Rankings: 8-cat, 9-cat and Points

Ryan Knaus
Rotoworld

This week we're talking about rankings. James Harden leads the NBA in 8-category value by a wide margin. Damian Lillard has been second, and he's first if you include turnovers for 9-cat value (and exclude Deandre Ayton, who only played one game). We know this because fantasy sports are, as my column propounds each week, simply a numbers game. There's so much subjectivity about who might be shut down after the All-Star break, or which rookie has the most breakout potential. Sometimes it's nice to look at cold, hard statistics. We can say with certainty that no player has scored more DFS points (based on FanDuel and NBA.com) than Giannis Antetokounmpo.

To determine these rankings, I take league-wide data and assign values for each category with standard scores for 8-cat and 9-cat. As usual, I've weighted FG% and FT% by volume of attempts. It's great that Kendrick Nunn is shooting 84% at the line, but he's taking 1.9 attempts per game. Meanwhile, Luka Doncic is shooting 84% on 7.7 attempts, which is top-10 in the league. Doncic is having a far bigger impact on your FT%, so I've baked that into the rankings. Steve Alexander drafted Doncic in basically every league, partly because he was confident his FT% would improve and the counting stats would come in bunches, so he's looking smart right now. Averages of 28.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 2.8 triples, 1.1 steals and 48.5% FGs, 84.4% FTs? Wild.

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Because we're so early in the season, I haven't disqualified anyone based on games played -- that's why Deandre Ayton appears, even though he only played one (magnificent) game prior to his suspension. There's also no minute cutoff, which lets us see that Robert Williams is top-100 for 9-cat value in a mere 16 minutes per game. Williams already looks like one of those per-minute monsters that I fall for in fantasy. We saw, for instance, a guy like Kyle O'Quinn close out the 2017-18 season with top-50 value in 20 minutes per game. The question now is whether Williams can get enough playing time to take the next leap into early-round territory. He's the TimeLord, so that shouldn't be hard even in a busy frontcourt, right? I'm holding onto him in the hopes that Enes Kanter doesn't completely ruin the fun.

Let's get to the rankings. After this list, which I limited to the top-200 players based on 8-cat value, I'll talk about some of the innumerable fantasy implications.

 

