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.
Also, If you guys have fantasy questions or just need some advice, please give me a follow on Twitter and be sure to follow the rest of the Rotoworld crew!
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 as low as possible 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 25 minutes or less), or simply just buried on the bench.
4.) I’m basing my rankings on standard 9-cat leagues.
1. Aaron Gordon (38 percent owned) Previous rank: 5
No one deserves this spot more than Gordon this week, as he just recorded the first double-double of his season on Saturday with 10 points, 10 boards, one assist, two steals and one 3-pointer in 30 minutes. He is finally earning consistent minutes in the rotation and coach Scott Skiles has shown a willingness to finally play him next to Tobias Harris for extended stretches of the game. The second year player has averaged 24.0 minutes in his last five outings and Skiles would be foolish to not play him more now, so Gordon should be picked up if you have any dead weight on your roster.
2. Jusuf Nurkic (54 percent owned) Previous rank: 7
I’m going to cheat a little here because Nurkic’s ownership rate skyrocketed this week, but he is arguably the best stash out there at the moment. He is averaging 9.0 points, 6.5 boards and 1.8 blocks in just 15.0 minutes per game through his first four appearances, and his workload is only going to increase moving forward. Nuggets coach Michael Malone also called him a “force” and said that he is a big part of Denver’s future, so his development will be one of the team’s main goals in what is becoming a lost season.
3. Devin Booker (33 percent owned) Previous rank: 8
Coach Jeff Hornacek can’t stop praising the young rookie and he has been given all the minutes he can handle in recent weeks. He won’t be allowed on this list much longer because he has been playing a ton of minutes already, averaging 15.2 points, 4.8 boards, 2.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 3-pointers in 34.4 minutes over his last five games. With Eric Bledsoe (knee) out for the season, Booker has no real competition for minutes and should be owned in all leagues moving forward.
4. Bobby Portis (25 percent owned) Previous rank: 1
Sadly, Joakim Noah (shoulder) is expected to return to action on Monday. The fact that Portis played just nine minutes vs. the Hawks on Saturday worries me, and he has only played an average of 20.4 minutes in his last five outings. His upside is undeniable, but you have to wonder if Noah’s return will push him out of the rotation. I’m still holding onto him in most cases, but his stock is sliding a little bit. The Bulls really need to trade Taj Gibson…
5. Marcus Smart (49 percent owned) Previous rank: 3
For the first time since Nov. 16, Smart played 30 minutes on Thursday vs. the Bulls. The only problem is that he wouldn’t be able to toss a ball into the ocean right now. Over his last five games, Smart is shooting just 29.3 percent from the field. While he has never been a particularly good shooter, I think it’s fair to say that he is just shaking off some rust. Avery Bradley (hip) will return on Sunday, but Smart should have a prominent role moving forward and is worth a stash if you need a guard and if you’re OK with sub-par field goal percentages.
6. Dennis Schroder (17 percent owned) Previous rank: N/A
I still think Jeff Teague is the long-term answer at point guard for the Hawks, but he has been really struggling lately and I’m not convinced that his ankle is 100 percent. Schroder was just in the doghouse last week when Shelvin Mack appeared to leapfrog him in the rotation, but that experiment predictably ended. Schroder has stepped up in the past three games with averages of 11.3 points, 7.3 assists, 4.3 boards, 1.3 steals and 1.3 3-pointers, but his upside will be held in check until coach Mike Budenholzer decides to give him minutes next to Teague. If Teague goes down at any point this season, Schroder becomes a must-own player. For now, he is more of a handcuff for Teague’s owners.
7. Stanley Johnson (33 percent owned) Previous rank: N/A
Johnson has been on this list before, but his stock gets a significant boost now that Marcus Morris is battling knee tendinitis. As you saw on Saturday, all it takes is just one injury in Detroit for Johnson to log serious minutes. The rookie started in place of Morris on Saturday and played 39 minutes, but he disappointed with just eight points on 4-of-13 shooting with four rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block. However, Johnson has shown flashes of serious upside this season, and while Morris is expected to play on Tuesday, the rookie is still an excellent stash if you have an open roster spot.
8. Nikola Jokic (14 percent owned) Previous rank: 6
His playing time has dipped slightly due to the return of Jusuf Nurkic, and coach Michael Malone also introduced J.J. Hickson (11 minutes) and Joffrey Lauvergne (19 minutes) back to the rotation on Friday vs. the Grizzlies. However, you’re kidding yourself if you believe this team is in the playoff hunt, so the development of their young studs will be their No. 1 priority down the stretch. I’m not calling Jokic a must-own guy at the moment, but he shouldn’t be on any waiver wires after the All-Star break.
9. Zach LaVine (40 percent owned) Previous rank: N/A
His recent quote sums up his struggles so perfectly. "I was on such a hot start," LaVine said. "I didn’t want to come back to Earth, but I feel like I’m below Earth right now. But I’m digging myself back up.” LaVine is shooting an abysmal 22.2 percent from the field over his last five games, averaging 3.8 points and 2.2 assists in that span. Given Ricky Rubio’s shaky injury history and the fact that the Wolves will eventually tank down the stretch, LaVine is still a solid stash due to his promising outlook for the second half of the season. Just don’t put him in any active lineups until he finds his rhythm again.
10. Mario Chalmers (18 percent owned) Previous rank: N/A
It’s unclear how much time Mike Conley (Achilles) will miss, but the star point guard has already missed three games in a row and is not expected to play on Sunday either. Chalmers played an average of 39.5 minutes in his last two games, posting averages of 17.5 points, 6.5 assists, 7.0 boards, 1.0 steals and 3.0 3-pointers. If you need short-term value, Chalmers is the only active point guard in Memphis right now and is a must-own player until further notice.