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Defensive-minded players to target on your fantasy basketball waiver wire

4 players to add off waivers who are bring reliable defensive stats to the table.

Portland Trail Blazers v LA Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

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 a few 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—but also do other things good too.

Let’s begin!

Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio Spurs (34% rostered)

I had Poeltl on this list a couple weeks ago but that was when the Spurs weren’t playing any games due to COVID-19 testing. If you didn’t roster the Spurs’ big man then, I understand. Now that the Spurs are playing again, you have no excuse. Since playing again, Poeltl is averaging 8.8 PPG/10.0 RPG/2.5 APG/2.8 StPG through 4 games. You love seeing all those numbers coming from one player who you can easily add on waivers for free. A guy who can get you a double-double AND three stocks per game is truly a must-add in fantasy basketball.

Derrick Jones Jr., Portland Trail Blazers (28% rostered)

The Trail Blazers have been dealing with injuries all season and it’s pushed role players, like Jones, into starting roles. Jones has started the last 11 games for the Trail Blazers, averaging 27.9 minutes per game. In that time he’s averaging 9.5 PPG/6.2 RPG/1.0 APG/2.0 StPG on 57% shooting from the field and 40% from 3. However, Jones has hit another level over the last two weeks. He’s been a top 55 player per ESPN’s player rater, and scoring 10.7 points per game on 68%/58% shooting (FIFTY EIGHT PERCENT FROM THREE) while averaging 2.2 blocks and 0.8 steals per game. Only Rudy Gobert, Myles Turner, and Clint Capela are averaging more blocks during that time.

Bruce Brown, Brooklyn Nets (25% rostered)

I mentioned Brown in this week’s fantasy basketball forecaster but he’s putting up numbers that need to be talked about even more. Brown has started the last 10 games for the Nets and in that span is averaging 12.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.5 stocks on 26.5 minutes. Brown has seen even more playing time heading into the All-Star break, averaging 30.9 minutes over the last week. With the extra playtime, all his counting stats have also improved: 16.3 PPG/5.3 RPG/2.3 APG/1.7 StPG. Brown’s role will diminish once Kevin Durant returns from his hamstring injury so make sure you benefit from his elite play while you can.

Dennis Smith Jr., Detroit Pistons (21% rostered)

Smith was completely forgotten about in New York and now in Detroit, he’s finally seeing reliable court-time. In fact, with Delon Wright and Killiam Hayes both out, Smith has started the last five games for the Pistons. In those games, he’s averaging 11.0 points, 4.0 assists, and 2.6 stocks in 22.7 minutes while shooting 45% from the field and 42% from three. All of those numbers are solid, especially his defensive stats—Smith leads the NBA in steals per game over the last week. With two more games on the schedule before the All-Star break (and one of them against the Knicks) stream Smith the rest of the week.