Fantasy basketball playoff rankings

Updated: April 26, 2012, 3:22 PM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com

With the regular season wrapping up on Thursday night and postseason play beginning on Saturday, fantasy hoops fans have either packed it in for the year or found a fantasy playoff league to fill the void. For those who are not participating in fantasy playoff leagues, I'll be posting a very early look at the top 100 players for next season on Monday, but for those who are, I've ranked my top 80 for the 2012 playoffs below.

Playoff leagues can be tricky mostly because player values are heavily weighted toward those on teams that are able to advance into the deeper rounds. My playoff predictions are fairly clear based on the rankings, but I like the Thunder and Heat to meet in the Finals with the Bulls, Spurs, Celtics, Grizzlies and Lakers as semi-sleeper teams, as well.

1. Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder: Tough call between Durant and LeBron for the top spot. Durant gets the edge in case LeBron self-destructs before the Finals.

2. LeBron James, SF, Miami Heat: Even if Bron struggles at the end of games, there's no doubt that he'll post some serious numbers throughout the playoffs.

3. Dwyane Wade, SG, Heat: Getting some much-deserved rest in the weeks prior to the playoffs. I expect him to be 100 percent come playoff time.

4. Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder: He'll shoot, shoot and shoot some more, but should fantasy owners care after he shot 45.6 percent from the floor during the regular season?

[+] EnlargeDerrick Rose
AP Photo/Darron CummingsDerrick Rose has been eased back into the lineup, but is capable of huge playoff numbers.

5. Derrick Rose, PG, Chicago Bulls: Averaged 27.1 points and 7.7 assists in 16 playoff games last year, but is he healthy enough to do it again?

6. Paul Pierce, SF, Boston Celtics: If the Celtics are going to make a deep run, it's going to be the Pierce and Garnett show.

7. Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers: He's a little banged-up heading into postseason play, but come on, it's Kobe Bryant and it's playoff basketball.

8. Tony Parker, PG, San Antonio Spurs: Underrated all year, Parker shouldn't be overlooked here.

9. James Harden, SG, Thunder: Hasn't played since "the elbow," but he's been cleared to play and we all know how important he is to the Thunder lineup.

10. Andrew Bynum, C, Lakers: With Dwight Howard out, Bynum is the premier center for fantasy playoff leaguers.

11. Kevin Garnett, PF/C, Celtics: Ultra-motivated, there is no doubt that KG will bring his A-game to the postseason.

12. Chris Bosh, PF/C, Heat: Did I mention games played will make a big difference in fantasy playoff leagues?

13. Rajon Rondo, PG, Celtics
14. Pau Gasol, PF/C, Lakers
15. Tim Duncan, PF/C, Spurs: Duncan has had a brilliant season on a per-minute basis, and there's no way he's playing fewer than 32 minutes per game in the playoffs.

16. Serge Ibaka, C/PF, Thunder
17. Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers: High risk if the Clips stumble in the first round, but high reward if he goes into beast mode like he did against the Lakers last year.

18. Joakim Noah, C/PF, Bulls
19. Marc Gasol, C, Memphis Grizzlies: A risky pick if Memphis doesn't make it out of the first round, but Gasol has been dominant all year despite his recent struggles.

20. Manu Ginobili, SG, Spurs: See Duncan, Tim.

21. Rudy Gay, SF, Grizzlies: Getting his first taste of playoff basketball after missing last year due to injury.

22. Luol Deng, SF, Bulls: Looks healthy again after sitting out a few games with bruised ribs.

23. Danny Granger, SF, Indiana Pacers: The closest thing the Pacers have to a go-to scorer.

24. Roy Hibbert, C, Pacers
25. Carmelo Anthony, SF, New York Knicks: I don't think the Knicks can knock off the Heat, but if they do it will be solely because of Melo, who is averaging 30-plus points per game this month.

26. Carlos Boozer, PF, Bulls
27. Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers
28. Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies: Quietly had a fantastic season with 12.9 points, 6.6 assists and 2.2 steals.

29. Ramon Sessions, PG, Lakers: He's averaged 12.6 points and 6.3 assists since joining the Lakers.

30. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks: Will put the team on his back, but can the Mavs make it out of Round 1?

31. Josh Smith, PF/SF, Atlanta Hawks: Minus his poor free throw shooting, Smith turned in his best season as a pro. Unfortunately, the Hawks will likely be bounced from the playoffs in the first round.

32. Ray Allen, SG, Celtics: Allen should be healthy for the playoffs, but will it take him some time to find his rhythm? Avery Bradley has played exceedingly well in Allen's absence.

