• STASH ‘EM BEFORE THEY ARE HOT

    Stashes, for our purposes, will refer to players expected to provide greater value in the future compared to their present output.  Stashing is often a key component to a fantasy team peaking at the right time, so it is important to plan early when doing so.  Leagues with weekly lineups, IR spots or deep benches offer more opportunity for stashing but all fantasy owners should be able to help their squads with an effective stash strategy.

    This list does not contain injured stashes, or sneaky early season pickups like Trevor Booker who can immediately start producing and maintain similar value through the season.  Whether through natural development, injuries to teammates or a trade, these are players whose value in January-March should exceed their value in October-December.

    Celtic Youth – The devastating Hayward injury will open up minutes and opportunity for Jayson Tatum, Jalen Brown and Terry Rozier.  Tatum’s FG% could be an issue, but he has the ability to contribute in all the money counters, while racking up boards, points and a solid FT%.  With Marcus Morris out, Tatum has played 36 minutes in both games to start the season.  Even if his minutes dip initially after Morris’s return, he’s a strong hold.  Brown doesn’t have the defensive upside that Tatum brings, but can be an effective asset for teams looking for threes and steals.  Rozier’s projected FG% is tough to look at, but he provides the most upside in assists of the group.  I would pick them up in the order I listed them.  If Marcus Smart is available in your league, I would snatch him before any of the others.

    Kelly Olynyk – Olynyk’s per-36 numbers last season showed top-100 potential, but given his minimal role he was never really on the 12-team radar.  This season he has an opening at 30-plus minutes per night if he can lock down the starting PF job and provide backup C minutes. Hassan Whiteside has already hurt his knee, and has suffered from a wide variety of ailments over the past couple of seasons (though he does tend to play through them).  Olynyk should be reliable as a low-end producer to start the season, and his top-80 upside makes him an attractive stash.

    John Collins – On a team with little big man depth, rookie John Collins has the opportunity to make some noise with the Hawks this year.  The Hawks current starting PF, Ersan Ilyasova, has averaged 78 games the past two seasons so he may have finally learned the skill of health after averaging 57 games the preceding two seasons.  Regardless, Collins performed well in the preseason and appears to have impressed his coach.  On a team projected to finish last in the Eastern Conference by many, expect Collins to occupy more minutes as the season progresses.

    Stanley Johnson – Johnson is being given a chance to prove he belongs in the Detroit starting lineup and it has been a mixed bag so far.  After an atrocious 0-13 shooting night in the first game, Johnson bounced back with a more modest 3-3 evening.  Even with the disastrous shooting, Johnson was still given 40 minutes opening night.  His minutes came down in game two, but that may be related to an injury.  With a consistent role, Johnson should be an asset in steals, threes, rebounds and FT%.

    Donovan Mitchell – Mitchell hasn’t started the season on fire, but has still managed to display upside in all of the counting categories.  Backing up Rodney Hood, who has missed an average of 25 games the past two seasons, means Mitchell will likely have an opportunity to start at some point during the season.  Further, another big part of the Utah rotation, Derrick Favors, has had his own durability issues recently.  Losing Favors could result in more minutes for Mitchell should Utah opt for more small-ball lineups to compensate.

    Dillon Brooks – The unheralded second-round pick of the Houston Rockets produced quite an opening night for the Grizzlies.  Brooks first career box score read 19 PTS (7-13 FGS), 5 REBS, 2 ASTS, 4 STLS, 2 BLKS, and 2 TOS.  Brooks came into the season competing with the unimposing duo of James Ennis and Chandler Parsons at the SF position.  In addition to that opportunity, the injury to Green opens up additional frontcourt minutes.  Brooks has the chance to flash in the interim, and hopefully lock down a significant rotation role.  He would be a highly speculative add at this point, but possesses the multi-category upside to be a fantasy factor if given the minutes.

