Commentary

J.R. Smith finally coming around

Updated: December 6, 2010, 4:45 PM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com

Things can change quickly in the fantasy world, and even just one week of action can create quite a bit of reshuffling in the top-130 rankings. This is particularly true when we get down to some of the players ranked after the top 100. You see, players ranked that low are there for a reason -- they are typically inconsistent, streaky or unproven. That is why you'll see a lot of fluctuation from week to week near the bottom of the rankings. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the major movers in this week's rankings update.

The Top 130

Note: Brian McKitish's top 130 players are ranked for their fantasy value from this point forward in the 2010-11 NBA season. Previous rank is indicated in parentheses.

1. Kevin Durant, SF, OKC (1)
2. Chris Paul, PG, NO (2)
3. Pau Gasol, PF/C, LAL (3)
4. Stephen Curry, PG/SG, GS (4)
5. Kobe Bryant, SG, LAL (5)
6. Deron Williams, PG, UTA (6)
7. Dwight Howard, C, ORL (7)
8. LeBron James, SF, MIA (8)
9. Josh Smith, PF/SF, ATL (9)
10. Carmelo Anthony, SF, DEN (11)
11. Dirk Nowitzki, PF, DAL (12)
12. Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC (14)
13. Monta Ellis, PG/SG, GS (13)
14. Danny Granger, SF, IND (10)
15. Dwyane Wade, SG, MIA (16)
16. Rajon Rondo, PG, BOS (18)
17. Steve Nash, PG, PHO (15)
18. Amare Stoudemire, C/PF, NY (22)
19. Derrick Rose, PG, CHI (23)
20. Al Horford, C/PF, ATL (19)
21. Jason Kidd, PG, DAL (17)
22. Brook Lopez, C, NJ (20)
23. Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, CHA (21)
24. John Wall, PG, WAS (24)
25. Kevin Love, PF, MIN (27)
26. Raymond Felton, PG, NY (29)
27. Joakim Noah, C/PF, CHI (26)
28. Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, PHI (25)
29. Manu Ginobili, SG, SA (30)
30. Tyreke Evans, PG/SG, SAC (28)
31. David Lee, PF/C, GS (33)
32. Paul Pierce, SF/SG, BOS (31)
33. Tim Duncan, C/PF, SA (34)
34. Rudy Gay, SF, MEM (40)
35. Roy Hibbert, C, IND (35)
36. Stephen Jackson, SG/SF, CHA (36)
37. Al Jefferson, C/PF, UTA (38)
38. Blake Griffin, PF, LAC (41)
39. Andrea Bargnani, C/PF, TOR (37)
40. Jason Richardson, SG, PHO (43)
41. Andrew Bogut, C, MIL (44)
42. Marc Gasol, C, MEM (45)
43. Zach Randolph, PF, MEM (42)
44. Eric Gordon, SG, LAC (47)
45. Luis Scola, PF/C, HOU (48)
46. Carlos Boozer, PF, CHI (68)
47. David West, PF, NO (49)
48. Jrue Holiday, PG, PHI (50)
49. Brandon Roy, SG/SF, POR (46)
50. Paul Millsap, PF, UTA (39)
51. Rodney Stuckey, PG/SG, DET (51)
52. Devin Harris, PG, NJ (52)
53. Brandon Jennings, PG, MIL (53)
54. Jeff Green, PF/SF, OKC (54)
55. Kevin Garnett, PF, BOS (55)
56. Nene, C/PF, DEN (63)
57. Danilo Gallinari, SF/PF, NY (56)
58. Lamar Odom, PF/SF, LAL (57)
59. Kevin Martin, SG, HOU (59)
60. Michael Beasley, SF/PF, MIN (70)
61. Andray Blatche, PF/C, WAS (60)
62. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, POR (61)
63. Chris Bosh, PF/C, MIA (62)
64. Chauncey Billups, PG, DEN (67)
65. Andre Miller, PG, POR (64)
66. Gilbert Arenas, PG/SG, WAS (65)
67. Marcus Camby, C/PF, POR (66)
68. Luol Deng, SF, CHI (58)
69. Serge Ibaka, C/PF, OKC (69)
70. D.J. Augustin, PG, CHA (71)
71. Mo Williams, PG, CLE (73)
72. Wilson Chandler, SF/SG, NY (80)
73. Aaron Brooks, PG, HOU (74)
74. Mike Conley, PG, MEM (76)
75. Ray Allen, SG, BOS (77)
76. Jason Terry, SG, DAL (79)
77. Tony Parker, PG, SA (72)
78. Dorell Wright, SF, GS (81)
79. Elton Brand, PF, PHI (82)
80. Jameer Nelson, PG, ORL (83)
81. Jose Calderon, PG, TOR (84)
82. Chris Kaman, C, LAC (85)
83. JaVale McGee, C/PF, WAS (88)
84. Joe Johnson, SG/SF, ATL (32)
85. Boris Diaw, PF/SF, CHA (91)
86. Darren Collison, PG, IND (78)
87. Jamal Crawford, SG/PG, ATL (86)
88. John Salmons, SG/SF, MIL (87)
89. Andrei Kirilenko, SF/PF, UTA (92)
90. Trevor Ariza, SF/SG, NO (90)
91. O.J. Mayo, SG, MEM (75)
92. Baron Davis, PG, LAC (94)
93. Emeka Okafor, C, NO (96)
94. Vince Carter, SG/SF, ORL (97)
95. Tyrus Thomas, PF, CHA (98)
96. Channing Frye, PF/C, PHO (108)
97. Rashard Lewis, PF/SF, ORL (99)
98. Tyson Chandler, C, DAL (102)
99. Caron Butler, SF/SG, DAL (93)
100. Darko Milicic, C, MIN (105)
101. Antawn Jamison, PF, CLE (106)
102. Richard Jefferson, SF, SA (109)
103. Al Harrington, PF, DEN (103)
104. Landry Fields, SG, NY (NR)
105. Troy Murphy, PF/C, NJ (89)
106. Anderson Varejao, PF/C, CLE (104)
107. Wesley Matthews, SG, POR (110)
108. J.R. Smith, SG, DEN (130)
109. Beno Udrih, PG, SAC (112)
110. Yao Ming, C, HOU (114)
111. Andrew Bynum, C, LAL (115)
112. Ben Gordon, SG, DET (100)
113. Andris Biedrins, C, GS (117)
114. Charlie Villanueva, PF/SF, DET (119)
115. Amir Johnson, PF, TOR (NR)
116. Josh McRoberts, PF, IND (NR)
117. Carlos Delfino, SF/SG, MIL (118)
118. Kyle Lowry, PG, HOU (125)
119. Samuel Dalembert, C, SAC (101)
120. DeMar DeRozan, SG, TOR (121)
121. Tayshaun Prince, SF, DET (NR)
122. C.J. Miles, SF, UTA (116)
123. Marvin Williams, SF, ATL (NR)
124. Carl Landry, PF, SAC (107)
125. Arron Afflalo, SG, DEN (NR)
126. Grant Hill, SF, PHO (NR)
127. Eric Bledsoe, PG, LAC (127)
128. George Hill, PG/SG, SA (NR)
129. Hakim Warrick, PF, MIL (128)
130. Lou Williams, PG/SG, PHI (111)

