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ESPN Abusing the Default Ranks

by Mike Gallagher
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Here's a look at some of my impressions on the ESPN ranks.

 

Players listed higher than expected (players I’d prefer to take later than listed)


LeBron James (4) - Talk of minutes coming down; no way he plays 82 again, right?

Russell Westbrook (6) - Even in eight-cat leagues, he was still just 12th.

Joel Embiid (9) - This would require a lot of trust in the health. #TITH

Kawhi Leonard (11) - Ditto.

John Wall (12) - Triple ditto? Wall’s double knee surgery from two summers ago is scary.

Kevin Love (22) - Serious upside and will be focal point, but would wait until third.

Kyrie Irving (23) - He is going to be 100% to start the year, but Boston wants him 100% in April.

DeAndre Jordan (24) - Maybe if you go LeBron/Giannis in R1 and Ben R2, you could go DJ in R3.

Draymond Green (25) - 24th per game in eight-cat leagues, but late-season rest is scary.

Blake Griffin (26) - Strong schedule late, but still too many health risks.

Dwight Howard (28) - Offensive usage should fall in Washington.

Lou Williams (31) - Love Lou-Will, but he routinely fall into the fifth round.

Marc Gasol (36) - He’s going to be 34 in January.

Hassan Whiteside (39) - Still frightened after Hassan contradicted Spo about his knee in Dec.

Gordon Hayward (40) - Can be fantasy friendly at times, but so much talent around him. Horford passing could hurt.

Steven Adams (45) - Could see more offensive touches; maybe blocks come down with better perimeter D?

Emmanuel Mudiay (46) - ESPN will obviously change this soon.

Mike Conley (49) - He’ll fall after 12 games last year, but even missed 20.0 games per year over previous two.

Isaiah Thomas (50) - I like him around 85-100 and could have value with just 22 minutes.

Dario Saric (51) - If Fultz goes off, the non-Ben/Joel players should take a hit.

Jusuf Nurkic (52) - Busted last year despite staying healthy.

Dennis Schroder (54) - ESPN will move him down now that he’s on OKC.

Enes Kanter (55) - Has major potential early, but could be dealt at deadline.

Kris Dunn (56) - Shooting under 22 percent in both December and February is a concern.

Lonzo Ball (59) - Not only has to deal with Rondo, but also has to deal with Vegas star Josh Hart.

Nicolas Batum (61) - New SF starting role and system could jumpstart him, but he’s 30 in Dec.

Marvin Bagley III (69) - The Kings have a logjam and it’s discouraging he got hurt in Vegas.

T.J. Warren (73) - Trade candidate? The Suns sent a message to forwards with Ariza, Bridges.

Tyreke Evans (77) - Routinely burned people before his breakout 2017-18.

Willie Cauley-Stein (75) - Kings focused on frontcourt this summer. He’s already 25.

Elfrid Payton (80) - Not the best fit, Pelicans have little to lose to give Frank Jackson run.

Eric Gordon (81) - Has been healthy lately, only helpful in points and treys.

Rajon Rondo (88) - Ball won’t be in his hands as much, Lonzo may be able take minutes from him.

Kyle Kuzma (89) - He’ll need major volume and likely won’t get it.

Markieff Morris (93) - A little boring here, but he falls.

Dewayne Dedmon (95) - Trade candidate.


Players listed lower than expected (players I’d prefer to take earlier than listed)


Karl-Anthony Towns (5) - Starting all 246 games at his volume is wild.

Nikola Jokic (8) - No. 3 player in last two months, strong late schedule, Nuggets offense will be elite.

Damian Lillard (17) - As durable as it gets at guard, has been tremendous down the stretch in last two years.

Victor Oladipo (20) - Steals leader with well-rounded stat lines and solid efficiency. Last year was no fluke.

Paul George (29) - 33.5 usage rate without Melo on the floor last year. Should go at the turn of round 1-2.

Bradley Beal (30) - Over fibula fracture with 77 and 82 games over last two years. John Wall’s risk adds to BB’s upside.

Kyle Lowry (34) - Goes from having super durable sidekick in DeMar to injury-prone Kawhi.

Kemba Walker (41) - New, up-tempo offense, has missed just six games in last two seasons.

Khris Middleton (42) - 3P% dropped big time, but still made 46.6 FG%; extremely durable excluding hammy tear.

Donovan Mitchell (44) - This time last year, we were wondering how he’d get minutes. Not this year.

Myles Turner (48) - #YogaMyles set up for major post-hype run at a discount.

