With just over a month until the opening tip of the 2022-23 NBA season, preparation becomes key for fantasy basketball players.
As the league fast approaches, many fans will begin their fantasy mock drafts and real drafts, trying to build the perfect team. Fantasy sports have skyrocketed into one of the most engaging ways to follow sports, and basketball is no different. Whether you’re into snake drafts, auction drafts, head-to-head, or category, there’s plenty of fantasy basketball content to consume before next season.
For the first rankings, we’ll use the standard Yahoo head-to-head points scoring system, which can be viewed here. Here are HoopSocial’s top 50 fantasy basketball players, broken into tiers, for the 2022-23 season.
RELATED: Top 10 2022-23 NBA Fantasy Sleepers
Tier 1 – Must draft if available
- Nikola Jokic
The back-to-back MVP remains the most valuable fantasy basketball option next season. A year after he finished fifth in total points, first in total rebounds and sixth in total assists that won’t change. The Joker is talented, stuffs the stat sheet and, most importantly, stays healthy (72 or more games every season), which makes him the clear-cut first selection.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis was third in scoring last season, but second in fantasy points per game. He played one less game than Joel Embiid, which was the difference in their scoring overall. I’m taking Giannis second because I believe his steal and block numbers are more likely to hold up, which adds a lot of value to his fantasy total. Not to mention he might be the best player in the world, which helps.
- Joel Embiid
A fantastic consolation prize for any third pick, Embiid scores more points and gets more steals and blocks than Jokic. If he can match his durability and play an extra 6-7 games next season, he could easily be the No. 1 overall player and finally get his MVP award.
- Luka Doncic
The first guard off the board, Luka is another stat-sheet stuffer in the same vein as Jokic. He was fourth in fantasy points per game last season but only played 65 games. A healthy Doncic is a lock to be one of the best in the league.
- Karl-Anthony Towns
If you’re playing in a category league, Towns has a real case to be the fourth player off the board. A high field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, and free throw percentage, along with the total points, rebounds and blocks make him a valuable asset. Gobert and Edwards’ development might take away some of his statistics, but for now, I’m still betting on Towns being the high-level player he’s shown. He also has proven to be relatively durable, furthering his impact on the Wolves.
Tier 2 – First round players
- Kevin Durant
When Durant plays, he’s one of the best scorers in the game. He was seventh in fantasy points per game last season but fell to 23rd overall because he only played 55 games. Still, he’s got value and is worth the gamble on health. He’s another excellent category-based pick as well.
- Jayson Tatum
It’s hard to place Tatum much lower. There are more high upside picks on the board, but Tatum’s health is a better asset than some other player’s production. If you’re looking for the safe pick, Tatum is the guy.
- LaMelo Ball
Ball is my sleeper for a potential top-five fantasy basketball season. With Miles Bridges no longer on the team, someone is going to have to score in Charlotte. He was one of the most inefficient pick and roll ball handlers in the league last season, but with centers finally a part of the Hornets’ rotation, Ball could have a major uptick in production and add more fantasy value in 2022. He was 11th in scoring last season thanks to his durability.
- LeBron James
The King had draft projections way too low last season and became one of the most valuable fantasy picks of the year. He ended the year 16th in scoring but averaged the fifth most fantasy points per game. I’m not betting on him slowing down anytime soon.
- Trae Young
eighth in total scoring and 17th in points per game, Ice Trae’s value comes from durability and incredibly high points and assist totals. Turnovers will knock him down in head-to-head formats, but you can guarantee he’ll produce above his draft placement next season.
- James Harden
Consistently one of the best fantasy players of the last 10 years, Harden was 10th in points per game in a bad year. He’s always been durable and has the scoring and assist numbers to make him a lock for the first round.
- Damian Lillard
Despite coming off the injury, I expect Lillard to return to form in 2022. He scores among the elite players in the game, which would set a high floor for production.
- Ja Morant
Similar to Lillard, high-scoring and assist numbers to set a high floor for Morant to produce among the best in the league. The biggest question for Ja is health, as he’s missed 19 or more games each of the last two seasons.
Tier 3 – Wildcards
- Anthony Davis
Despite a down year for Davis on the court, he was eighth in points per game. The biggest problem is just how much time on the court will we get. He played 40 games last season and always seems to be an injury away. A healthy Davis is a first-round lock.
- Paul George
George was off to a fantastic start last season, 15th in fantasy points per game. None of his numbers jump off the page, but a consistent 24 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals per game could make him the steal of the draft if he falls out of the top 15.