    Jamal Murray – Murray is the new starting PG in Denver and has an opportunity to thrive in this high octane offense.  Playing only 20 minutes on opening night, it doesn’t look like Murray is locked into a high minute role just yet.  Murray will not provide standard league value in a 20 minute role, but if he can increase his minute share and improve his efficiency he’s got top-100 upside and beyond down the road this season. He’s not going to be on waiver wires at the moment but he is someone whose value will increase as we go, so don’t be afraid to play the long game in trade talks.

    Kelly Oubre – Oubre displayed his well-rounded  fantasy game opening night with 14 PTS (5-10 FGS), 3 3PTS, 8 REBS, 2 ASTS, 2 STLS, 2 BLKS, and 0 TOS.  He wasn’t quite as sharp in game two, but still contributed 7 rebounds and 2 steals.  The leading candidate to lock down the 6th man spot entering the season, Oubre started the second game with Markieff Morris out.  If Oubre continues performing well, he should continue seeing 25+ minutes even when Morris is healthy.  With a stable role, Oubre should become a less efficient version of Otto Porter.

    Caris LeVert – The Lin injury arguably means LeVert is no longer a “stash.”  Regardless, playing on a young Nets team that is looking to develop its talent for the future, LeVert should see a sizeable role moving forward.  LeVert’s efficiency issues prevent him from having elite upside, but his contributions across the counting stats could vault him to mid-round value.

    Montrezl Harrell – Harrell finds himself in a similar situation to the one Caris LeVert was in last week, backing up a high-usage starter with an increasingly unreliable body.  Griffin’s injuries have tended to occur later in the season, so it may be a while but Harrell is somebody worth monitoring around the All Star break.  As the Clippers’ playoff chances dwindle, the odds of Harrell making a positive impact for your fantasy team increase.  Act accordingly.

    De’Aaron Fox – As with other players on this list, Fox’s upside will be determined by his efficiency.  However, the combination of playing behind George Hill (who has missed over 30 games in two of the last three seasons) and for a rebuilding Sacramento team almost guarantees Fox a larger role in the second half of the season. Fox will have the starting job when Hill is out, and can supplant him as the starter with some decent play.  Even if he doesn’t clearly outplay Hill, the Kings will likely give him more run in the second half of the season to develop him for the future.  His upside isn’t the greatest, but owners looking for a long term solution at PG could find help here.

    Skal Labissiere – Out of the gate with 33 minutes in the first game of the season, Skal may jump to standard league value faster than expected. Zach Randolph’s return will likely cool his short-term outlook, but Skal has the ability to put together very strong big man fantasy numbers.  Formerly the number one rated player in his high school class, Skal flashed some of that ability late last season for the Kings.  As mentioned with Fox above, the Kings expected focus on player development should lead to an increased role as the season progresses.

    Gorgui Dieng – After averaging 15 minutes in the first two games of the season, expect to see Dieng on your waiver wire soon.  Thibs is giving Taj Gibson the lion’s share of minutes at PF and this could continue indefinitely.  If you own Dieng, you should try to give him another two weeks or so before making a cut decision.  Even if he deserves a cut at that point based on his production, it should be understood that he can provide standard league value in a 25 minute role.  It will be tough to own him with his current 2.5 PPG average, but expect him to find a way to garner more minutes as the season wears on.

Fantasy News

  • Dwight Howard - C - Washington Wizards

    Dwight Howard will return to Washington D.C. and start on-court work on Wednesday.

    Dwight has been recovering from November spine surgery, and it's good to see him progressing. He's still a few steps away from playing, and with the injuries he's been dealing with this season, it's hard to see him being useful outside of deep free throw punt teams. More likely, the greatest impact he'll have is eventually taking a few minutes from Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Henry Ellenson - F - New York Knicks

    Henry Ellenson plans to sign a 10-day contract with the Knicks.

