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Player Rankings: Updated Early Top-125

Alex Barutha

Alex writes primarily about the NBA for RotoWire. His work has appeared on CBS Sports, Bleacher Report and other sites. He enjoys both year-long and daily fantasy. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.

With the bulk of free agency finished and summer league in full swing, now is as good a time as ever to tweak the arguably-still-too-early top-125.

Iíve included some rookies this time around, though have opted to rank them modestly until summer league concludes and we start diving deep into projections.

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo: With LeBron moving to LA, Antetokounmpo is arguably the best player in the East. Another year of improvement plus a new coach in Mike Budenholzer should only boost his value. The Greek Freak, Anthony Davis and James Harden are all worthy No. 1 selections, but I see Antetokounmpo as the safest and most well-rounded option.

2. James Harden: The 72 games Harden played last season were his fewest since joining the Rockets. Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute leaving, coupled with Chris Paulís injury history, may actually mean Harden sees even more usage this season. However, if the Rockets end up with Carmelo Anthony, things would get a little more complicated.

3. Anthony Davis: The best roto player last season by total output, but Davisí injury history still scares me away from ranking him No. 1 overall. That said, DeMarcus Cousins leaving for Golden State bumps up Davisí value, and thereís a reasonable argument for drafting him over Harden.

4. LeBron James: Second-best roto player in 2017-18, and Iíll believe a decline when I see it. But moving to the stacked Western Conference hurts his value.

5. Karl-Anthony Towns: The vibe around KATís 2017-18 season was that it was somewhat of a disappointment. He finished as the fourth-best roto player. He was incredible. Donít hesitate to take him sooner than fifth.

6. Kevin Durant : Obviously amazing, but playing for the Warriors limits his upside. Durant also hasnít played more than 72 games in any of the past three seasons.

7. Stephen Curry: Like Durant, his team context limits his individual upside.

8. Russell Westbrook: His lack of efficiency keeps him out of the top three, but the fact that heís missed just five games over the past three seasons keeps him in the top 10.

9. Kawhi Leonard: Assuming heís healthy, he has to go top-10. Just look at his numbers from his last two healthy seasons.

10. Victor Oladipo: Finished as the eighth-best roto player. Led the league in steals per game (2.4). Hard to imagine last season being a fluke. Itís possible the addition of Tyreke Evans hurts Oladipoís individual value, however.

11. Nikola Jokic: Clearly has the potential to go 50/40/90 as a center. Heís 23 and just turned in a top-10 fantasy season.

12. Paul George: Considering he opted to remain with OKC, his production should remain similar to last seasonís. Drafting George early in the second round is a good choice.

13. Damian Lillard: Got off to a slow start last season but still averaged 26.9 points, 6.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds en route to a First-Team All-NBA spot. Hasnít missed more than nine games in any of his six NBA seasons, and thereís reason to believe he could become a more efficient scorer.

14. John Wall: Played just 41 games due to a persistent knee issue and had a bit of a down year as a result. I'm banking on him bouncing back in a big way.

15. Jimmy Butler: A top-10 talent, but heís played more than 67 games only once over the past five seasons. Waiting until the end of the second round is justified.

16. Ben Simmons: Stayed healthy all year and was the 15th-best roto player. Should have been an All-Star.

17. Kyrie Irving: Had a successful first year in Boston, but injuries -- and the Celticsí borderline-ridiculous depth -- remain a concern. Heís averaging 65 games played over the past six seasons.

18. Jrue Holiday: Strong all-around playoff showing will buoy his stock heading into 2018-19. Two high-usage teammates in Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins heading elsewhere should help Holidayís numbers.

19. Andre Drummond: Unprecedented leap in free throw percentage and solid passing has turned him into a top-tier fantasy center.

20. Chris Paul: Averaging 67.8 games played over the past six seasons and isnít getting any younger. Played 58 in 2017-18 and 61 two seasons ago. Iíd rather miss out on taking him than grab him too early.

21. Joel Embiid: He only needed 63 games to be the 30th-best roto player and, for the most part, made it through the season without any injury concerns. Itís worth the risk to take him a round earlier this season.