Moving Up

Landry Fields, SG, New York Knicks: Fields probably should have made his debut in the top 130 a few weeks ago, but I was slow to pull the trigger on him due to his nightly inconsistencies. Since he is the fifth option on the offensive end, Fields isn't always going to light the scoreboard on fire, but that doesn't stop him from being a solid glue guy in fantasy leagues. He may not have the most pure talent or athleticism in the world, but he has incredible instincts and a tireless motor (which is why he's such a great rebounder at the guard position). Averaging 11.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.0 3-pointers in his past five games, Fields is an underrated source of boards, steals and 3s for fantasy owners.

J.R. Smith, SG/SF, Denver Nuggets: What a difference a week makes. Before last week's column, I had contemplated dropping Smith out of the rankings completely, probably the same way many owners contemplated dropping him from their fantasy rosters. That was before he went off for three straight 20-plus point games, connecting on 11 3-pointers during that time. Unfortunately, if you are going to own a player like Smith, you have to be patient and not overreact to the violent fluctuations in value during both the hot and cold streaks that he has every season.

Amir Johnson, PF, Toronto Raptors: Don't look now, but Johnson has managed to stay out of foul trouble to remain on the court for 30-plus minutes in each of his past two contests. With Reggie Evans out for at least two months, and the Raptors struggling to find an identity in the post-Bosh era, coach Jay Triano has little to lose by running the talented but raw 23-year-old out on the court for as long as possible. Averaging 11.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks in his past five games, Johnson could offer considerable upside for owners as long as he can stay out of foul trouble and on the court (8.4 fouls per 48 minutes).

