Monroe, Millsap and Pekovic on rise

Updated: January 14, 2013, 4:36 PM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com

How fast things can change in fantasy hoops; last week, I discussed Toronto's two-headed point guard monster of Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon, noting that Lowry was the more valuable play (and he was at the time). What I should have written was that Lowry has more upside assuming an equal distribution of minutes. Unfortunately for Lowry and his owners, Calderon has pulled ahead in the battle for playing time and production, posting 14.6 points, 7.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.0 3-pointers in 28.6 minutes over his past five games compared to Lowry's 9.0 points, 5.6 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.8 3-pointers in 22.0 minutes over that stretch.

As I warned last week, this time-share will continue to frustrate fantasy owners unless an injury strikes in the Raptors' backcourt. Calderon and Lowry have individual value, but they'll continue to cut into each other's minutes and production for the foreseeable future.

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

Let's take a look at some of the other intriguing storylines that have changed the fantasy landscape over the past week:

Anthony Davis was rolling right along until he suddenly started losing minutes late last week. Head coach Monty Williams hasn't offered much explanation outside of playing the hot hand to explain why Davis' minutes have dropped from 33.9 per game in December to 25.3 after seven games in January. With limited playing time, Davis has managed just 9.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.3 blocks per game since the start of the month. Still, you'll notice that he hasn't dropped much in the rankings (from 25th to 30th) despite his mini slump, and that's because I don't believe this will last for much longer unless there's an injury that we don't know about. Davis was providing top-25 value before January started, and he should get right back to it once his minutes round back into shape.

Now that's what Greg Monroe's fantasy owners were expecting when they used a high draft pick on him in October. Monroe, who averaged just 13.6 points, 8.3 boards and 0.9 steals in December, has come out on fire in the new year with averages of 18.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals over his past five games. Not only is he getting more minutes and shot attempts, he's getting more attempts closer to the rim, which can explain why he's been more efficient, shooting 53.8 percent in January compared to 44.9 percent in December. Monroe looks primed to deliver a big second half, and after his 26-point outburst on Saturday night, it might be a few days too late to get a buy-low offer out for him.

Speaking of players on a roll, I'm sure Paul Millsap's owners are happy to see his averages of 16.9 points, 7.3 boards, 2.3 steals and 1.1 blocks in seven games since the start of January. Millsap has had a rough season, losing minutes and touches to Derrick Favors, but he's still been serviceable with 14.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. However, with Favors losing minutes in recent action, Millsap has stepped up his game, particularly on the defensive end. Fantasy owners know how valuable Millsap can be when he has it going, but the impact of Favors will always be in the back of our minds unless an injury or trade changes the frontcourt landscape in Utah.

Nikola Pekovic was balling even before we learned that Kevin Love would miss the next 8-10 weeks, and that doesn't figure to change with Love out of the lineup. The Wolves figure to lean heavily on Pek, who is averaging 19.0 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game over his past five contests. The same can be said for Andrei Kirilenko, who is posting 14.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1.2 3-pointers per game over his past five contests.

We've talked about Ersan Ilyasova far too often this season in this space, but with Scott Skiles gone, is it finally time for Ilyasova to live up to his lofty expectations? One of Jim Boylan's first orders of business as head coach was to reinsert Ilyasova into the starting lineup, and although he's still underperforming, his owners should be somewhat optimistic with the 10.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 3-pointers he's averaged over his past five games. More importantly, his minutes have started to round back into shape, as he's played 26.5 per game since Boylan took over. Look for Ilyasova to slowly but surely work his way back to 30 minutes per game, at which point he'll be a solid fantasy contributor.

I keep waiting for Al Horford to break out of his funk at the free-throw line, but the career 74.4 percent shooter is connecting on just 58.1 percent of his shots from the stripe this season. Horford is a solid fantasy big man (15.7 points, 9.4 boards, 0.8 steals and 0.9 blocks), but that's not enough production to compensate for the poor free-throw shooting. He has never shot less than 70 percent from the line in his career, so one has to think that he'll figure it out soon.

Now would be a great time to buy low on George Hill, who was cruising along before a thigh injury followed by a bout with bronchitis derailed what was shaping up to be a breakout season. Hill's owners may have forgotten that he averaged a cool 16.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.1 3-pointers per game in December before the thigh injury, and I'm confident that this mini slump will be a blip on the radar once he recovers. And no, I'm not terribly worried about Danny Granger's impending return in February.

Since returning from a two-game absence due to a hip injury, Jameer Nelson has caught fire with averages of 22.6 points, 8.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 3.2 3-pointers over his past five games. We've seen Nelson go through stretches of brilliant play like this before only to succumb to injury or inconsistency a few weeks later. I'm less worried about inconsistency this time around, particularly this season with so few offensive options on the Magic roster. I am, however, cautious about his ability to remain healthy, as Nelson has had his fair share of nagging injuries over the course of his career.

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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