Name

8-cat

9-cat

NBA Official Points

James Harden

1

5

2

Damian Lillard

2

1

9

Anthony Davis

3

4

3

Karl-Anthony Towns

4

3

5

Luka Doncic

5

8

4

Giannis Antetokounmpo

6

7

1

Kawhi Leonard

7

9

8

Andre Drummond

8

10

6

Kyrie Irving

9

6

10

Deandre Ayton

10

2

13

Trae Young

11

15

14

Joel Embiid

12

13

11

Kyle Lowry

13

16

31

Kemba Walker

14

12

23

LeBron James

15

17

7

Jimmy Butler

16

11

15

Malcolm Brogdon

17

20

21

Pascal Siakam

18

19

16

Brandon Ingram

19

21

18

Devin Booker

20

28

38

Jonathan Isaac

21

14

49

Stephen Curry

22

31

34

Russell Westbrook

23

43

12

Kevin Love

24

23

28

Domantas Sabonis

25

22

17

John Collins

26

18

33

D'Angelo Russell

27

26

20

Donovan Mitchell

28

27

25

Ricky Rubio

29

24

30

Bradley Beal

30

56

19

Nikola Jokic

31

35

22

Ben Simmons

32

58

37

Fred VanVleet

33

42

45

Gordon Hayward

34

33

47

Nikola Vucevic

35

25

24

Jayson Tatum

36

37

35

Thomas Bryant

37

39

46

Clint Capela

38

29

32

Andrew Wiggins

39

34

26

Devonte' Graham

40

49

50

Chris Paul

41

50

69

Bam Adebayo

42

54

29

Will Barton

43

36

53

Jrue Holiday

44

61

36

Al Horford

45

32

39

Tristan Thompson

46

30

27

Hassan Whiteside

47

46

41

Jeremy Lamb

48

38

58

Zach LaVine

49

82

57

Tobias Harris

50

52

44

Bojan Bogdanovic

51

67

78

LaMarcus Aldridge

52

57

54

Derrick Rose

53

84

63

O.G. Anunoby

54

40

92

Aron Baynes

55

41

71

Robert Covington

56

51

102

Khris Middleton

57

66

72

Jamal Murray

58

71

59

Montrezl Harrell

59

62

42

Kristaps Porzingis

60

59

40

Rudy Gobert

61

68

43

Marcus Morris

62

70

70

Danilo Gallinari

63

44

83

Jaylen Brown

64

45

51

P.J. Tucker

65

47

108

Lonzo Ball

66

76

77

Dejounte Murray

67

92

68

Myles Turner

68

64

97

Luke Kennard

69

60

75

PJ Washington

70

63

91

Jeff Teague

71

81

93

Josh Hart

72

55

100

Kendrick Nunn

73

80

95

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

74

77

52

Danuel House

75

48

123

Josh Richardson

76

93

84

Lou Williams

77

100

48

Jabari Parker

78

79

73

Brandon Clarke

79

53

101

Taurean Prince

80

85

110

DeMar DeRozan

81

124

55

Eric Bledsoe

82

86

64

Goran Dragic

83

99

81

T.J. Warren

84

72

80

Marcus Smart

85

65

106

Lauri Markkanen

86

95

76

Brook Lopez

87

73

111

Buddy Hield

88

116

104

Elfrid Payton

89

87

133

De'Aaron Fox

90

161

56

Terry Rozier

91

140

85

Paul Millsap

92

74

109

Serge Ibaka

93

103

103

Harrison Barnes

94

75

87

Dennis Schroder

95

130

82

Kelly Oubre Jr.

96

89

89

Mitchell Robinson

97

69

117

Nemanja Bjelica

98

78

135

Blake Griffin

99

167

60

Evan Fournier

100

104

112

Ja Morant

101

176

74

Alec Burks

102

88

118

Richaun Holmes

103

83

107

Bogdan Bogdanovic

104

98

114

Jae Crowder

105

94

113

Moritz Wagner

106

131

157

Jonas Valanciunas

107

121

98

DeAndre Jordan

108

96

88

Joe Harris

109

115

150

Isaiah Thomas

110

149

122

Spencer Dinwiddie

111

147

96

Eric Paschall

112

97

116

Jaren Jackson Jr.

113

144

115

Maxi Kleber

114

90

131

C.J. McCollum

115

146

66

Tomas Satoransky

116

129

143

Dario Saric

117

113

129

Robert Williams

118

91

144

Cody Zeller

119

112

86

Jordan Clarkson

120

106

126

Draymond Green

121

110

94

Nerlens Noel

122

107

160

Aaron Gordon

123

122

99

Patrick Beverley

124

132

120

Dillon Brooks

125

111

124

Shabazz Napier

126

141

145

Kris Dunn

127

102

154

Justise Winslow

128

181

61

Julius Randle

129

195

62

Larry Nance Jr.

130

114

138

Wendell Carter Jr.

