Fantasy Basketball 2017: Position Rankings, Team Names for Upcoming NBA Season

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 11: Semaj Christon #6 of the Oklahoma City Thunder defends against Ricky Rubio #9 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first quarter of the game on April 11, 2017 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The 2017-18 NBA season starts two weeks earlier than normal. With that, the fantasy basketball season starts two weeks early as well.

While there isn't the same level of near-constant analysis for fantasy basketball as there is football (and even baseball), it's a game of skill that is growing in popularity among NBA fans. The best teams find a way to have all-around versatility—not unlike actual NBA teams.

Here is a look at the top players at every position and some potential team names (safe for work ones at least) to use this season. 

         

Sleepers

Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Sacramento Kings

The Kings' February trade of DeMarcus Cousins opened up major minutes for Cauley-Stein, who responded seeing major jumps in every category. He averaged 12.9 points and 8.1 rebounds after the break, more importantly adding 2.2 assists and roughly a block and steal per game. Those are solid stat-filling numbers for a player who is going to be available in later rounds.

Compare his stats to those of Nerlens Noel, who averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game after the break. Noel is going nearly two rounds ahead of Cauley-Stein in Yahoo leagues. There's no real reason for this, and if you can get Cauley-Stein in Round 8 or 9 while passing on Noel, that's the smart move.

            

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Los Angeles Lakers

Some of this is dependent on the progress of Lonzo Ball, who will be engineering the Lakers offense this season for better or for worse. Caldwell-Pope took a big risk in signing a one-year contract in Los Angeles, but it's one that could pay huge dividends if Ball feeds him the way the Lakers hope.

Caldwell-Pope knocked down a couple of threes per game last season at a 35 percent clip, both of which were career highs. Those numbers came despite an often-staid Pistons offense forcing him to create the shots for himself—not a strong suit for the three-and-D wing.

If Ball can find KCP in the corners, his scoring could uptick to the 16-18 point range, which would make him a valuable later-round piece.

            

Ricky Rubio, PG, Utah Jazz

Rubio remains one of the most underrated players in basketball. He does everything well, except shoot. He's one of the league's best passers, a good rebounder for his position, plays heady defense and racks up steals. His tanking shooting has long made him a frustrating own in fantasy, but that could be a thing of the past.

For the first time in his career Rubio shot 40 percent in 2016-17. After the All-Star break, that number was 42 percent. Rubio averaged 16.0 points and 10.5 assists while averaging a three per game after the break and looked like he was finally coming into his own as a two-way playmaker.

The Timberwolves sold low on him this summer after seeing a need for more floor spacing, but the Rubio-Rudy Gobert pick-and-roll should be a big part of Utah's offense this season. 

           

Positional Rankings

Point Guard

1. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

2. James Harden, Houston Rockets

3. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

4. John Wall, Washington Wizards

5. Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics

6. Chris Paul, Houston Rockets

7. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

8. Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

9. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

10. Goran Dragic, Miami Heat

            

Shooting Guard

1. James Harden, Houston Rockets

2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

3. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

4. Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics

5. Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves

6. Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics

7. C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers

8. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

9. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

10. DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors

           

Small Forward

1. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

3. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

4. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

5. Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder

6. Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves

7. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

8. Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics

9. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

10. DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors

             

Power Forward

1. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

3. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

5. DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans

6. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

7. Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder

8. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

9. Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks

10. Joel Embiid, Philadephia 76ers

           

Center

1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

2. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

3. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

4. DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans

5. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

6. Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat

7. Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks

8. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

9. Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

10. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

             

Team Names

  1. My Heart Will Goran
  2. Papa Thons
  3. 50 Shades of Klay
  4. I Took a Pill in Ariza
  5. Make an Ish Foundation