Ranking The Top 10’s — Fantasy Value Of Rookies Throughout The Years

As I close in on fleshing out the top 10 of my fantasy rookie profiles and after looking at the rookie seasons of last season’s top fantasy stars, I thought another interesting exercise would be to see how the top 10 of each draft panned out in terms of fantasy value over the years.

What I’ll do is present the final, per-game nine-category rankings of all the players selected in the top 10 of each draft, beginning with the super draft of 2003-04.


Selection Player Position Ranking
 1. LeBron James SF/PF 47
 2. Darko Milicic C 406
 3. Carmelo Anthony SF/PF 82
 4. Chris Bosh PF/C 100
 5. Dwyane Wade SG 90
 6. Chris Kaman C 266
 7. Kirk Hinrich PG/SG 64
 8. T.J. Ford PG 179
 9. Mike Sweetney C 270
 10. Jarvis Hayes SG 193

darko milicicFor such a great draft, with four hall of famers in the first five picks, it was definitely a slightly underwhelming fantasy debut, with five guys finishing the season being relevant in standard leagues. The interesting one there is Hinrich, who finished second behind only LeBron James as the best fantasy rookie of the season. Didn’t pan out that well for the rest of Hinrich’s career, unfortunately.


Selection Player Position Ranking
 1. Dwight Howard C 73
 2. Emeka Okafor C 85
 3. Ben Gordon SG 176
 4. Shaun Livingston PG/SG 227
 5. Devin Harris PG 201
 6. Josh Childress SG/SF 103
 7. Luol Deng SF 169
 8. Rafael Araujo C 364
 9. Andre Iguodala SG/SF 57
 10. Luke Jackson SF 413

Only three top 100 players and no-one in the top 50. Even future fantasy stalwarts like Luol Deng were unable to have an impact in their rookie seasons, with Andre Iguodala having the best rookie season. Still four fantasy relevant players in standard leagues, so not a total wipeout, but another example of not expecting too much out the first year players.


Selection Player Position Ranking
 1. Andrew Bogut C 104
 2. Marvin Williams SF/PF 199
 3. Deron Williams PG 166
 4. Chris Paul PG 17
 5. Raymond Felton PG 133
 6. Martell Webster SG/SF 236
 7. Charlie Villanueva SF/PF 82
 8. Channing Frye PF/C 122
 9. Ike Diogu PF/C 242
 10. Andrew Bynum C 423

Chris Paul was he clear standout here, posting a rare top 20 finish for a rookie. The only other player to crack the top 100 was Charlie Villanueva and the class ended up with five standard league players, including Andrew Bogut and Deron Williams. Yet another example of not to rely on rookies heavily, with the obvious exception being the genius of Paul.


Selection Player Position Ranking
 1. Andrea Bargnani PF/C 151
 2. LaMarcus Aldridge PF/C 152
 3. Adam Morrison SG/SF 334
 4. Tyrus Thomas SF/PF 266
 5. Shelden Williams PF 228
 6. Brandon Roy SG 51
 7. Randy Foye PG/SG 184
 8. Rudy Gay SF/PF 160
 9. Patrick O’Bryant C 377
 10. Mouhamed Sene C 424

In one word — horrible. Only the tragically retired Brandon Roy finished in the top 150 and was the only fantasy relevant player in his rookie season. Rudy Gay and LaMarcus Aldridge would become fantasy stars over the years, and Randy Foye had a good year last season, but otherwise, not a great crop.


Selection Player Position Ranking
 1. Greg Oden C DNP
 2. Kevin Durant SF 85
 3. Al Horford PF/C 92
 4. Mike Conley PG 217
 5. Jeff Green SF/PF 254
 6. Yi Jianlian PF 193
 7. Corey Brewer SG/SF 248
 8. Brandan Wright SF/PF 268
 9. Joakim Noah C 163
 10. Spencer Hawes C 302

Joakim NoahEven though the king of fantasy basketball was in the 2007 Draft, another uninspiring class. Only Durant and Horford were of any relevance in standard leagues, despite the great players like Mike Conley and Joakim Noah debuting.


