Fantasy Basketball Risers and Fallers: Feb. 1
A big-time injury has opened the door for a pair of rookies eager to step into the spotlight, while another first-year player has been making the most of his team's free-wheeling style of play.
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Darren Collison, PG, New Orleans Hornets
With Chris Paul to be sidelined for at least a month with knee surgery, rookie Darren Collison will step in and attempt to fill the enormous shoes vacated by CP3.
In two games since Paul went down, Collison has responded extremely well, posting 17 points and 18 assists in the first game, with 16 points and 14 assists in the second.
While his shooting percentage hasn't been great, he does too many things too well to be ignored.
Marcus Thornton, SG, New Orleans Hornets
Another Hornet rookie, Marcus Thornton, has gone off in his past five games, with point totals of 19, 18, 20, 14, and 25.
With Paul out, Thornton's opportunities to score on his own should continue to increase.
However, he's not a threat to do a whole lot aside from putting the ball in the basket (though he did randomly post nine rebounds Saturday against Memphis).
Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors
Curry just completed the best month of his brief career, averaging 19 points per game while shooting ridiculous percentages of 48 percent from the field, 49 percent from three-point range, and 89 percent from the free throw line.
As was the case in college, he's proven to be an extremely explosive scorer at times, and has one of the best shooting strokes in the entire league.
His confidence is rising, and it's reflected in how he's been playing.
Curry's ball-handling has improved since his college days, and his assist numbers (about five per game) and steals (almost two) should also be beneficial to an owner.
Andre Iguodala, G/F, Philadelphia 76ers
Iguodala is a versatile player that typically fills a stat sheet, but his scoring numbers plummeted in January.
He averaged just 13 points per game for the month (down from 19 over the first two months), and he shot just 40 percent from the field.
His scoring numbers have certainly been affected by the return of Allen Iverson, and I would expect those numbers to gradually go back up as Iguodala becomes more comfortable playing with Iverson again.
While his fantasy impact should cause some concern, it's definitely not time to panic just yet.
Josh Howard, G/F, Dallas Mavericks
Last week, Jason Terry was inserted full-time into the Mavericks' starting lineup, meaning a sharp decline in the minutes for Josh Howard.
Terry has responded well, scoring near 20 points in each of the last five games. This means the likelihood of Howard's return to prominence for Dallas is dwindling rapidly.
Howard is averaging just 12 points per game and is shooting a miserable 38 percent from the field.
Dallas would like to trade him, but at this point, who would want him?
As of today, his fantasy value is essentially toast.
JR Smith, G, Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have been playing their best basketball of the season despite the struggles of JR Smith.
Smith shot just 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from three-point range in January, and started off February on an even lower note, posting just nine points on 4-of-13 shooting against Sacramento, including 0-of-7 from three.
While he'd scored well in the previous three games, the eventual return of Carmelo Anthony should limit the opportunities further for Smith.
He's still certainly a threat to go off at any time, but the normally reliable shooter has been just about anything but that so far this year.
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