Hey guys, welcome back to Stashables! Each week I’m going to compile a ranked list of 10 season-long stashes who could make all the difference for your fantasy team down the stretch. This is still a relatively new article, so shoot me an email if you guys have any recommendations or other things you want to see.
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Here are the rules for this article:
1.) Each player must be owned in 50 percent or less of all Yahoo leagues, but I’ll try to keep it under 25 percent in most cases for those of you in competitive leagues.
2.) If a player graduates from this list to must-own status, I’ll be sure to mention it the following week.
3.) The players that I mention either have to be injured, on the fringe of the rotation (around 20 minutes or less), or simply just buried on the bench.
4.) I’m basing my rankings on standard 9-cat leagues.
1. Bobby Portis (36 percent owned) Previous rank: 3
Welcome back to the top of my list, Mr. Portis. The rookie is coming off a dominant performance vs. the Knicks on Saturday, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting with 10 boards, two assists and two treys in 30 minutes off the bench. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said that Portis will “absolutely” remain in the rotation going forward, and that also includes when Joakim Noah (shoulder) returns from injury. I still think the Bulls will need to trade a big in order for him to approach 30 minutes on a consistent basis, but he is still worth owning if he gets minutes in the 20s. He won’t be available in your league much longer, so pick him up while there is still time.
2. Shane Larkin (8 percent owned) Previous rank: N/A
Jarrett Jack suffered a potentially serious knee injury on Saturday vs. the Celtics, and he said that he never felt pain like that in his life. It was a non-contact injury and he will have an MRI on Sunday, so Larkin could be looking at a serious workload moving forward. He struggled down the stretch on Saturday with a few costly turnovers, but his averages of 6.6 points, 3.8 assists, 2.2 boards, 1.3 steals and 0.6 3-pointers in just 19.2 minutes per game are encouraging.
3. Marcus Smart (47 percent owned) Previous rank: 4
Let’s face it, this will be the last week that Smart is owned in less than 50 percent of leagues. Coach Brad Stevens said before Saturday’s game vs. the Nets that the guard wasn’t ready to play heavy minutes, yet he logged 24 minutes in the loss with 11 points, three boards, one assist and three steals. Additionally, Avery Bradley suffered a left hip contusion and wasn’t able to return, so Smart’s workload may have to increase a little faster than originally planned. I wouldn’t start him yet, but Smart shouldn’t be sitting on many waiver wires at this point.
4. T.J. Warren (47 percent owned) Previous rank: N/A
It’s amazing how one injury can have such a significant impact in fantasy leagues. You could argue that Eric Bledsoe’s knee injury has benefitted Warren the most, as the second year forward is averaging 20.5 points, 5.3 boards, 1.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.8 3-pointers over his last four games. However, this pace likely isn’t sustainable, as Warren is still pretty inconsistent. I was high on him in the preseason and he has a great basketball IQ, so give him a look if you need scoring. He likely won’t be available in your league next week.
5. Aaron Gordon (35 percent owned) Previous rank: 5
Just when you thought his role would never grow, Gordon has logged an average of 25.6 minutes per game over his last three. Unsurprisingly, He is averaging 9.0 points, 7.0 boards, 1.6 assists, 0.7 blocks and 0.7 3-pointers on 52.4 percent shooting from the field in that span. Magic coach Scott Skiles threatened to shake up his lineup after they were blown out by the Cavs on Saturday and Gordon has been one of the most consistent players lately, so it’s possible that his role could continue to expand. I wish he wasn’t at the mercy of Skiles, but I’m still stashing Gordon almost everywhere as long as I’m not desperate for immediate production.
6. Nikola Jokic (22 percent owned) Previous rank: 1
Jusuf Nurkic (knee) made his season debut on Saturday vs. the Warriors which made me a little nervous about Jokic’s role, but the Nuggets decided to start the rookie in place of Joffrey Lauvergne (DNP-CD) which was very encouraging. Jokic flopped and played just five minutes, but that is mainly because the Nuggets decided to play a lot of small ball. Kenneth Faried went down with a potentially serious neck injury on Saturday, so there should still be enough minutes for both Jokic and Nurkic to excel. I still believe that they could spend some time on the court together later in the season as well.
7. Jusuf Nurkic (38 percent owned) Previous rank: 7
He made his long-awaited debut on Saturday vs. the Warriors, but just like Jokic, he played just five minutes because the Nuggets went small. Nurkic was on a 15-minute limit anyways, so it’s not like he was expected to get a lot of burn right out of the gate. Like I was saying earlier, Faried could be looking at some serious time on the shelf and his season could be in jeopardy, so Nurkic could have a significant workload as soon as February. However, until his restrictions are lifted, he doesn’t belong in many lineups.
8. Devin Booker (26 percent owned) Previous rank: N/A
I’m breaking the rules a little bit here because the rookie just recently started playing massive minutes, but I just needed an excuse to talk about him and he is still available in a bunch of leagues. Booker is the youngest player in the NBA at just 19 years old, and he is shooting an incredible 52.4 percent from beyond the arc. He is looking at heavy minutes moving forward with Bledsoe (knee) out for the season, and his averages of 14.2 points, 2.2 boards, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.0 3-pointers per game over his last five are encouraging. Phoenix is a mess right now, so it makes sense for them to give young guys like Booker and Warren as many minutes as possible.
9. Brandon Jennings (34 percent owned) Previous rank: 10
Fueled by several trade rumors, Jennings gets a slight bump in my rankings this week. He hasn’t found his stride yet with averages of 6.0 points, 3.3 assists, 3.0 boards and 0.7 3-pointers in 19.0 minutes in three appearances, but he does look like he is getting most of his explosiveness back. I don’t have any interest in him if stays in Detroit, but the Knicks are said to be entertaining the idea of trading for him which could do wonders for his value. His expiring contract won’t be too hard to deal and the Knicks have a very underwhelming backcourt, so there is enough to like here to warrant a stash in deeper leagues.
10. John Henson (16 percent owned) Previous rank: N/A
He still isn’t getting any minutes next to Greg Monroe and he is only playing the five, but I don’t see how the Bucks can justify his contract unless his role grows in the second half of the season. He has plenty of upside with averages of 9.5 points, 3.5 boards, 1.3 assists and 2.5 blocks in just 18.8 minutes per game over his last four, but he may need an injury to Monroe before the Bucks would consider unleashing him.
Note: Meyers Leonard was #2 on my list last week, but he is now a must-own player and is owned in 59 percent of all Yahoo leagues.