Fantasy Basketball

2015-16 Fantasy Basketball: Top 200 9-Cat Roto Rankings

With only nine days left until the 2015-16 NBA regular season commences, fantasy basketball drafting season is in full swing as we close in on opening night. While some fantasy owners may wait until the last few days before participating in drafts to figure out final rotations, avoid drafting injured players that may get injured during the preseason, etc., there are also advantages to drafting earlier as lack of clarity on the aforementioned issues mentioned above can enable owners to find good values they may not otherwise have found. As a quick aside, these rankings are an attempt to forecast the players values by the end of the season and shouldn’t be used as a draft template in terms of when to draft players as using ADP would be a better way to go about that.

For the most part I tried to rank the players at the position that is most conducive to them earning fantasy value. For instance, DeMar DeRozan (SG/SF) is much better utilized at SF compared to SG because his lack of 3-pointers puts him at a vast disadvantage compared to the rest of the group, while his lack of treys doesn’t stand out as much among SF. On the flip side, players like Jimmy Butler (SG/SF), Anthony Davis (PF/C), DeMarcus Cousins (PF/C), Nerlens Noel (PF/C), Thaddeus Young (SF/PF) and Nikola Mirotic (SF/PF)  have more versatile skill sets that enables them to employed comfortably at either of their eligible positions so they were accordingly ranked at both.

Additionally, you’ll see notorious FT% killer guys like DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard, and Jahlil Okafor ranked much lower in this format compared to one where owners may draft one of them and implement the punt strategy. While punting categories can be a viable strategy if employed correctly, especially in H2H formats, I personally don’t subscribe to punting and strongly advise against doing so in roto leagues. You may notice other players like Jrue Holiday, Brandon Jennings and Wesley Matthews being ranked lower than some pundits may have and that’s due to injury concerns, which plays a huge role in trying to determine the final projected values of players.

With all that being said, I’m sure you’re eager to go ahead and view the rankings so why don’t we get to the best part of the article. Without further ado, here are my personal Top-200 9-cat roto rankings.


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If the rankings aren’t showing up on your browser, click here to view my Top-200 9-cat roto rankings via my spreadsheet. Please excuse the technical difficulties.

Honorable Mention: Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic, Tristan Thompson, Omer Asik, Anderson Varejao, Ian Mahinmi, Iman Shumpert, Lance Stephenson, Marco Belinelli, Gerald Henderson, Mario Hezonja, Tony Wroten, Donald Sloan, Will Barton, Evan Fournier, Kelly Oubre, Mario Chalmers, Aaron Brooks, James Johnson, Wesley Johnson, Boris Diaw.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions or comments concerning the article or rankings themselves, please feel free to drop a line in the comment box. You can follow me on Twitter @Matt Moczy.

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5 Comments

  1. Peter
    October 18, 2015 at 11:19 am — Reply

    Great job with the rankings for the most part. Quite honestly, it’s one of the better ones I’ve seen compared to even some of the bigger names in the industry. Good to see someone who isn’t afraid to be aggressive relative to the general consensus. Many people seem to be sleeping on guys like Walker and Anderson, among othersm for whatever reason. There are only a few picks I significantly differ with you on: Korver, Faried, McCollum, Wiggins, and Lavine.

    I don’t think many people realize that Korver is coming off of two surgeries and isn’t exactly a spring chicken. Given that he’s more of a catch and shoot guy his health may not be as much of an issue for someone like him, but the ranking just feels a bit high to me, especially when it nearly represents his ceiling. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was able to reach it though.

    I know many have been burned by Faried in the past, myself included, but I can’t see any reason why he won’t finally take that next step this season. With Lawson and his usage rate out of town and the only other reliable scorer in the starting lineup being Galo, there should be every opportunity for him to become a consistent contributor on the offensive end. Bryan Shaw was the one thing standing between him and his potential in the past. Now that he’s gone, I don’t think we can underestimate just how much of an impact said change will have.

    I love McCollum personally and have seen him ranked similarly on a lot of sites, but I just don’t think he has a great shot of justifying this high of a ranking. We know he’ll score and make a ton of 3s, but at this point in his career he hasn’t shown he can contribute much elsewhere. As is the case with Lillard, he could suffer a low FG% and high TO rate (for a SG) as a result of being one of the few guys who will be relied on to score. You also have to hope that he’ll improve on his FT%.

