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2012-13 Draft Prep: Positional tiers

by | Fantasy Writer
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With Draft season here, most Fantasy owners are doing their last-second preparations to be as ready as possible when the big day rolls around. And in the spirit of assembling the most potent team in your league, we at CBSSports.com have once again put together our annual tiers -- designed to help owners make the best selections possible. In this piece we have broken down each position into different tiers owners can use as a reference to see who is still available and who will add the most value to their squad. You must do your homework, but breaking down players into tiers should give you a leg up on the competition when drafting.

Best of luck to all playing Fantasy hoops this season and we hope to see you in the playoffs.

Guards

Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook look to be the best guards available on Draft Day in most formats, albeit Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, Ty Lawson, Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis are right on their heels. However, there are still around 20 guards capable of producing at an extremely high level, including Derrick Rose and Ricky Rubio, who are both recovering from knee injuries. There is also a ton of sleeper and breakout potential in the lower tiers of the position, so owners could catch lightning in a bottle in the later rounds. Still, we recommend trying to grab at least one of the elite to high-end options in the early part of your draft.

A category to themselves: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook

Elite: Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving

Next best thing: Ty Lawson, Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash, Monta Ellis

High-end starters: John Wall, Kemba Walker, Mike Conley, Dwyane Wade, James Harden, Goran Dragic, Jrue Holiday, Joe Johnson, Stephen Curry, Kyle Lowry, Jeremy Lin, Jeff Teague, Eric Gordon, Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson, Ricky Rubio, Brandon Jennings, Tony Parker

Reliable starters: Darren Collison, Lou Williams, Tyreke Evans, Raymond Felton, Brandon Knight, Damian Lillard, Evan Turner, Paul George, Marcus Thornton, Manu Ginobili, DeMar DeRozan, Mo Williams, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Martin, Isaiah Thomas

Low-end starters: Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Luke Ridnour, Andre Miller, Ramon Sessions, Kirk Hinrich, Bradley Beal, Gerald Henderson, Wesley Matthews, Jamal Crawford, Nick Young, Jerryd Bayless, Devin Harris, D.J. Augustin, Jose Calderon, George Hill, Jarrett Jack, Jason Terry, Rodney Stuckey

Quality Reserves: Jose Juan Barea, Jason Richardson, J.R. Smith, Alonzo Gee, MarShon Brooks, Jordan Crawford, Jared Dudley, Landry Fields, Jason Kidd, Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe, Courtney Lee, Mike Dunleavy, Austin Rivers, Ray Allen, Ben Gordon, Stephen Jackson, Chauncey Billups, Aaron Brooks

Reserves: Mario Chalmers, Alexey Shved, Jodie Meeks, Tony Allen, Iman Shumpert, J.J. Redick, Dion Waiters, Randy Foye

Low-end reserves: Marquis Teague, Shannon Brown, Vince Carter, Ronnie Brewer, Jeremy Lamb, Steve Blake, Leandro Barbosa, Charles Jenkins, Jimmer Fredette, C.J. Watson, Delonte West, Terrence Williams, Will Barton, Shaun Livingston, Nate Robinson, Toney Douglas, Shelvin Mack, Willie Green

Forwards

LeBron James once again retained in crown as the top Fantasy producer last season but Kevin Durant and Kevin Love were right on his heels. However, Love's hand injury will force him to miss some time, which is the only reason why he is not grouped with James and Durant. Josh Smith, Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin appear to be closing the gap while LaMarcus Aldridge also took some major steps forward last season. Owners should plan on trying to snatch up a forward from the first three tiers of the position in the early going as there is a huge dropoff in production once you get past the reliable starters. Still, with plenty of sleepers and breakout options at the position it's still possible to scoop up some solid starting-level talent in the later rounds.

