It’s easy to find points, rebounds, and threes in fantasy basketball. However, steals and blocks are a different animal, as finding players who constantly put up solid production in those categories on your waiver wire isn’t easy. 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).
I’ve decided to write a weekly Stonks Report (STONKS!) where I’ll have four players, all under 70% rostered in ESPN, who are well worth adding to your fantasy team based on their production on the defensive side of the ball.
Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat (62% rostered)
Nunn as been starting for the Heat in the last nine games and has been a top 25 player on ESPN’s player rater during that time. TOP TWENTY-FIVE. He’s been better the last two weeks than Kyrie Irving, Clint Capela, Terry Rozier, Devin Booker, and Luka Doncic to name just a few guys. The fact that Nunn isn’t 90%+ rostered is a modern day miracle.
Since starting, Nunn is averaging 17.1 PPG/3.3 RPG/2.9 APG/2.0 StPG (plus shooting a very healthy 44% from 3). Only Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Jokic, Fred VanVleet, and Jimmy Butler are putting up that stat line this season. Nunn has been thriving with Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic out and you can trust his production and usage to continue in their absence and likely beyond.
DeAndre Jordan, Brooklyn Nets (48% rostered)
Sure Jordan isn’t the sexiest name on your waiver wire, but winning your fantasy league takes more than just the sexy names. You need to have the guys who might not wow you any given night, but will give you solid reliable production and Jordan is just that man. Unless the Nets make a move to add another big man, you can trust Jordan will see reliable minutes. He’s averaging 22.4 minutes on the season and has seen an uptick in minutes in February, averaging 26.6 per game. On the season, he’s averaging 7.5 PPG/7.2 RPG/1.8 APG/1.9 StPG. Want to guess how many other players in the NBA are putting up those numbers? Three. Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Richaun Holmes. In February (10 games, starting 6 of them), those numbers have risen to 9.3/7.8/1.9/2.3.
Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets (35% rostered)
Tate has been a bright spot for the Rockets over the last month. He’s started 11 games for Houston in February, averaging 30.4 minutes per game and a 12.7 PPG/5.9 RPG/2.2 APG/1.6 StPG stat line. While his offense has improve with minutes, it’s his defense that has him an exciting waiver target. Tate has multiple steals in three consecutive games and has only been held without a steal in two of his last nine games. The points are of course an added benefit as the rookie has scored double-digit points in nine of his last 12 games.
Saben Lee, Detroit Pistons (9% rostered)
With Delon Wright injured, Lee has seen a huge uptick in minutes. And I mean huge huge. Like going from 8.8 MPG to 30.7 MPG. Despite Dennis Smith Jr. starting the last two games, Lee has seen the most minutes and production among the point guards. He’s averaging 16.5 PPG/3.5 RPG/4.5 APG and 2.5 steals. And the steals aren’t flukey as Lee was averaging half a steal through his first eight games when he was averaging sub-nine minutes. With Wright out for at least two weeks, and Lee playing so well, expect his minutes to remain in the high 20’s and his defense to be on display every night.