It’s easy to find points, rebounds, and threes in fantasy basketball. However, steals and blocks are a different animal, as spotting consistent sources of those stats on the cheap is always challenging. It’s important to find players who give you stocks (steals + blocks) though because a reliable stocks producer gives you a scoring advantage in your fantasy league (stocks are often worth bit more than regular counting stats).
Here are five targets to improve your team’s outlook in the always-important defensive stats.
Keldon Johnson (SG/SF, San Antonio Spurs)
Johnson is a popular pick in most leagues’ waiver wires by virtue of his talent and increased playing time and role with the Spurs. Last season, he averaged 17.1 minutes per night, but in the first two contests of the 2020-2021 season, it has increased to 30.
In those two games, Johnson is averaging 14.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 0.5 blocks. However, one of the most attractive traits of his skill set is his ability to steal the ball: he is currently at 2.0 per game in the early going and averaged 1.7 per 36 minutes in the last campaign.
Cole Anthony (PG/SG, Orlando Magic)
Whereas Johnson may or may not be already on another team’s roster, Anthony surely isn’t. He is rostered in just 13 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and he won’t be the starter in Orlando because of Markelle Fultz, but the rookie has loads of upside and has managed to produce 7.5 points per game, 3.5 boards, 5.5 assists, 0.5 threes, and 1.0 steals in just 18 minutes per contest.
The 2020 first-rounder can earn more minutes and see a production increase, as he has significantly more upside than backup point guard Michael Carter-Williams. In 22 games at UNC, he averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.3 steals.
Kyle Anderson (SF, Memphis Grizzlies)
For years a popular sleeper candidate, Anderson has had a couple of very productive games with the Memphis Grizzlies in the early going. He is considered cheap, as he isn’t rostered in too many leagues, but his 13.5 points per game, 1.5 threes, 12.0 rebounds, 1.5 dimes, and 1.0 swats suggest that he should be on your roster, at least for the short-term until Jaren Jackson returns.
Actually, Anderson is a great pickup for both steals and blocks. Over his career, he has produced 1.7 thefts and 1.0 swats per 36 minutes, and as long as he is playing, he should be rostered for his defensive contributions.
Patrick Williams (SF, Chicago Bulls)
Williams, the fourth overall selection in this year’s draft, is a good source of blocks from the small forward position. He should get his minutes, and so far, in the first two games for the Bulls, he has delivered an acceptable line: 12.5 points per contest, 1.0 three-pointer, 3.0 boards, 1.0 dime, 0.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks.
In only 22.5 minutes per game for Florida State, Williams managed to block a shot per contest. He has good potential in the category, had a good preseason, and should play plenty. Go grab him now that he is (probably) free in your league.
DeAndre Jordan (C, Brooklyn Nets)
Jordan’s ownership numbers vary too much depending on the platform. In ESPN, 36.6 percent of the leagues have him on a roster, but in Yahoo! the number goes up to 66 percent. Either way, if you need cheap blocks, go check your wire and if he’s there, change that.
The fact that Jordan is in a timeshare with Jarrett Allen caps his value, but that doesn’t mean he is useless in fantasy, especially if you need some cheap boards and blocks. In two games with the revamped Brooklyn Nets, he is averaging nine rebounds per game and 1.5 swats.