Fantasy Basketball 2020: Position Rankings for NBA Season Restart

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 21, 2020

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives to the basket between Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jordans McLaughlin (6) and D'Angelo Russell (0) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

The top stars in the NBA are expected to produce at a high level in Orlando, Florida, no matter what the adjusted in-arena circumstances are. 

James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and others could be in line to be the top fantasy basketball producers at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex, but there are a few others to keep in mind when filling out lineups. 

Philadelphia and New Orleans have more favorable schedules, which could lead to higher numbers for Joel Embiid, Jrue Holiday and others. 

The Los Angeles Lakers sit on the opposite end of the strength-of-schedule spectrum, but that may not deter LeBron James from producing high totals, as he has strong numbers against his set of eight opponents. 

                    

NBA Position Rankings

Guard

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1. James Harden, Houston

2. Luka Doncic, Dallas

3. Damian Lillard, Portland

4. Jimmy Butler, Miami

5. Devin Booker, Phoenix

6. Kemba Walker, Boston

7. Jrue Holiday, New Orleans

8. Russell Westbrook, Houston

9. Donovan Mitchell, Utah

10. Chris Paul, Oklahoma City

                   

James Harden is still expected to be the most productive player when the season opens up again in Orlando. 

The Houston guard is averaging over 30 points per game for the third consecutive season and should produce similar totals as the Rockets gear up for the postseason. 

The two top fantasy guards could be locked in a duel July 31, when Houston and Dallas face off in their respective openers in Florida. 

Luka Doncic increased his points per game by 7.5 from his rookie to sophomore season and has contributed in most other statistical categories. 

After playing Houston, the Mavericks line up across from Phoenix and Sacramento, which may give the 21-year-old priority over Harden in daily fantasy contests on those days because of his matchups.

Holiday has the potential to vault into the top five fantasy guard contributors due to New Orleans' favorable schedule. The Pelicans have a five-game stretch in which they play Sacramento twice, Memphis, San Antonio and Washington. 

Those games will not only benefit Holiday's potential output but also the Pelicans' playoff chase since they sit 3.5 games back of Memphis for the No. 8 seed. 

                  

Forward

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee

2. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

3. Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers

4. Pascal Siakam, Toronto

5. Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers

6. Jayson Tatum, Boston

7. Brandon Ingram, New Orleans 

8. Tobias Harris, Philadelphia

9. Danilo Gallinari, Oklahoma City

10. DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio

           

The top three forwards on this list have high expectations to produce at least 20 points on a nightly basis. 

Antetokounmpo, Leonard and James rank in the top 11 in points per game, with James being the lowest at No. 11 with 25.7 points per game. 

It may take a game or two for them to reach game fitness and adjust to the on-court settings in Orlando, but once the rust goes away, we could see 30-point performances as each player prepares for a championship run.

After Milwaukee gets through Boston and Houston, it has a weakened Brooklyn side, Miami, Dallas, Toronto, Washington and Memphis on its schedule. 

The six-game stretch could be the best area to take advantage of Antetokounmpo from a fantasy perspective. 

The Clippers' schedule may be viewed as treacherous since they open with the Lakers and then face No. 8 seed contenders New Orleans, Phoenix and Dallas, but they have a 7-2 record against those teams. 

James and the Lakers have the most difficult path of the three to the playoffs. They are scheduled to face the Clippers, Utah, Houston, Indiana and Denver between July 30 and August 13. 

James averaged 23.3 points per game in 14 contests with his eight Orlando opponents before the season was suspended. 

            

Center

1. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

2. Nikola Jokic, Denver

3. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia

4. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando

5. Rudy Gobert. Utah

6. Bam Adebayo, Miami

7. Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas

8. Hassan Whiteside, Portland

9. Myles Turner, Indiana

10. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana

          

While Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic are expected to have success, all eyes at center should be on Embiid. 

Philadelphia has one of the easiest schedules of the 22 teams in Orlando and the potential to move up the standings from No. 6 to as high as No. 4.

Embiid could also benefit from the position switch of Ben Simmons, who has been practicing as a power forward, per The Athletic's Rich Hofmann.

If Simmons spends more time down low, he may take defenders away from Embiid beneath the basket, or allow the big man to leak out to the three-point line and hit open shots there. 

The Sixers should be able to experiment with that against weaker opposition, like San Antonio, Washington and Orlando, and fine-tune that strategy as much as they can before finishing with Toronto and Houston. 

Of the other centers, Bam Adebayo could demand fantasy attention if he replicates the run of form he had right before the shutdown. 

In his last 11 games, the Miami big man produced eight double-doubles, five 20-plus-point performances and recorded more than seven assists on five occasions. 

              

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference