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Things can change quickly in the fantasy world, and just one or two weeks of action can create quite a bit of reshuffling in the top 130 rankings. Let's take a look at some of the big movers and shakers in the rankings after the first quarter of the season.
Paul George, SF/SG, Indiana Pacers -- When George finished the month of November with averages of 14.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.6 blocks and 2.2 3-pointers per game while shooting just 39.2 percent from the floor, I highlighted him as a top buy-low candidate. But I hedged my bet by stating that his Nicholas Batum-like breakout might be a season or so away. I was half-right; since then, George has caught fire, averaging 20.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.6 3-pointers in the month of December. It may have taken him some time to adjust to the attention that opposing defenses have given him with Danny Granger out, but George clearly has his confidence back after a rough start to the season, and now ranks sixth among small forwards and shooting guards on our Player Rater.
Ersan Ilyasova, SF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks -- Don't look now, but everyone's favorite early-season bust is starting to play with more and more confidence every day. After a disastrous start, Ilyasova has posted 12.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 1.1 3-pointers per game in 24.5 minutes over his past eight contests. More importantly, after shooting just 34.9 percent from the floor in November, he is shooting 46.8 percent this month. I don't think that Ilyasova owners are completely out of the woods yet, but there's a lot to be excited about given his recent production in limited minutes, particularly if you were able to grab him off the waiver wire during his slump. Ilyasova is still available in a few leagues (81.9 percent owned in ESPN.com leagues), and it's very rare that you can find a potential top-50 talent in free agency at this stage of the season.
Brandon Knight, PG/SG, Detroit Pistons -- Taking advantage of increased minutes in coach Lawrence Frank's tightened rotations, Knight has broken out with averages of 18.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.9 steals and 2.4 3-pointers in nine games this month. Knight averaged 5.6 assists per game in November, but he has taken on more of a scoring role in recent action with backcourt mate Rodney Stuckey finally playing well. I'd still love to see more assists and steals from Knight, but I'm not going to complain if he continues to provide points and 3-pointers in bunches. Many fantasy owners are advocating a sell-high approach regarding Knight, but his recent spike in value has much more to do with an increase in minutes than just a simple hot shooting streak, which makes me think that this level of production is sustainable in the long term.
Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, Brooklyn Nets -- Stunted by an ankle injury at the start of the season, Wallace has finally found his way in Brooklyn, averaging 13.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 1.1 blocks and 1.4 3-pointers in eight games this month. Owners who were worried about how he would fit into the revamped Nets lineup can breathe a sigh of relief, as Wallace has secured his role in the rotation with inspiring play on both ends of the court. "Crash" is back, and he'll continue to provide a versatile blend of fantasy statistics for as long as he's able to stay healthy.
Deron Williams, PG, Brooklyn Nets -- When Deron joined the Nets during the 2010-11 season, we figured that he'd post increased scoring numbers along with a corresponding drop in field goal percentage that typically plagues high-volume shooters on teams that are void of offensive firepower. What we didn't expect was that this would be the start of a trend that is still showing itself two seasons later. We can forgive him for shooting 40.7 percent from the floor last season, but shooting 38.8 percent after 23 games with Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez at his disposal is not going to cut it for an elite fantasy point guard. Deron has fallen in love with the 3-point shot during his Nets tenure, attempting almost double the number of 3s than he did with the Jazz. As a fantasy owner, we'd accept this if he was scoring and handing out assists at a higher rate, but Williams is averaging just 17.0 points, 8.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.7 3-pointers per game this season. Don't get me wrong, those are still fine numbers, but they aren't what we've come to expect out of Williams, and they are only good enough to rank him 15th among point guards on our Player Rater. That said, I'm going to adjust my rankings to reflect Williams' value more accurately at 20th overall, between Brandon Jennings and Damian Lillard.
Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami Heat -- As my colleague Seth Landman accurately pointed out earlier this week, Wade has been a major disappointment in the fantasy game through the first quarter of the season. There's still a lot to like about Wade's 19.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game on 50.8 percent shooting from the floor, but the 30-year-old doesn't look as explosive as he has in seasons past. I've always loved Wade's fantasy game despite his lack of 3-point shooting because of his ability to produce across the board (particularly in steals and blocks). However, this season it doesn't look like he's going to be the multi-category producer we once knew and loved.
Andre Iguodala, SG, Denver Nuggets -- I really thought Iguodala would flourish in coach George Karl's fast-paced offense, but we're a month-and-a-half through the season and Iggy is averaging just 13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers in 35.4 minutes per game. There's still a good amount of value here because of his statistical diversity, but Iguodala isn't efficient enough from the floor (43.6 percent) or the line (68.8 percent), and he is getting only 11.8 shots per game with the Nuggets.
Luis Scola, PF, Phoenix Suns -- I could list a number of Phoenix Suns in this space thanks to coach Alvin Gentry's incredibly frustrating rotations, but Scola's drop in value appears to be the most severe at the moment. Averaging 10.0 points and 5.4 rebounds in just 18.0 minutes over his past five games, Scola can safely be cut in most fantasy formats. I'm still holding out hope that Gentry will come to his senses with players like Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat, but the 9-15 Suns are going to continue to frustrate fantasy owners until Gentry tightens up his rotations.