Commentary

Weekly Dish: Rising veterans

Updated: January 10, 2011, 3:00 PM ET
By Brian McKitish | Special to ESPN.com

As of Sunday, 15 players over the age of 30 ranked in the top 50 of our Player Rater when sorted by averages. I say this not because I turned 30 over the weekend and want to make myself feel better about getting old, but because the fantasy community typically underrates players that are getting up there in age. So, in honor of all the "getting old" jokes I endured over the weekend, I thought we'd take a look at some aging veterans who are moving up in the rankings this week.

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

Not Dead Yet

Chauncey Billups, PG, Denver Nuggets: Just when it looked like the 34-year-old was ready to fade into mediocrity, Billups flipped the switch on his season, averaging 22.7 points, 4.1 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.8 3-pointers since returning from a wrist injury nine games ago. Billups still has something left in his tank, but with so much uncertainty surrounding the Nuggets and Billups in particular, now might be a good time to start shopping him around in sell-high deals. We just don't know where he's going to land if (when) Carmelo Anthony is dealt, and that makes him somewhat of a risky option going forward.

Antawn Jamison, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers: Jamison may have started the season slow as the Cavs looked to find their identity sans LeBron James, but he's really picked up his play since mid-December and has averaged a consistent 22.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.8 3-pointers over his past 10 games. With so few reliable scoring options on the Cavs, Jamison looks locked in to provide consistent value the rest of the way. You might want to see if you can pry him away from his current owner as he may still be underrated after his slow start.

Paul Pierce, SF/SG, Boston Celtics: Thought by many (including yours truly) to be on the downside of his career, Pierce has silenced his critics, particularly after his stellar play of late. With 22.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 2.0 3-pointers while shooting 56.7 percent from the floor and 81.3 percent from the line over his past five games, Pierce actually ranks second on our Player Rater over the past 15 days. Some of his recent play has to do with Kevin Garnett being on the shelf, and he won't stay this hot all year, but I wouldn't be selling him high unless I got something very nice in return.

Ray Allen, SG, Boston Celtics: Like Pierce, Allen has stepped up his game with KG out of action, averaging 22.0 points and 3.0 3-pointers per game over his past five games. The 35-year-old doesn't contribute in rebounds, assists and steals as much as we'd like, but he's shooting lights out from both the floor (50.6 percent) and the line (87.6 percent). Beware of sliding stats once Garnett returns, but realize that Allen has played well all season if you are going to attempt a sell-high deal.

Tracy McGrady, SG/PG, Detroit Pistons: Don't look now, but T-Mac has averaged 12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 3-pointers over his past eight contests. Many of those games came with Rodney Stuckey on the shelf, but the oft-injured 31-year-old has proved that he's healthy enough to have moderate fantasy value for the time being. How long will he be able to stay healthy? Your guess is as good as mine, but that doesn't change the fact that he's earning big-time minutes whether he starts or comes off the bench and deserves to be on fantasy rosters at the moment.

Things We Learned This Week

1. Hedo Turkoglu has still got it. After taking a few games to figure out his new role for the Orlando Magic, Turk has gone absolutely insane with 13.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.2 3-pointers over his past five contests. It's amazing to think that this is the same player who struggled with the Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns, but I am not going to argue with the results. He's obviously in his comfort zone with head coach Stan Van Gundy and should be considered a top-80 player (at least) going forward.

2. Tyreke Evans still has the potential to be a top-25 player, despite his early-season struggles. Evidence of that can be seen in his averages over his past five games: 19.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 2.6 steals, 1.0 blocks and 0.6 3-pointers. There are still concerns about ankle and foot injuries, but I'm sure you can still get in a buy-low offer, given Evans' roller-coaster ride so far this season.

3. DeMarcus Cousins can have fantasy value after all. I took a lot of heat for not ranking Cousins last week in the Top 130, and I'm still a little wary about his fouls and inconsistency, but no one can argue with his numbers over the past two weeks. Averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.8 blocks over his past five games, Cousins is currently playing like a top-50 player, but will he be able to keep it up? I'm both optimistic and skeptical. On the one hand he certainly has the potential and upside, but on the other he's been incredibly foul prone and inconsistent leading up this recent hot stretch. I'll split the difference and rank him inside the top 100, noting that he has a risk/reward factor to be moved dramatically in either direction in the upcoming weeks.

4. It hasn't quite reached Roy Hibbert territory, but it appears that Jeff Green's confidence is shaken. We know he has talent, so his poor play seems to be a bit of a mystery. Perhaps he's still not completely recovered from an early-season ankle injury, or maybe the emergence of Russell Westbrook has cut into his production more than we could have imagined. Whatever the reason, Green is averaging just 11.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game over his past five games. Those looking to take a risk should consider throwing out some buy-low offers to see how frustrated Green's owners are, because he could easily turn this thing around.

5. DeAndre Jordan, who had shown flashes of brilliance in the past, is ready to take on a larger role in the Los Angeles Clippers' rotation. That actually might be an understatement after Jordan went off for 10.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 4.4 blocks in his past five games (and no, that's not a misprint). Now, before we get too excited, keep in mind that Chris Kaman is set to return from an ankle injury within the next few weeks. Still, Jordan obviously has upside as a rebounder and shot-blocker and the Clippers will want to get him more playing time as they groom their young team for the future.

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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