Wallace, Bogut turning it up in January


Fantasy hoops is a "What have you done for me lately?" type of game, and it's always amazing to see how much things can change when taking a week off from the rankings. Just think, a few weeks ago, people were asking me why Jason Thompson was ranked only 61st overall. Now I'm getting e-mails asking me if Thompson is droppable. It can change that quickly, folks. With that in mind, let's take a look at the recent trends and what they might mean by analyzing some splits for the month of January.

The Top 130

Note: Brian McKitish's Top 130 are ranked for their expected performance in ESPN standard leagues from this point on, not on the statistics that have already been accrued. Last week's ranking is indicated in parentheses.

RK. Name, POS (RK)
1. LeBron James, SF, CLE (1)
2. Chris Paul, PG, NO (2)
3. Kevin Durant, SG/SF, OKC (4)
4. Dwyane Wade, SG, MIA (8)
5. Danny Granger, SF, IND (6)
6. Kobe Bryant, SG, LAL (3)
7. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, DAL (5)
8. Steve Nash, PG, PHO (10)
9. Carmelo Anthony, SF, DEN (7)
10. Dwight Howard, C, ORL (9)
11. Chris Bosh, PF/C, TOR (14)
12. Deron Williams, PG, UTA (15)
13. Pau Gasol, PF/C, LAL (13)
14. Monta Ellis, PG/SG, GS (11)
15. Brook Lopez, C, NJ (16)
16. Amar'e Stoudemire, C/PF, PHO (17)
17. Jason Kidd, PG, DAL (19)
18. Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, CHA (23)
19. Brandon Roy, SG/SF, POR (12)
20. Paul Pierce, SF/SG, BOS (20)
21. Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, PHI (18)
22. Joe Johnson, SG/SF, ATL (21)
23. Al Jefferson, C, MIN (24)
24. Chauncey Billups, PG, DEN (25)
25. Rajon Rondo, PG, BOS (22)
26. Tim Duncan, C/PF, SA (27)
27. David Lee, PF/C, NY (29)
28. Josh Smith, PF/SF, ATL (26)
29. Andrea Bargnani, PF/C, TOR (33)
30. Baron Davis, PG, LAC (30)
31. Zach Randolph, PF, MEM (37)
32. Carlos Boozer, PF, UTA (34)
33. Marcus Camby, C/PF, LAC (44)
34. Antawn Jamison, PF, WAS (32)
35. Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, SAC (36)
36. Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC (31)
37. Nene, C/PF, DEN (38)
38. Stephen Jackson, SG/SF, CHA (50)
39. Al Horford, C/PF, ATL (40)
40. Rudy Gay, SF, MEM (43)
41. Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF, NY (48)
42. Luol Deng, SF, CHI (41)
43. Chris Kaman, C, LAC (52)
44. Kevin Love, PF, MIN (42)
45. Caron Butler, SF, WAS (39)
46. Stephen Curry, PG/SG, GS (65)
47. Troy Murphy, PF/C, IND (45)
48. Kevin Martin, SG, SAC (49)
49. Joakim Noah, C/PF, CHI (51)
50. Marc Gasol, C, MEM (53)
51. Jeff Green, SF/PF, OKC (54)
52. Andrew Bogut, C, MIL (73)
53. Corey Maggette, SF, GS (91)
54. David West, PF, NO (66)
55. O.J. Mayo, SG, MEM (71)
56. Derrick Rose, PG, CHI (64)
57. Rashard Lewis, SF/PF, ORL (55)
58. Aaron Brooks, PG, HOU (68)
59. Kevin Garnett, PF, BOS (59)
60. Brandon Jennings, PG, MIL (60)
61. Vince Carter, SG/SF, ORL (46)
62. Raymond Felton, PG, CHA (63)
63. Devin Harris, PG, NJ (35)
64. Michael Beasley, PF/SF, MIA (78)
65. Samuel Dalembert, C, PHI (103)
66. Eric Gordon, SG, LAC (62)
67. Rodney Stuckey, PG, DET (80)
68. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, POR (83)
69. Trevor Ariza, SF/SG, HOU (47)
70. Luis Scola, PF/C, HOU (74)
71. Ben Gordon, SG, DET (56)
72. Mo Williams, PG, CLE (28)
73. Emeka Okafor, C, NO (72)
74. Andre Miller, PG, POR (101)
75. Carl Landry, PF, HOU (70)
76. Randy Foye, SG/PG, WAS (105)
77. Tony Parker, PG, SA (75)
78. Lou Williams, PG/SG, PHI (69)
79. Jason Richardson, SG/SF, PHO (57)
80. Yi Jianlian, PF/SF, NJ (77)
81. Andrew Bynum, C, LAL (87)
82. Andris Biedrins, C, GS (82)
83. Mehmet Okur, C, UTA (88)
84. Hedo Turkoglu, SF, TOR (58)
85. Wilson Chandler, SF, NY (90)
86. Manu Ginobili, SG, SA (96)
87. Jamal Crawford, SG/PG, ATL (95)
88. Al Harrington, PF, NY (67)
89. Brendan Haywood, C, WAS (94)
90. Jameer Nelson, PG, ORL (89)
91. Jason Terry, SG/PG, DAL (84)
92. Roy Hibbert, C, IND (92)
93. Thaddeus Young, SF, PHI (86)
94. Lamar Odom, PF/SF, LAL (104)
95. Jose Calderon, PG, TOR (93)
96. Jason Thompson, PF, SAC (61)
97. Ray Allen, SG, BOS (76)
98. Elton Brand, PF, PHI (107)
99. J.R. Smith, SG, DEN (85)
100. Allen Iverson, SG/PG, PHI (102)
101. C. Villanueva, PF/SF, DET (108)
102. Richard Hamilton, SG, DET (99)
103. Kenyon Martin, PF, DEN (112)
104. Jonny Flynn, PG, MIN (111)
105. Shawn Marion, SF/PF, DAL (113)
106. Kendrick Perkins, C, BOS (100)
107. Martell Webster, SF, POR (129)
108. Kirk Hinrich, SG/PG, CHI (128)
109. Ron Artest, SF, LAL (110)
110. John Salmons, SG/SF, CHI (121)
111. Tyrus Thomas, PF, CHI (81)
112. Mike Conley, PG, MEM (119)
113. Josh Howard, SG/SF, DAL (116)
114. Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, UTA (114)
115. Ben Wallace, C/PF, DET (123)
116. Chris Duhon, PG, NY (97)
117. Boris Diaw, PF/SF, CHA (130)
118. Corey Brewer, SF/SG, MIN (NR)
119. Mike Bibby, PG, ATL (118)
120. Courtney Lee, SG, NJ (98)
121. Channing Frye, PF/C, PHO (79)
122. Rasheed Wallace, C/PF, BOS (NR)
123. Luke Ridnour, PG, MIL (NR)
124. Delonte West, SG, CLE (NR)
125. Nate Robinson, PG/SG, NY (124)
126. Mike Miller, SG/SF, WAS (127)
127. Robin Lopez, C, PHO (NR)
128. Matt Barnes, SF, ORL (NR)
129. Shane Battier, SF, HOU (NR)
130. Carlos Delfino, SG/SF, MIL (NR)

