Williamson will cap Favors production a bit, he'll still help with boards and blocks and should play at least 20 mpg.|
|15||Tristan Thompson||CLE||2||Thompson is relegated to the bench now that Drummond is on the team. Thompson had a strong game heading into the break, but Kevin Love was out. His fantasy future looks very bleak.|
|16||Thomas Bryant||WSH||2||INJ: Bryant has been battling a Foot injury and the pain hadn't gone away prior to the All-Star Break. There's a chance he could return for the Wizards first game of the week on Friday|
|17||Brook Lopez||MIL||2||Lopez will see his usage drop off a bit with Antetokounmpo back in the lineup, but he's scored 10.6 points per game this year & even though he struggles to grab boards, he blocks 2.6 shots per game.|
|18||DeAndre Jordan||BKN||2||Jordan will remain part of the Nets rotation backing up Allen for the rest of the way. He's grabbed double-digit boards and blocked shots in his last three games. He won't always help with scoring.|
|19||Cody Zeller||CHA||2||Zeller will return to action on Thursday after missing his last game and he's grabbed at least eight rebounds in his last two games and he's a better defender than Willy Hernangomez .|
|20||Marc Gasol||TOR||2||INJ: Gasol missed his last eight games with a sore Hamstring, but there's a chance that he can make it back to the court for Friday's game when the Raptors take on the Suns.|
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K. Walker - PG
Kemba Walker was "never right" physically during the Celtics' time in the bubble due to a lingering knee issue according to team president Danny Ainge.
One of the concerns across the NBA when the season resumed in Orlando was how players' bodies would adjust after not playing for more than four months and having limited (or no) access to team facilities the hiatus. Walker has been dealing with knee soreness since his college years, and he was unable to get back into the rhythm that he was in prior to the stoppage due to that issue. Boston hopes to get Walker back to full strength this offseason, with Ainge also saying that they do not believe that the All-Star point guard will need to undergo surgery to address the issue.
Added 10:21 am (EST)
Added 10:21 am (EST)
J. Tatum - PF
Celtics team president Danny Ainge said on Thursday that he's confident that the team and Jayson Tatum will come to terms on a contract extension.
The two sides won't be able to begin talks on a new contract right away per league rules, but Ainge was confident that the team will be able to lock Tatum in for the long-term. Earlier this week it was reported that the Celtics would offer the All-Star forward a max contract extension, which comes as no surprise given his importance. A happy Tatum would be good news for both the Celtics and fantasy players, as he stands to be a first round pick in all formats.
Added 10:18 am (EST)
Added 10:18 am (EST)
J. Butler - SF
Jimmy Butler sprained his left ankle during the first half of Game 1 on Wednesday, but stayed in to finish with a team-high 23 points (8-of-13 FGs, 5-of-5 FTs), five assists, two steals and two rebounds.
We'll preemptively list Butler as 'questionable' for Game 2, but knowing his competitive spirit, it would be shocking if he wasn't active. Miami will also release at least four injury updates prior to the tip-off of Game 2, so there shouldn't be any surprises. The Heat were decimated on the glass in this game, 54-36, so that's an area they'll need to improve to win Game 2 on Friday.
Added 12:24 am (EST)
K. Nunn - SG
Kendrick Nunn shot 8-of-11 to score 18 points during Wednesday's Finals-opening loss.
According to Basketball-Reference, Nunn's 18 points were the most for a rookie off the bench in the Finals since Elden Campbell in 1991. Miami has a pretty clean salary-sheet in 2020-21, with only Jimmy Butler ($34.4 million) and Andre Iguodala ($15.0 million) holding guaranteed deals worth more than $5.1 million, so they're in position to rebuild. This is a team down just 1-0 in the Finals, of course, with Pat Riley at the helm, so they're not exactly concerned. For all we know, Nunn could be the hero of these 2020-21 Finals.
Added 12:23 am (EST)
Added 12:23 am (EST)
B. Adebayo - PF
Bam Adebayo strained his left shoulder and did not return after 21 minutes of Miami's Game 1 defeat.
The good news is that X-rays were negative. The bad news is that shoulder injuries rarely require X-rays, and an MRI might be needed to fully assess the damage here. It's the NBA Finals, so Bam will presumably play through anything, but time will tell. If he misses games, Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard both stand to gain.
Added 12:20 am (EST)
A. Caruso - PG
Alex Caruso (sore right wrist) chipped in 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal in 22 minutes off the bench during L.A.'s Game 1 victory on Wednesday.
Caruso came into this game with a total of 99 points in the postseason, in addition to 44 personal fouls. He's also been 42.2% from the field in the playoffs, with a 24.4% mark from deep, so there is room for improvement.
Added 12:19 am (EST)
L. James - SF
LeBron James (sore right groin) finished the Lakers' Game 1 win vs. the Heat with 25 points (9-of-17 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs), 13 rebounds, nine assists and one steal in 36 minutes.
The Lakers have listed guys as 'probable' on their injury report for the past two years, and they always play. LeBron's groin injury is either make-believe or extremely minor, and there's no way he's sitting out a Finals game. With the opportunity to lead a third franchise to an NBA title, win or lose, we're going to see a legendary player going all out for at least three more games. Enjoy it.
Added 12:18 am (EST)
D. Green - SG
Danny Green (left ring finger; volar plate) played 30 minutes on Wednesday, posting 11 points, four boards, three 3-pointers, three blocks and two steals.
The volar plate is a ligament that connects bones in the finger and prevents hyperextension. This sounds like a real injury Green suffered, unlike most of L.A.'s reported injuries, but the fact that he's playing suggests he didn't suffer a ligament tear or any long-term damage. At this stage of his career, however, he's just a 3-and-D veteran with minimal fantasy appeal. It doesn't help that he came into this game shooting 40.3% from the field and 67.2% from the line on the season.
Added 12:16 am (EST)