Every Wednesday this season, I will publish my top-130 fantasy basketball rankings for the remainder of the season.
These rankings are based on season-long rotisserie formats. That means that players who excel in one or two categories will be ranked higher and those who fail miserably in percentages will be ranked lower than they would be in a points system.
So, a 3-point specialist like J.R. Smith gets a bump, while a young star like Andre Drummond, who misses a ton of free throws, sinks. You will want to adjust accordingly based on your league's scoring system.
These rankings are forward-looking. If you want to know where players stand based on what they have done thus far this season, check out the ESPN Player Rater.
My goal here is to give you an idea of how much I value each player for the rest of the 2015-16 campaign. In its most basic sense, I am asking myself if I would rather have Player X over Player Y through April. If so, I rank him higher.
As always, I value your feedback, so feel free to hit me up @AtomicHarpua.
We have to start this week's rest-of-season rankings with Blake Griffin, who is expected to miss the next four to six weeks due to a broken hand sustained in a fight. What can you say? It's tough enough for fantasy owners to deal with the injuries that come from the wear and tear of an 82-game professional basketball campaign, but losing a star player because he can't control himself off the court is a tough pill to swallow.
Here we are, though, and we have to peg exactly what his value is the rest of the way.
The only upside we can glean from this situation is that the strained quadriceps tendon that has already cost him 15 games should be fully healed upon his return from hand surgery. The downside is that even if he misses just a month, he will get in only about 25 more games this season. If he ends up missing six weeks, then he is looking at about 20 games. Furthermore, Griffin may well face a suspension upon his return as fallout from the off-court altercation.
Despite his nagging leg injury, I still had him at No. 13. That's because it appeared he was going to return soon and I loved his combination of scoring, boards, dimes and high-volume field goal percentage, even with his middling free throw percentage and lack of hustle stats.
The question now is how much of an investment you want to make for maybe 20 to 25 games' worth of those stats.
I have plugged him in at No. 33 because I think that's a fair spot -- above unestablished players and those with a cap on their upside but below those who have established themselves as high-volume contributors.
The real answer for you will depend on your team's standing in your league. If you have him and your team is stuck in the middle or bottom of the pack, you may want to trade him now for a player who can help dig your team out of the hole before it's too late.
On the other hand, if your team is near the top and you consider yourself a contender, acquiring Griffin now at a discount could push you all the way to the title.
Moving on from Griffin, let's talk about a big man who is on the come: DeMarcus Cousins. So far this month, he has looked every bit the fantasy superstar that I and many others envisioned heading into this season. It would be nice if he shot better from the charity stripe (73.3 FT%/11.5 FTA in January), but it's manageable, especially when you consider the ridiculous numbers he has posted this month: 33.1 PPG, 1.4 3-PPG, 12.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.5 BPG, 0.9 SPG and 49.8 FG%/23.3 FGA.
With his game back on track, Boogie leaps from No. 12 to No. 7 this week.
While I am intrigued by the general idea of Kyrie Irving playing in a higher-paced offense under Tyronn Lue, I'm not prepared to move him up my rankings as of yet. Before I do so, I am going to have to see some signs of life in the box score. Nonetheless, he remains an intriguing trade flier at a discount right now.
I dropped Brandon Knight down a few more spots again this week because he just can't stay out of the infirmary. I've mentioned at several points this season that his history of injuries makes him difficult to trust, yet he has such an intriguing upside in a very high-usage role with Eric Bledsoe out of the picture. Considering how well Archie Goodwin and Devin Booker have been playing lately, it's possible that the Suns won't need to push his usage through the roof down the stretch, so I may end up dropping him further down the line at some point.
Speaking of Booker, I slid him into the top 100 this week. It would be nice if he did a little more than simply score and hit 3s, but the door is wide open for him to come through in those categories the rest of the way. Goodwin makes his first appearance in my rankings, coming in at 118. I'm trying not to overreact to his three straight games with 20 or more points, partly because that has coincided with Knight's absence, but he should be owned in all formats.
I had to make a significant adjustment to Thaddeus Young's ranking this week. In retrospect, I think I might have had him ranked too high, despite his general talent and the opportunity he has had to shine in a high-usage role with Jarrett Jack done for the season. He simply hasn't stepped up to take advantage of the opportunity, and his new ranking in the 60s reflects that.
Derrick Favors finally has returned to action, but he isn't sliding up my rankings yet. I had him pegged to get back on the hardwood around this time, and his spot in the mid-40s seems about right going forward.
It looks like Robert Covington has his mojo back in his pocket, so he is sprinting back up the rankings. Considering how hot he was earlier this season and how cold he got soon thereafter, we certainly can't expect this to last. On the other hand, he can post freakish stats when he is feeling it, so let's keep our fingers crossed.
Making a move back into my rankings is Indiana Pacers rookie Myles Turner. I had high hopes for him when the season began, but he ended up working off the bench before getting hurt, and Ian Mahinmi was playing well, so I bumped him out. Turner flashed that upside recently when Mahinmi was injured, but Mahinmi has returned to action and put Turner back on the pine. Unless that changes, Turner's value is going to be capped.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was supposed to be done for the season due to shoulder surgery, but with word that he has been cleared for full-contact practice, I put him back into the rankings and pushed Al Jefferson out. Big Al has no timetable for a return to action and was playing horribly before his knee surgery. It's not clear when MKG might play again, but I'd rather invest a bench spot on him than Jefferson at this point.