Let’s be honest, it’s really difficult to rank players this far out when we’re still fairly clueless how team rotations will play out with newly acquired players and rookies. Still, I know I always like seeing how fantasy analysts have players initially ranked, even this early, so I made it a goal to have rankings out before September for all of you guys. I started with the format that I play the most, head-to-head categories. Please don’t ask me if they’re for 8 or 9-category formats, as I have said before, I draft the same whether it be with a turnovers category (I hate 9-cat leagues personally, they punish the players who have the ball the most and I like to have ball dominating players) or without. If I’m in a 9-cat league, I basically punt turnovers always, if the team I draft ends up being good in the turnovers categories by chance, that’s just a bonus.
I ranked players as I valued them all things equal, but obviously you should upgrade or downgrade players based on the categories you are targeting to dominate in and punt respectively. If you decide you want to go heavy after points, rebounds, blocks and FG-percentage while punting FT-percentage, then you should bump players like DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert, Andre Drummond and Dwight Howard types up as their FT-percentages are awful and if you are ignoring that category, they’re much better overall.
You don’t have to go into a H2H draft with a planned punt category, you can draft your first few picks and adjust from there. If you’re five rounds in and have found a lot of value with big men and haven’t drafted a point guard yet, consider punting assists and maybe even 3-pointers. Take what the draft gives you, but in the end it’s much easier to focus on and win 5-6 categories while tanking in a couple categories than to have a fully balanced team, balance is for roto leagues in my opinion.
Just know that my rankings are made from scratch, and things are absolutely going to change a lot between these and my early-October rankings. I just really wanted to put out rankings for you hardcore players who may even start your offline drafts soon, and I know typically it’s hard to find rankings out this early. Not anymore. I didn’t put player positions because between all the sites, they vary so much, so be sure to check the positions each player you draft is eligible for on your league host. Here we go, my initial H2H rankings for your viewing pleasure:
Well, what do you think? Curious to hear who you feel I have too high, too low and what you think is simply insanity. This likely gives you hints to who I will have in upcoming articles as sleepers, breakouts and busts, but just know every player that I ranked is for a reason, and I’ll be updating my thoughts in all of the articles I have coming soon. Some players I just don’t have confidence in yet, like Chris Bosh I still have ranked lower because I’m simply not sure when or if he’ll actually play. So, he’ll rise or fall when we get more news. The last 30 or so are just dart throws really, this early on it’s hard to pinpoint the best deeper league later round targets, but things clear up more by the week. My initial roto rankings will be posted very soon, and Sam Macey will have his outstanding dynasty rankings ready soon as well.
For more fantasy hoops analysis and to have any questions you may have answered, follow Zack on Twitter @BigZack44