Injury fallout, updated ranks

A look at notable fantasy trends, storylines over the past week of NBA action

Updated: December 23, 2013, 4:05 PM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com

Last week proved to be a good news, bad news kind of week for fantasy hoops fans as we saw players like Anthony Davis, Michael Carter-Williams, Bradley Beal, Andre Iguodala, Tyson Chandler and Danny Granger return to action, only to see Brook Lopez and Kobe Bryant go down with injuries.

The Top 130

Note: Brian McKitish's Top 130 players are ranked for their fantasy value for the 2013-14 NBA season. Previous rank is indicated in parentheses.

1. Kevin Durant, OKC (1)
2. LeBron James, MIA (2)
3. Anthony Davis, NO (73)
4. Chris Paul, LAC (3)
5. Stephen Curry, GS (4)
6. James Harden, HOU (5)
7. Paul George, IND (6)
8. Kevin Love, MIN (7)
9. Russell Westbrook, OKC (8)
10. John Wall, WSH (9)
11. Carmelo Anthony, NY (10)
12. Serge Ibaka, OKC (11)
13. DeMarcus Cousins, SAC (12)
14. LaMarcus Aldridge, POR (13)
15. Kyrie Irving, CLE (14)
16. Al Horford, ATL (16)
17. Eric Bledsoe, PHO (17)
18. Nicolas Batum, POR (18)
19. Dirk Nowitzki, DAL (19)
20. Damian Lillard, POR (21)
21. Ty Lawson, DEN (15)
22. Ricky Rubio, MIN (22)
23. Mike Conley, MEM (23)
24. Al Jefferson, CHA (24)
25. Monta Ellis, DAL (25)
26. Dwyane Wade, MIA (26)
27. Deron Williams, BKN (27)
28. Michael Carter-Williams, PHI (34)
29. Brandon Jennings, DET (30)
30. Blake Griffin, LAC (31)
31. Isaiah Thomas, SAC (43)
32. Luol Deng, CHI (32)
33. Kemba Walker, CHA (44)
34. Roy Hibbert, IND (29)
35. Jrue Holiday, NO (33)
36. Klay Thompson, GS (35)
37. Tony Parker, SA (36)
38. Spencer Hawes, PHI (37)
39. David Lee, GS (38)
40. Goran Dragic, PHO (39)
41. Josh Smith, DET (40)
42. Nikola Vucevic, ORL (41)
43. Rudy Gay, SAC (42)
44. Dwight Howard, HOU (45)
45. Jeff Teague, ATL (46)
46. Paul Millsap, ATL (47)
47. Victor Oladipo, ORL (49)
48. Andre Drummond, DET (50)
49. Bradley Beal, WSH (65)
50. Kevin Martin, MIN (48)
51. Evan Turner, PHI (52)
52. Kyle Lowry, TOR (53)
53. Thaddeus Young, PHI (58)
54. Chandler Parsons, HOU (54)
55. Ryan Anderson, NO (51)
56. Wesley Matthews, POR (55)
57. Tim Duncan, SA (56)
58. Pau Gasol, LAL (57)
59. Greg Monroe, DET (59)
60. Derrick Favors, UTAH (60)
61. Marcin Gortat, WSH (61)
62. Gordon Hayward, UTAH (62)
63. DeMar DeRozan, TOR (63)
64. Trey Burke, UTAH (64)
65. Jeff Green, BOS (66)
66. Nikola Pekovic, MIN (67)
67. Arron Afflalo, ORL (68)
68. Joakim Noah, CHI (69)
69. Jonas Valanciunas, TOR (70)
70. Eric Gordon, NO (71)
71. DeAndre Jordan, LAC (72)
72. Andre Iguodala, GS (91)
73. Zach Randolph, MEM (74)
74. Chris Bosh, MIA (75)
75. Jose Calderon, DAL (76)
76. Kawhi Leonard, SA (77)
77. Paul Pierce, BKN (108)
78. Jimmy Butler, CHI (78)
79. Carlos Boozer, CHI (79)
80. David West, IND (80)
81. Rajon Rondo, BOS (81)
82. Marc Gasol, MEM (82)
83. Jameer Nelson, ORL (83)
84. Tobias Harris, ORL (84)
85. Trevor Ariza, WSH (86)
86. John Henson, MIL (107)
87. Brandon Knight, MIL (94)
88. Andray Blatche, BKN (NR)
89. Lance Stephenson, IND (85)
90. Andrew Bogut, GS (90)
91. Nene Hilario, WSH (97)
92. Tyson Chandler, NY (119)
93. George Hill, IND (88)
94. Dion Waiters, CLE (92)
95. Jamal Crawford, LAC (93)
96. Kenneth Faried, DEN (95)
97. J.R. Smith, NY (98)
98. Amir Johnson, TOR (105)
99. Jared Sullinger, BOS (99)
100. Tristan Thompson, CLE (101)
101. Tyreke Evans, NO (102)
102. Jeremy Lin, HOU (113)
103. Gerald Henderson, CHA (104)
104. Joe Johnson, BKN (106)
105. J.J. Hickson, DEN (109)
106. Nick Young, LAL (120)
107. Rodney Stuckey, DET (110)
108. Corey Brewer, MIN (89)
109. O.J. Mayo, MIL (96)
110. Robin Lopez, POR (100)
111. Shawn Marion, DAL (111)
112. Reggie Jackson, OKC (114)
113. Miles Plumlee, PHO (115)
114. Jordan Crawford, BOS (87)
115. Avery Bradley, BOS (NR)
116. Danny Granger, IND (NR)
117. Kyle Korver, ATL (118)
118. Terrence Jones, HOU (103)
119. Larry Sanders, MIL (126)
120. Wilson Chandler, DEN (127)
121. Brandan Wright, DAL (128)
122. Mario Chalmers, MIA (122)
123. Manu Ginobili, SA (130)
124. Markieff Morris, PHO (117)
125. Khris Middleton, MIL (NR)
126. Channing Frye, PHO (NR)
127. Jordan Farmar, LAL (NR)
128. Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL (NR)
129. Brandon Bass, BOS (124)
130. Lou Williams, ATL (NR)

