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Fantasy Dish: Week 14 storylines

1/27/2014

The NBA saw its share of big scoring games this past week, with Carmelo Anthony dropping 62 against the Bobcats on Friday, followed by Terrence Ross posting 51 in a wild game against the Clippers on Saturday. We also enjoyed 40-plus point efforts from Rudy Gay (before his Achilles injury), DeMar DeRozan (before his ankle injury) and LaMarcus Aldridge. Not to be outdone, the world's best fantasy hoops player, Kevin Durant, extended his steak of scoring 30-plus points to 10 games despite missing Friday's contest with a sore shoulder.

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

Binge scoring wasn't the only fantasy storyline the past week; let's take a look around the league at the rest of the action:

The Brooklyn Nets are really starting to hit their stride, going 10-1 so far in 2014. Key to their impressive run has been their defensive intensity, allowing just 93.6 points per game and holding opponents to 42.7 percent shooting from the floor. They've also started to mesh offensively, with terrific ball movement and improved efficiency. The Nets haven't been as friendly in the fantasy game outside of Deron Williams and Paul Pierce due to their depth, but Joe Johnson, Andray Blatche and even Mirza Teletovic have benefited from their newfound cohesion on the offensive side of the ball.

Johnson, in particular, has been phenomenal, averaging 17.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.0 3-pointers in his past 10 games and appears primed to deliver a big second half. Teletovic's 34-point outburst on Friday night against Dallas may have been a bit fluky, but those in need of 3-point shooting should take notice of his 2.9 3-pointers per game on 47.5 percent shooting from downtown this month.

Pau Gasol, Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks and Nick Young have turned the Lakers into quite the fantasy-friendly lineup, but will it continue with Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant expected to make their return in the next few weeks? Gasol is obviously the safest of the group. He looks as healthy as he's been in years, averaging 20.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.8 blocks in 12 games, and he should retain his value going forward.

I'm not expecting too much from Nash, given his injury trouble this season, but Marshall is still the player at risk to lose the most value once Nash and Kobe return to the lineup. Kobe will dominate the ball upon his return, cutting into Marshall's 9.6 assists per game. Marshall likely will still provide enough value to be owned in standard fantasy leagues, but his owners should begin to make alternate plans for assists after the All-Star break.

D.J. Augustin has been a fantastic pickup since the Luol Deng trade, averaging 16.0 points, 6.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 2.5 3-pointers in 13 contests. Augustin may have had an up-and-down career to date, but he still has some nice skills that translate well in the fantasy game -- namely the ability to knock down 3-pointers, create steals and dish out assists when he's earning quality playing time. I can understand those who are a little skeptical, but career numbers as a starter suggest that he'll be able to maintain his value going forward.

Meanwhile, teammate Jimmy Butler has shot just 29.7 percent from the floor and is only 2-for-22 from downtown in his past five games. He is, however, getting a healthy 41.4 minutes to go along with 12.0 shot attempts per game, including 4.4 3-point attempts in 12 games this month. Butler is still contributing with 11.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game this month, and his value should skyrocket once his shots start falling again.

It was pretty shocking that Terrence Ross was owned in just 11.5 percent of ESPN.com leagues prior to his breakout party Saturday. Yes, his 51 points with 10 3-pointers against the Clippers was a bit fluky, and yes, DeRozan played only 21 minutes before leaving with an ankle injury, but Ross has been solid since the Rudy Gay trade with 13.2 points, 1.0 steals and 2.7 3-pointers in 24 starts this season. Clearly, this guy needs to be owned in all leagues even though he'll be inconsistent on a night-to-night basis.

Patrick Beverley's return from a hand injury has pushed Jeremy Lin back to the bench in Houston in what is looking more and more like a true time share. Beverley has averaged 8.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.0 3-pointers in 32.3 minutes in four games since his return, while Lin has posted just 8.6 points, 3.8 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 3-pointers in 26.6 minutes in five games. Both players will have moderate value going forward, but the time share will continue to cap their upside.

Wilson Chandler is finally starting to show the skills that made him a popular sleeper candidate at the start of the season; he has averaged 16.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 0.9 steals, 1.0 blocks and 2.8 3-pointers in his past 10 games. Chandler certainly has the skills and talent to keep this up, and it looks like he's ready to deliver a big second half for the Nuggets. Teammate Randy Foye also has caught fire in recent action with 15.8 points, 1.0 steals and 3.5 3-pointers in five games. Foye is a little less reliable than Chandler, but still makes for a nice pickup if he's available in your league.

Those in deeper leagues shouldn't sleep on DeMarre Carroll in Atlanta. Despite dealing with a nagging hamstring injury, Carroll has posted 12.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.7 3-pointers in nine games. Carroll is a sneaky pickup candidate who is owned in just 1.9 percent of ESPN.com leagues at the moment.

There's still time to buy low on Marc Gasol after he averaged just 9.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in only 26.8 minutes in six games since returning from a knee injury. He'll get his game legs back soon enough and should return to top-30 value in the next few weeks.