Ricky Rubio (60) - Based on his slow-start trend, ideally you trade for him around Christmas.

Will Barton (70) - Nuggets expected starting five and a 124.7 O rating; Barton will get big minutes.

Josh Richardson (78) - The Heat’s best player will have more competition this year, but won’t matter.

Eric Bledsoe (82) - Unreal value for the No. 9 player in the last two months last season.

Gary Harris (84)- Definitely want multiple pieces of the Nuggets.

Dejounte Murray (87) - Better splits without Manu, 2.0 steals after the break.

Dennis Smith Jr. (94) - If he turns efficiency around, DSJ should be a steal.

John Collins (100) - Foul rate dropped off, will handle the ball, set up for monster year in friendly offense.


Who to scroll down for after 100 in shallow leagues and should be 30-70 spots higher


Jayson Tatum (101) - Lots of mouths to feed, but obviously have to take around 50-60

Jaren Jackson Jr. (102) - Block rate should be big time, two-position flexibility helps floor.

Robert Covington (112) - First-round value down the stretch, but may take hit.

Wendell Carter Jr. (114) - All the WCJ for me.

Taurean Prince (117) - Last 16: 20.9 points, 4.9 boards, 4.1 dimes, 1.1 steals and 3.1 treys.

Evan Fournier (127) - Boring, but should produce.

Larry Nance (135) - A must-have target for those taking the plunge on Kevin Love.

Jarrett Allen (144) - 100 spots too low even in eight-cat leagues.

Kyle Anderson (149) - Was successful as a four and should play multiple positions.


After 150 and still worth drafting in 12-team leagues

Serge Ibaka (159) - Drops in value every year, but Raptors are getting thin up front.

Allen Crabbe (167) - Last 24: 16.8 points, 4.3 boards, 1.5 dimes, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks and 3.5 treys on 20.6 USG% and 61.4 TS%

Trevor Ariza (175) - Should have value to start year and could be traded somewhere at deadline.

Kevin Knox (176) - Will burn you in FG%, but should get volume.

Pascal Siakam (179) - Candidate to start for a coach who loves bigs.


Deeper league targets after 200 with nice upside


Alex Len (211) - Nice to see he’s playing in FIBA; could blow up if healthy and/or Dedmon is dealt.

Jakob Poeltl (222) - Spurs need rim protection.

Josh Hart (228) - Multiple-position flexibility

Mario Hezonja (229) - Should have a hot start.

Jerami Grant (235) - Sneaky guy for 1.7 blocks.

Nerlens Noel (247) - Potential late-round defensive guy, but lower upside.

Jordan Bell (259) - Fantastic late schedule and poised to start for first two months.

Moe Harkless (272) - Last six before knee issue: 14.8 points, 3.8 boards, 1.8 dimes, 0.8 steals and 2.2 treys.

Danny Green (283) - Maybe he can turn back the clock.

OG Anunoby (316) - OG is healthy this offseason, but was a letdown in Vegas.

Kevon Looney (321) - Should have low-end value to start year.

Richaun Holmes (325) - Rookie bigs could get hurt.

Mitchell Robinson (346) - Block monster.

De’Anthony Melton (356) - Could be a sneaky CP3 ‘cuff.

Zach Collins (378) - Blazers let Boss Davis walk on a cheap deal for a reason.

Malik Monk (390) - Disastrous rookie year, but scored 20 per game in last five.

Jonathan Isaac (394) - Could be a 1.5/1.5/1.5 guy for steals, blocks and treys.

Willy Hernangomez (400) - The All-Watch Team for preseason.

Cedi Osman (423) - Major opportunity on a bad team.

Derrick Jones Jr. (480) - Summer League standout and Heat have a knack for transforming reclamation projects.

Antonio Blakeney (487) - Working out with CP3, Westbrook and others.

Alex Poythress (520) - Super deep handcuff and have a feeling we’ll be adding him.

Ed Davis (564) - Curious to see how Atkinson handles him.

Furkan Korkmaz (576) - Should take big step forward.

Seth Curry (604) - Blazers could take a different approach on the wing.

Harry Giles (681) - So far, so good after an encouraging summer league.

Frank Jackson (711) - Lit it up before his ankle sprain in Vegas; Elfrid could flame out in a hurry.


Mike Gallagher

Mike Gallagher has covered fantasy hoops for eight years and this season is his second with NBC Sports Edge. You can find him on Twitter talking about a player's shots at the rim.