Moving Down

O.J. Mayo, SG, Memphis Grizzlies: Just what in the world has happened to O.J. Mayo this season? Here's a guy who averaged 18.0 points, 1.1 steals and 1.8 3-pointers after two seasons as a pro, but he has completely fallen off the map in his third season with just 13.0 points, 0.9 steals and 1.6 3-pointers per game. Things have gotten so bad for Mayo that I'm starting to receive e-mails questioning if he should even be on fantasy rosters. My response? Not only should he be on rosters, but I think he's a fine buy-low candidate. Here's the deal. Mayo is in a bit of a shooting slump (40.6 percent from the floor), and he's losing minutes as a result (down from 38.0 per game to 30.8). Aside from the poor shooting, his per-minute numbers are exactly in line with what he's done in his first two seasons. So once he busts out of the shooting slump, the minutes should come back to more respectable levels, and we'll be looking at a guy who is going to average 17 points, 1.1 steals and 1.8 3-pointers. That said, given the way he's playing right now, it's impossible to not move him down in the rankings this week. I'm just not moving him down as far as many people would like because I truly believe that he'll turn things around this season.

Paul Millsap, PF, Utah Jazz: After starting the season on fire, Millsap's numbers have suffered as Al Jefferson has become more comfortable playing alongside Deron Williams in the Jazz offense. It's not that Millsap has been bad, but he hasn't been putting up those monster double-doubles that we became accustomed to at the start of the season. Averaging 14.6 points, 6.8 boards, 0.8 steals and 1.0 blocks in his past five contests, we need to readjust our view on Millsap now that Big Al is taking over in the paint for the Jazz.

Luol Deng, SF, Chicago Bulls: You can almost see the writing on the wall already. Since Carlos Boozer returned to action on Wednesday, Deng has managed just 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 2.0 3-pointers in three games. It's a small sample size, but we thought all along that Boozer's return would hurt Deng's scoring and rebounding more than it hurts Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose. Noah, meanwhile, has posted two double-doubles since Boozer's return and looks to be just fine going forward.

Holding Steady

Dwyane Wade, SG, Miami Heat: For a moment there it looked like it might be Wade, not Chris Bosh, who would be most affected by "The Decision," but Wade has rebounded nicely from an early-season wrist injury and has now put up 22.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.2 blocks in his past five games. More importantly, he is shooting 57.9 percent from the floor during that time after struggling with his shot in the early going. With LeBron and Bosh around, Wade isn't going to be a top-10 fantasy player unless an injury hits in Miami, but he'll remain a top-20 talent thanks to his ability to contribute in multiple categories.

Kevin Garnett, PF, Boston Celtics: Most preseason rumors should to be taken with a grain of salt, but perhaps we should have paid a little more attention to the reports coming out of Boston regarding KG's resurgence. After struggling through two straight injury-plagued seasons, Garnett has found the fountain of youth and is putting up 15.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals while providing his ever-efficient percentages from both the floor and the line. Not only does he look healthy, but he's also seeing 33.0 minutes per game (the most since he joined the Celtics). Most owners aren't sold that he'll be able to keep this up all season. Given his age and mileage, I understand the concern, but Garnett is locked in this year, and he is still a highly productive player when healthy. If I'm a Garnett owner, I'm not selling high unless I get something very nice in return.

Gilbert Arenas, PG/SG, Washington Wizards: Thanks to his play as a starter (19.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.1 3-pointers in nine games), Gilbert currently ranks 45th on our Player Rater when sorted by averages. Still, I don't think that many people believe in Gilbert's resurgence, particularly since he's done most of his damage with John Wall sidelined. As evidence, Gilbert has averaged just 14.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.7 3-pointers in six games off the bench. Provided that Wall is healthy, we'll probably see Arenas' numbers look much closer to these than to his numbers as a starter. And you know what? That's not so bad, especially when considering his upside whenever Wall is out. As far as shooting guards go, I'm keeping him just a tick above guys like Jason Terry and Jamal Crawford.

Brian McKitish is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com. He can be reached at bmckitish@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter @bmckitish.

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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