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Monday, March 4, 2013
Don't sell high on Al Horford

By Brian McKitish
Special to ESPN.com

The Top 130

Note: Brian McKitish's top 130 players are ranked for their fantasy value from this point forward in the 2012-13 NBA season. Previous rank is indicated in parentheses.

1. Kevin Durant, OKC (1)
2. LeBron James, MIA (2)
3. Chris Paul, LAC (3)
4. Russell Westbrook, OKC (4)
5. James Harden, HOU (5)
6. Stephen Curry, GS (6)
7. Nicolas Batum, POR (8)
8. Kobe Bryant, LAL (9)
9. Dwyane Wade, MIA (11)
10. Kyrie Irving, CLE (7)
11. Carmelo Anthony, NY (10)
12. Serge Ibaka, OKC (12)
13. Paul George, IND (13)
14. Marc Gasol, MEM (14)
15. Rudy Gay, TOR (15)
16. Dirk Nowitzki, DAL (18)
17. Ty Lawson, DEN (16)
18. Josh Smith, ATL (17)
19. Brook Lopez, BKN (19)
20. Jrue Holiday, PHI (20)
21. Paul Pierce, BOS (23)
22. David Lee, GS (22)
23. Jeff Teague, ATL (26)
24. LaMarcus Aldridge, POR (24)
25. Joakim Noah, CHI (34)
26. Al Horford, ATL (42)
27. Blake Griffin, LAC (27)
28. Greg Monroe, DET (31)
29. Ersan Ilyasova, MIL (32)
30. Larry Sanders, MIL (40)
31. Al Jefferson, UTAH (28)
32. Damian Lillard, POR (29)
33. Ricky Rubio, MIN (41)
34. Brandon Jennings, MIL (21)
35. Deron Williams, BKN (35)
36. John Wall, WSH (30)
37. Kemba Walker, CHA (38)
38. DeMarcus Cousins, SAC (33)
39. Mike Conley, MEM (36)
40. Kevin Garnett, BOS (39)
41. Greivis Vasquez, NO (43)
42. Goran Dragic, PHO (58)
43. Dwight Howard, LAL (49)
44. Ryan Anderson, NO (48)
45. Zach Randolph, MEM (47)
46. Danilo Gallinari, DEN (44)
47. Chris Bosh, MIA (45)
48. Jose Calderon, DET (46)
49. Anthony Davis, NO (37)
50. Kyle Lowry, TOR (50)
51. J.R. Smith, NY (51)
52. Klay Thompson, GS (54)
53. Monta Ellis, MIL (60)
54. George Hill, IND (55)
55. Tim Duncan, SA (56)
56. Kenneth Faried, DEN (52)
57. Nikola Vucevic, ORL (53)
58. Paul Millsap, UTAH (57)
59. Jarrett Jack, GS (59)
60. Luol Deng, CHI (62)
61. Tyreke Evans, SAC (68)
62. Wesley Matthews, POR (66)
63. Nikola Pekovic, MIN (67)
64. Isaiah Thomas, SAC (72)
65. Tyson Chandler, NY (76)
66. Jameer Nelson, ORL (63)
67. Jeremy Lin, HOU (71)
68. Steve Nash, LAL (70)
69. David West, IND (73)
70. Andre Iguodala, DEN (75)
71. Carlos Boozer, CHI (77)
72. Omer Asik, HOU (78)
73. Roy Hibbert, IND (65)
74. Tristan Thompson, CLE (79)
75. Chandler Parsons, HOU (83)
76. O.J. Mayo, DAL (61)
77. J.J. Hickson, POR (82)
78. Jamal Crawford, LAC (80)
79. Bradley Beal, WSH (69)
80. Joe Johnson, BKN (81)
81. Kevin Martin, OKC (74)
82. Manu Ginobili, SA (94)
83. Daniel Green, SA (98)
84. Jeff Green, BOS (95)
85. Thaddeus Young, PHI (96)
86. Kawhi Leonard, SA (87)
87. Evan Turner, PHI (89)
88. Emeka Okafor, WSH (97)
89. Amare Stoudemire, NY (85)
90. Raymond Felton, NY (86)
91. Kevin Love, MIN (108)
92. Andrei Kirilenko, MIN (64)
93. Amir Johnson, TOR (93)
94. Darren Collison, DAL (88)
95. Arron Afflalo, ORL (105)
96. Gordon Hayward, UTAH (112)
97. Danny Granger, IND (84)
98. DeMar DeRozan, TOR (99)
99. Marcus Thornton, SAC (NR)
100. Eric Gordon, NO (100)
101. Carlos Delfino, HOU (116)
102. Shawn Marion, DAL (102)
103. Kyle Korver, ATL (104)
104. Nene Hilario, WSH (91)
105. Dion Waiters, CLE (111)
106. Marcin Gortat, PHO (110)
107. J.J. Redick, MIL (126)
108. Earl Clark, LAL (90)
109. Byron Mullens, CHA (92)
110. Metta World Peace, LAL (106)
111. Tiago Splitter, SA (107)
112. Nate Robinson, CHI (109)
113. Gerald Henderson, CHA (113)
114. Moe Harkless, ORL (114)
115. Luke Ridnour, MIN (122)
116. Derrick Williams, MIN (NR)
117. Brandon Knight, DET (NR)
118. Derrick Rose, CHI (118)
119. Vince Carter, DAL (119)
120. Tobias Harris, ORL (NR)
121. Derrick Favors, UTAH (121)
122. Ramon Sessions, CHA (103)
123. Tony Allen, MEM (124)
124. Andre Drummond, DET (125)
125. Jermaine O'Neal, PHO (NR)
126. Trevor Ariza, WSH (NR)
127. Rodney Stuckey, DET (129)
128. Nando de Colo, SA (NR)
129. Carl Landry, GS (NR)
130. Avery Bradley, BOS (NR)

