So far in the abbreviated 2011-12 NBA season, some players have stepped up in their respective positions as the top fantasy players. This five-week series will investigate the top five players at each position, what they were ranked prior to the season and how their production will change in the future.
This week, the focus is on the power forward position.
5. Chris Bosh, Miami Heat (No. 11 Preseason Position Rank) – Despite being part of the Big Three in South Beach, he wasn’t predicted this season to be a top five power forward. However, he has put up sensational numbers this season, with 19.4 points per game (PPG), 7.9 rebounds per game (RPG) and 2.1 assists per game (APG) in 36.1 minutes. Despite being only the third best player on the team, Bosh remains a high-calibre fantasy option. If either LeBron James or Dwyane Wades gets injured, expect his value to go up that much more.
4. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers (No. 2 Preseason Position Rank) – With Kobe’s scoring numbers skyrocketing this season, Pau’s value has dropped a little, but he’s still a top five power forward with 16.7 PPG, 10.2 RPG and 1.3 blocks per game (BPG). As of Sunday, he had scored in the double digits in 10 consecutives games and had double-doubles in six consecutive. If Kobe’s scoring totals eventually drop a little, expect Gasol’s value to increase marginally.
3. Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons (No. 23 Preseason Position Rank) – Monroe has been a pleasant surprise for many fantasy owners, jumping up 20 spots from his predicted preseason position rank to snare a top three spot amongst power forwards in the NBA. Monroe has been a beast in the post this season, averaging 16.5 PPG and 10.0 RPG in 32.8 minutes of action per game. He has also put up good numbers defensively, averaging 1.5 steals per game (SPG), while collection atleast one steal per game in the last 21 games. He isn’t as strong a shotblocker, scorer or rebounder as Gasol, but his success in the steals category is what makes him so valuable.
As far as his overall fantasy value, he is the eighth best player in the NBA right now.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trailblazers (No. 8 Preseason Position Rank) – Currently the seventh best overall fantasy player in the NBA, Aldridge has put up career-high scoring averages this season, averaging 23.3 PPG and securing his first All-Star game selection. His rebound numbers aren’t quite as high as some of the other power forwards in the league (8.6 RPG), but he’s averaging a solid 1.1 steals per game in 37.4 minutes per game. He scored a mighty 39 points Feb. 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder and followed it up Sunday with 33 points and 12 rebounds against Dirk Nowitzki (13th-best fantasy power forward) and the Dallas Mavericks.
1. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 1 Preseason Position Rank) – Of course, Kevin Love locks up the top spot amongst power forwards. He is a double-double machine, cranking out 24 double doubles in 26 games this season (he would have played 28 games, but he missed last Tuesday and Wednesday’s games because of a suspension for stepping on the Houston Rockets’ Luis Scola’s face.
From a fantasy value, Love is the third best player in the NBA right now, following only Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Miami’s LeBron James. His averages are spectacular, with 25.6 PPG, 13.9 RPG and 1.0 SPG in 39.6 minutes per game. He’s scored in the double digits in every game he’s played this season and is a bonafide Hall of Fame lock if he continues to play at this level throughout his career.