By Alex Barutha, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Targeting teams can be as advantageous as targeting individual players in fantasy drafts. When most people stack teams, they stick to title-contenders with roster continuity — think Milwaukee, Phoenix, Boston. However, there are also teams in the middle-to-bottom of the league with cores worth targeting. There's such little depth that usage should stay tightly contained within a group of three-to-five players.
Below are some teams that fit that bill along with their stacking options available.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs dove headfirst into a deep rebuild this offseason by trading Dejounte Muray to the Hawks for picks and Danilo Gallinari, who was waived. There’s a new offensive pecking order. Keldon Johnson projects as the No. 1 option, followed by Devin Vassell and Tre Jones. Jakob Poeltl is a proven fantasy commodity, but he doesn’t project as someone to take on significantly more usage with Murray gone.
Still, that quartet represents the Spurs’ core. By drafting a few, you mitigate the risk of drafting the “wrong” one. Taking Johnson, Vassell and Jones, for example, practically ensures you a monopoly on Spurs’ offensive touches and allows you to bet on the rebuild-producing fantasy results as a whole. Adding Poeltl to that mix gives you a 30-minute-per-game center who can stuff the stat sheet. And you probably won't have to pay up earlier than the fifth round for anyone.
After a disappointing 2021-22 season, the Wizards are back with a revamped roster. Bradley Beal returns after missing the back half of last year, and there will be a full season of Kristaps Porzingis, who the team traded for at last season's deadline. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith were sent out this summer for Will Barton and Monte Morris. Johnny Davis was added in the draft, though his poor play in Summer League means he could be on the outside of the rotation looking in.
There are a couple of different ways to approach a Wizards stack. You can stack backcourt usage by taking Beal, Barton and potentially Morris. When Beal is out, the latter two should see increased usage. Barton could be fantasy relevant even if Beal stays healthy.
You can also opt for a frontcourt stack. If you select the injury-prone Porzingis, you can secure safety nets in Kyle Kuzma and Daniel Gafford. Kuzma is coming off a career year, and Gafford is a great per-minute player. Fantasy managers in deep leagues can also explore drafting Deni Avdija and Rui Hachimura, though it's unclear how the minutes will shake out there.
The foundation of Houston's rebuild is in place after the Rockets selected Jabari Smith with the No. 3 overall pick over the summer. Now is the time that you can strike with some confidence in fantasy.
It's feasible to create a four-man stack with Smith, Alperen Sengun, Jalen Green and Kevin Porter. That's the core, and no one else on the team should be trusted to get significant touches — besides maybe Eric Gordon, who is trade bait. Practically, it may make more sense to stack either the frontcourt or the backcourt — Smith plus Sengun; Green plus Porter.
Either way, this promising young team is expected to get out and run while playing suspect defense, which will keep scores high. Green and Sengun have the highest upside of the bunch, and you may have to spend a fifth-round pick to get either.
A lost season from Damian Lillard put Portland into tank mode last season, which they pushed to extreme levels at the end of the year. But, the bigger news was CJ McCollum being dealt at the deadline to the Pelicans for, most notably, Josh Hart. Anfernee Simons had a breakout year as well. And this offseason brought Jerami Grant and Gary Payton Jr. to town, plus an intriguing young rookie in Shaedon Sharpe.
Despite intriguing moves, Portland remains shallow and is a team to target. Only a handful of trustworthy players on the roster can take advantage of increased usage. Those players are Lillard, Simons, Hart, Grant and Jusuf Nurkic. Nassir Little is an honorable mention for deep leagues, as is Payton. Sharpe may have trouble cracking the rotation for this win-now team, given his inexperience.
Landing all these players on your roster is feasible, but that's hard to endorse. Instead, I'd opt to stack frontcourt or backcourt — Hart is the glue-piece that can be useful for either option. Any missed time for Lillard will open up usage for Simons and Hart. Hart would also see more usage from an absence to Grant. Grant could see more usage with an absence of Nurkic. Like a lot of teams, it's all connected.
There are varying opinions on the Grizzlies' depth. I think they're a shallow team. Outside of their established core, it's a bunch of unproven guys. That's alright for the playoffs, but it can create regular-season issues.
Jaren Jackson (foot) is expected to be out until the start of November at the earliest. Drafting him, plus Brandon Clarke or even Steven Adams, assures you can take advantage of the extra usage and minutes now while getting Jackson later. Ziaire Williams or rookie Jake LaRavia may be worth consideration in deep formats.
Also, in deep leagues, drafting Tyus Jones late after getting Ja Morant makes sense since Morant's high-flying style makes him an injury risk, and Jones is arguably the best pure backup point guard in the NBA. More practically, a Desmond Bane-plus-Dillon Brooks stack ensures you will always have a shot-launcher on the wing capable of relieving Morant of some playmaking responsibilities.