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Power Forward Rankings: The NBA's ugly younger brothers

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Power forward rankings for the 2014/15 Fantasy Basketball season...

Karl Malone waves goodbye to the traditional power forward job in the NBA...
Karl Malone waves goodbye to the traditional power forward job in the NBA...
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

A power forward is sort of like a centre in basketball. Only shorter, with worse defence and a nebulous place in the Fantasy Basketball hierarchy.

In the actual game, PFs are quite useful. In the virtual game, they're usually good for points, rebounds and FG% - while generally being a drag on FT%. The best PFs also contribute in the other categories, but they're quite rare.

Complicating the Fantasy Basketball landscape, the lines between PF and C are getting blurrier and blurrier. The PF/C designation is becoming pretty common, so the chances are good that you can simply find a couple great Cs to stash in your PF slot(s). (Or that a multi-skilled small forward will curiously end up with an SF/PF tag.)

With the NBA game shifting to a more transitional, guard-focused style, it may become harder and harder to find Fantasy PF studs in the future. Karl "The Mailman" Malone might just show up on your doorstep and kick your ass.

I mean, what else is he really doing now?

But before that beast of a man wreaks havoc on your backside, here are this year's best bets for extracting value from an endangered species...

Karl Malone's BFFs:

1.Kevin Durant, OKC

2. LeBron James, CLE

3. Anthony Davis, NO

These are the 3 best players in Fantasy Basketball. Nuff said.

Beasts:

4. Carmelo Anthony, NYK

5. LaMarcus Aldridge, POR

6. DeMarcus Cousins, SAC

7 Al Jefferson, CHA

8. Serge Ibaka, OKC

Power forwards are top-heavy in the 2014/15 Fantasy Basketball world. Any of these top 8 is perfectly acceptable as a first-round pick. All are multi-cat, multi-dimensional, foundation-of-your-team type players.

Achilles:

9. Dirk Nowitzki, DAL

10. Chris Bosh, MIA

11. Blake Griffin, LAC

12. Kevin Love, CLE

13. Al Horford, ATL

14. Paul Millsap, ATL

15. Joakim Noah, CHI

Anyone know the story of Achilles? Basically perfect - except for that spot on his foot... #9 - 15 are great players, and should be on your team. But when do you draft them? All have question marks. Dirk is 36. Bosh is in an uncertain situation with the absence of The King. Blake Griffin is a career 64.2% FT shooter, still hasn't figured out how to get any blocks and could be affected by any lingering ownership issues... Love is in a usage battle with 2 of the best players in the NBA. Horford and Millsap help each other, but also hurt each other (from a Fantasy perspective). How will the presence of Pau Gasol affect Joakim Noah's numbers?

Punt your way to an H2H championship:

16. Dwight Howard

17. Andre Drummond

Format and strategy dictate everything with these 2. Roto killers (ranked MUCH lower in roto), but H2H beasts (if handled properly). These are ideal candidates for the punt-FT% strategy. If you somehow end up with both of them on your team (and that's very realistic - due to their perceived flaws), target all the counting stat beasts that haven't figured it out from the charity stripe...

Risky plays:

18. Rudy Gay, SAC

19. Ryan Anderson, NO

20. Tim Duncan, SAS

21. Nikola Vucevic, ORL

22. Thaddeus Young, MIN

23. Chandler Parsons, DAL

These are the types of players I typically avoid: Rich, stat-heavy track records, but very precarious current situations. Rudy Gay gets the most touches on a team in transition. After the Raptors traded the overrated Rudy Gay (and his ridiculous contract), they became a contender in the Eastern conference. With Rudy being in the final year of a truly stupid contract, he is a big candidate to get traded. Very unpredictable... Ryan Anderson is an overrated 3-point specialist playing beside one of the best emerging players in the NBA. Anthony Davis (I currently have him ranked at #3 in the NBA) has a realistic chance of becoming the best player in Fantasy Basketball this year (and for many years). Add Jrue Holiday's return, and Ryan Anderson's situation looks bleaker and bleaker... Tim Duncan is 38 years old. Vucevic is a rebounding beast on a team that is constantly changing. Very hard to rely on players in a rebuilding situation... Speaking of rebuilding, how good is Andrew Wiggins going to be? Cuz that will determine how good Thaddeus is going to be. The higher Wiggins' usage, the lower Young's will be... Parsons is a complete enigma to me. Is he a brilliant signing, or a complete waste of money? Cuban has a spotty track record with talent evaluation, so this could go either way...

Are you who you used to be?

24. Pau Gasol, CHI

25. David Lee, GSW

26. David West, IND

While I have these guys ranked lower, their consistent production over the years is hard to argue with. Gasol is gonna fight with Noah for stats, Lee is hiding in Steph Curry's shadow and David West is 34 years old. Still, they've all been so consistent for so many years. And Paul George's freak injury could really boost David West's Fantasy value this year. There is risk here, but I would target this section of PFs in your draft queue.

And this is where we guess:

27. Derrick Favors, UTA

28. Kenneth Faried, DEN

29. Nerlens Noel, PHI

30. Larry Sanders, MIL (tie)

30. Josh Smith, DET (tie)

After the top 26, it's a total crapshoot for me. I've been ranking the top 30 at every position, but these are the next guys on my list. But they're just as likely to provide the same value as my bonus options (below). Was the Favors mini-breakout for real? After a slight regression, is this as good as it gets for Faried? After sitting out a year, what can we realistically expect from Noel? Is Larry Sanders the best shot blocker in the NBA? After his worst statistical season in 7 years, will Josh Smith rebound? Or is this the beginning of the end?

Bonus options:

Zach Randolph, MEM

Anderson Varejao, CLE

Terrence Jones, HOU

John Henson, MIL

Julius Randle, LAL

Z Bo is 33 now, but he still gets it done. Varejao could be a sleeper being reunited with LeBron James. TJ and Henson are my 2 favourite young players going into the season. I believe their breakouts last year were real... Julius Randle will likely be the best rookie power forward in the NBA this year. With the absence of Pau Gasol, Randle is in the perfect situation to succeed...

So those are this year's best power forwards going into the NBA season. While the NBA game is certainly moving away from the traditional post play, multi-position rankings and assignments are leading to very interesting players getting the PF Fantasy status (whether or not they actually play the position). While the position itself is in jeopardy in the real game, in the electronic version, there are still plenty of strong options. While we may never see another Karl Malone, there is still lots of value somewhere between SF and C...

In case you missed it, I published my early Top 100 Rankings a few weeks ago and you can find them in the link below:

Early Top 100 Rankings for 2014-2015

In addition, you can find my other 2014-2015 position rankings here:

Shooting Guard

Point Guard

Bobman