A category to themselves: LeBron James, Kevin Durant

Elite: Kevin Love, Josh Smith, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin

Next best thing: Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Greg Monroe, Andre Iguodala

High-end starters: Rudy Gay, David Lee, Paul Millsap, Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tim Duncan

Reliable starters: Gerald Wallace, Kevin Garnett, Luis Scola, Danny Granger, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Michael Beasley, Kenneth Faried, Ryan Anderson, David West, Zach Randolph, Kris Humphries, Nicolas Batum, Ersan Ilyasova, Serge Ibaka, Danilo Gallinari, J.J. Hickson

Low-end starters: Glen Davis, Thaddeus Young, Gordon Hayward, Elton Brand, Trevor Ariza, Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Bass, Kawhi Leonard, Drew Gooden, Shawn Marion, Carlos Delfino, Boris Diaw. Omer Asik, Caron Butler, Al Harrington, Antawn Jamison

Quality Reserves: Chandler Parsons, Derrick Favors, Dorell Wright, Lamar Odom, Derrick Williams, Taj Gibson, Tayshaun Prince, Tristan Thompson, Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams, Amir Johnson, Hedo Turkoglu, Harrison Barnes, Metta World Peace, Jason Thompson

Reserves: Shane Battier, Corey Brewer, Wesley Johnson, Royce White, Brandon Rush, Jonas Jerebko, Ed Davis, Markieff Morris, Chase Budinger, Carl Landry, Trevor Booker, Tyler Hansbrough, James Johnson, Omri Casspi, Ekpe Udoh, Corey Maggette, Jordan Hill

Low-end reserves: Grant Hill, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Andrew Nicholson, Jared Sullinger, Kevin Seraphin, Thomas Robinson, Chris Singleton, Marreese Speights, Al-Farouq Aminu, Donatas Motiejunas, Patrick Patterson, Jan Vesely, Jae Crowder, Tyrus Thomas, Andre Drummond

Centers

While Dwight Howard has stood alone as the top option in the middle over the last few years, his move to Los Angeles seems to have shifted the balance of power a bit. The fact that Love is eligible at center gives him a slight edge over Howard and fast-riser Andrew Bynum, who were the two top-scoring options at their position last year, in terms of Fantasy points. However, because Love is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with an injury, Howard and Bynum earned their own category. Despite his setback, Love should still be considered an elite option at center along with DeMarcus Cousins and Aldridge. While center is still by far the shallowest position in Fantasy -- in terms of depth -- the addition of a new wave of young promising players has added some girth to the position. Still, with only a handful of proven elite and high-end talent available, owners may want to put a big man on their radar in the early going or risk paying the price down the road.

A category to themselves: Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum

Elite: DeMarcus Cousins, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love

Next best thing: Al Jefferson, Greg Monroe, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol

High-end starters: David Lee, Al Horford, Roy Hibbert, Marcin Gortat, Kevin Garnett, Joakim Noah, Amar'e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Tyson Chandler, Andrew Bogut, Brook Lopez

Low-end starters: Anthony Davis, Nene, J.J. Hickson, Serge Ibaka, Nikola Pekovic, JaVale McGee, Chris Kaman, Emeka Okafor, DeAndre Jordan, Glen Davis, Samuel Dalembert, Anderson Varejao, Gustavo Ayon, Omer Asik

Reserves: Tristan Thompson, Bismack Biyombo, Byron Mullens, Derrick Favors, Nikola Vucevic, Jason Thompson, Tiago Splitter, Drew Gooden, Andre Drummond, Amir Johnson, Boris Diaw, Jonas Valanciunas, Spencer Hawes, DeJuan Blair, Ed Davis, Chuck Hayes, Marcus Camby, Tyler Zeller, Marcus Camby, Meyers Leonard

Low-end reserves: Donatas Motiejunas, Kevin Seraphin, Kendrick Perkins, Zaza Pachulia, Udonis Haslem, Enes Kanter, Matt Bonner, Ekpe Udoh, Timofey Mozgov, Greg Stiemsma, Jason Smith, Robin Lopez, Jordan Hill, Chris Wilcox, Dante Cunningham, Matt Bonner, Nick Collison, Ian Mahinmi

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- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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