Pierce a buy-low due to Rondo injury

Updated: January 28, 2013, 3:04 PM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com

There's no getting around it, Rajon Rondo's torn ACL is a devastating blow to fantasy owners. Rondo, who was sitting at 16th overall on our Player Rater on the strength of his league-leading 11.1 assists and dominant 1.8 steals per game, will miss the duration of the season (and a decent chunk of next season). Although Rondo's owners are reeling at the news, his injury creates an opportunity for the rest of the Celtics' roster to step up in his absence.

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

It seems strange to say it because Rondo makes everyone else on the court better, but from a fantasy perspective, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett may end up as indirect beneficiaries, as they'll be asked to shoulder a much heavier load on the offensive end. Pierce, by the way, is a fantastic buy-low candidate after struggling with just 16.1 points on 39.4 percent shooting this month.

After Pierce and Garnett, the Celtics have a variety of players who will need to step up in Rondo's absence, including Jason Terry, Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa and perhaps even Jeff Green. After all the dust settles, I expect Terry and Bradley to be the main beneficiaries of Rondo's injury and both should be considered quality waiver-wire candidates for anyone in need of steals and 3-pointers. Terry dropped 13 points with a 3-pointer and a steal in 32 minutes in Sunday's contest against the Heat, while Bradley posted 9 points with 2 steals and a 3-pointer in 28 minutes as a starter.

Rondo's injury isn't the only big storyline that's come up since we last updated the rankings two weeks ago; let's take a closer look at some of the big movers in this week's Dish:

• We've seen flashes of brilliance like this from Amir Johnson before, but never for an extended period of time like we're seeing now. With 14.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks in 13 games since the turn of the calendar, Johnson is finally making good on the promise that made him a popular deep-sleeper pick a few years back. Plagued by inconsistent play and foul trouble throughout his career, many have questioned if they can continue to rely on him going forward. Personally, I think Johnson will be a solid fantasy player the rest of the way, but there's no denying that there's a little "sell-high" feeling here, particularly once Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas return to the lineup. I realize that the Raptors are playing pretty well without Bargs and Valanciunas, and Johnson should continue to log heavy minutes upon their return, but it's still likely that there's a minor regression on the way for Johnson.

Ersan Ilyasova isn't the only one that's benefiting from more consistent lineups under head coach Jim Boylan. Larry Sanders has taken advantage of a recent spike in playing time to post 13.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 30.2 minutes over his past five games. Sanders has been a rebounding and shot-blocking extraordinaire in only 25.4 minutes per game for much of the season, and he has a chance to add even more value if he's going to continue to see 30 minutes per night. Ilyasova, meanwhile, has posted 21.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.4 3-pointers in his past five games, which makes me feel really good about stubbornly keeping him in the top 130 all this time.

• It didn't take John Wall much time to make his mark on the fantasy season, posting 14.1 points, 6.7 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks in only 25.0 minutes per game upon his return. Wall's per-minute numbers are already off the charts, and although he still has some fantasy limitations (poor field goal percentage and lack of 3-pointers), he's going to be dominant in points, assists and steals as soon as his minutes round back into shape. Speaking of the Wizards, I'm not yet ready to write Bradley Beal off after his recent slump. Give the 19-year-old a few more games to mesh with Wall before cutting him from your fantasy roster.

Kyle Korver has bounced in and out of the top 130 for much of the season, but he'll probably stick in the rankings long term now that Louis Williams will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Korver has been on fire since the injury, with 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 4.6 3-pointers in 39.8 minutes over his past five games. Of course, we should remember that while Korver is a terrific 3-point shooter, he's still fairly limited in the fantasy game since he'll contribute in only a few categories. Jeff Teague, who has had an up-and-down season, also gets a huge boost in value with Williams out. Teague is posting 17.0 points, 7.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 3-pointers since the injury.

Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller continue to get it done in the paint for the Cavs with Anderson Varejao now out for the season. Thompson has been flirting with double-doubles on a nightly basis for some time now, while Zeller has been a rebounding and shot-blocking force for the better part of a month. In their past five games, Thompson is posting 16.8 points, 9.6 boards, 1.0 steals and 1.4 blocks, while Zeller has added 8.0 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Both should continue to perform at a high level for the duration of the season.

• If you couldn't tell by my ranking of Tiago Splitter at 108th overall, I think he'll have some staying power at center for the Spurs in the second half. Some may think that Splitter will phase out once Tim Duncan returns to the lineup, but I'm encouraged by his play of late and it's no secret that Gregg Popovich likes to rest his aging players in the second half. That means Splitter should continue to earn heavy minutes the rest of the way. With 12.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 0.8 blocks and terrific percentages in 14 games this month, Splitter offers nice value as a waiver-wire addition.

• Always a quality fantasy option when he's earning consistent minutes, Carlos Delfino has been able to carve out a solid 27-30 minutes a night in Houston. Delfino is averaging 12.9 points, 1.2 steals and 2.9 3-pointers since the start of January, and he offers quite a bit of value thanks to his ability to quickly rack up steals and 3-pointers. He's not the most exciting fantasy player, but he sure gets it done as a glue guy.

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

ALSO SEE

FANTASY TOP HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM