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NBA Fantasy Basketball: Defensive Specialists to Target

Everyone loves offense, but defense wins championships. In categorical fantasy sports leagues, assembling a winning team is often about more than just the headline-grabbing offensive superstars. One crucial, yet sometimes underestimated, aspect of fantasy success lies in drafting defensive specialists. These players, often overlooked in day-to-day sports discussions, play a pivotal role in categorical fantasy leagues; defensive categories can make or break your team’s run for a championship. Lucky for you, we’ll delve into a list of defensive specialists to target in your upcoming draft. The list is not exhaustive, but start with the elite players and scroll down to see the role players that rack up the stocks (steals + blocks).

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Defensive Specialists to Draft in 2023-24 NBA Fantasy Basketball

Elite Players

Often, you can be a star player and a defensive specialist. These players come off the board within the first four rounds but offer elite defensive stats that give you an excellent foundation for the rest of your draft. These are the most obvious but worth listing.

  1. Jaren Jackson Jr. – MEM – PF: Elite in blocks (projected 2.5) and above average in steals (1.1)
    • ADP: 41, Stocks: 3.6
  2. Anthony Davis – LAL – PF/C:  Elite in blocks (projected 2.0) and above average in steals (1.2)
    • ADP: 14, Stocks: 3.2
  3. Joel Embiid – PHI – C: Great in blocks (projected 1.7) and above average in steals (1)
    • ADP: 5, Stocks: 2.7
  4. Myles Turner – IND – C: Elite in blocks (projected 2.5) but below average in steals (0.6)
    • ADP: 36, Stocks: 3.1
  5. O.G. Anunoby – TOR – SF/PF: Great in steals (1.6), but average in blocks (.6)
    • ADP: 48, Stocks: 2.2

Middle Rounds

Big men get drafted quickly during the early middle rounds (round five), so this is your opportunity to capture category-changing players, specifically blocks.

  1. Nicolas Claxton – BKN – C: Elite in blocks (projected 2.4), just below average in steals (0.9)
    • ADP: 61, Stocks: 3.3
  2. Chet Holmgren – OKC – PF/C:  Elite in blocks (projected 2.5), just below average in steals (0.8)
    • ADP: 70, Stocks: 3.3
  3. Victor Wembanyama – SAS – PF/C: Elite in blocks (projected 2.3), just below average in steals (0.8)
    • ADP: 31, Stocks: 3.1
  4. Walker Kessler – UTA – C: Elite/leader in blocks (projected 2.9), below average in steals (0.5)
    • ADP: 42, Stocks: 3.4
  5. Mitchell Robinson – NYK – C: Great in blocks (projected 1.8), above average in steals (1)
    • ADP: 80, Stocks 2.8

Role Players

You came for this: role players found toward the draft’s end that offer elite steals and block production. Additional value comes from out-of-position defensive stats as well.

  1. Matisse Thybulle – POR – SG/SF: Elite in steals (projected 1.7) and above average in blocks (0.7)
    • ADP: 150, Stocks: 2.4
  2. Herb Jones – NOP – SF/PF: Elite in steal (projected 1.7) and above average in blocks (0.6)
    • ADP: 139, Stocks: 2.3
  3. Ausar Thompson – DET – SF: Elite in steals (projected 1.5) and above average in blocks (0.7)
    • ADP: 141, Stocks: 2.2
  4. De’Anthony Melton – PHI – PG: Elite in steals (projected 1.6) and above average in blocks (0.6)
    • ADP: 109, Stocks: 2.2
  5. Marcus Smart – MEM – PG/SG: Elite in steals (projected 1.7) but below average in blocks (0.4)
    • ADP: 79, Stocks: 2.1
  6. Paul Reed – PHI – PF: Great in steals (projected 1.2) and great in blocks (1.3)
    • ADP: 145, Stocks: 2.5
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