Resetting rankings on top names

Updated: December 24, 2012, 12:38 PM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com

In an effort to avoid the impact that a small sample size could have on the top 130, I try to make most of my major rankings updates near the end of each month. That way I can avoid overreacting to hot or cold streaks and instead focus on long-term trends. As I sat down to update my rankings this week, I noticed a few players I have ranked either too high or too low based on perceptions or their performances in previous seasons. Let's take a look as we overhaul some of the season ranks.

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

Players I've Undervalued

David Lee, PF,/C, Golden State Warriors: I've never been a huge Lee guy from a fantasy perspective because of his lack of blocks from the power forward/center slot, but not even I can argue against him when he's posting 20.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 0.9 steals while shooting 53.9 percent from the floor and 81.3 percent from the line this season. In fact, Lee's numbers are almost an exact mirror image of his breakout season with the New York Knicks in 2009-10, when he was a top-20 fantasy player. Lee's success this season is a result of a variety of factors, including his growing rapport with point guard Stephen Curry on the offensive end and a change in philosophy on the defensive end. Head coach Mark Jackson seems to have struck a chord not only with Lee but also with his entire team, and I'm sold on Lee's chances of continuing this level of production for the balance of the season.

Greivis Vasquez, PG, New Orleans Hornets: In fairness to me, I'm pretty sure that everyone except his owners have been underrating Vasquez this season. He may not have the pure physical quickness or ability of some of his point guard counterparts, but he's a gritty player with tremendous court vision. He ranks fifth in the league in assists with 8.7 per game, and the rest of his numbers aren't too shabby either: 12.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 3-pointers per game. I'd still love to see more steals from a fantasy perspective, but his owners have to be happy about his production thus far, given his late-round draft status.

Tim Duncan, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs: I've been awfully stubborn in my belief that Duncan will begin to slow down at some point this season, but the 36-year-old continues to defy the odds with 17.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 2.6 blocks in only 30.7 minutes per game. This kind of per-minute production is almost unfathomable at this stage in his career, and I still believe that the lack of minutes will come back to bite his owners in the second half of the season. But he's producing at a top-10 level at the moment and it's high time that I move him into the top 40 in my ranks.

Players I've Overvalued

Josh Smith, PF/SF, Atlanta Hawks: If you're a longtime reader of mine, you may have noticed that I have a tendency to place a significant amount of value on shot-blocking, and there's a perfectly good reason for that: Blocks have been fantasy's most elusive category for quite some time. But things are beginning to change around the NBA, and although blocks are still the game's most scarce category, they aren't as scarce as they once were. Consider that through the first quarter of the season, 22 players are averaging 1.5 blocks, and half of those are averaging 2.0 blocks. That's 11 players with 2-plus blocks per game, folks. Compare that to the number of players who averaged 2-plus swats per game in recent seasons:

2012-13: 11
2011-12: 5
2010-11: 5
2009-10: 5
2008-09: 6
2007-08: 7

Granted, we're still early in the season and looking at a small sample size, but given that there are more big-time shot-blockers in the league, I can no longer justify ranking a guy like Josh Smith in my top 15 when he's really hurting fantasy teams in the percentages, shooting 44.6 percent from the floor and 51.1 percent from the line this season. Don't get me wrong: Smith is still a top-notch fantasy player for his overall contributions of 16.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 2.1 blocks, but he's not a top-15 guy anymore thanks to his poor percentages. It should be noted that blocks are still the most scarce fantasy category, and we should continue to place a premium on the statistic. I won't be downgrading Serge Ibaka, for instance, particularly when he's the only player on the list who's also shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the free throw line.

DeMarcus Cousins, PF/C, Sacramento Kings: Truth be told, I've been far too high on Cousins for quite a while and now that he has been suspended by the Kings for "unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team," it's time to admit that he hasn't progressed or matured as much as we thought he might after a brilliant second half last season. He's averaging just 16.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.6 blocks while shooting only 41.4 percent from the floor. I'm actually less worried about the "indefinite suspension" than I am about his play on the court. He has been a disaster for owners who drafted him in the second or third rounds this year, and he continues to free-fall in the ranks as a result. All of this said, Cousins is still a ridiculous talent, so risk-takers might find this a perfect time to toss out a buy-low offer to frustrated Cousins owners. It's not a bad idea: Just know that he's about as high-risk/high-reward as they come right now.

Monta Ellis, PG/SG, Milwaukee Bucks: Even after his offensive outbursts on Friday and Saturday (27 and 37 points, respectively), Ellis is still shooting just 39.8 percent from the field and 20.9 percent from downtown on the season. Sure, he's posting 19.5 points, 5.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 0.7 3-pointers, and he's shooting very well from the line, but Ellis has shown an alarming trend in his 3-point field-goal percentage in recent seasons. After shooting 36.1 percent from downtown in 2010-11, he shot just 30.8 percent last season (including only 26.7 percent with the Bucks) before his 20.9 percent mark this year. Unfortunately, since much of Monta's fantasy value in Golden State was tied to his ability to hit 3s and create steals in bunches, he's trending downward with his 0.7 3-pointers per game this season.

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.

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