Read below for points-league ranks.
The NBA season is starting to pick up steam as we approach Halloween, a bit more than two weeks in. As such, we are already seeing fundamental changes in the league landscape that impact player rankings from here on out.
Last week, I wrote about how the Jimmy Butler situation seems to be negatively affecting Karl-Anthony Towns, based on his poor start, and as that situation lingers, KAT continues to drop in the rankings. This weekend, the Cleveland Cavaliers fired head coach Tyronn Lue, which could completely change the values of Cavs players if the new coach comes in with a new plan and new rotations. There are always injuries to adjust to, with Kevin Love's presumed month-plus absence for toe soreness just the latest incident.
Last season, I incorporated those types of changes into my rest-of-the-season rankings by eye. I would identify players who seem to be most affected by these big changes and, in addition to looking at trends of recent play, would use that to move players up and down the rankings by eye.
This season, I'm doing something different.
I calculated preseason projections for more than 300 players to feed the fantasy draft kit, and we now have two weeks' worth of player data to give feedback on how players are actually performing. Starting with this week's rankings, I'll be using the projections, current player performance, injury and player situation factors to quantitatively estimate the rest-of-season rankings with more precision.
Also, new for this week, both the points-based rankings and the roto rankings will include arrows to indicate whether a given player moved up or down the rankings since last week. This is to give you, the reader, more detailed information to help keep you up to speed with how player values are changing over the course of the season.
So, without further ado ... let's get into it!
Rest-of-season points-based rankings breakdown by position
Damian Lillard is off to a blazing start, averaging 33.8 PPG, 6.6 APG and 6.0 RPG to top the fantasy points rankings. He played the best campaign of his career last season and is still potentially approaching his peak, so this fast start may not be entirely a fluke.
Stephen Curry has had two relatively down seasons for him since Kevin Durant came to town. In the first season, he had to adjust his game to play with another MVP, and last season, he dealt with injury issues. This season, Curry and Durant seem to have found a balance of playing together and both are fully healthy, so both are putting up fireworks to start the season.
Kris Dunn is out for the next month or so with an MCL sprain, another injury that keeps Dunn on the shelf and prevents him from growing into his starting point guard role with the Bulls. Dunn showed last season that he has strong upside, but he can't show it if he can't stay on the floor.
Devin Booker is another young guard who is having trouble staying on the court. After recovering from offseason wrist surgery, Booker made it through only the first week of the season before straining his hamstring. Booker has missed two games in a row, and as of yet, his return date hasn't been set. He still has massive upside this season, but the injuries breed hesitation.
Zach LaVine is living up to his massive physical upside and showing the ability to be a huge scorer with a reasonable all-around game. He's outperforming anything that he's ever shown before, but even if he regresses, displaying this level of upside is enough to move him well up the rankings.
Gary Harris has been the most consistent of the Nuggets' perimeter players this season, and with Will Barton out for the next month, he should continue to put up strong numbers for the foreseeable future.
As mentioned previously, Durant seems to have settled into a perfect symbiosis alongside Curry with both able to produce huge numbers. The Warriors will still need to integrate DeMarcus Cousins into their lineup when he returns, but other than that, things look bright on the fantasy side for their primary duo.
TJ Warren is a quietly consistent producer for the Suns, whether he starts or comes off the bench. The Suns are built around Booker on the perimeter and rookie Deandre Ayton in the middle, but Warren is the third option and gets a lot of looks in their high-paced offense.
Rudy Gay has been productive for the Spurs. He is healthy again, and with Kawhi Leonard now playing up north, the Spurs have a need for Gay to create offense and knock down shots while playing off of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.
Kyle Kuzma took full advantage of Brandon Ingram's suspension, averaging 22.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 2.3 3PG while playing 34.8 MPG during those four games. Ingram is back now, but on a Lakers team with few pure shooters, it would seem that Kuzma's ability to stretch the floor should still earn him significant minutes moving forward.
Kevin Love has a toe injury on his left foot, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are said to be preparing for him to miss more than a month in recovery. Love has the opportunity this season to post big numbers with LeBron James gone, but he has had injury issues for the past few seasons and appears to be on that same track again this season.
Bobby Portis sprained his MCL and is expected to be out for four to six weeks, joining Lauri Markkanen (elbow) on the sidelines. This provides a window for Jabari Parker to expand his role in the interim, and try to show that he should be a bigger part of the Bulls' future plans.
Ayton is outplaying even the lofty expectations of a No. 1 overall draft pick, averaging 20.5 PPG (67.3% FG, 88.9% FT), 11.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 0.8 BPG and 0.8 SPG during his previous four games. He appears to be every bit as physically dominating at the pro level as the scouting reports suggested.
Jonas Valanciunas is not even playing 20 minutes per game this season, but his per-minute production is amazing. He has averaged 16.5 PPG (60.5 FG%, 80.0 FT%), 8.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.8 BPG and 0.8 SPG during his past four outings, numbers that keep him fantasy relevant whether he is starting for the Toronto Raptors or not.
Montrezl Harrell is another per-minute monster who is off to a productive start to the season. He has averaged 18.0 PPG (75.0% FG, 81.8% FT), 7.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 2.3 BPG and 1.3 SPG in 22.8 MPG during his previous four outings, and with Marcin Gortat struggling, it would seem that Harrell should earn a bigger role moving forward.