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Fantasy Basketball Rankings of Rookies and Thursday Breakdown

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This year was expected to be the season where rookies didn't have a noticeable impact on our fantasy teams. Of course last year was one of the most impressive seasons ever for rookies thanks largely due to John Wall, Blake Griffin, Greg Monroe, Jordan Crawford and DeMarcus Cousins all busting out in their first seasons.
In 2012 we probably won't see as many guys that are going to be such staples in fantasy lineups like last year or even most years prior to 2010. However, there are a lot of very cloudy rotations and some incumbents that aren't quite hacking it.

This is a ranking for the rookies for the rest of the season. It'll be really tough for you to translate to your team because each person has a different need. Not only for a specific category, but a lot of owners out there will be needing guys that will help for the short term. On the other hand, most owners are looking for a guy like Greg Monroe or Jordan Crawford that can really carry a team to a head-to-head title. That will be the main criteria for these rankings: the likelihood of an explosion or owning a reliable player.

Check out the new rookie rankings and the breakdown from Thursday's four-game slate after the jump:

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1. Kyrie Irving- Kyrie Irving hasn't exactly set the world on fire with some inconsistent play and not getting big minutes just yet. He's at 26.0 in his last five and those will certainly be on the incline. The Blue Devil is shooting the three, not turning the ball over much, surprisingly blocking about a shot per game and looks to have all the makings of a fantasy stud. The slight concern with Kyrie is the Rookie Wall. Irving barely even played in his only year at Duke, so going from that to a condensed schedule could spell trouble. I don't think it will and Irving has top-50 value right now.

2. Ricky Rubio- Rubio has taken two or more threes in his last four games to really help his value hit new heights. He has 2 3PM in two of those games and it doesn't appear to be a fluke for his season. We all know about the Spaniard's dime abilities and he has two double-doubles in his last four games. Add that to a 1.0 SPG so far on the season and you're talking about a guy that has almost J-Kidd value. Key word: ALMOST. He's obviously must-own material and it's only a matter of time that the current 27.7 MPG he currently has for the season clear the 32-MPG plateau.

3. MarShon Brooks- Man, I love Mr. Brooks almost as much as I love Mel Brooks. The Providence Friar has a crazy motor like Spaceball 1 when he's out there. He goes after as many rebounds as he can and really moves without the ball to show how much he wants to be a great NBA player. Brooks has taken a whopping 13 shots per game in his last five games (including a three-shot dud) and is a major part of the NJN plans this year. He shoots the three and aggressive in all types of defending. The NJ native wasn't exactly shooting like The Waco Kid with only 34 percent made from the field last year with Providence and he's questionable for Friday's game with an ankle sprain though. Owners really shouldn't care since he's an early favorite to lead the rookies in PPG. It's not usual for the 25th pick to do that, but he might run the show like Sheriff Bart.

4. Iman Shumpert- The GT product was suppose to miss close to a month with his MCL sprain. Well, so much for that since he made it back in just over a week. He returned to action in with his 30 minutes yielding 18 points and four threes (!!) before cramping up in his leg. There is a whole lot to like about this Yellow Jacket... Green jacket? Gold jacket? Who gives a crap? I also talked about Shumpert a lot in PNR below.

5. Jimmer Fredette- The Kings are a mess. I discussed them ad nauseum in the PNR below and basically said Jimmer and most of the Kings have a fairly murky future with the new head coach and new outlook on life. Oh and they won! Jimmer has huge upside for his scoring ability and he already has a four-three game on his resume. The Kings went with four guards and Jason Thompson to start the fourth quarter to kind of give fantasy owners a taste of what could be to come. The Kings pushed the rock a lot and a smaller lineup most of the time would be right up Jimmer's alley. The Kings aren't going to make the playoffs and Jimmer should see a nice amount of time on the hardwood down the stretch. He's going to be tough to own for the next couple months or so, but the huge upside in the last two months should make those headaches worth it.

