As the first leg of the NBA season has closed, player values have fallen 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 have evened 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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GREIVIS VASQUEZ, New Orleans
Lately, it feels like every time I look at the night’s stat lines, Greivis Vasquez is pushing a triple-double. The 6-6 point guard uses his height to rebound over smaller players and see passing lanes that a smaller guard usually wouldn’t see, and is quietly leading the youth movement down in New Orleans. He doesn’t garner nearly as much media attention as Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon or even Austin Rivers, but Vasquez is currently averaging 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 1.2 treys and 0.7 steals, and should be a leading candidate for the Most Improved Player award. Over his last eight games alone, he’s putting up 18.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 10.6 assists, rocketing him up ranking lists, especially in leagues where he is eligible at shooting guard.
DeMARCUS COUSINS, Sacramento
It took a few tries for Keith Smart to get through to DeMarcus Cousins, but since his most recent suspension, Cousins has been in full-out beast mode. The troubled Cousins, who had been struggling mightily to the tune of 16.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists but 39 percent shooting from the field and 2.6 turnovers per game in December, has turned things around in a big way so far in 2013. In eight games since the suspension, he’s putting up 20.1 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists, and although he can still clean up his field goal percentage a bit, things have been trending upward lately. Still, there is a bit of an unknown with Cousins. Any given day he can revert back to the pre-2013 Cousins and hurt you by getting into foul trouble, being suspended, or just having consecutive miserable games from the field, but for now we have no choice but to keep riding the roller coaster that is DeMarcus Cousins and move him on up in our rankings.
JOSH SMITH, Atlanta
After a bit of a slow start and a few bouts with minor injuries, J-Smoove is finally rounding into the ultra multi-category producer we thought he would be sans Joe Johnson. To start 2013, he’s putting up 18.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists with 1.6 steals and 3.4 blocks over a five-game span, while shouldering a lot of the offensive load alongside Al Horford. It took awhile, but the Atlanta frontcourt is finally learning how to play without having JJ there to bail them out on many possessions. There’s nowhere to go but up for Smith, a player many invested a first round pick in, so this rise in the rankings has been a long time coming.
DANILO GALLINARI, Denver
You can say what you want about Danilo Gallinari’s herky-jerky, European style of play, but when it comes down to it, the guy can flat-out put the ball in the hole. He’s been especially hot of late, averaging 19.4 points and 6.0 rebounds with 2.8 treys over his last seven games. Mostly everyone in Denver is on fire these days, as George Karl’s uptempo offense is finally coming to fruition. Unfortunately, with the depth on the Nuggets roster, this hot streak is rather unsustainable and Gallo should be viewed as a sell high opportunity. However, for now, we have to move him up in the ranks.