Read below for rest-of-season points-league ranks.
For the second week in a row, the top 20 was very stable. Nikola Jokic and DeMar DeRozan moved the most, both down three slots, and Kemba Walker also slid two spaces. On the positive side, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard both moved up two spaces. Clint Capela did as well, allowing him to reach a high-water mark of 15th for this season.
However, if I compare today's rankings to the first rankings of the season, I see some big changes ... particularly among the big men. The default ESPN scoring system is often good to bigs, as efficiency and having a second strong category, such as rebounding, help a lot. But bigs are, in general, playing well this season.
The biggest riser among the top 20 is Nikola Vucevic, who is maximizing his production and has thus far managed to stay healthy after a history of injury. Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond, Rudy Gobert, Capela, DeAndre Jordan, Deandre Ayton, Blake Griffin and Marc Gasol have all made big moves towards the top as well.
The point? Big men are often not as glamorous as guards and wings, and whether right or wrong (usually wrong) many people tie glamour and perception to trade value. It might sound funny to think of Capela or Jordan as more valuable than superstars like Kyrie Irving or Chris Paul, and therefore you may be able to shift some trade talks accordingly. Take advantage, make sure you respect the value and not the name, and make some good things happen for your team(s).
Rest-of-season points-based rankings breakdown by position
Trae Young got off to a strong start to his rookie season but has slowed mightily of late. He has averaged only 11.7 PPG (30.6 FG%, 83.3 FT%), 6.9 APG, 2.6 RPG, 1.0 SPG and 1.0 3PG (19.2 3P%) during his past 10 games and, as a result, is sliding down the rankings until he proves that he can re-find his shot.
Reggie Jackson was once considered a vital piece of the core for the Detroit Pistons, before injuries and poor play the past couple of seasons took the luster off. He is having a bit of a bounce-back season, especially of late, as he has averaged 19.8 PPG (44.1 FG%, 92.6 FT%), 5.0 APG, 2.2 RPG, 2.8 3PG and 1.2 SPG during his past five games.
George Hill has returned from injury, though he returns to a Cleveland Cavaliers team that went full-on youth mode in his absence. He played only 19 minutes in his return, off the bench, behind rookie Collin Sexton, and it is unclear whether Hill will retake his starting job any time soon.
Victor Oladipo has missed seven straight games with a knee injury and was recently declared "out indefinitely." No timetable has been set for his return, leaving lots of uncertainty, but he does slide down the rankings a bit in the meantime.
Devin Booker seems to be in this space every week, as his game is volatile and he has also struggled with injury. This week, he injured his left hamstring in Sunday's game and his status for this week's games is unknown. The fact that he keeps having to deal with nagging injuries, even if this one doesn't turn out to be serious, is enough to slide him down the list a bit.
Buddy Hield has had a cool shooting week, making only four of 21 3-pointers during his past three games, but that can't take the luster off what has been a breakout season for the marksman in Sacramento. Having watched him multiple seasons in the Las Vegas summer league, it has been great watching Hield learn how to create space enough to get up his deadly jumper.
Danilo Gallinari has a well-earned reputation for being injury prone, and that concern has kept him down in the rankings. But with that said, we're eight weeks in and he is playing some of the best ball of his career. While I'd be nervous to have him on a team, you have to respect his game while he's healthy, and if you do move him, make sure that you get appropriate value for him.
Robert Covington seems to be winning the battle for small forward relevance in Minnesota. He is very arguably the best defensive player in the NBA right now, which earns him heavy rotation, and he is using it to his advantage to the tune of 20.7 PPG (52.6 FG%, 85.7 FT%), 8.7 RPG, 3.3 3PG, 2.3 SPG and 1.3 BPG during his past three outings to stake his claim on the position.
Gordon Hayward came out of nowhere to drop 30 points in 30 minutes on Saturday, the first time this season that he has scored more than 19 points. Hayward also played both ends of the back-to-back this weekend, which might be even bigger news for his potential fantasy value moving forward.
Luka Doncic is the early favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award this season, and he's put up strong numbers thus far. He's also very fun to watch, which doesn't show up in the stat sheet but can add some intangible value to the experience of having him on your team. He hurt his hip this week, but it isn't considered a long-term issue.
Paul Millsap is coming off consecutive 20-10 games and, though such numbers shouldn't be expected every game on a talented Denver Nuggets team, it is good to know that he still has that potential in him.
Lauri Markkanen returned from his elbow injury this week. Though he's going to be brought along slowly, it shouldn't take him all that long to earn his spot back as an expected impact player for the Chicago Bulls going forward.
Embiid is having a monster season and has played in every game thus far. I had a conversation last week about how much weight to give to his injury history when evaluating him this season. If I have him on my team, I'm trying to subtly trade him, but I would accept no-less than top-10 value for him. If he's not on my team, I likely try to play up his injury history in trade talks to see if I could talk up a discount. But in the meantime, he's showing that he absolutely has No. 1 overall fantasy pick potential as long as his health stays right.
Jokic is such an eclectic player. He has been on a kick lately where he's not scoring up to potential, but he's still a nightly triple-double threat who can string them together in a hurry. In the unlikely event that the team with Jokic in your league has panicked due to his strings of single-digit scoring games, he's absolutely worth trading for if you can get any kind of discount.
Dwight Howard has had a season to forget, and now is down for the next 2-3 months after having surgery on his black/gluteal injury. In leagues without injured lists, he's safe to cut ties with in the meantime.
I calculated preseason projections for more than 320 players to feed the fantasy draft kit, and we now have in-season player data to give feedback on how players are performing. The rest-of-season rankings are influenced by my projections, current player performance, injury and player situation factors to quantitatively estimate the rest-of-season rankings with more precision.
Also, our rankings include arrows to indicate whether a given player made a notable move up or down the rankings since last week. This helps keep you up to speed with how player values are changing during the course of the season.
Note: These rankings reflect the expected player value for the remainder of this season.