6. Kemba Walker- It looked like Kemba was all set for a big season with a nice preseason and a 17- and 14-point game vs. the Heat last week. Since then, Silas pumped the brakes on him with only 13 and 16 minutes in the last two games. He did take a total of 14 shots in those two games, so at least we can project he'll be in line for more once he gets into the swing of things. Gerald Henderson is locked in at the two and D.J. Augustin hasn't really regressed yet this year. Although don't forget DJA had a fast start and cooled off last year too. Kemba's not quite worth owning in most leagues at this point. You should definitely watch him (or read my stuff since there's no way I'd miss a story like that. Oh, self promotion).

7. Alec Burks- Another guy that I'm falling in love with. I was kind of down on him because he only hit 0.7 last year in Boulder. As I did mention in the last edition:

He’ll draw some comparisons to Dwayne Wade since he doesn’t quite have the three-point shot just yet. Although that could be coming quickly with the way Utah tends to live in the paint.

He attempted 1.5 3PA per game in his last two and it looks like he won't be a non-factor in the category. Burks has been getting praise left and right from the Utah writers and rightfully so with his 28 minutes translating to nine points, six assists and a block. Another reason why Burks is extremely impressive is the way he attacks the rack (hence the D-Wade comparison). He got to the line 10 times in his last game and he shot 83 percent in his last year as a Buffalo. Raja Bell has a 90-year-old lady's grip on the shooting guard spot and it doesn't seem too farfetched that AB Positive could get the blood pumpin' for the Jazz. Oh yes, a blood-type joke.

8. Markieff Morris- Morris was one hot property for a couple days with his big weekend and multi-cat lines. His 32-minute outing that produced 16 points, nine boards and a three had owners in deeper leagues on red alert and he was probably added. He hit the skids in his last game with only 17 minutes for four points and five boards. There are reports out of Phoenix that some lineup changes could be coming for the Suns. Since the Jayhawk has some nice upside with the block-steal-three goodness, he's worth stashing in some leagues.

9. Norris Cole- OK. If you're looking for a guy that is safer bet to help you now, Cole is probably a top-five guy. What's his upside though? LeBron, Wade and Bosh will be doing all of the heavy lifting and Cole will need a lot of help to be a guy that can be a consistent fantasy starter. We can compound that with how Mario Chalmers blew the eff up on Thursday with a 29-point showcase of his skills to top the Hawks. Cole won't be getting more than 24 MPG in the near future unless Chalmers gets hurt and he's more of a low-level guy in deep leagues right now.

Side Note: Yes, I know I blew That King Cole up a while back, but it's just something that has to be done when a rookie gets hot in the early part of the season with the incumbent on shaky ground. It's kind of like doubling down on 11 in Blackjack. If you get a three, was it the wrong thing to do? No.

10. Tristan Thompson- Thompson is kind of the anti-Cole since his value is more down the line. T-Squared lit it up two games ago with 16 points, nine boards and two blocks in 24 minutes. His value had a bit of a U turn with only a one-point game in 16 minutes on Wednesday. Antawn Jamison has been playing great so far and Andy Varejao played 31 minutes to prove his gimpy ankle is good to go. However, Antawn Jamison has an expiring deal and there's a very good chance he gets traded come deadline time. Thompson is a nightmare at the charity stripe and made just 49 percent last year in Austin. He's more of a watch-list guy unless you're in a pinch for a big man in a deep league.

11. Greg Stiemsma- He had six blocks in a game last week, so he's at least on the radar. Jermaine O'Neal's knees also could be another issue that could pave the way for him. He doesn't have much else to his game and is playing just 16 MPG since the six-block outburst. If you're dying for a center that can block, then maybe the Badger could be in your top eight. He just won't blow up like some of these other guys.

12. Klay Thompson- Stephen Curry needs a new ankle brace or something. He is day-to-day right now with that perpetually injured ankle and is there any reason to think he won't be DTD all year? Brandon Rush has earned his sizable role in the GSW rotation (he's also a strong add) and it's looks like Thompson could have a tougher time getting significant minutes. He had 10 points in 25 minutes in his last time out and it wouldn't be a shock for him to see 25 MPG with Curry out of the lineup with his 6-foot-7 frame.

13. Derrick Williams- Williams is arguably the most talented player in this year's crop. Unfortunately, he's in one of the worst positions of any player. Honorable mention: Enes Kanter. Williams is playing in just 14 MPG this month while Michael Beasley is logging 37 MPG. He's blocked like Yonder Alonso was blocked by Joey Votto. He'll need an injury to Beasley or Love to have a decent impact. Oh and almost forgot... KKKKKKAAAAAAAAHHHHHHNNNNNN!!

14. Ivan Johnson- Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller were on Ivan's iJohnson all night. Apple better not go down that road with their production expansion. Kidding aside, the mean-mugging baller had an impressive showing with 13 points in 21 minutes. He did foul out in Amir Johnson-like fashion (one of the most well-known players for fouling quickly), so that's not going to help his value. He has such a small sample size and with how thin the Hawks are on the bench, he could find a way to carve out 20 minutes. If something happens to Horford, he could be in line for some bigger minutes. He was added in one of my leagues. I'd say, "chill, brah!"

15. Jeremy Pargo- Pargo looked promising with his 37-minute game when Mike Conley went down on the first play of the game with an ankle injury. His fortune changed a little bit with Shelvin Mack splitting time in Conley's absence. Pargo has a nice roto game with shooting the three and being a decent passer. He'll need Conley suffer another injury as well as asserting himself as the clear backup over Mack.

16. Bismack Biyombo- My pickup basketball games have more big men than the Bobbies do right now. Their current stable includes: Tyrus Thomas, D.J. White, Byron Mullens and Doris Biaw (and her new breast implants). Not exactly the most credible of bigs to count on, right? The basketball world heard about Bismack when he had a triple-double of points, boards and blocks at the Nike Hoops Summit composed of all the young NBA-caliber talent. Biyombo has shown some quick feet on defense and has done a very nice job of defending in the post. His offensive game is about as empty as the liquor cabinet after a party at Charlie Sheen's though. Biyombo could have some value in boards and blocks once Silas decides to give him 20 MPG. He's currently at 12.5

17. Kenneth Faried- Kenneth Faried had this awesome dunk on Wednesday and also had an impeccably-timed block of Jason Thompson to showcase his sick hops. He is one of the most fun rookies to watch since he gets from the floor to the rim in no time flat. He is a fantastic shot blocker and is one of the best rebounders in NCAA history. He just needs to get minutes to have a nice season for fantasy owners. That'll be tough to come by in Denver though.

18. Nikola Vucevic- I was extremely high on Vucevic a month ago and wrote this:

The Sixers grabbed the former Trojan with the 16th pick in the draft. The 6-foot-10 big man shot a very respectable 35 percent from beyond the arc in his senior season on 2.4 attempts per game. His percentages were also of the eye-catching variety with 50.5 percent from the field and 75.5 from the charity stripe. Add the block stats of 1.6 per, and you’ve got all the makings of a sleeper.

Spencer Hawes is rolling and put this guy to bed early. Nikola has also dealt with some back issues that has kept him sidelined. He should be playing soon and his skill set makes him someone that should be on a watch list for deeper leagues.

19. Chris Singleton- Singleton was a great fit for Washington because of their need for a perimeter defender. He has the oft-injured and vastly overpaid Rashard Lewis in front of him to really put a damper on his current value. Although it's worth noting that he is very good in the defensive stats and he's shooting threes. He could be a poor-man's Batum. Meh.

20. Chandler Parsons- The former Gator surprisingly has seen 17 MPG or more in three of his last five games. His last game, even though it was in a blowout, proved to be effective with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, eight boards and a three in 24 minutes. Chase Budinger isn't exactly untouchable like Eliot Ness and Parsons could hit 24 MPG with a little luck. He took three triples in his last game, too.

21. Jan Vesely- Super talented. He just needs a whole lot to happen to gain a consistent role.

Here's the Pick-N-Roll from Thursday night. Tons of stuff about the Kings, analysis all of the box scores and plenty of players to watch over the weekend.

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That's it for 21 Shump Street today. Thanks a lot for reading! Please post your comments below or send them to me on Twitter.