The 2023-24 NBA season is right around the corner, and it's time to start prepping for your fantasy basketball drafts! It’s never too early to get a jump on your competition and to help you do so, I've dropped my positional tiers series — with the power forwards up next.
Note, not every player will have analysis when listed in the tiers below. Players with multi-position eligibility will only show up in the positional tier story they have or are projected to get the most minutes at.
Tier 1: The Elite PFs
2) Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
KD and Giannis are first-rounders, with KD being the preferred option in category leagues. Keep in mind that Giannis is more valuable in points leagues where his struggles from the free-throw line don’t factor into his scoring.
Tier 2: All-Star caliber
5) Kristaps Porziņģis, Boston Celtics
There’s a non-zero chance Siakam gets traded this season, but for now, he’s a consistent top-50 fantasy player who should get more usage with Fred VanVleet in Houston. He’s also a discreet cheat code in Yahoo because he has three-positional eligibility (SF/PF/C).
Towns was limited to only 28 games last season due to a calf injury. No matter how clunky the Wolves frontcourt appears, KAT’s going to ball. His 29th ranking in per-game value was the worst of his career, so if that’s his floor, fantasy managers should be confident in KAT’s bounce-back.
The hype is real for Wemby. He’s going in the third round of drafts, and some might be bold enough to take him in the second. Like most rookies, I expect him to take some time to adjust to the league, but there's too much potential for him not to be drafted early.
A top-40 finish is in sight for Evan Mobley. He was 52nd in per-game value in his second season, improving statistically in most relevant fantasy basketball categories.
Tier 3: Combination of upside and high-floor players
Holmgren is my bet for Rookie of the Year, as he spent all of last season rehabbing from a Lisfranc injury. He has a similar skill set to Wembanyama but plays for a better team and goes a round or two later in drafts.
Regarding Zion, the only question is, can he stay healthy? He’s enacted his dominance whenever he’s on the floor and is two seasons removed from being an All-Star. He burned me last season, so I’ll pay close attention to the Pelicans’ training camp to ensure he’s in shape and focused on hoops.
Banchero may have won Rookie of the Year last season, but he was not it for category leagues, ranking outside the top 200. Points leagues were a different story, though, as he ranked 58th in fantasy points per game. After gathering some U.S. national team experience this summer, I’d expect Paolo to take a step forward this season — beyond actually knocking down 3-pointers.
Tier 4: Serviceable veterans
3) John Collins, Utah Jazz
6) Bobby Portis Jr., Milwaukee Bucks
8) P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets
Kuz is more valuable in points formats, but with an ultra-green light and being one of 11 players to average at least 20 points with seven rebounds and 3.5 assists, Kuz will be just fine for category leagues in the middle rounds.
Collins finally got traded out of Atlanta, but it's hard to distinguish how impactful he’ll be after putting up his worst season since his rookie year (2017-2018). He was never below the top 50 in per-game value over the previous four seasons, so returning to form isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Green inked a new deal to stay with the Dubs and took a pay cut to do so. Anyone who is willing to give up millions for a chance at another title is someone I’m willing to invest in for fantasy purposes. I don’t expect much scoring, but he’s good for an 8/7/7 line on most nights.
Tier 5: Young bucks who will make an impact
4) Tari Eason, Houston Rockets
5) Deni Avdija, Washington Wizards
8) Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors
Smith Jr. started to come on late in the '22-23 season but played with much more confidence in the Las Vegas Summer League. Hopefully, that can carry over into the regular season because if it doesn’t, Tari Eason could legitimately take his starting gig.
Murray set the NBA record for 3-pointers made in a season, and I was excited about the possibility of Harrison Barnes leaving Sacramento. He ended up re-signing, so Murray’s true breakout might be delayed. Still, he’s an efficient fantasy player for category leagues.
Toppin has the edge on the starting PF spot in Indiana, and given his athleticism, he’ll be an exciting addition to Tyrese Haliburton’s arsenal. He never got a fair shake in NYC, so the change of scenery is significant for Toppin’s outlook.
Patrick Williams enters his fourth NBA season after finishing 135th in per-game value last season. He was efficient from the field and racked up almost two stocks per game but remains too passive on offense. He could easily crack the top 100 in fantasy if he can get his volume up.
I may be a little presumptuous, but I think Nick Nurse will shake up the starting lineup for the Sixers, inserting Reed over PJ Tucker. It’s time for change and Reed gives the Sixers a more disruptive and lengthy player in the frontcourt. His per-36 numbers extrapolate out to be a good fantasy player — a double-double with good peripherals and plenty of stocks to follow. He’s worth a late-round flier in 12-plus-team leagues.
Tier 6: Bench contributors
1) Grant Williams, Dallas Mavericks
2) Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings
3) Marcus Morris Sr., Los Angeles Clippers
4) Dorian Finney-Smith, Brooklyn Nets
5) Kevin Love, Miami Heat
6) Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons
8) Georges Niang, Cleveland Cavaliers
Barnes, Morris Jr., Finney-Smith and Love are the only starters in this group, so they’ll likely be more fantasy-relevant out of the gates, but keep an eye on the others if there’s an injury.