Top 10 Fantasy Basketball Power Forwards For 2012
The power forward position has always been known for its relentless double-doubles. However, the position is now about scoring just as much as it is about rebounding. Last year only 6 power forwards recorded over 9 rebounds per game, while 14 of them scored 15 points or more.
In recent weeks the power forward position has taken a serious hit. Dallas Mavericks star forward, Dirk Nowitzki, just had a minor knee surgery, but it is still going to keep him out for the beginning of the season.
Minnesota Timberwolves forward, Kevin Love, also fell pray to the injury bug, as he broke his hand during the preseason. Love’s stock is crashing right now, which allows some other players at the position to sneak into the first round of fantasy drafts this month.
Roto-superstar Josh Smith will be anchoring the four-spot for the Atlanta Hawks, and will once again be a first rounder. The Blake Griffin Show is still headlining LA and will yet again be fascinating the media to no end.
There are also some young faces trying to make a difference. Sacramento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins plays like a man possessed and will be highly sought after in any type of dynasty league.
With the first overall selection of this past year’s draft the New Orleans Hornets drafted Kentucky Wildcat superstar, Anthony Davis. Davis is a defensive guru and the Hornets will not be afraid of letting him play 40 minutes a game, barring foul trouble.
To help you stack your team this year, here are my top 10 fantasy basketball power forwards for the 2012 season:
10. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets – Davis was the key player in the Kentucky Wildcats 2011 NCAA Championship run, as he averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, and an unthinkable 4.7 blocks per contest. Davis will be a very imposing presence in the paint for the Hornets this season.
Davis will raise some eyebrows (well maybe one unibrow) in his rookie campaign and will at least post very respectable rebound/block totals for fantasy fans. Look for Davis to average around 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game.
9. Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz
Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz – Millsap is a surprisingly strong shooter, as he finished with 16.6 points per game last year while shooting 49.5% from the field and 79.2 % from the charity stripe. He averaged 8.8 rebounds last year, but will have to contend with center Al Jefferson for every board, so expect Millsap’s rebound totals to remain sporadic.
8. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers - Gasol averaged an outstanding 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds a game last year despite superstar center, Andrew Bynum, next to him. However, it is extremely likely that Gasol’s boards will go down this year following the addition of Dwight Howard, as Superman tends to grab rebounds faster that a locomotive.
7. David Lee, Golden State Warriors
David Lee, Golden State Warriors - Lee averaged 20.1 points a game last season and has always been one of the best pure shooting forwards in the game. He is not afraid to play outside the paint and drain any jump shot from 20-feet out.
Lee also grabbed 9.6 boards a game, but his 2.8 assists per game left something to be desired. However, it is most likely related to the Warriors utter lack of offense, which hasn't exactly changed this off-season.
Lee is still a top-tier starter due to his combination of scoring and rebounding, and he is perhaps one of the most underrated players at his position.
6. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings - Cousins is one of the new bread of power forwards and the 22-year old will be drafted very high this month. He averaged 18.1 points, 11 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1.5 steals a game last season.
Cousins is very explosive around the rim and can throw it down with LeBron James-like authority. He is one of the best keeper prospects at the position, as he likely has years of quality fantasy numbers ahead of him.
5. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks - Dirk just had arthroscopic surgery to clean out his knee and will miss the first couple weeks of the 2012 season, which is the only reason he fell to number two in this list.
Nowitzki averaged 21.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.3 3-pointers a game, which is a lethal fantasy combination from a 7’0” tall power forward. Dirk will be back sooner rather than later, so he could end up being a great value pick in the late second round.
4. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves – Love will miss the next couple weeks with a broken hand, but his utterly outstanding production is worth the late first round pick. Love averaged a position leading 26 points and 13.3 rebounds last year, but the more impressive stat was that he recorded 48 double-doubles in only 55 games in 2011. He has mastered the art of posting double doubles, and thus mastered the art of fantasy basketball as well. Love will be back before the end of November, so his hiatus will not last too long into the fantasy regular season.
3. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers - Aldridge posted almost identical numbers over the last two seasons. In 2011 Aldridge averaged 21.7 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists, while he averaged 21.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 2010.
He has become a legitimate fantasy starter over recent seasons and it certainly helps that the Trail Blazers have no other players to take 20 shots a game. Aldridge will post another 20-point season, but will also see his rebounds go up with the loss of Marcus Camby in the middle.
2. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers – Griffin averaged 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2011 and for some reason ESPN has him as their ninth best power forward. Griffin is a dominant force in the paint and will easily finish among the top in the league in dunks and rebounds.
The 23-years old Griffin is building a very strong rapport with point guard, Chris Paul and the two will only get better in their second season together.
Griffin will also make every single Sports Center segment with his dunks and although it may not count much in fantasy terms, it certainly helps in terms of trash talking. Not many power forwards average 20-10, so do not let him pass you by this season, especially with all the injuries to the position.
1. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks – Smith is the only healthy superstar at the position right now, so he quickly jumps up to the number one spot. J-Smooth averaged an insane fantasy stat line, as he posted 18.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game last year. Smith is the only player who comes close to filling out a stat sheet like LeBron James, sans the obvious 10 points per game. Drafting Smith in the first round is a no-brainer, as he is one of the safest players in all of fantasy.