Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Milwaukee Bucks small forward Ersan Ilyasova has been one of the NBA's best fantasy players over the past four games, averaging 25.5 points and 12.2 rebounds on 55 percent shooting from the field.
Considering Ilyasova was averaging just 8.9 ppg and 5.6 rpg before this recent spike, that's quite a jump in production.
But not unexpected.
The same pattern appeared in his 2011-12 numbers - a slow start through 20 games followed by a gangbusters finish. He averaged just 8.1 ppg through January last season before finishing with a flourish (15.5 ppg).
In fact, in four of Ilyasova's five NBA seasons, he has been a much improved player after his team's first 20 games.
Fantasy owners expected big things from Ilyasova this season after he posted career-best numbers in points, rebounds, assists, blocked shots, shooting percentage and 3-point shooting percentage in his previous campaign.
The Bucks' starting small forward was selected in the fifth round in most fantasy leagues (52 ADP) around the same time other owners were selecting the likes of Danilo Gallinari (54), Joakim Noah (55), Tim Duncan (58), Carlos Boozer (62) and Zach Randolph (65).
But the start of the season likely saw Ilyasova's fantasy owners looking to make a trade as the players they passed over in favor of Ilyasova were easily outperforming their choice.
Those who hung on to him, however, because either they couldn't find a fair market value deal or they remembered his tepid start last season, are now being rewarded for their patience.
His court time should continue to rise, as the team has won three of four games while he averaged 34 minutes. The Bucks are 6-3 since a coaching change so the new man in charge, Jim Boylan, barring injury, isn't likely to mix things up.
While he may not be able to continue at a top-five level, the numbers below say he'll be a solid fantasy option for the remainder of the season.