Fantasy hoops: H2H categories draft tiers by position

Chicago Bulls big man Lauri Markkanen is capable of putting up stats that warrant going higher than his recent ADP. Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

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Regardless of fantasy sport, utilizing a tiered system is key because every little bit of help, well, helps during a fantasy draft. A tiered system pays dividends because it aids in finding value by position.

For example, when the middle rounds are upon you and you see your team is deficient in assists. Take a gander at your easy-to-read tiers and see Kyle Lowry is somehow still available, but no other point guards in his class are. Over at power forward and center, myriad options remain. Lowry is the pick.

Here are my early tiers for each of the five positions in head-to-head category formats.

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Point guard

No surprise at the top, as Curry is a reasonable choice for the first overall selection, and Lillard has earned his first-round kudos. ... Small drop off to Round 2 choices next; it is a deep pool there, with five options, including Westbrook, a former first-round staple. ... My issues with Tier 3 options might seem ridiculous to some; Irving moves on to another team and is not an iron man. Simmons is, but unless his offseason work was mercurial, he remains a non-threat on 3-pointers, which every fantasy team needs in abundance. Still, it is Tier 3. Not bad. ... Tier 4 finds our first rookie, and while Morant might seem like a shooting and turnover liability, is that not what concerned so many Trae Young investors a year ago? That worked out. ... Conley and Paul could be steals -- and provide some steals, too! -- in Tier 5, but durability is a question mark. ... Finding assists becomes a problem after Tier 6, where flawed options like Ball and Rubio lurk. They will pass the ball, but they do not shoot well. ... Promising young players pique our collective interest in the later tiers, but be prepared to wait until Thanksgiving for real production in some cases.

Shooting guard

At this position, we see a large discrepancy in the depth when compared to point guard, especially early on. Harden is awesome, and Beal deserves his tier, but I have found in mocks that I build a strong team and realize in Round 12 I have no shooting guard, though I have a hard time passing up the value on Utah's Mitchell. ... Take Tier 4, for example. Nothing wrong with Hield and McCollum, but when one gazes at their stats, they might want more than scoring and 3-pointers. They provide those in bushels. ... Be careful of Tier 6 unless one boasts patience; Oladipo is on the mend from a serious quad injury and might not play again until the Super Bowl. ... One can find 3-pointers at this position, but often sans statistical versatility. Redick, for example, shoots great and often from beyond the arc. Huerter should as well, and there is Gordon and Shamet later. They do not accrue many assists or boards.

Small forward

Since I alerted readers to my fear of Clippers stars George and Leonard missing a myriad of games in my "Do Not Draft" list, there is only one for Tier No. 1. James remains awesome and is showing no signs of statistical collapse. I generally avoid Tier 2. ... Depth is a modest problem early on, but by Round 5, there are underrated sleepers like the proven Covington and Ingles. They will not score 20 points per night, but they can fill up the box scores. ... Keep an eye on young players on the move. Ingram was a casualty of the Anthony Davis trade and has room to grow statistically in New Orleans. Oubre did grow upon arriving in Phoenix. Bridges could be a Covington clone. Hunter, Porter and Knox boast major upside if they get the minutes, and come late in drafts.

Power forward

We love the 20-and-10 options, and one can find them here. Antetokounmpo and Davis are can't-miss options for the No. 1 pick, but there is drop off after them. Still, there are plenty of options before Round 5. ... How soon will top draft pick Williamson go in your draft? Perhaps generously high, but there is also a high floor. ... Speaking of floor, Markkanen might seem a tier or two too high, but look at his numbers. He produces. ... Memphis sophomore Jackson offers major upside, and since the position is so deep and you likely take a power forward early anyway, you can afford it early. Seriously, Jackson does everything. ... Even the later tier options offer reliability and rebounding. Gibson, now a Knick, does not start games but seems to finish each contest with 10 points, six boards and fine shooting. One can do worse.


Here is another deep position, but not all centers are the same. Towns and Embiid do just about everything well. Jokic is a marvelous passer and like a point guard. Drummond and Gobert are defensive monsters. Vucevic is annually underrated. Draft more than one of the top-10 centers, and it is a great start. ... Blocked shots are often difficult to find, so procuring Turner or Robinson can be like getting one of the few base stealer options in baseball. It helps. ... Adebayo and Whiteside are no longer teammates, which aids each of them, and they are strong Tier 4 choices. ... Lopez is a prime 3-point option these days but might not be enough for investors in rebounds. ... Perhaps it is just me, but I do try to avoid the big men who kill free throw percentage. Dedmon might never be a monster fantasy option, but the new Kings center does shoot well and is safe for boards.