Numbers to love

2.1 -- Blocks per game this month for Gerald Wallace. For those who remember, Crash used to be quite the shot-blocker and even swatted 2.1 shots per game in 2005-06 but averaged around 1.0 per game for the past few seasons. This season has been different. Let's call it the Emeka Okafor effect. Now that Okafor is no longer clogging up the middle on the defensive side, Wallace finds himself in the paint more often and he's able to grab more boards (11.1 per game) and swat more shots. It's not a coincidence that Okafor missed most of the 2005-06 season when Wallace set his career high in blocks. With that said, expect Wallace to continue to produce on the defensive end with boards and blocks aplenty.

13.1 -- Rebounds per game in January for Marcus Camby. Camby gets a big bump in the rankings due to the news that Blake Griffin will miss the rest of the season. I had been hesitant to move Camby or Chris Kaman too high when it looked like Griffin would return, because I thought the rookie would cut significantly into their production. Now that the Griffin fear is gone, the only thing left to worry about is the lengthy injury history for both players. I'll take that risk given the way they've been playing.

1.8 -- Stephen Curry's steals per game since the new year began. Coming into the season we knew Curry could shoot and score, but few of us thought that he'd be so disruptive on the defensive end. Curry is on fire this month with 19.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 3-pointers to go along with the impressive steal numbers. He's still fairly inconsistent on a night-to-night basis, but there is no arguing with the final product. He is clearly a top-50 player from this point going forward.

