It's Week 7 of fantasy basketball and we are now about a quarter of the way through the NBA season, a decent sample size. Meanwhile, Brook Lopez, Lauri Markkanen, Bol Bol, O.G. Anunoby and Kelly Olynyk all sit in the top 25 of ESPN's Player Ranker.
So which of these players are here to stay and which are due to fall back to where many expected before the season started?
Here are Eric Moody, Eric Karabell, Jim McCormick and John Cregan with their favorite picks to continue their hot start to the season.
Lopez offers the unique skill set of leading the sport in blocked shots and hitting 2.4 3-pointers per game. Nobody else is close to averaging 2 blocks and 3-pointers per game, and this is a real differentiator on the Player Rater. Lopez isn't overachieving, really, which is why he may end up a top-10 option come May. His scoring and rebounding numbers remain modest and sustainable, and the Bucks are giving him his most minutes per game since the 2015-16 season. Lopez really can keep going at this pace. -- Karabell
It's between Markkanen and Lopez for me. Lopez has a real case given the elite block rate is real for a player who has been among the league leaders in swats several times, but his surge in scoring and shooting volume could change when Khris Middleton returns, while he's also faced injury concerns deep into his career. Markkanen, however, is seemingly capable of sustaining his current rate of production given his numbers for the past week are nearly identical to his season-long numbers and he's entering his prime in regards to age curve. As one of the rare key rotation players for the Jazz that is highly unlikely to be dealt, Markkanen could actually take on even more offensive usage if the team does in fact deal the likes of volume scorers Jordan Clarkson and/or Malik Beasley. -- McCormick
In these "will this stick?" postulations, I look for injury history, age (in terms of career evolution), rotational security, and their team's odds of tanking. Any one of those factors can disrupt an overachieving season. And all of these players have red flags in at least two of those four areas. So I'm going to play it safe and default to Lopez for a simple reason: he's done it before. He's posted top-25 campaigns in the past. Look at his 2015-16 and 2016-17 lines for the Nets. Yes, his injury concerns are legion. But those two seasons are all the proof I need to make the call. -- Cregan
It's Markkanen for me. He's the Jazz's most valuable player. His success in EuroBasket play has been a catalyst for his success so far in the NBA. Markkanen has averaged a career-high 22.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG and 2.2 APG. His usage rate of 24% makes him an essential Jazz player going forward. -- Moody