22. Khris Middleton: Had a down year from beyond the arc and still averaged 20.1 PPG. Has played at least 79 games in every season but one (2016-17) since coming to Milwaukee.

23. Devin Booker: Had a 31.7% usage rate last season, 0.1% higher than LeBron. The lack of a true starting point guard in Phoenix should keep his ball-handling responsibilities intact, while the additions of Deandre Ayton and Trevor Ariza could help Bookerís efficiency and assist numbers.

24. Kemba Walker: Charlotteís clouded future looms as a question mark, but Walker remained as consistent as ever last season. If he does get traded, itíll likely be to a contender.

25. Bradley Beal: Coming off of the least-efficient three-point shooting season of his career and still averaged 22.6 PPG on 46% FG. Dwight Howardís presence may cut into Bealís scoring, but not by much.

26. Gordon Hayward: Will be a focal point of the Eastís most talented team, but coming off a serious injury -- combined with Bostonís wing depth -- could limit his workload.

27. Draymond Green: Outside shooting has fallen off a cliff but still remains a premier defender and passer for his position. DeMarcus Cousinsí presence could impact Greenís rebounding.

28. Kyle Lowry: Last seasonís 16.2 PPG were his fewest since 2012-13, and his 1.1 SPG were his fewest since 2009-10. Health has been spotty, and he just turned 32.

29. Rudy Gobert: Has missed 48 games over the past three seasons due to knee injuries and didnít show much improvement in 2017-18.

30. LaMarcus Aldridge: Coming off of a resurgent season, but he drops in the unlikely scenario that Kawhi Leonard is back in San Antonio.

31. Donovan Mitchell: 27th-best roto player by total production as a rookie, 47th by average production. If you believe he can clean up his efficiency, he could be worth taking in the second round.

32. DeMar DeRozan: The DeRozan shoots threes now, you know narrative was a bit overblown when you look at his percentages.

33. C.J. McCollum: Efficiency waned a bit after a career-best 2016-17 season but still remains one of the NBAís premier score-first guards.

34. Kevin Love: LeBron leaving improves Loveís stock, though it remains to be seen if heíll last the full season in Cleveland as the de facto No. 1 option. Regardless, health is becoming a concern after missing 45 games over the past two seasons.

35. Mike Conley: Great when healthy but age and injury should be a concern. Played only 12 games last season; averaged 67 across the previous four seasons and will turn 31 in October.

36. Eric Bledsoe: Had a solid, but unusually healthy season in Milwaukee. Averaging 59 games played since becoming a starter over the past five seasons. I wouldnít take him earlier than this.

37. Blake Griffin: The last time Griffin played more than 67 games was five years ago.

38. Gary Harris: Forty missed games over the past two years isnít encouraging, but he was still a top-40 player last season. Should continue improving.

39. Otto Porter: Has quietly shot 44% from three over the past two seasons.

40. Marc Gasol: Should bounce back from a tumultuous season, though heíll turn 34 in January.

41. Klay Thompson: Hit a career-best 44% of his threes in 2017-18.

42. Tobias Harris: Has played at least 80 games in back-to-back campaigns, was the 38th-ranked roto player last season, and may be the best player on the Clippers (depending how you feel about Lou Williams). Could be worth a third-round reach.

43. DeMarcus Cousins: Maybe the most difficult player to project at this point. Heís the new Joel Embiid, but heís coming off of a more severe injury and will have to adjust to joining a team that already features four All-NBA talents. Even if Cousins is ready for Opening Night and looks like his old self, itíll be nearly impossible for him to come close to matching his pre-Warriors production.

44. Robert Covington: Appeared in 80 games, marking the first time heís suited up for at least 70 games since 2014-15. One of only three players last season to average 2.5 threes and 1.7 steals (James Harden, Paul George).

45. Clint Capela: Led the league in field-goal percentage (65.2%) and has seen a steady increase in production each season.