2.8 -- Andrew Bogut's blocks per game in January, which leads the league for the month. Health is always a concern for Bogut, but wow, this guy is good when he's 100 percent and on the court. Along with the dominant block numbers, Bogut is having his best season on the offensive end with 15.6 points per game. That's a trend we can expect to continue as the Bucks look to him more with Michael Redd out for the season. Adjust your rankings accordingly.

1.6 -- Steals per game in January for O.J. Mayo, which is an encouraging sign for his fantasy owners. Mayo is basically having an identical season to his rookie year, with a few exceptions. He's shooting slightly better from the floor (45.7 percent) and he's starting to create more steals on the defensive end (1.3 per game for the season). We were already expecting him to contribute heavily in points, 3-pointers and free throw percentage, so the improvement in steals is just icing on the cake.

1.2 -- Steals per game for Aaron Brooks this month. A few weeks ago, I wrote the following about Brooks:

By all accounts, Brooks is in the midst of a breakout season with 18.4 points, 4.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.3 3-pointers while shooting 83.4 percent from the free throw line so far. Still, I can't help but wonder if the 24-year-old can give fantasy owners more. I know that's asking a lot, but think about it. A few more assists and steals would make this kid a legit fantasy star, right? One would think that a guy as quick as Brooks would be better at creating steals than he is right now, so there is some optimism for improvement on the defensive end.

Is Brooks starting to figure things out on the defensive side or are his current steal numbers a flash in the pan? I'm thinking this might be for real, and I've moved Brooks up accordingly.

.491 -- Shooting percentage from the floor in January for John Salmons, who is finally over his early-season shooting slump. Unfortunately, it took a challenge from Kirk Hinrich to get him going. With Hinrich playing so well (12.8 points, 5.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.1 3-pointers), Salmons isn't getting the minutes we'd like, but at least he's turned his season around. He'll be a quality option for points, steals and 3-pointers going forward.

Numbers to hate

.385 -- Kobe Bryant's shooting percentage from the floor in 12 games this month. Kobe has dealt with various injuries (finger, back, groin) since the turn of the calendar, but his fantasy owners almost wish that he'd take a few days to heal up and get back to full strength rather than playing through the pain. The most concerning of the injuries is his right index finger, which appears to be affecting his touch from both the floor and the line (74.6 percent in January). Look for his percentages to suffer until he heals completely.

13.3 -- Shot attempts per game for Trevor Ariza in January, which is way down from the 17.9 he attempted in November. I could live with the drop in shots and points if it came with a major increase in field goal percentage, but Ariza is still attempting 5.9 3-pointers per game, and he's shooting 39.1 percent this month as a result. He's still hitting 3s and creating steals, but that is about his only saving grace right now.

27.3 -- Minutes per game for Vince Carter, who is playing through a shoulder injury but not doing it well. This is a similar situation to what Bryant is dealing with; Carter probably needs some rest before he'll be back to full strength. VC is moving down in the rankings based on these concerns, but I still think he makes for a good buy-low target right now. He gave us a hint of things to come Saturday when he went for 21 points in 41 minutes (by far the most minutes he's seen in quite some time).

32.6 -- Hedo Turkoglu's shooting percentage from the floor since the new year began. Is this guy hurt and not telling anyone about it? The reason I ask is because he's also shooting a horrendous 61.3 percent from the free throw line during the same span. That's not the Hedo we used to know and love. He's still doing a decent job of contributing in other areas (4.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.5 3-pointers and 0.9 blocks), but those percentages are killing us! Unless news comes out that Hedo is actually hiding an injury, I'd expect him to turn things around on the shooting front fairly soon, but it's getting harder and harder to justify ranking him 84th right now.

4.0 -- Fouls per game this month for Kings forward Jason Thompson. If you're looking to place blame on his subpar play as of late, it starts with the foul trouble that has kept him off the court far too often (27.8 minutes per game). It also doesn't help that he's not playing well when he is on the court, shooting just 35.5 percent from the floor. The shooting percentage will turn itself around, but the foul problem will not. So yes, Thompson is a solid buy-low candidate, but keep in mind he might not be able to get the minutes he needs to be as productive as he was earlier in the season.

25.5 -- Channing Frye's minutes per game in January, down from the 33.0 he saw in December. It's been even worse for Frye as of late, as he's seen his minutes dwindle to just 17.8 in his past five games with Robin Lopez eating into his playing time. I'm not dropping Frye just yet because he's still hitting 3-pointers and blocking shots, but it's going to be hard for him to continue to produce the way we want him to with such limited minutes.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com. He can be reached at bmckitish@yahoo.com.