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2010-11 Draft Prep: Forward Tiers

Sergio Gonzalez
Fantasy Writer
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You are up in the draft. Hurry up. Time is ticking. Make a pick. Make a pick. Make a pick.

That's your pick? Really? Thanks for the donation, make sure you pay your league fee up front.

Just about every Fantasy owner has had it happen to them at some point. You get forced into making a rash decision and spend the rest of the season thinking about the players you could have had if you'd only had the chance to think about it a little longer. But in a timed draft, time is of the essence and you'd better do a lot of your thinking before your draft ever starts.

That's right, if you want to be good at this whole Fantasy thing and want to be more than just an annual contributor to your buddy's bank roll, you've got do do your homework.

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That's where we come in.

We are in the business of getting you as prepared as possible for your draft. Consider us like the nerd in your high school algebra class who you got to do your homework by promising an invite to the party on Friday night.

One of the most successful draft strategies we recommend and subscribe to ourselves is the use of tiers when drafting.

What it boils down to is grouping players at each position into clusters of similar players. At each position, there are different levels of players. The trick is to group a series of players who you feel could conceivably finish in the same relative production level by season's end.

By mapping these players out and having them in front of you while you draft, you can give yourself a better visual guide as far as what is really left at each position in order to make a better decision. For example, if your pick is up and you see that your list still has more than a few players available at a certain position that you'd be comfortable with and only a couple at another position then the decision is clear.

The idea is to come up with a "last-resort" player for each tier. This is the last player you'd be comfortable drafting at a certain level. The levels can be determined in different ways. One way to do it is by breaking down players into position slots. Decide who the very last player you'd be comfortable with as your No. 1 forward, your No. 2 forward, etc.

Cross off the players in each of your tiers as your draft goes on and make a move when you start running out of names. It's simple and it works.

We've taken the liberty of coming up with our own tiers for you at each position. While we always recommend coming up with your own based on your league's format and your own notions and research, rest assured that a lot of thought and research was put into our set of tiers. We've got a lot of time to think about Fantasy hoops, time that you may not have considering that pesky job or family thing you've got going on.

So print them out, take them with you to your draft and cross off players as picks are made. You'll make much smarter picks and will come away with a much more balanced team as a result.

You are welcome. We're still on for Friday night, though, right?

Players denoted with a (*) indicate players who may not be eligible at the given position in your league. Check your position eligibility rules accordingly. Players denoted with a (inj) tag indicate players who are expected to miss time going into the season.

Forwards

LeBron James has company at the top. Kevin Durant is our new choice for the No. 1 overall pick in all Fantasy formats, but we aren't ready to knock King James too far down as you can see.

There seems to be less depth at the top at the forward position than at guard, so you may want to keep that in mind early in your draft. Consider snagging a top forward or two before selecting a guard. Depending on where you pick in the draft, you could come away with a Dirk Nowitzki and Danny Granger and still come away with a pair of high level guard with your next two picks.

Later in the draft, there seems to be much more depth at forward and there is plenty of sleeper and breakout appeal in the lower levels at this position. Plan accordingly.

Tiers

Super-elite: Kevin Durant, LeBron James

Elite: Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Amar'e Stoudemire, Pau Gasol, Andre Iguodala, Danny Granger, Brandon Roy*

Next best thing: Chris Bosh, Zach Randolph, Al Jefferson*

High-end starters: Stephen Jackson, Antawn Jamison, Gerald Wallace, Josh Smith, Tim Duncan, David West, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Carlos Boozer (inj)

Reliable starters: Rudy Gay, Luol Deng, Paul Pierce, John Salmons, Jeff Green, Blake Griffin, Carl Landry, Andray Blatche*, Nene, Trevor Ariza, Caron Butler, Luis Scola, Michael Beasley, Troy Murphy, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler*, Marcus Camby

Low-end starters: Lamar Odom, Al Harrington, Hedo Turkoglu, Tayshaun Prince, Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko, Boris Diaw, Elton Brand, Corey Brewer, Rashard Lewis, Thaddeus Young, Corey Maggette (inj)

Quality reserves: Shawn Marion, Ron Artest, Anthony Randolph, Paul Millsap, Jason Thompson, Richard Jefferson, Tyrus Thomas, Taj Gibson, Derrick Favors, Anthony Tolliver, Terrence Williams, J.J. Hickson, Carlos Delfino, DeMarcus Cousins, Marreese Speights, DeJuan Blair,Josh McRoberts

Reserves: Charlie Villanueva, Drew Gooden, Udonis Haslem, Marvin Williams, Ersan Ilyasova, Linas Kleiza, Kenyon Martin (inj), Josh Howard (inj), Tiago Splitter, Omri Casspi, Wesley Johnson, Al Thornton

Low-end reserves: Grant Hill, Anderson Varejao, Mike Miller, Yi Jianlian, Ryan Gomes, Kelenna Azubuike (inj), Hakim Warrick, Shane Battier, Rasual Butler, Jared Dudley, Wesley Matthews, Amir Johnson, Peja Stojakovic, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Greg Monroe

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Basketball questions to DMFantasyHoops@cbs.com . Be sure to put Forward Tiers in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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