Skip to main content

9 Defensive Players to Target in Fantasy Basketball

See below for a rundown of well rounded glue guys with solid defensive production. These players are fairly reliable options depending on your needs. Streaming is key in H2H leagues and people often neglect defensive stats in roto leagues.

James Johnson - Not a big scorer but he is shooting a career best .587 from the field and giving up a career low 0.9 turnovers. Also not terribly weak in the rebounds and assists department, but the main source of value is his defense. Wolverine is rocking 1.2 blocks and 0.8 steals per game, and has seen a slight uptick in minutes with DeRozan out. 

Kyle O'Quinn - Missed most of November with an ankle sprain but has been providing solid numbers in limited minutes since his return. Puts up James Johnson-esque stats although his path to minutes is a bit murkier. December 2nd vs the Warriors is the only game he played 20+ minutes since returning two weeks ago (That happened to be the first game Vucevic missed with a bum back, and O’Quinn put up 21 points, 11 boards, 1 dime, 1 swat, and 2 swipes in 27 minutes) up until last night when he saw 30 minutes vs Wizards.  O'Quinn put up 10 points, had 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.  Will be interesting to see how many minutes O’Quinn gets when Vucevic is back, but he was a valuable asset even in limited minutes last season.

Wesley Johnson - Wes is in a bit of a lull but he shows flashes of 1 trey, steal, block per game ability, sitting at 1, 0.8, 0.8 so far this season. The only real concern is Nick Young pushing him to the 2nd unit, although that wouldn’t hurt WJ’s value too much. 

Khris Middleton - Milwaukee isn’t a terrible mess, and it seems like Middleton has carved out a nice hunk of minutes for himself. The 23 year old forward standing at 6 feet and 7 inches tall has decent range and 1.3 steals in only 23 minutes a game so far this season. Numbers aren’t super sexy but he does a bit of everything and is a strong start/stream depending on your league’s depth. Ilyasova’s broken face has given him a slight boost as well.

Rudy Gobert - Enes Kanter has blocked Rudy from seeing substantial minutes, but Gobert is one of the strongest stashes in the game. 1.4 blocks, 0.4 steals, 5.2 rebounds in only 16 MPG so far this season, and the 7 foot+ French sophomore is clearly improving. Kanter has been mediocre and stirred the pot a bit after throwing his mouthpiece into the stands on Monday. Rudy has supreme upside. 

Tony Allen - Old man Tony is steal elite in the steals department and has a 5 game streak of 2+ steals. 2.1 SPG on the season with the usual humdrum supporting stats. His previous career high is 1.8 steals per game so some regression is to be expected, but he was hurt for a lot of last season so a slight bounceback makes sense. 0.4 blocks a game isn’t awful for a SG/SF too.

Kris Humphries - K-Hump had four straight games with at least 1 block and 1 steal before last night.  he did add 2 steals, but failed to block a shot.  In that same time period he has a 20 and 14 rebound game while scoring 17 and 20 in the other two. Originally it looked like Humphries would be a solid short term play while Nene was banged up, but Hilario’s bum knee issue will probably linger and Coach Wittman says Nene is generally in poor shape. Humphries is one of the more exciting adds at the moment and you should feel comfortable riding him out until Nene pulls it together.

Marreese Speights - Clear cut backup center does his job in upper-teens minutes per game, but could see a nice increase in value since Andrew Bogut is unsurprisingly dealing with knee irritation. Speights is an efficient scorer and rebounder who can bring in 1.5 steals+blocks per game with more PT. 

Jason Thompson - DeMarcus Cousins is out for potentially 2+ more weeks with viral meningitis and Thompson is the beneficiary. Strong short term play until Boobie returns.

Matt Strachman is currently developing projection algorithms for all major sports and on pace to win over 30 yearly fantasy championships in 2014. Over on Reddit, he is the moderator of /r/fantasybaseball and commissioner of /r/sultansofstats, /r/oldtimehockey, and /r/redditcantjump. You can follow him on twitter @HisDudenessOfNY