Let's take a look around the league at some of the key fantasy storylines over the past week:

Andray Blatche has been terrific when filling in for Brook Lopez, averaging 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game in four starts at center this year. With Lopez expected to miss the remainder of the season, Blatche becomes a must-add in all fantasy formats. Over the course of his eight-year career, Blatche has proved to be a quality fantasy option whenever he's earned starter minutes. He'll be a very nice addition for those in need of points, rebounds, steals, blocks and field goal percentage.

Blatche won't be the only one who's asked to step up in Lopez's absence. Look for Paul Pierce and Deron Williams to pick up their play to help offset the loss of Lopez's 20-plus points per game. Pierce may be 36 years old, but he's proving that he still has a little left in the tank, as he's averaged 17.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.8 3-pointers over his past five games. Williams has looked healthy in six games since returning from an ankle injury, posting 17.8 points, 10.0 assists and 1.7 3-pointers per game during this stretch. Savvy fantasy owners will also keep a close eye on sharpshooter Mirza Teletovic, who may have some sneaky value as a 3-point specialist in deeper fantasy leagues. Teletovic drained six 3-pointers on Friday night against the Sixers, and is averaging 1.5 3-pointers in 3.7 attempts a game despite just 16.5 minutes per game on the year.

A few weeks ago, we preached patience with Kemba Walker after his rough start to the season. Simply put, Walker's slow start can be blamed on a mini shooting slump and Al Jefferson's nagging ankle injury. With Jefferson now at full strength, Kemba has had much more success, going for 22.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.9 3-pointers over his past 11 games. Perhaps more importantly, Walker has connected on 50.8 percent of his shots from the floor during that span. Kemba isn't all of a sudden going to become an efficient scorer, but the presence of Jefferson in the paint has helped create more open looks for the ultra-quick point guard. Jefferson, by the way, is really turning the corner as well, having averaged 18.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks over his past five games.

While everyone is salivating over Giannis Antetokounmpo's potential (and rightfully so), second-year man John Henson has turned in 16.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 2.1 blocks over his past 10 games. That's good enough to rank him 30th on our Player Rater over the past 15 days. I'll be curious to see whether Henson can keep this up later in the season when Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and Zaza Pachulia return to action, but Henson certainly looks like the real deal from a fantasy perspective for the time being. It's difficult to fully trust anyone in Milwaukee with all of the injuries and inconsistent rotations, but one has to think that the 6-21 Bucks will begin to turn to a more youth-focused rotation as the season progresses. Players like Henson, Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Brandon Knight should benefit if the Bucks continue to struggle this season.

Anthony Davis appears to be just fine after missing seven games with a hand injury, posting 22.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks in two games since his return. Davis returned well ahead of his original timeline, and his owners have to be ecstatic to see him immediately getting minutes in the mid- to high 30s upon his return. He moves right back into his rightful spot at third in our Top 130 rankings, behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

Danny Granger made his regular-season debut on Friday against the Rockets, posting just five points on 1-of-7 shooting from the floor to go along with five turnovers in 22 minutes of action. There's obviously quite a bit of rust here, but Granger should be added in all leagues if only because of his potential to contribute in multiple categories (if he can find a way to carve out consistent minutes in the Pacers' regular rotation). That said, Granger owners should temper their expectations as the presence of Paul George and Lance Stephenson will cap his upside. George owners, by the way, should not be worried in the least about Granger potentially cutting into his value. This is now George's team, and if Granger is going to cut into anyone's value, it will likely be Stephenson.

Kobe Bryant's latest injury (knee) is expected to keep him out of the lineup for the next six weeks, leaving the Lakers with very few options on the offensive end. Already dealing with injuries to Steve Blake (elbow), Jordan Farmar (hamstring), and Steve Nash (back), the Lakers will have to rely on some lesser-known players until they are able to heal up. Nick Young has been on fire over his past five contests (19.8 points and 2.8 3-pointers per game) while Xavier Henry has posted 12.2 points and 2.0 steals per game during the same span. Of the walking wounded in the Lakers' backcourt, I like Young and Farmar the best as pickups (once Farmar returns, of course). I'm still holding out hope that Jordan Hill will start to see more consistent minutes in the Lakers' frontcourt given his impressive per-minute rebounding numbers.

We talked about Brandan Wright last week, but as of Monday afternoon he is still owned in just 14 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Wright has looked great since his return, averaging 13.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in just 21.8 minutes per game. He's slowly but surely working his way into regular minutes in the Dallas frontcourt and should be added in all leagues for his upside potential.

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.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


FANTASY TOP HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM