As the first leg of the NBA season comes to a close, player values are starting to fall in place. Of course there are some exceptions, like if some of these players just happened to start off ice cold or riding a hot streak. However, by this time statistics begin to even out. The early hot streaks dissolve, and the underachievers slowly work their way back into the fantasy hierarchy. Here are this week’s top risers and fallers in fantasy basketball.
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ERSAN ILYASOVA, MILWAUKEE
Congratulations to Ersan Ilyasova for making the risers list a few weeks after being mentioned as a faller. He’s not totally out of the woods yet, but his play has been much more productive in the month of December, where he has averaged 10.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.0 treys per game. His fantasy value comes from his ability to knock down treys while maintaining usual big man stats, and while he’s still not playing with much consistency, things are looking a lot better now than they did a month ago. As long as he’s letting it fly from three and regaining Scott Skiles’ trust, Ilyasova will keep moving on up in the rankings.
BRANDON KNIGHT, DETROIT
Brandon Knight is proving me wrong with each successful game that he has. I thought he would be stuck in that Johnny Flynn-like mold, where he’s too much of a scorer to play the one, but too small to defend at the two, but apparently, the joke is on me. Over his last eight games, Knight his putting up 18.4 points 4.1 rebounds 4.4 assists and 2.8 treys. He is especially valuable in leagues where he has both point guard and shooting guard eligibility. As Detroit continues to drop games, the younger guys will get tons of run so look for him to keep up his breakout campaign and continue his rise in the rankings.
JORDAN CRAWFORD, WASHINGTON
There is no question that Jordan Crawford is a flat-out baller, but in the past his consistency kept him from logging major minutes for the Wizards. Since entering the starting five, Crawford has put up 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.5 threes, including a 27-point, 11-rebound and 11-assist triple-double Tuesday night against the Hawks. Washington’s backcourt situation will get a little murky when John Wall returns in a few weeks, so while he is on his way up in the rankings, now might be your best chance to sell high.
TIAGO SPLITTER, SAN ANTONIO
Tiago Splitter’s stock is trending up after joining the starting lineup three games ago. He’s been the model of consistency in the month of December, averaging 11.3 points on an impressive 64 percent shooting from the field, while chipping in 5.6 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 0.7 blocks, and also has scored in double digits in nine straight games. His numbers are never really going to wow you and he’s not a player you are going to ride to the championship, but he has a lot of upside and there is definitely a place for him on your roster if you are in a league with at least 12 teams. As long as Splitter is starting and Gregg Popovich is showing confidence in him, he’ll be a more than useful fantasy player.