Fantasy Basketball: Race for the No. 1 Player in Fantasy

Fantasy Basketball: Race for the No. 1 Player in Fantasy

A month into the season, we are seeing a few players establishing themselves as the best of the best. With a long way to go, we could see any number of players step things up as we progress. However, here is a list of those currently vying for the top spot based on 12-team, 9-category scoring.

Let's dive in.

Stephen Curry, Warriors

RankNamePTS3PTREBASTSTLBLKFG%FT%TO
1Stephen Curry32.35.36.77.11.20.30.530.902.6

Curry is no stranger to being the best player in fantasy, although his stay at the top does come with a few caveats. Heading into the season, while still being a clear first-round target, many envisioned a slight drop-off. A healthy Klay Thompson, as well as the ascension of Jordan Poole, meant Curry could take a step back. That has not been the case. Curry has been tasked with doing a lot of the heavy lifting, with both Thompson and Poole struggling to find a consistent rhythm. Curry is currently putting up gaudy numbers across multiple categories, something that the team will hope he can scale back at some point. While he could remain a top-5 talent, the assumed improvement from those around him could keep him from ending atop the standings.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder

RankNamePTS3PTREBASTSTLBLKFG%FT%TO
2Shai Gilgeous-Alexander31.11.14.66.01.81.40.530.913.2

Arguably the most

A month into the season, we are seeing a few players establishing themselves as the best of the best. With a long way to go, we could see any number of players step things up as we progress. However, here is a list of those currently vying for the top spot based on 12-team, 9-category scoring.

Let's dive in.

Stephen Curry, Warriors

RankNamePTS3PTREBASTSTLBLKFG%FT%TO
1Stephen Curry32.35.36.77.11.20.30.530.902.6

Curry is no stranger to being the best player in fantasy, although his stay at the top does come with a few caveats. Heading into the season, while still being a clear first-round target, many envisioned a slight drop-off. A healthy Klay Thompson, as well as the ascension of Jordan Poole, meant Curry could take a step back. That has not been the case. Curry has been tasked with doing a lot of the heavy lifting, with both Thompson and Poole struggling to find a consistent rhythm. Curry is currently putting up gaudy numbers across multiple categories, something that the team will hope he can scale back at some point. While he could remain a top-5 talent, the assumed improvement from those around him could keep him from ending atop the standings.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder

RankNamePTS3PTREBASTSTLBLKFG%FT%TO
2Shai Gilgeous-Alexander31.11.14.66.01.81.40.530.913.2

Arguably the most surprising name on this list, Gilgeous-Alexander has been incredible to open the season. Many were able to grab him in the third or even fourth rounds of drafts. The word 'tanking' gets thrown around a lot, and in this case, it significantly impacted how managers view Gilgeous-Alexander. All of that aside, his production is wowing. There are a few noticeable differences compared to last season, where he ended as the 33rd-ranked player. He has taken his scoring from 24.5 points per game to 31.1 while also increasing his efficiency. Both his steal and block numbers have also advanced to the point where he is blocking more shots than many players considered to be rim protectors. Of all these names in the No. 1 fantasy player discussion, Gilgeous-Alexander feels like the one who could take a step back, especially if the Thunder take a "cautious" approach late in the year. With no chance of selling him off for a top-5 asset, managers should sit back and enjoy the ride.

Kevin Durant, Nets

RankNamePTS3PTREBASTSTLBLKFG%FT%TO
3Kevin Durant30.41.56.65.30.81.80.530.923.2

Another player who is no stranger to the number one spot, Durant has been tasked with carrying the Nets through the early part of the season. Kyrie Irving recently returned from a team-imposed suspension, while Ben Simmons has only just started to round into form after missing the entire 2021-22 season. Unlike a few others, when we look at Durant's production, nothing stands out as unsustainable except his block numbers. While he always could defend the basket, 1.8 blocks per game seems lofty, even for his standards. With that said, Irving's return and a confident Simmons could see Durant afforded the opportunity to dial things back. If we shave even a little bit off his current numbers, he could end the season outside the top 5, right in line with where he was being drafted.

Anthony Davis, Lakers

RankNamePTS3PTREBASTSTLBLKFG%FT%TO
4Anthony Davis25.60.312.02.41.41.90.550.811.7

It's been quite a while since we saw Davis putting up numbers like this, although it is not unexpected. Injuries are the key when projecting what Davis might do and once again factored into the decision-making process for many managers. As a result of past unreliability, Davis fell to the middle of the second round in most spots. The hope was that if everything fell into place, he could return a ton of value. Thus far, it's fair to say things have gone swimmingly for anyone who managed to snap him up. Now playing as the starting center, his rebounding numbers have climbed considerably, from 9.9 per game last season up to 12.0. He has also seemingly remembered how to shoot free throws, connecting on over 80 percent of his shots from the line. With LeBron James starting to feel the pinch a little, the Lakers certainly need Davis to take on more of the alpha role. As long as he can remain relatively injury-free, which is a risk in itself, he could very well deliver managers a round of value when the season closes.

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

RankNamePTS3PTREBASTSTLBLKFG%FT%TO
5Nikola Jokic20.80.69.58.91.50.60.610.883.2

The undisputed number one player over the past two seasons, Jokic was rightfully atop draft boards again this year. Sitting as the fifth-ranked player thus far, the lofty expectations put him in the category of an early-season underperformer. Unlike a couple of names already discussed, Jokic has seen his production fall significantly compared to the past two seasons. His scoring is down from 27.1 points per game to 20.8 despite shooting a career-best 60.6 percent from the floor. His rebounds are way down, falling from 13.7 to 9.5, while his blocks are also down from 0.9 to 0.6. The return of both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. was always going to have an impact. Just how much of an impact remains to be seen, given the small sample size. While managers are within their rights to be underwhelmed, given the track record, there is a genuine chance Jokic can up the ante, keeping him firmly in the running to end as the number one player.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam King
Adam is a Remote NBA Writer for Rotowire, the Lead Fantasy Basketball Analyst for Fantrax, and the host of the Balls Deep Fantasy Basketball Podcast. Adam resides in Bungendore, Australia. He continues to strive for the Flint, Michigan Mega Bowl. Let's get tropical.
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