    Ellenson has shown promise at times, but he has never really put together any fantasy-relevant stretches. Leave him on the wire for now, but it's not impossible to imagine a scenario where the tanking Knicks are missing or sitting a couple bigs, giving Ellenson some decent run.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Clint Capela - C - Houston Rockets

    Clint Capela (thumb) returned to practice on Tuesday with no limitations, which could determine his playing status for Thursday's game against the Lakers.

    Capela underwent surgery on January 17 and was initially given a 4-to-6 week timetable, so this would be at the early end of a return. The fact that he is returning to practice without any limitations is a great sign for owners, meaning a return is imminent. Watch out for the Rockets injury report on Wednesday.

    Source: Jonathan Feigen on Twitter

  • Jodie Meeks - G - Toronto Raptors

    Jodie Meeks is signing a 10-day contract with the Raptors, per Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Meeks was waived by the Bucks following the conclusion of his 25-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug program. He hasn't played since last season with Washington and is unlikely to see much action with Toronto. He'll give the team some extra shooting when he does see the floor.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Jared Dudley - F - Brooklyn Nets

    Jared Dudley (left hamstring strain) was scheduled to be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

    Dudley has already made it known that he's planning to return right out of the All-Star break, so unless today's checkup revealed some kind of further issue we're expecting him to be ready for Brooklyn's two games this week. His biggest fantasy impact will be taking minutes from more intriguing players.

    Source: Greg Logan on Twitter

  • Caris LeVert - G - Brooklyn Nets

    Caris LeVert will undergo an evaluation from the Nets medical staff on Tuesday.

    There's no sign of any setbacks from LeVert but the team will obviously keep a close eye on him after he's returned from a dislocated foot. This shouldn't be anything more than routine maintenance, so fantasy owners don't need to worry about it.

    Source: Greg Logan on Twitter

  • Ray Spalding - F - Phoenix Suns

    The Suns are expected to sign Ray Spalding to a 10-day contract.

    Spalding was the 56th pick in last summer's draft but only appeared in one NBA game this season with the Mavs. He was waived at the trade deadline with Dallas taking on one more player than they sent away, and will look to make an impression in a crowded Phoenix rotation. His college numbers (12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.7 blocks in 27.7 minutes per game) make him a name to file away in deep dynasty leagues.

    Source: Gina Mizell on Twitter

  • MarShon Brooks - G - Chicago Bulls

    Marshon Brooks has agreed to terms with the Guangdong Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Sportando.

    Brooks played 29 games for the Grizzlies this season averaging 6.6 points and he is expected to replace Malcolm Delaney. Leave him on the waiver wire.

    Source: Sportando

  • Kristaps Porzingis - F/C - Dallas Mavericks

    Mark Cuban said that Kristaps Porzingis won't play this season, even if the Mavs somehow are able to make the playoffs.

    The Mavs want to put their world-class training staff, led by Casey Smith, to work, strengthening Porzingis’ body the rest of this season and throughout the summer to hopefully prevent similar injuries in the future. And after all, given the amount of money the Mavs could be committing to KP this summer, a max salary of $158 million, there is no need to risk something happening to him in a season where making the playoffs seems unlikely. Kristaps remains a great stash in redraft leagues.

    Source: 247sports.com

  • LeBron James - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    Joe Vardon of The Athletic is reporting that the Lakers are "somehow a little concerned" about LeBron James.

    LeBron hasn’t been showing the same speed or overall movement lately and the team is concerned that he’s not fully recovered from the groin injury that cost him to miss a career-high 18 games. The Lakers are in the 10th place in the Western Conference, three games behind the Clippers for the eighth and final playoff spot and they will need LeBron to be healthy for the rest of the season. James is averaging 26.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 35 minutes per game, while his shooting percentage (51 percent), 3-point percentage (35 percent) and free-throw percentage (68 percent) are all down from last season. He is still returning borderline top-15 value in standard leagues and owners can only hope he doesn’t suffer a setback.

    Source: The Athletic