Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
As in past articles describing the difference between good "fantasy" point guards, shooting guards and small forwards and good "real life" point guards, shooting guards and small forwards, the same holds true at the power forward position.
In the fantasy world, it's not about winning games and championships, it's about a player's statistics helping you to fantasy titles.
Being great in the eight fantasy categories (PPG, RPG, APG, SPG, BPG, FG%, 3PT%, FT%) is more important to the fantasy owner than winning games. Of course, if a player is good in all the categories he is probably helping his team win instead of hurting it, so indirectly there is going to be a correlation between a good fantasy player and a winning basketball team, but it is not a guarantee.
Both New Jersey Nets C Brook Lopez and former Minnesota C Al Jefferson are very good fantasy players, yet neither of which helped their team win many games last season.
Today, we are looking at the top fantasy power forwards.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas (ADP 4) - Nowitzki is always overlooked when talking about the best fantasy players in the league (Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Chris Paul), but he shouldn't be. Although not a double-digit rebounder, Dirk combines a 25 ppg average with 7.7 rpg, 2.7 apg and a great shooting touch (48.1% FG, 42.1% 3PT, 91.5% FT). Throw in a steal-per-game and a block-per- game and you have the makeup of the top power forward in the game.
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers (ADP 10) - Gasol used to be the best fantasy center in the league, but now plays more power forward than center with the addition of Andrew Bynum to the Lakers starting lineup. Now he's a top-three PF with 18.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 3.4 apg and 1.7 bpg. He won't give you any three- point production and his foul shooting is slightly lower than Nowitzki which is the reason he finishes second best.
David Lee, Golden State (ADP 11) - Lee's numbers were very good in New York (20.2 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 3.6 apg) and now he heads to the Warriors where their guards, Stephen Curry and Monte Ellis, will warrant most of the defensive attention. The outside shooting threat and the up tempo game they play in Golden State gives Lee a legitimate shot at being the No.1 fantasy power forward.
Josh Smith, Atlanta (ADP 15) - Smith is less of a scorer than the guys picked above him, but he has a more complete statistical game. He scored 15.7 ppg last season while contributing 8.7 rpg, 4.2 apg, 1.6 spg and 2.1 bpg. The steals and blocks are particularly impressive from the power forward spot and a rarity to combine both categories. Pulling him down from a fantasy point of view was an 0-for-7 from three-point range for the season and a mediocre 61.8% from the foul line.
Carlos Boozer, Chicago (ADP 25) - While there is always uncertainty when moving to a new team, Boozer's consistent production is not likely to change. Over his eight-year career, he's averaged 17.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 2.5 apg and 1.1 spg and he was even better last year when he played 78 of a possible 82 games to dispel his injury-prone image. If he and point guard Derrick Rose can build a rapport like he had with Utah point guard Deron Williams, he could continue to put up top-five power forward numbers.