33. Daniel Green, SG, Spurs: Doesn't play as many minutes as we'd like, but has been productive with averages of 11.9 points and 2.4 3-pointers in April.

34. Ryan Anderson, PF, Orlando Magic
35. Paul George, SF/SG, Pacers
36. Mario Chalmers, PG, Heat: An underrated fantasy talent thanks to his ability to hit 3-pointers and create steals.

37. David West, PF, Pacers: After a mediocre season, West has turned things around with 15.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in the month of April.

38. Joe Johnson, SG/SF, Hawks

39. Al Jefferson, C/PF, Utah Jazz: Big Al finished the season 14th on the Player Rater, so he'll still offer some value even if the Jazz are sent packing in the first round.

40. Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies: Averaging just 26.2 minutes per game since the All-Star break, I have to think he'll see more run in the postseason.

41. Paul Millsap, PF, Jazz: See Jefferson, Al.

42. Ty Lawson, PG, Denver Nuggets
43. Tyson Chandler, C, Knicks

44. Richard Hamilton, SG, Bulls: Has taken a much bigger role as a scorer with Rose and Deng banged up this month.

45. Amare Stoudemire, PF/C, Knicks: We'll find out very quickly if Amare is able to adapt and put up numbers on what has become Carmelo's team.

46. Randy Foye, SG/PG, Clippers
47. Brandon Bass, PF/C, Celtics
48. O.J. Mayo, SG, Grizzlies: Averaging 13.3 points, 1.1 steals and 1.6 3-pointers since the All-Star break.

49. Avery Bradley, SG/PG, Celtics: A solid sleeper pick if Ray Allen's injury lingers into the postseason.

50. Jason Terry, SG, Mavericks
51. Glen Davis, PF/C, Magic: Davis has posted 17.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in the absence of Howard this month.

52. Caron Butler, SF, Clippers
53. Arron Afflalo, SG, Nuggets
54. George Hill, PG/SG, Pacers: The Pacers have been on quite a roll since Hill took over as the starting point guard, and he's averaging 10.5 points, 4.7 assists and 1.1 3-pointers this month.

55. Jeff Teague, PG, Hawks
56. Udonis Haslem, PF, Heat
57. Kendrick Perkins, C, Thunder: Both Perkins and Haslem should be considered quality sleepers if you think the Heat and Thunder will meet for the title.

[+] EnlargeAndre Iguodala
Howard Smith/US PresswireThe 76ers have been scuffling, but any hopes they have in the playoffs are tied to Andre Iguodala.

58. Andre Iguodala, SF/SG, Philadelphia 76ers: Philly is a potential sweep candidate, but the Sixers could steal a game or two in the first round.

59. Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF, Nuggets
60. Jameer Nelson, PG, Magic
61. Jason Kidd, PG, Mavericks: He may be old, but he's still posting 7.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.3 3-pointers per game this month.

62. Tony Allen, SG, Grizzlies
63. Gordon Hayward, SG/SF, Jazz: What a finish to his sophomore campaign: 17.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.9 3-pointers per game in the month of April.

64. Jrue Holiday, PG, 76ers
65. Al Harrington, PF, Nuggets
66. Devin Harris, PG, Jazz: After a slow start, Harris has completely turned around his season with a solid finish after the All-Star break.

67. DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers
68. Delonte West, SG/PG, Mavericks: Quietly averaging 13.0 points and 0.9 steals per game this month.

69. Lou Williams, SG/PG, 76ers
70. Kenneth Faried, PF, Nuggets: Fantasy owners should watch Faried closely during postseason play. He's got a Paul Millsap kind of game.

71. Elton Brand, PF, 76ers
72. Andre Miller, PG, Nuggets
73. Evan Turner, SG/SF, 76ers
74. Iman Shumpert, PG/SG, Knicks: Shump won't do much on the offensive end, but if the Knicks are moving past the first round he'll need to be on the court for his defense.

75. Shawn Marion, SF/PF, Mavericks
76. Kyle Korver, SG/SF, Bulls: A 3-point specialist only, but if the Bulls go deep in the playoffs he could pay nice dividends.

77. J.R. Smith, SG/SF, Knicks
78. Jason Richardson, SG/SF, Magic
79. J.J. Redick, SG, Magic
80. Taj Gibson, PF, Bulls: I love the way Gibson plays off the bench for the Bulls, and he's shown nice promise in the playoffs the past two seasons.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com and is a two-time Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year, as named by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

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