There aren’t many big men who are the total package. Anthony Davis is an insane asset because he provides value in nearly every category. He even boasted a free throw percentage over 80-percent during 2014-15.
Typically, big men come with at least one major downside, sometimes more. DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond are top-tier fantasy bigs, but they destroy your free throw percentage. Blake Griffin and Kevin Love provide stellar contributions to points and rebounds, but neither tally many blocks.
I’d recommend determining what categories you’d like to target before the draft and then filling your roster accordingly. Then, when it comes to bargain power forwards, you’ll know exactly the type of player to target. Do you want another potential double-double threat while conceding blocks? Think David Lee. Do you want a three-point specialist from the unique position of power forward? Think Ryan Anderson.
The players below could become “X-factors” in your fantasy lineup. They could be just the steal your team needs to become a true contender.
Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets (Average cost on Yahoo: $2.3)
I’m all about the hype surrounding Jones, but he just needs to stay healthy. He only played 33 games last year, and he’s already dealing with bruised ribs this year. It’s nothing serious, but there’s caution with Jones due to his struggles to stay on the floor. But the upside is evident, and this is expounded because teammate Donatas Motiejunas had offseason back surgery and is without a return date. Therefore, Jones is the likely starter at power forward as the season begins, and you have to love his potential as a double-double threat who can also register close to two blocks per game. Jones can even splash the occasional three. Out of all the players listed here, Jones could become the most well-rounded fantasy stud, but hopefully his health doesn’t get in the way.
Ersan Ilyasova, Detroit Pistons (Average cost on Yahoo: $3.1)
Ilyasova has frequently disappointed owners in years past, whether it be through sheer underperformance or injuries. Despite this, there’s reason to believe he could have his best season yet with a change of scenery. He’s the favorite to start at power forward, and he fits perfectly into Stan Van Gundy’s plan to surround Andre Drummond with capable shooters. The table is set nicely for Turkish Thunder to average close to 15 points per game while also cashing over a trey per outing. It’s doubtful he’ll break out in eye-popping fashion, but he should still generate enough production to add value to your lineup, particularly if you’re looking for some extra threes.
David Lee, Boston Celtics (Average cost on Yahoo: $2.2)
Lee’s value was destroyed last year with the champion Warriors, but it’s destined to be revived in Boston. I’m skeptical he’ll return to his 20 and 10 days, but it’s realistic that he could become a consistent double-double threat again. Remember, it was just two years ago that he notched 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. It certainly looks like he’ll play a big role for the Celtics, and while you’ll never get much in the defensive categories from Lee, you’ll get points, boards and acceptable percentages. And if your league actually scores double-doubles, Lee has even further worth.
Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns (Average cost on Yahoo: $2.0)
Morris was whiny this summer after his brother was traded, but it sounds like he has put on a “happy” face and should play an integral role for Phoenix this season. Assuming he continues to move past the offseason drama, you have to like the unique contributions Keef can supply. Last year, he averaged 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds, while also netting close to one three-pointer and 1.2 steals per game. The threes and steals are what should elevate Morris over other options late in the draft. There aren’t many bargain weapons who can produce decent value in four categories (points, rebounds, steals, threes), not to mention respectable percentages.
Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans (Average cost on Yahoo: $2.3)
It appears Anderson should become a huge beneficiary from Alvin Gentry’s new system that involves more three-pointers. This is extremely promising for owners who are looking to add scoring and threes late in the draft. Anderson should likely nail around three three-pointers made per game, which I highly doubt you’re going to find from any other power forwards. Anderson does have serious limitations outside of scoring and threes, though. Don’t anticipate steals, blocks or assists. His rebounds will also be limited with Davis and Omer Asik gobbling them up. So simply target Anderson if you’re in dire need of a three-point master.
Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic (Average cost on Yahoo: $1.1)
Gordon dominated the Summer League, but then fractured his jaw which required surgery. It sounds like his return is now nearing, and he makes for a very intriguing option late in the draft. He should receive adequate playing time for the youthful Magic, as he brings versatility on both ends of the floor. He has the potential to become a fantasy Swiss Army Knife with his ability to accumulate blocks, steals and occasional threes, while also having decent worth in points and rebounds. He could function as a poor man’s mid-2000s Shawn Marion. He’s definitely a breakout candidate, but there’s more mystery here than the previous names listed. If you feel like your roster is secure and you want to take a flier on somebody, Gordon should be your guy.
Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers (Average cost on Yahoo: $1.4)
Randle can easily pass the eye test because of his aggressive playing style and pure strength. He’s also poised to become a quality source of points and rebounds, potentially even molding into a double-double threat. But don’t get too excited. His efficiency is a major concern, and he also doesn’t add much in the defensive categories. Still, he’s another youngster who could be worth taking a flier on. Just realize he’ll likely be Zach Randolph-lite with worse percentages.
Thaddeus Young ($3.2) and Nikola Mirotic ($6.2)
Young and Mirotic both have eligibility at power forward and small forward. Their outlooks can be seen in the small forward article, which you can read here.
Follow Haddon on Twitter @HaddonAnderson.