    Wiggins is probably the one I have the biggest gripe with, although I have seen his rankings vary wildly from site to site. I know some look at his second half run from last season and see it as an unattainable expectation given a healthier surrounding cast, but Wiggins should still be one of the featured weapons on offense and score his fair share of points. More importantly, he was also a sneaky contributor in other categories like assists and blocks. Given his athleticism and now entering his second year, I could see his defensive numbers, particularly his steals, seeing a sizable boost, as well as him getting more of a green light from deep. He’s also a good FT shooter to boot. To me he looks like a guy that can help you in most categories without hurting you in a single one, in addition to being a solid scorer.

    I have LaVine a bit outside the top-100 even with the move to SG simply given the opportunity standing in front of him. His assists will come down without question but so will his turnovers, helping to offset some of that loss in value. Like Wiggins he’s also an athletic freak, so I can see his steals going up playing off the ball more. It also doesn’t hurt he’s a great FT shooter and should be able to get to the line a bit more this season. Having one of the best passers in the league at PG should ensure he gets some decent looks as well.

    Keep up the good work man.

    • October 19, 2015 at 8:32 am — Reply

      Peter,

      Thanks for reading and the kind words. You make some good cases in your arguments for the five players you have listed and I’ll go ahead and offer you my explanations for justifying the ranks of those players.

      While Korver is coming off two surgeries, all indications are that things have gone smoothly with no setbacks in his recovery. After having one of the greatest shooting seasons of all-time last season, my rank does take into account that he is unlikely to replicate his 2.9 3PM and 49.2% mark from deep, but at the same time it’s not completely out of the question and he still averaged 2.6 3PM on 46.4% shooting combined in 2012 and 2013, so he’s unlikely to see too much of a drop-off. As for the rank potentially representing his ceiling, I honestly thought about ranking him higher. On a per-game basis last year, Korver was the 35th-ranked player in 9-cat leagues, while in 2013 he was 33rd. Additionally, I believe his role on offense could expand in the wake of the departure of DeMarre Carroll in the offseason as the Hawks really didn’t add any good scorers in free agency or the draft.

      The Faried rank is one that could surely come back to burn me, but I’m skeptical of how much upside he really possesses. While he’s known as a high-motor guy and is extremely athletic, his yearly averages in steals and especially blocks as a big man always seems to disappoint as he’s been held under 1 per game in both of those categories the last two years. While the departure of Lawson will free up some shot attempts, Emmanuel Mudiay and Danilo Gallinari are likely to have the highest usage rates on the team, and Faried isn’t known as pure scorer. Guys like Wilson Chandler, Jusuf Nurkic, and Joffrey Lauvergne will also be heavily involved in the offense as well. I completely agree with you that Bryan Shaw stunted his development and him being out of town should be a godsend for him in regards to providing fantasy value. He should provide a boatload of double-doubles with an excellent FG% to boot, but he also is a mediocre free throw shooter and a below average passer. Outside of FG% and rebounds, his production is unlikely stand out in any one category.

      As you can tell by my rank, I’m completely sold on McCollum. As you surely know, the Blazers lost the services of LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, and Robin Lopez in the offseason and there is going to be a tremendous opportunity for McCollum as the number two option of offense behind Damian Lillard. Like you said, McCollum is going to provide a plethora of points and 3’s, but I also believe he has the capability to average 4-5 assists, a steal per game, and a 80% or better free throw percentage as his career mark with extended minutes in college was 82.5 percent. He’s been killing it in the preseason as he sports a 29.2 usage rate and is averaging 19.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.2 3PM (37.9%), 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 2.4 turnovers on 42 percent shooting from the field with a 78.6% mark from the free throw line. He’s not going to kill you in turnovers by any means and while his FG% will likely be in the 40-44% range, you can work around that. He’s going to breakout this year in a big way.

      Wiggins was one of the hardest players to rank for me and I can completely understand why you disagree with my ranking. He should be an above-average contributor in points, FT%, and steals with solid totals in blocks for a SF. With that being said, he’s not a great rebounder, passer, or free throw shooter and his mark of 2.2 turnovers is likely to increase with an increased role on offense. According to nba.com/stats, Wiggins has a 26.5 usage rate in the preseason compared to his 22.6 mark in the 2014-15 regular season. Unlike McCollum who can offset his high-volume inefficient shooting with a boatload of 3’s, Wiggins can’t say the same. Not to make too big of a deal out of it, but Wiggins is only shooting 37.3% in the preseason but I don’t think it’s out of the question his efficiency could drop with an expanded role on offense. While much has been made of his improved 3-point streak and how he’ll rely on that shot more often this year, it’s unlikely he became a marksman from deep in just one offseason and averaging more than 1.0 3PM would be an added bonus for fantasy owners. I’ve seen him being drafted in Round 4 and early 5th and that’s much too early for my liking.

      I’m not high on Zach LaVine at all and my fears about him were confirmed last night when Minnesota Timberwolves beat writer Jerry Agoda tweeted that trying out LaVine as starting SG isn’t going well at all. He’s not a great shooter while his inefficient FG% will be a drag on his overall value since he doesn’t really contribute elsewhere other than FT%. I’d be avoiding him at all costs.

      • Peter
        October 21, 2015 at 10:39 am — Reply

        Appreciate the reply. You make a lot of good counterpoints.

        I guess I’m one of those guys who’s afraid to ride old guys for too long, which is probably one of my faults. But as you said, there have been no setbacks to report in Korver’s recovery and it would not surprise me if he at the very least comes close to matching his ranking. It’s really only the nature of the two injuries (ankle, elbow) that scares me a bit. Generally I like my for my early round picks to be on the safer side (that’s actually a lie- I’ve already drafted KD a few times haha), and though Korver’s been as durable as they come for some time now, health and age will probably keep me away at that price. If I’m going to take any kind of risk early, I like there to be significant upside as well.

        I can completely understand not taking a guy like Faried if you are in need of a true big man, especially with bigs being rather scarce past the middle rounds. In a few of my prior drafts I was able to pair him up with Gobert and strong FT shooters, so the lack of blocks and lower FT% weren’t an issue for me.

        It’s funny because I came into the season a huge McCollum fan and was hoping he wouldn’t be too, too hyped up around this time, but I know that was just wishful thinking. I guess the biggest issue I have with his ranking is with some of the guys he’s going before (ie Thad, Deron, Rubio, Wiggins, etc). I would take him in a heartbeat closer to 100, but he’s likely priced out of my range where he’s currently being drafted, at least in competitive leagues. At that point in the draft I’d much rather gamble on some of the high risk, high reward guys I mentioned, but I can see the argument for taking him so early. Just a little skeptical about how things will translate for this season. Love him long term.

        I agree with a lot of your points on Wiggins. There’s almost no way he makes more than a three per game, and there is a chance his efficiency could be an issue. However, even when he was a usage rate king post All-Star break, he still managed to shoot nearly 45% from the field and 78% from the line, which is impressive. Even with him attempting more 3-pointers, I think that’s a reasonable floor for him given the return of Rubio. And though I have no basis for this, I’m hoping he’s able to push his FT% up by 2 or 3 pts simply by virtue of experience. Any growth there would be big given how often he should get to the line. But you’re right: late 4th/ early 5th round is too early for him to be going. In most cases I’ve been able to snag him in the late 5th/early 6th round, which I was happy with.

        Yeah, it looks like I already have to eat crow with the LaVine pick haha that’s embarrassing. I honestly thought he would be given at least some regular season opportunity to lock down control of the position even with his preseason struggles, but it looks like that won’t be the case. I still think he could contribute in the 2nd half though if and when Martin is moved, as the Wolves desperately need to incorporate more 3-pt shooting. Glad I’ve only drafted him in 1 league so far.

        Good luck with your drafts moving forward. I’m sure you’ll clean them up!

  2. Alex
    October 22, 2015 at 8:34 pm — Reply

    Nice list man!

    Just curious about your ranking on Demarcus cousins. Could you give me your reasoning on why you placed him there? I feel like he should be top 6-8.

    Thanks

    • October 23, 2015 at 9:52 am — Reply

      Alex,

      In 8-cat leagues, Cousins would for sure be ranked in that range. Kawhi (6), Butler (8), and Thompson (10) all finished higher than Cousins (11) in 9-cat leagues last year and I think that will remain the case this year, largely due to the fact that Cousins is careless in the TO department. He averaged 4.3 TO per game last year and over the last three years is averaging 3.6 TO per game. Trust me, I love Boogie as he’s an elite contributor in PTS-REB-BLK and ST-AST for a PF/C type, while also providing solid percentages. The only real weakness in his fantasy game is TO/3PM, although he has been hoisting up threes with more regularity in the preseason, albeit without much success. He’s unlikely to hit enough 3’s to enhance his value much, but his propensity to take them could put a slight dent in his FG%. I would for sure take Kawhi/Butler over Cousins, but if you prefer Cousins over Thompson I would have no qualms about that.

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