- Zion Williamson
In his second NBA season, Williamson averaged 44 fantasy points per game. Continued development in his defense and rebounding would put him in the top 15 with relative ease. A healthy Zion is a dangerous Zion for fantasy opponents and real opponents.
Tier 4 – Great No. 2 players
- Pascal Siakam
Similar to some of the higher profile names above him, Siakam stuffs the stat sheet. He might end up playing more center this season with the billion wing players that Toronto has at its disposal, meaning more rebounds and blocked shots in his production.
- Domantas Sabonis
If you missed out on the top four centers, Sabonis would be a great pick in the second round. He was 21st in fantasy points per game last season and averaged 5.8 assists in Sacramento. With a full training camp working with the Kings and point guard De’Aaron Fox, Sabonis could be one of the most undervalued fantasy players next season.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
If SGA can cook a little bit more in Oklahoma City and stay healthy, he’s a steal. The points, rebounds and assists are there, plus he’s an excellent shot-blocking guard (eighth in the NBA among guards in blocks per game). Hopefully, the Thunder don’t dive head first into tank mode, because that will limit Gilgeous-Alexander’s fantasy upside.
- Tyrese Haliburton
- Stephen Curry
Curry is a much better category player compared to a head-to-head player. He was just 24th in fantasy points per game, with Golden State’s system limiting his upside in getting additional assists and points like he did in 2021. Still, if you come out of the second round with Stephen Curry, you’re probably thrilled with your draft.
- Kawhi Leonard
Someone I personally won’t touch in a fantasy draft, Leonard hasn’t played more than 60 games since the 2016-17 season. Five years since he was able to play consistently enough to be a borderline first-round pick. Not to mention the decline in his block and steal numbers that peaked his value, it’s a tough sell for any draftee.
That being said, an elite basketball player when healthy is too hard to pass up.
- Devin Booker
Similar to Tatum in the first round, Booker is the safest pick in the second round. You know exactly what you’re getting out of him, which is a lot of points. He still lacks some of the other statistics that would make him an elite fantasy basketball player, but there could be an upside play if Phoenix tries to lighten Chris Paul’s production in the regular season.
- DeMar DeRozan
DeRozan was exactly 23rd in fantasy points per game last season, but thanks to an incredibly durable season he ended the year top 10 in scoring. His scoring gives him a high floor, but his added value in production comes from strong rebounding and assist numbers over the years.
- Bam Adebayo
A career high in points per game had Adebayo in the top 30 fantasy points per game. A career low in games played moved him down the list. Without a ton of history of major injuries, a healthy Bam with last season’s production would rank among the top 25 players.
- Kyrie Irving
If Kyrie plays, he produces. He was 20th in points per game last season, but it was only a 29-game sample size. If (big if) we get the full season, Uncle Drew presents a lot of fantasy basketball value.
- Chris Paul
CP3 is one of the best point guards in basketball. After leading the league in assists, he’s proven once again his value to a team can be seen on the stat sheet. The only risk for the Point God is his age. At 37, we can’t expect top 30 fantasy production forever.
- Jimmy Butler
Butler is one of the better players in the league but tends to coast in the regular season. He was 27th in fantasy points per game last season and turned it on in the postseason as Miami made a run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately, playoff Jimmy does not affect regular season totals.
Tier 5 – Questions ahead
- Dejounte Murray
- Donovan Mitchell
- Rudy Gobert
- Jarrett Allen
- Kristaps Porzingis
- Bradley Beal
- Darius Garland
All seven players are productive fantasy basketball players, but now have new costars to make create questions about their overall production value. They could end up the steals of the draft if they’re able to produce, but in new situations, there are too many questions to justify a pick in the first two rounds.
Murray specifically ended the year ninth in fantasy points per game, thanks to highs in points, assists and rebounds. With high steal numbers as well, he’s got a high floor, but I imagine he plays off the ball a lot more in Atlanta.
Tier 6 – High volume scoring options
- Brandon Ingram
- Anthony Edwards
Historically, scoring guards without much other production need to hit roughly 25 points per game to maximize their fantasy basketball value. Both Ingram and Edwards are young players who can make a huge leap but need to hit that scoring mark, or add more to their game in creation, rebounds or defensively to be considered above the third round.
Tier 7 – Depth pieces in early rounds
- Jonas Valanciunas
- Zach LaVine
- Jrue Holiday
- Fred VanVleet
- CJ McCollum
- Jaylen Brown
- Khris Middleton
- Nikola Vucevic
- Deandre Ayton
- Christian Wood
- Evan Mobley
- Cade Cunnigham
- Robert Williams III