131

120

79

Troy Brown Jr./td>

132

117

155

Ivica Zubac

133

109

137

Davis Bertans

134

101

172

Collin Sexton

135

142

105

Tyler Herro

136

145

132

Delon Wright

137

108

148

Dwight Howard

138

123

134

George Hill

139

105

158

Willie Cauley-Stein

140

118

139

Danny Green

141

125

176

Miles Bridges

142

168

128

Rudy Gay

143

143

127

Glenn Robinson III

144

128

141

Mike Conley

145

183

125

Langston Galloway

146

119

170

Patty Mills

147

139

187

Derrick White

148

126

147

Caris LeVert

149

198

90

Rodney Hood

150

135

173

J.J. Barea

151

164

199

Kent Bazemore

152

159

159

Derrick Favors

153

160

142

Rui Hachimura

154

148

121

Kelly Olynyk

155

154

167

Otto Porter

156

134

156

Garrett Temple

157

127

192

J.J. Redick

158

165

191

Bryn Forbes

159

136

161

Gary Harris

160

150

151

Goga Bitadze

161

155

164

Frank Ntilikina

162

156

183

Daniel Theis

163

137

140

Jarrett Allen

164

166

119

Markieff Morris

165

187

166

Trey Burke

166

133

149

Josh Okogie

167

171

146

Kevin Huerter

168

173

177

Cedi Osman

169

153

182

Jahlil Okafor

170

172

162

Markelle Fultz

171

179

168

Tony Snell

172

138

196

Avery Bradley

173

157

169

Royce O'Neale

174

158

197

Thaddeus Young

175

169

163

Jake Layman

176

174

186

Bobby Portis

177

162

130

Zach Collins

178

190

194

Norman Powell

179

184

184

Hamidou Diallo

180

180

174

Kenrich Williams

181

152

181

Gorgui Dieng

182

163

190

DeAndre' Bembry

183

191

153

Joe Ingles

184

186

180

Omari Spellman

185

185

188

Emmanuel Mudiay

186

196

185

JaMychal Green

187

170

189

Anfernee Simons

188

182

193

Aaron Holiday

189

177

195

Tyus Jones

190

189

165

Marc Gasol

191

197

178

R.J. Barrett

192

200

65

Kyle Anderson

193

175

171

Kevin Knox

194

178

175

Rajon Rondo

195

151

136

Matisse Thybulle

196

194

200

Chris Chiozza

197

192

198

Damion Lee

198

188

179

Marvin Bagley III

199

193

67

Frank Kaminsky

200

199

152

 

We have specific buy-low, sell-high columns each week, and rankings like this are another convenient way to seek out trade targets. Aaron Gordon may never reach the heights we assumed he might a few years ago, but he's better than top-120 and just 26.7 fantasy points per game. Maybe his owner is frustrated? Buddy Hield is shooting a career-low 41.2% from the field (down from 45.8% last year) and his rebounds, assists and steals have all slipped. He's only playing one fewer minute, though, and without De'Aaron Fox he should have the ball in his hands more often, so when I see him outside of the top-100 I'm instantly floating some reasonable trade offers. If I can get Hield for T.J. Warren or something comparable, it's a coup. That might not happen, but you don't know until you try.

Caris LeVert was barely top-200 for 9-cat value. I mean that literally, he was No. 199 thanks to deficits in percentages (42.1% FGs, 64.5% FTs), too many turnovers (3.4) and meager defensive stats. For the entire season he has six steals and one block. Kris Dunn has 25 steals. You don't draft LeVert for blocks, but even Damian Lillard has six swats this year. LeVert will likely remain a liability in percentages, and it's bizarre to me that every single year in the NBA he's been worse in both FG% and FT%. I don't expect him to finish at his current career lows, but it's a troubling trend. If the percentages don't scare you off, this could be a buy-low moment. My fear is that anyone who drafted him loves him, and probably reached for him in the 4th/5th round, so you can't get him at a discount. It never hurts to try.

Players who didn't make the top-200 cut for 8-cat include Dwight Powell, Coby White, Bruce Brown, Steven Adams, Terrence Ross, De'Andre Hunter, Tim Hardaway Jr., Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Dennis Smith Jr. A unifying theme with those guys is brutal percentages. Dwight Powell, a typically solid free throw shooter, is at 52.6% on 2.7 attempts per game. I'd happily bet on a course-correction for him and view him as an under-owned center. Coby White went bonkers with 23 points in the fourth quarter on Sunday, and couldn't miss from downtown, so he's worth a speculative add if you need scoring and 3-pointers. I'm still not sold on his overall value, though, and don't want to deal with the FG% problem.

Bruce Brown is dropping dimes in a starting PG role, with 11 more on Tuesday, but the ride is about to end. Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin have both been out, but their returns will take the ball out of Brown's hands more often than not -- he's not exactly a per-minute monster, so that's a huge problem. As a side note, the Pistons' broadcast quoted coach Dwane Casey as saying that Reggie Jackson could be out until "December or January," which is the first we've heard of R-Jax's back injury potentially keeping him out past Christmas. If you haven't cut him already, this is your cue.

Seeing rankings like this, side by side, is also interesting to me as an owner in many leagues with different formats. DeMar DeRozan has been great in points leagues but is struggling in 9-cat, where a career-high 3.3 turnovers are compounded by high-volume 77.2% free throw shooting. That's the lowest since his rookie season in 2009-10 and he's another buy-low option. Players like Danuel House, Brook Lopez, Taurean Prince, Marcus Smart, P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington are glaringly better in 8-cat and 9-cat leagues, but don't get the raw counting stats that are required for most points formats. The inverse has been true for Julius Randle, Justise Winslow, RJ Barrett (with bizarrely bad FT%), Ja Morant and others. That's all the time I have today but let me know if you have any questions or insights! Next week we'll be talking all about usage rates.

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