46. Al Horford: Consistent as ever last season, and he improved his long-range efficiency.

47. Josh Richardson: Was the 35th-best roto player last season by total production (not a typo), 56th by average.

48. Hassan Whiteside: Saw his role diminish last season, and itís very much unclear if heíll be in Miami come October. I wouldnít draft him before the fourth or fifth round until thereís more clarity.

49. Jamal Murray: Has missed only one game in two years. Donít be afraid to take him higher.

50. Tyreke Evans: Evans should absorb most of Lance Stephensonís minutes and could take time away from Darren Collison and/or Cory Joseph. Itís unlikely Evans is more productive than last season, but he could plateau while being the Pacersí No. 2 option.

51. Lou Williams: The Clippers will be healthier this season, by default, so Iím not expecting a repeat season from Williams.

52. Jeff Teague: Move to Minnesota had very little impact on his numbers.

53. Dennis Schroder: Another player who could be on the move this summer. His ultimate landing spot will determine his value.

54. Myles Turner: Didnít live up to the hype but still finished as the 68th-best roto player by average production. Could be worth drafting in the fourth round if you think heíll stay healthy and turn the corner next year.

55. Aaron Gordon: 63rd-best roto player by average last season and has gotten better every year. Shot the lights out from three over the first few months of the season before a hard regression.

56. Paul Millsap: Ranked 73rd by average in 2017-18 but dealt with a broken hand and had to adjust to a new team.

57. Deandre Ayton: This ranking is relatively modest, especially if he can knock down some threes and block shots -- but neither of those are a given. The potential for Ayton to go 20/10 is there, but Iíd rather miss out on a rookie than be too optimistic. Something like Emeka Okaforís rookie-year production -- 35.6 MPG, 15.1 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 1.7 BPG -- seems fairly realistic.

58. Lonzo Ball: Donít tell the haters, but he was the 60th-ranked player by average as a rookie. The argument is there to take him in the fourth round if you think he can be even slightly more efficient as a shooter. Itís possible the addition of LeBron deflates Ballís assist numbers, though.

59. Lauri Markkanen: Struggled with consistency but shot 43.2% from three in January. The potential is there for him to hit even more than the 2.1 threes per game he drilled as a rookie.

60. Will Barton: Wilson Chandlerís departure could mean a bigger role for Barton, though he was already seeing 33.1 minutes per game.

61. Nikola Mirotic: I buy the hype, even with Julius Randle now on board.

62. Kris Dunn: Could have been a dark horse Most Improved Player candidate had it not been for injuries and tanking.

63 Joe Ingles: Has missed four games in four seasons. Taking him in the fifth round would be justified.

64. Ricky Rubio: Assists fell off a cliff but he shot the ball better. I donít know who he is anymore.

65. Julius Randle: Has improved every year and stayed healthy. Likely to see similar playing time in New Orleans as he did in Los Angeles.

66. Zach LaVine: Shot poorly coming off his ACL tear but took 19.5 attempts per 36 minutes.

67. Brandon Ingram: Became an efficient scorer and continued to flash defensive upside. Despite the addition of LeBron, Ingram should at least be able to hit his numbers from last season, especially with Julius Randle out of the picture.

68. Dario Saric: Drastically improved his three-point shooting (39.3%), while providing adequate rebounding (6.7 RPG) and assists (2.6 APG) production.

69. Taurean Prince: Hawksí dismal season overshadowed a strong sophomore campaign.

70. DeAndre Jordan: Raised his free throw percentage but only averaged 0.9 blocks per game. His role is unlikely to change in Dallas.

71. Steven Adams: Averaged career-highs in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals and field goal percentage in 2017-18.

72. Enes Kanter: Rank could change based on Porzingisí health.

73. Kent Bazemore: Only played 65 games last season but remained a good source of efficient threes and steals.

74. Evan Fournier: Averaging 65.5 games played over the past four years; may be hitting his ceiling.

75. Jayson Tatum: Hayward will be back, but Boston will have a hard time keeping one of the leagueís brightest young stars off the court.

