Drafting rookies in a fantasy league is an iffy proposition. Most take time to adjust to the NBA and to competing against bigger, stronger, faster players than they ever saw in college. Many enter the league without clear roles, and even the best don't necessarily get starting jobs right away.
And by the time that's settled, they hit the dreaded "rookie wall."
In years past, the conventional basketball wisdom suggested that point guards had the toughest time adjusting to the pros. But rule changes - specifically, the elimination of physical defense on the perimeter - has made life much easier for rookie points, as players like Kyrie Irving and John Wall would attest. That said, rookie point guards tend to be highly turnover-prone; in leagues that include turnovers or assist-to-turnover ratio, adjust accordingly.
Meanwhile, big men seem to be having a much harder time adjusting to the pros. The size and strength of most NBA bigs is a factor there, but so is the fact that talented bigs almost always come out of college early and may be a lot more raw than their smaller counterparts.
Anthony Davis is no exception - the first overall pick in this year's draft has a lot of work to do in refining his offensive game. But blocking shots is a skill that usually translates pretty well from college to the pros, and we expect he'll score enough on lobs and put-backs to merit the top spot in our rankings... and to run away with rookie of the year honors.
Note: These rankings are intended for standard "redraft" leagues. Most of these players - Davis, in particular - will be much more valuable in a dynasty or "keeper" league format.
The first column is each player's rank on our overall Top 200 list. The second column displays each player's rank at his primary position.
Fantasy NBA Rankings: 2012-13 Rookies
|45||11||Anthony Davis||Hornets||PF||"The Brow" should be among the league leaders in blocks.|
|89||13||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||Bobcats||SF||Projects as a very good two-way wing player, but might be best as the complement to another star… and Charlotte is notably short on stars right now.|
|104||21||Bradley Beal||Wizards||SG||With John Wall and Trevor Ariza playing significant roles, the Wizards will need a space-the-floor shooter badly. Beal is probably their best candidate.|
|105||28||Damian Lillard||Trail Blazers||PG||Should be Portland's starter from day one. Transition to the pros is easier for point guards than in the past (see Irving, Kyrie) but turnovers will be a concern.|
|111||22||Dion Waiters||Cavaliers||SG||Cavs are projecting him as Kyrie Irving's backcourt mate for years to come, but temper your short-term expectations; he didn't even start in college.|
|120||33||Austin Rivers||Hornets||PG/SG||No one seems to think he's a point guard… except the Hornets.|
|125||18||Harrison Barnes||Warriors||SF||Warriors coach Mark Jackson has suggested that Barnes could win a starting job over veteran Richard Jefferson.|
|147||30||Thomas Robinson||Kings||PF||Rebounding is usually a skill that translates very well from college to the pros. But Robinson will have to adjust to playing against bigger, stronger competition.|
|192||26||Jonas Valanciunas||Raptors||C||Tons of potential, but inconsistent in top international competitions. And the matchups he'll face in the Atlantic Division (Garnett, Bynum, Chandler…) will be brutal.|
|202||35||Perry Jones||Thunder||SF/PF||OKC might have been the ideal landing spot for Jones, but he won't get much playing time initially.|
|210||49||Royce White||Rockets||PF||Can he overcome anxiety issues and become a productive player at this level? Lots of people will be rooting for the guy.|
|211||37||Mirza Teletovic||Nets||SF/PF||The Nets love him - gave him a multi-year guaranteed deal. But with Brook Lopez at center, they'll need rebounders like Kris Humphries and Reggie Evans to play big minutes, so where does a stretch four like Teletovic fit?|