Selection Player Position Ranking
 1. Derrick Rose PG 125
 2. Michael Beasley SF/PF 177
 3. O.J. Mayo SG 100
 4. Russell Westbrook PG 192
 5. Kevin Love PF/C 158
 6. Danilo Galinari SF 209
 7. Eric Gordon SG 74
 8. Joe Alexander SF 356
 9. D.J. Augustin PG 169
 10. Brook Lopez C 52

One of the better draft classes in recent times, containing top 10 players in Derrick Rose, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook, but their rookie seasons were all upstaged by the big man from Stanford, Brook Lopez. Lopez has been a great player, but injuries have really killed his value. Surprisingly, neither Love or Westbrook finished the season as 12 team players.


Selection Player Position Ranking
 1. Blake Griffin PF DNP
 2. Hasheem Thabeet C 269
 3. James Harden SG 156
 4. Tyreke Evans PG 75
 5. Ricky Rubio PG DNP
 6. Jonny Flynn PG 217
 7. Stephen Curry PG/SG 17
 8. Jordan Hill PF/C 300
 9. DeMar DeRozan SG 238
 10. Brandon Jennings PG 117

This class was hampered by Blake Griffin missing the entire season, but Steph Curry’s season was the best rookie season of the past 10 years. Only three guys were fantasy relevant though, Curry, Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans, but a top five stalwart in James Harden started his career slowly.


Selection Player Position Ranking
 1. John Wall PG 105
 2. Evan Turner SF 239
 3. Derrick Favors C 244
 4. Wesley Johnson SF 179
 5. DeMarcus Cousins C 215
 6. Ekpe Udoh C 241
 7. Greg Monroe PF 97
 8. Al-Farouq Aminu SF 277
 9. Gordon Hayward SG 290
 10. Paul George SF 166

Yet another disappointing season for the rookies with only Monroe and Wall finishing in the top 150 and the highest ranked fantasy player was second-rounder Landry Fields at 83. And we all know what’s happened to Fields since.


Selection Player Position Ranking
 1. Kyrie Irving PG 41
 2. Derrick Williams PF 277
 3. Enes Kanter C 342
 4. Tristan Thompson PF 302
 5. Jonas Valanciunas C DNP
 6. Jan Vesely SF 258
 7. Bismack Biyombo PF/C 251
 8. Brandon Knight PG/SG 193
 9. Kemba Walker PG 172
 10. Jimmer Fredette SG 291

Apart from Kyrie Irving, there was nothing of interest to fantasy owners. Irving has gone on to be a perennial top 30 player, potentially a top 10 guy, but no one else from the top 10 has shown the ability to become an elite option.


Selection Player Position Ranking
 1. Anthony Davis PF/C 27
 2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF 162
 3. Bradley Beal SG 121
 4. Dion Waiters SG 199
 5. Thomas Robinson PF 371
 6. Damian Lillard PG 48
 7. Harrison Barnes SF 222
 8. Terrence Ross SG 267
 9. Andre Drummond PF/C 158
 10. Austin Rivers PG/SG 419

Dion WaitersA bit of an outlier season, with two top 50 finishes — Damian Lillard and Anthony , and also Bradley Beal finishing in the top 150. Andre Drummond rounds out the quartet of fantasy stars from this top 10.


Selection Player Position Ranking
 1. Anthony Bennett PF 409
 2. Victor Oladipo PG/SG 137
 3. Otto Porter SF 425
 4. Cody Zeller PF 289
 5. Alex Len C 403
 6. Nerlens Noel C DNP
 7. Ben McLemore SG 272
 8. Kenatvious Caldwell-Pope SG 236
 9. Trey Burke PG 164
 10. C.J. McCollum PG/SG 369

Only one player in the top 150. One! And that was Victor Oladipo at 137. The best rookie was the rookie of the year, Michael Carter-Williams, the eleventh pick who was ranked 100th on the season. There were a lot of injuries in the top 10 and that played a big part in their poor seasons, but overall, a poor class.

Well, what can we glean from that. The number one take home message is that rookies rarely have a big impact in fantasy leagues, and that it can be a bit of a crapshoot as to who will give that value. Don’t overpay for rookies as there are just so many factors that go into their NBA production.

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