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NBA Bench Risers for Fantasy Basketball Week 5

NBA teams have a multitude of players coming off the bench, each with a unique role to fill. As a fantasy owner, you need to decide which of those players can contribute across multiple categories and have the potential to make the most of their time on the court.

To find bench players that can contribute more than just energy and defense during their time on the court, I will analyze usage rate and Per 36 statistics. Here are some bench players whose stock should be rising based on their recent play and could be great fantasy pickups for deep leagues. Note: I will only be selecting players who are not regular starters and who are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo! leagues.

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Rising NBA Bench Performers

Glenn Robinson III (SF, IND) 3% owned - Big Dog Jr. has been inserted into the starting lineup out of sheer necessity. The Pacers have had as many as four main contributors, including three starters, out with injuries this week. As a result, Robinson has seen his minutes jump from barely 10 per game in the early going to 25, 45, and 37 the last three games. It won't be a permanent move, but Robinson does have the chance to make an impression and earn more time off the bench for the rest of the season, especially if the Pacers continue to have injury woes.

He hasn't shot particularly well in his brief audition as a starter, including a woeful 3-14 night against the Warriors. He did collect 19 rebounds over those three games, giving him a 6.1 TRB per 36 minutes. His 12.1 PTS per 36 and .429 FG% are right on par with his career averages, but a couple of good shooting nights can lead to a big jump. Keep in mind that Robinson is just 22 years old and this is his first opportunity at significant playing time. He isn't going to help you across the board, averaging just 1.6 assists per 36 and 0.6 blocks and steals, but he could be a solid source of points/rebounds for deeper leagues.


Josh Richardson (SG/SF, MIA) 48% owned - Richardson began the year on the shelf recovering from an MCL tear, but he is quickly recapturing the form that made him a surprising success as a second-round pick last year. After being eased back into action, he is becoming a main contributor off the Heat bench once again. His percentages are down from last year (.418 FG% & .368 3P% in 16-17, .452 FG% & .461 3P% in 15-16), but he has played just nine games so far and a pair of clunkers, including a 1-11 showing against the 76ers, have skewed those stats.

Some are skeptical of last year's numbers, calling for a big regression in his three-point shooting. While it is unlikely he will shoot above 45% on threes, Richardson should stay well above the league average (34.8%) and can chip in around three a game now that he is back to his regular minutes. The Heat aren't going to sniff the playoffs this year and there is little competition for shots now that Wade and Bosh are gone for good. Richardson should maintain an important role coming off the bench, not only as an outside shooter, but as a defensive threat as well. He will give fantasy owners just over one steal (1.1) and just under one block (0.9) per 36, as well as 3.7 rebounds and a pair of assists per 36. He slots nicely as a flex option on fantasy benches right now with the potential for even higher value if given more responsibility in the offense.


Frank Kaminsky (PF/C, CHA) 17% owned - Last year's ninth overall pick is starting to find his way in Charlotte. Tyler Zeller's absence the last couple of games has led to Kaminsky getting more involved. He has averaged 12 shots the last four games, resulting in 62 points and a pair of 20+ point games. His .436 FG% still leaves a lot to be desired, but his Player Efficiency Rating is at least approaching the league average of 15. Kaminsky has seen a jump in his per game averages across the board compared to his rookie season, other than blocked shots. He is now up to 10.7 PPG with a 16.0 PTS per 36 average. As a long-distance shooting big man, he won't give you blocks (0.4 per 36) or a ton of rebounds (6.3 REB per 36), but he is hoisting seven three-pointers a game and nearly four assists per 36.

The Hornets have been one of the surprising success stories early this year and Kaminsky could benefit greatly from an improved cast around him. Kaminsky may suit your fantasy team if you are in need of another shooter and can compromise big man stats at the 4/5 position. He certainly could stand to improve his shooting, but that will come with time and experience.

By popular demand, RotoBaller has aggregated all of our fantasy basketball NBA waiver wire pickups into a running list of NBA waiver options, so bookmark the page and check back often for updates.