76. Thaddeus Young: Coming off of yet another solid-but-unspectacular season.

77. Dwight Howard: Charlotte was a mess, but Howard remained a double-double machine. The move to Washington shouldnít change that. Poor free-throw shooting keeps him low on the list.

78. Jusuf Nurkic: Portland opted to bring him back, and heíll likely play the same role as last season.

79. Jonas Valanciunas: Per-minute production was strong, but he played a career-low 22.4 minutes per game.

80. John Collins: Quietly averaged 15.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per-36 as a rookie and looked too good for Summer League.

81. Goran Dragic: Another consistent season overall, but his assists (4.8 APG) and steals (0.8 SPG) production leaves something to be desired.

82. Luka Doncic: Could see starterís minutes and should provide a balanced stat line. Ability to play multiple positions will keep him on the floor.

83. Darren Collison: Led the league in three-point efficiency (46.8%) on 3.0 attempts per game. However, Tyreke Evans may steal some of his usage.

84. J.J. Redick: Jumping back in for another one-year deal. Should play the same role as last season.

85. Harrison Barnes: Reliable scorer but looks like he may not have another gear.

86. Jabari Parker: Will be one of the most intriguing free agency decisions this summer.

87. Marvin Bagley: Should start at power forward and will be one of the teamís go-to scoring options. However, no Kings player saw 30 minutes per game last season. Itís unclear if that trend will continue. Donít expect Bagley to contribute much outside of points and rebounds.

88. Kyle Kuzma: Randle is gone, but LeBron has arrived. I donít imagine Kuzmaís role changing much this season.

89. Jaren Jackson: Could slot in as the Grizzliesí starting power forward but will likely have low usage considering the presence of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol.

90. Tim Hardaway: Efficiency fell last season, but Hardaway has serious good stats, bad team potential in 2018-19.

91. Nikola Vucevic: Was still the 60th-ranked player in 2017-18, despite appearing in just 57 contests. Career highs in both assists (3.4) and threes (1.1) per game. Has averaged 67.5 games played over the past six years. However, the presence of Mo Bamba will affect Vucevicís workload.

92. Andrew Wiggins: Played all 82 games and still only ended up ranked 89th. Itís possible he makes a leap, but thereís little evidence to suggest one should be expected.

93. T.J. Warren: Has missed 33 games over the past two years. Efficient scorer but canít hit threes. Itís possible Trevor Arizaís presence affects Warrenís workload.

94. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Should remain the starting shooting guard for the Lakers and continue to jack up plenty of threes.

95. Serge Ibaka: Will turn 29 in September but already looks to be on the wrong side of his prime.

96. Derrick Favors: Played 77 games last season after playing 62 and 50, respectively, during the previous two campaigns.

97. Taj Gibson: Played a career-high (by far) 33.2 minutes per game -- and played all 82 -- at age 32.

98. James Johnson: Shooting efficiency has come and gone on a year-to-year basis, but all-around production makes him a top-100 guy.

99. Trevor Ariza: Shouldnít have trouble seeing 30-plus minutes with the Suns and remaining a high-volume three-point shooter in a fast-paced offense.

100. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: Will need to become a better outside shooter to raise his ranking.

101. DíAngelo Russell: Has missed 53 games over the past two seasons. Making strides as a passer but efficiency remains a concern.

102. Dennis Smith: Rookie-year counting stats were solid, but he struggled on defense and shot less than 40% from the field.

103. Trae Young: Youngís Fantasy draft position will be all over the place. Iím generally down on him, as I think heíll go through stretches of wild inefficiency. Dennis Schroder is also still on the team.

104. Rajon Rondo: Itís hard to imagine his usage increasing while joining a team with LeBron James. But he shouldnít have much trouble seeing 20-25 minutes per night behind, or possibly next to, Lonzo Ball for stretches. Should continue to provide a high assist rate.

105. Patrick Beverley: Played just 11 games this season but was the 61st-ranked player by average. Still, health has been a concern throughout his career and the Clippers have a myriad of backcourt players.

