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Fantasy hoops updated points ranks: Coasting Warriors could cost you in fantasy

Don't expect Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors to heat up down the stretch. NBAE/Getty Images

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Read below for rest-of-season points-league ranks


This will be the final rest-of-the-season rankings for this season, as most leagues have either started their fantasy playoffs, or will be doing so within the week. This late in the season, many teams are either shutting down players and/or promoting new players into more important roles. As such, preseason projections and early-season production isn't quite as important moving forward as they were earlier in the season.

That's why, for this last set of rankings, I tweaked my formulas quite a bit. Recent play was weighted a lot more heavily, and preseason projections were taken completely out of the calculation. The result does change up these last rankings quite a bit from previous iterations, but hopefully allows for players with different situations (with changes in playing time, be it positive or negative) to be more accurately estimated for rest-of-season value.

Point Guard

Mike Conley has been playing outstanding basketball -- dating back to before the trade that sent Marc Gasol out of town -- and he's picked it up even more of late. Thus, based on his production, his big jump in the rankings is justified. The one caveat is that he's a veteran on a Grizzlies team that's going nowhere, and there is some risk that he could be either shut down or have his playing time decreased sometime before the season ends. Until that happens, though, he remains one of the best PG options in the league.

Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have both seen their production slide in recent weeks. It appears that the return of DeMarcus Cousins has eaten into their shots -- which surprised me as I thought Cousins would be more of a hustle player than a scorer for the Golden State Warriors. However, Curry and Durant also have very little to prove in the regular season for a team that has recaptured the top seed and is pacing itself in advance of the playoffs.

Shooting Guard

Bradley Beal has been one of the best fantasy producers in the league since John Wall went down, and he's also a relatively young player who has a reasonable chance to play out the season -- even on a lottery-bound squad. His consistently high level of production has earned him a spot in the top 10 of these final rankings.

Devin Booker jumped in the rankings because he's caught fire of late, averaging 29.6 PPG (49.5 FG%, 100 FT%), 6.2 APG, 4.8 RPG, 2.2 3PG and 1.6 SPG in his last five outings. This is Booker's time to shine, as his numbers went way up when healthy in both his rookie and sophomore seasons before injury slowed him down the stretch last season. The Suns are young and lottery bound, but have beaten some impressive teams of late as they try to sprint to the finish line.

Small Forward

LeBron James fell precipitously in this week's rankings even though his level of play hasn't actually fallen off yet. However, the Los Angeles Lakers have gone into free fall, have already shut down both Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, and are all-but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. It's already been announced that LeBron's minutes could be monitored down the stretch, and the likelihood that he'll eventually play much less down the stretch led to the drop in the rankings.

We've already discussed Kevin Durant's recent drop in production, but he also bruised his ankle and had to leave Golden State's last game. Coach Steve Kerr has downplayed the injury, but when added to the fact that the Warriors seem to be coasting to the finish line and that free-agents-to-be Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins are both putting up big numbers, it seems that Durant (and Curry) have been content to take a step back down the stretch.

Power Forward

John Collins has been one of the most productive players in the league since his December return from injury, and he's only been ramping it up of late. The sophomore is a nightly double-double, and he's a young player for a lottery-bound but optimistic Atlanta Hawks franchise, so it seems likely that he'll get the opportunity to play out the season to the best of his ability.

Kevin Love has been consistently playing four games then sitting the fifth for rest purposes. This isn't ideal but, when he does play, he's averaged 20.9 PPG (43.3 FG%, 92.3 FT%), 11.9 RPG, 3.6 3PG and 2.0 APG during his last eight outings. That's enough to keep him high in the rankings, though the risk that he shuts it down at some point is real.

Center

Karl-Anthony Towns moved up to No. 2 in the rankings, and challenged seriously for the top spot, based on how he's played lately. He has been, bar none, the most productive player in the NBA since the All-Star Break. However, Towns also injured his knee on Saturday night and missed Sunday's game. Reportedly, the MRI showed no damage and he isn't expected to miss much (if any) time due to the injury. However, if his knee issue is worse than reported then obviously he would fall in the rankings.

Nikola Vucevic has been producing more than his ranking might indicate all season, but his poor injury history has counted against him and kept his ranking down a bit. However, we're approaching the end of the season and he's still standing, so for these last rankings we're taking out the injury coefficient and ranking him purely on how he's played this season. In other words, he is top-10 worthy.

As of last week's rankings, DeAndre Jordan was still out with his injury and the New York Knicks were playing a rotation almost entirely composed of rookies and sophomores. I could have easily imagined them shutting Jordan down at any time, and this was reflected in his big drop. However, the Knicks have brought him back and he has turned in back-to-back strong double-doubles (prior to dropping a clunker in his last outing). The rumor is that the Knicks may want to retain the veteran in the offseason to help recruit other star players, so perhaps they will continue to play him down the stretch. It's unclear, but if he plays normal minutes then his current rank is justified. If he sits, then obviously that ranking would fall.

Note: These rankings reflect the expected player value for the remainder of this season.

Methodology

The rest-of-the-season rankings are influenced by current player performance, injury and player situation factors to quantitatively estimate future player production with more precision. Also, new for this season, both the points-based rankings and the roto rankings will include arrows to indicate whether a given player moved up or down the rankings since last week. This is to give you, the reader, more detailed information to help keep you up to speed with how player values are changing over the course of the season.