With only a month and a half left in the season, let's take a walk around the league with some of the more notable storylines affecting the fantasy landscape the past week:

• Perhaps lost in my incessant support of Jeff Teague has been his teammate Al Horford's rise to dominance. Since the start of February, Horford is playing as well as any big man in the game, averaging 21.4 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.8 blocks per contest. Those numbers are good enough to put him sixth on our Player Rater the past 30 days. I've heard a lot of chatter about selling Horford high after this stretch, but those looking to sell high on the big man should consider that: 1) Horford historically has been a double-double machine, if you exclude last year's injury-marred season; and 2) This hot streak coincided with Lou Williams' injury. With Williams down, both Teague and Horford have taken their games to new heights, and I wouldn't be surprised if Horford continues to provide top 25-30 fantasy value the rest of the way.

• I still want to give it some time before I downgrade Brandon Jennings too much, but his numbers since the J.J. Redick trade are of concern. At just 9.5 points, 9.0 assists, 0.5 steals and 1.0 3-pointers in 34.2 minutes in four games since the trade, Jennings appears to be struggling to adjust to the addition of Redick in the lineup. What's most interesting about this scenario is that Monta Ellis has seen in uptick in production, with 20.0 points, 8.4 assists, 3.8 steals and 0.8 3-pointers per game in his past five contests. This isn't a trend that I expect to last too long, so Jennings makes for a solid buy-low candidate even though I've dropped him from 21st to 34th in my top-130 rankings

Goran Dragic has had such an up-and-down season that it's hard to get terribly excited about him, but I'm certainly encouraged by his recent play, especially when considering that his minutes have jumped into the 35-38 range since the start of February. With 35.1 minutes per game that month, and 38.1 since the All-Star break, Dragic has posted 13.9 points, 9.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 3-pointers in his past 10 contests. Normally, I'd be hesitant about backing a player who's had such a roller-coaster season, but I'm pretty confident that he'll continue to play at a high level, as long as his minutes per game stay consistent.

• Averaging 18.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.8 blocks and 1.8 3-pointers since the All-Star break, Gordon Hayward looks primed to deliver yet another big second half. Hayward is the type of fantasy player who can be incredibly valuable thanks to his ability to contribute in multiple categories, but he's also the type of player who needs 30-plus minutes to realize his potential. He's hovered between 24 and 28 minutes for much of the season, but has seen an uptick in minutes with 31.4 per game since returning from a shoulder injury immediately following the All-Star break. Look for Hayward to get the 30-plus minutes he needs and remain a valuable fantasy contributor down the stretch.

• Don't look now, but the Kings have unleashed Marcus Thornton, who is averaging 29.2 minutes in his past five games. In that time, he's posted 22.2 points with 0.8 steals and 3.2 3-pointers per game. Thornton, who hasn't been relevant since mid-December due to inconsistent playing time, is actually a dynamic fantasy player when he's able to carve out quality minutes, thanks to his ability to knock down 3s and create steals in bunches. This is a guy who averaged 18.7 points, 1.4 steals and 2.1 3-pointers in 34.9 minutes last season, and I'm confident he'll remain a quality fantasy play as long as Keith Smart continues to give him ample playing time.

• Expect Manu Ginobili and Danny Green to step up their games with Tony Parker sidelined because of a sprained ankle for the next four weeks. Ginobili should take over as the primary distributor in Parker's absence, and Green has been playing high-level ball for the better part of a month, after averaging 15.1 points, 1.7 steals and 3.5 3-pointers in February. I'm also encouraged by Nando de Colo's 9.3 points, 4.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 3-pointers in three spot starts for the Spurs this season and consider him a slightly better pickup option than Cory Joseph, Patty Mills or Gary Neal, despite the fact that all four finished Sunday's game against the Pistons with 18 minutes or less.

• After O.J. Mayo averaged just 13.6 points, 0.9 steals and 1.4 3-pointers in seven games since the All-Star break, his owners have to be concerned that Dirk Nowitzki is finally starting to cut into his value. It's also possible that Mayo is simply still recovering from a minor ankle injury, but his shot attempts have dropped from 13.8 per game before the break to just 11.3 per game after, as Nowitzki has taken on a bigger role in the offense in recent action. Mayo still should be a solid fantasy contributor for the Mavs, but I fear that his days of posting 18 points with two 3-pointers per game may be over.

Rajon Rondo's injury turned out to be a fantasy blessing in disguise for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jeff Green. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for the Celtics backcourt. Most disappointing has been the play of Jason Terry, who should have seen increased value with Rondo sidelined but has posted just 9.2 points, 2.0 assists, 0.3 steals and 1.5 3-pointers in only 23.3 minutes since the All-Star break. At this point, if I'm looking for value in the Celtics' backcourt, I'm going with Avery Bradley, followed by Courtney Lee over Terry.