2021-22 NBA fantasy basketball small forward rankings and tiers

FantasyPros breaks down the top SF options for the 2021-22 NBA Fantasy season.

Zachary Hanshew

Giannis is always a sure-fire fantasy pick, finishing in the top 5 nearly every season and that looks to continue in 2021-22.

Rankings are all well and good, but how close are players in value, really? Is the gap between the top-ranked small forward and the fourth-ranked small forward chiasmic? How about the gap from 17-29? Tiers can help to illustrate a closer approximation of value and show which players share similar ranges of outcomes.

This is the first in our series of positional tiers — which assume a standard 9-category format: PTS, REB, AST, STL, BLK, FG%, 3PM, FT% and TO — and we’ll be breaking down each position one-by-one over the next week.

Tier 1: Best of the Best

Kevin Durant, Paul George, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum

There’s a legitimate argument to be made for Durant in a tier of his own, but the others in this group are well deserving of Tier 1 honors as well. PG13 should thrive as the Clippers’ primary playmaker without Kawhi Leonard this season, and we likely haven’t seen the best from Giannis or Tatum yet.

Tier 2: Elite Options

Jimmy Butler, Michael Porter, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LeBron James, Zach LaVine, Khris Middleton, Tobias Harris, Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram, OG Anunoby

Brandon Ingram is a great pickup for fantasy heading into the 2021-22 season.

These guys don’t quite measure up to the Tier 1’s, but this is an elite group through and through. MPJ could be ready to take the next step and break into the first-round of fantasy value, while Anunoby is the biggest riser from last season thanks to his all-around game and increased opportunities.

Tier 3: Star Power & Consistency

Mikal Bridges, Gordon Hayward, Caris LeVert, DeMar DeRozan, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Miles Bridges, Jerami Grant, P.J. Washington

Caris LeVert is one of the most intriguing players in fantasy this season after showing tons of promise when he was on the court last year.

Mikal Bridges fell off a bit last season, but he’s still got top-50 upside. There are some unknowns in terms of usage for DeRozan, Grant, and Miles Bridges, though all of the guys in Tier 3 have pretty stable floors.

Tier 4: Fantastic Forwards

Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington, Jonathan Isaac, Kyle Anderson, Evan Fournier, Norman Powell, Thaddeus Young, Harrison Barnes, De’Andre Hunter, Keldon Johnson

This is the tier where value starts to get a bit more subjective. Can Keldon Johnson ascend with DeMar DeRozan gone? Will Robert Covington continue to thrive with Larry Nance challenging him for minutes? Can Jonathan Isaac return from a years-long absence to play meaningful basketball?

Tier 5: Good (but not great)

Saddiq Bey, Joe Ingles, Klay Thompson, Aleksej Pokusevski, Kyle Kuzma, Royce O’Neale, Joe Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Kawhi Leonard, Dillon Brooks

There are some high-upside guys in this tier, but they’ve got some risk attached to them. How will All-Rookie selection Bey be used with Cade Cunningham now on the roster? Can Poku continue to play meaningful minutes if the rest of the Thunder roster is healthy? Will Kuzma enjoy a resurgence in Washington now that he’s playing in LeBron James’ shadow?

Tier 6: Serviceable Plays

Marcus Morris, Patrick Williams, Nicolas Batum, Tim Hardaway, R.J. Barrett

Despite missing 2 straight seasons Klay should be able to return to his former self and someone you should look to draft later in your rounds.

We’re getting down to the bottom here, but there’s still value to be found. Morris and Batum should have stable floors with Kawhi Leonard out, and Patrick Williams may be ready to take the next step in Year 2 after a dominant Summer League.

Tier 7: Late-Rounders

Jae Crowder, Duncan Robinson, Kelly Oubre, Danny Green, Bojan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, Kevin Huerter, Will Barton

You’ll find mostly 3-and-D guys in this tier, so temper expectations accordingly. There are some useful players in Tier 7, though none have top-100 upside.