The NBA preseason is nearing its conclusion, meaning that the NBA regular season is within striking distance. Better yet, fantasy basketball season is here and drafts are beginning to take place. As you do your homework on which players make sense to fill your roster with, it’s important to not mess things up at the top. In other words, make sure you’re drafting the elite fantasy talents where they need to be drafted. Whether you’re playing in an ESPN, Yahoo! CBS Sports, or NBA.com fantasy league, we have you covered at DK Nation.
Here is a list of potential No. 1 picks to select at the top of your draft, and five players you should monitor.
Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets
The consensus No. 1 overall pick across fantasy basketball leagues is Nikola Jokic. Simply put, the Joker is just an outstanding basketball player in every way you could imagine. Need points? Jokic’s got you. Need an efficient shooter that also makes a bunch of threes? Or how about someone that can give you double-digit assists and rebounds on any given night? To top it all off, the reigning league MVP is always available to produce. He’s only missed 19 games throughout his six seasons and has played in all but two of Denver’s regular-season games over the past three seasons.
Luka Doncic, PG, Dallas Mavericks
The next-best fantasy option all comes down to if you’re a H2H fantasy player or a Roto player. Luka will give you just about everything that you’re looking for in most categories, but not all. Of course, he’s going to turn the ball over, but you just have to live with it if he’s going to be carving up 35-point triple-doubles. Along with the turnovers, the free-throw shooting is something that keeps him from contending with Jokic for the top ranking. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t at all be surprising for the superstar guard to take a step forward with his efficiency in Year 4 and ended the season as the best fantasy player.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF, Milwaukee Bucks
Another contender for the No. 1 overall pick in fantasy leagues is the Greek Freak. Giannis, for many of the same reasons you love Jokic and Doncic, flat out abuses the box scores — look no further than his 50-point, 14-rebound, five-block performance in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, those kinds of numbers are unrealistic to sustain on a nightly basis throughout an 82-game schedule. Still, his abilities as a rebounder and his floor as a shot-blocker put him in the mix for a top-two selection in fantasy. Though, keep an eye on that knee that is still giving him some issues since the Eastern Conference Finals.
James Harden, SG, Brooklyn Nets
One player who more than likely won’t be taken first in drafts but would be a perfectly fine pick if he was is James Harden. Hear me out, Harden outside of last season has been an MVP-caliber player year in and year out since leaving OKC in 2012. He came into last season out of shape and uninterested in playing for the Rockets, which ultimately caused his body to fail throughout the season. Now, he appears to be in shape and motivated to right the wrongs of last season, and he’ll carry the workload for the Nets as they prepare for time without Kyrie Irving. Expect Harden’s numbers to make a jump up from last season’s in every category.
Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
You cant have a fantasy basketball rankings discussion without bringing up Stephen Curry. If you choose the former unanimous MVP No. 1 overall, you’re in for a treat. What you’re getting is high-end scoring, a ton of threes and field goals, with a healthy amount of steals and assists. Injuries have been the issue over the past few years, but a healthy Steph Curry in 2021-22 could make a case for being the best fantasy basketball player in specific leagues. Just have to see what his usage is looking like and if his body can handle it in Year 13.