Hey everyone, we have finally made it! The season is here! Now that draft season is over, I’m going to focus on writing weekly articles breaking down the week. I will be going over all of the things that stood out in terms of fantasy relevance. Which teams are bleeding fantasy points to which position is a significant topic I’ll be going over. Also, I will be talking about a few waiver additions. There is going to be a ton of great info that I will be posting that will help you in season-long leagues, as well as DFS. In this article, I’m going to give out my rankings for my top 10 favorite rookies for this fantasy season. And halfway through the season, I will post an accountability article to compare how my rankings held up.
#1 – LaMelo Ball
I love Melo as the best fantasy rookie this season. He is a pass-first player that has already had some jaw-dropping assists this preseason. Melo has the ability to hit 3s as well as score in the paint. And his height and wingspan will let him grab a handful of rebounds consistently. What else makes me put him as my number 1 rookie is that he will see plenty of playing time. He will play with either Terry Rozier or Devonte Graham at all times. And the Hornets will be running a ton of small ball lineups with PJ Washington at the center. This will push the pace and let Melo rack up the peripheral stats. And once he gets his 3-point shot down, watch out.
#2 – James Wiseman
Wiseman not playing a single preseason game does worry me some. But the fact that he’s still playing full 12 min scrimmages in practice is a great sign. Steve Kerr has even said that we may see him in the starting lineup on opening night. Wiseman is going to be a problem in the paint. He will be pulling down rebounds at will. What makes him even more special is his excellent footwork inside the paint, as well as his ability to block shots. And to add to his resume, he has a great short-range jump shot. Working alongside all these shooters in Steph, Wiggins, Oubre, and even Paschall off the bench, he’s going to have the paint all to himself. And the icing on the cake is not only is Draymonds production decreasing in a hurry. But now he is already hurt with an ankle injury. Wiseman will soon play all the minutes he can handle.
#3 – Tyrese Haliburton
I love how far he drops in drafts this year! This kid is going to make an impact quickly for the Kings. In their last game of the preseason, they limited his minutes to 20. This tells me that they loved what they have seen from him as he filled up the stat sheet, and he’s ready for the start of the season. Haliburton has a great shot, and he is a very accurate passer. He is going to be one of those peripheral guys for sure. And similar to Melo and the Hornets, the Kings also run small quite a bit. He’s going to find himself on the floor with Fox, which will only benefit him. And my bold call is, at some point this season, look for the Kings to trade Buddy Hield, which will open up a lot of minutes and a lot of shots for the taking.
#4 – Obi Toppin
I want to start by saying that if Obi Toppin were literally drafted by anybody else, he would consider a top 2 ranking. But here we are on the Knicks. Obi comes into the NBA as the best big man scorer. The only thing that is going to be holding him back this year is the minutes. And playing behind Julius Randle, it’s going to be tough to get consistent minutes. But during the preseason, he’s been playing similar minutes to what Randle is. If he can find himself becoming the first man off the bench, I see no reason not to become fantasy relevant right off the bat. But if something were to happen to Randle at some point of the season, Obi will be 100% owned and a must-start every night.
#5 – Anthony Edwards
The number 1 pick of the draft lands on a team where he slots behind Ricky Rubio and Russell. Edwards is solid when it comes to attacking the basket. And his ability to defend will likely get him on the court even more. One thing that takes me off of him where he is going in drafts is that KAT and Russell soak up a ton of usage. But in general, there isn’t a ton of talent on the Twolves bench, so he should be able to see plenty of opportunities to get on the court. Ricky Rubio has a long history of injuries, and he is getting up there in age. That could potentially be the easiest path to get into the starting 5. And if that happens, he could be a fantasy viable for sure.
#6 – Killian Hayes
This roster is an eyesore. I hope Blake can stay healthy this year to give them some hope. Killian is going to have every opportunity imaginable to get plenty of playing time. This 19-year-old can fill up every category, and he’s very active on both ends of the floor. The biggest concern he will have is his consistency. His shot can disappear at any given moment, and he can rack up turnovers pretty quickly. The good news is that he will be getting plenty of playing time to figure his game out. For fantasy, the number one thing we look for is minutes, and Killian will have plenty of that to begin his career.
#7 – Deni Avdija
This is my favorite sleeper rookie. This Euro League MVP has all the tools needed to start right away for the Wizards. But what I love even more is how fast-paced the Wizards play. Deni is a very intelligent ballplayer, thanks to all of his years playing overseas. He also plays great defense, which is a big need for this team. If Deni can find his shot, he will translate into a great fantasy play because he has all the tools needed to become every day, starting small forward.
#8 – Cole Anthony
This dude is a pure scorer and will find himself as the first guy off the bench. He comes into a great situation with no real players other than Vuc that will soak up any usage. If Cole were drafted to a team that played at a quicker pace, he would be ranked a few spots higher. But he’s going to be able to put up 8+ shots a night consistently. And if he can find himself in the peripheral categories, Cole will be a really nice flex player.
Devin can do a little bit of everything. He is an excellent defender. He can shoot all over the floor and loves to attack the rim. He will shoot a handful of 3s efficiently. And he’s not afraid to put up shots. The only downside with him is that he struggles to create his shot. As well as find a mid-range shot. The main thing to keep in mind this year is if the Spurs finally move on from LMA and/or DDR. If they do, they will give all of their young guys’ plenty of runs led by Vassell.
#10 – Tyrese Maxey
This kid has all the tools to be a very good 6th man on this team. And he could even slot into the starting 5 if they play Ben Simmons at the 3. Tyrese can fill up the stat sheet, and he has done so throughout the entire preseason. And he has even put up a solid fantasy point per minute ratio. If something were to happen to Rivers or Melton or jumps over Melton on the depth chart, Tyrese could be a very nice flex play.
Thanks for taking the time to read my rookie rankings. And as I stated earlier, I will go back over these rankings halfway through the season and see where we stand. Next week I will be overviewing the entire first week of the NBA season. So I will see you then!
If you have any questions, come jump onto my Twitter @mikealby. I also run a DFS page and play all major sports as well as college.