Special to Yahoo Sports
We’ve already seen the upside that stashing players can bring in fantasy basketball. Look at what TJ McConnell has been doing for the Pacers with Tyrese Haliburton (knee, elbow) out. Let’s highlight five more players to consider stashing now who could thrive if their team suffers a critical injury or if a trade occurs.
Isaiah Jackson, Indiana Pacers (71 percent available)
When Myles Turner went down with an injury last season, Jackson showed the type of upside he could bring to the table. Over his final 20 games, Jackson averaged 11.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 20 minutes per game. He shot 59.2% from the field while also chipping in 0.9 steals. However, with Turner mostly healthy, Jackson has only averaged 16 minutes per game this season.
Turner recently missed two games with back spasms. Jackson started both games in his place, logging at least 26 minutes both times. He posted 10 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks against the Hawks, then followed that up with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks against the Grizzlies. With Turner returning Monday against the Bucks, Jackson logged just one minute off the bench.
If Turner were to get injured again, which isn’t exactly a stretch given his history, Jackson could be a difference-maker in terms of blocks in fantasy. If Turner is traded, Jackson could also be in line for a more prominent role.
Mark Williams, Charlotte Hornets (95 percent available)
The Hornets didn’t have much quality depth entering the season, and injuries have put them in a tough spot. La Melo Ball missed a lot of games at the beginning of the season, Gordon Hayward (hamstring) is hurt again, and key reserve Kelly Oubre Jr. (hand) is going to miss at least a month. They are just fighting to stay out of the basement of the Eastern Conference. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them be sellers at the trade deadline.
One player they could look to deal is Mason Plumlee, who likely won’t be a part of their long-term plan since he will turn 33 years old in March. If they trade Plumlee, Williams could find himself with plenty of minutes or even in a starting role. In the two games in which Williams played at least 20 minutes this season, he combined for 19 points, 21 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks. He logged 19 minutes versus the Rockets on Wednesday, finishing with 17 points, 6 rebounds and five blocks.
Monk is the one player on this list who is actually providing some value already. He is a regular member of the Kings’ rotation, logging 22 minutes per game off the bench. That has left him with averages of 13.5 points, 3.8 assists and 1.7 three-pointers. He has shot just 32.2% from behind the arc, though, which is nearly seven percentage points lower than last season.
The Kings aren’t likely to make any subtractions from their starting five at the deadline. If anything, they might look to improve their roster to finally make a splash in the playoffs. The reason to consider adding Monk now is potential injuries. If Kevin Huerter were ever to miss an extended stretch, Monk could be dominant in fantasy from behind the arc. Over three games Huerter has missed this season, Monk has averaged 16.7 points and 3.7 three-pointers.
The Bulls have been one of the most perplexing teams in the league. They play well against some of the best teams but routinely struggle against bad ones. They entered the season with playoff expectations, but they could be either sellers or buyers if they have a bad or good couple of weeks leading up to the trade deadline.
One player who could be on the move regardless of their playoff status is White. He is set to be a restricted free agent this summer, and with him only playing 21 minutes per game this season despite Lonzo Ball (knee) being out, the Bulls may not want to commit long-term. He averaged at least 12.7 points and 2.0 three-pointers in each of his first three seasons in the league, so if he can return to playing at least 25 minutes a game regularly, he could provide a scoring spark for fantasy managers in need.
Fantasy managers who added Eubanks for the stretch run last season have already seen what he can do. The Trail Blazers were out of the playoff hunt then, and Jusuf Nurkic went down with an injury that forced him to miss their final 23 games. During that span, Eubanks started 22 times, providing 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 64.6 percent from the field and 78.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Nurkic has had a history of injury issues, playing 56 games or fewer in each of the last three seasons. He has missed five games this season, and Eubanks started each of them, putting up 7.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while shooting 78.3 percent from the field. If Nurkic were to miss an extended stretch, Eubanks would have the potential to shine again.