106. Dejounte Murray: Efficiency and playmaking ability remain a question.

107. Buddy Hield: An elite three-point shooter whoís missed only two games in two years. If he can trend closer to 30 minutes per game, he could easily outpace this rank.

108. Kelly Olynyk: Could see a boost if the Heat move on from Whiteside.

109. Nicolas Batum: Turning into one of the leagueís worst contracts given team context, waning efficiency, and injury concerns.

110. Eric Gordon: Injury history is still an issue, but Gordon has averaged 3.2 made threes per game over the last two seasons.

111. Bogdan Bogdanovic: The Kingsí best rookie was not the guy they took fifth overall.

112. Carmelo Anthony: Maybe heíll bounce back? Maybe? Iím not risking it.

113. Allen Crabbe: Raises his volume but decreased his efficiency in 2017-18.

114. Wendell Carter: Could start at center for Chicago and is very well-rounded as a big man.

115. Willie Cauley-Stein: Made tangible strides in Year 3 but was partially the victim of the leagueís strangest rotation. The presence of Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles could affect Cauley-Steinís usage.

116.Elfrid Payton: His development has been underwhelming and heíll likely see lower usage now that heís on a better team.

117. DeíAaron Fox: Struggled where we thought heíd struggle and excelled where we thought heíd excel -- still underwhelmed a bit as a rookie.

118. Mohamed Bamba: Undoubtedly has massive shot-blocking upside as a rookie, but it's tough to gauge how much heíll be able to score. Plus, Nikola Vucevic is still in the picture.

119. Danilo Gallinari: Could be worth gambling on in the ninth or tenth round. But based on his injury history, Iíd avoid him almost entirely.

120. EíTwaun Moore: If heís the starter again going into next season, he could be worth taking in the eighth or ninth round.

121. Markieff Morris: Played more than four fewer minutes per game in 2017-18, compared to two seasons ago.

122. DeMarre Carroll: Bounced back after an injury-plagued stint in Toronto.

123. Brook Lopez: Joins a Bucks team in need of a center who can shoot threes.

124. Malcolm Brogdon: Last seasonís 97th-ranked player by average production. Upside is relatively limited given the Bucksí current roster and cap situation.

125. Caris LeVert: Had a quietly productive sophomore season, but the return of Jeremy Lin and other potential roster moves could cloud his future.

Other notables

Reggie Jackson: Missed nearly 70 combined games over the last two seasons.

Jarrett Allen: Averaged 1.7 blocks in 23.8 minutes over the final 31 games of the year. Should see more run this season.

Dirk Nowitzki: Workload and production continue to decline with age, but Dirk shot 41% from three last season.

Bobby Portis: Upside is somewhat capped due to Lauri Markkanen and No. 7 overall pick Wendell Carter.

Jaylen Brown: Has all the makings of a rising star, but heíll be the third-best player at his position on his own team.

Pau Gasol: Will turn 38 five days after free agency begins.

Jonathan Isaac: Played just 27 games as a rookie but averaged 4.2 combined steals/blocks per 36 minutes and will presumably start this season.

Kristaps Porzingis: There have been varying timetables given for his return. Itís unclear at the time of publication when -- or even if -- heíll play next season.

Marcus Smart: Saw nearly 30 minutes per game last season and was the 144th-ranked player by average. Itís possible he sees a bigger role if he changes teams during the offseason, but heís been wildly inconsistent on offense.

Josh Jackson: Rewarded DFS players with some great games as a starter late in the season but shot just 41.7 percent from the field, 26.3 percent from three and 63.4 percent from the charity stripe.

Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters: The emergence of Josh Richardson will probably mean fewer minutes for both Johnson and Waiters. Johnson was a borderline top-125 player last season and Waiters struggles with efficiency.

Markelle Fultz: Had a disastrous rookie campaign, but showed encouraging flashes during late-season comeback. Hopefully heíll play in summer league and/or preseason so we can see if his shot comes back before draft season.

Kevin Knox: Probably wonít be overly fantasy-relevant but could step into a starting role for a bad team in position to allow him to play through mistakes.

Isaiah Thomas: Will largely depend on where he signs.

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