Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Weekly Rankings
Compare Any Players
Starts and Sit
Daily Fantasy
Who To Pickup
Fantasy Updates
24x7 News and Alerts

Fantasy Basketball Category Studs: Blocks And Steals

Blocks and steals, the two defensive stats used in typical category leagues, may seem secondary but they are just as important to manage as rebounds or assists, and they should not be overlooked. Yes, it feels cool to grab all the guys who can score points and average double-doubles, but if you aren't rostering players on your team that can contribute in either of these defensive categories too, you're likely going to have to work harder than most in order to win on a regular basis. Punting one might be okay, but punting both is not recommended.

When it comes to either steals or blocks, the drop-off between the top players and the average player may appear small but it's quite a sizable percentage. Each stat has a relatively large variance from game to game, but at the same time, you'll find that the winning margin in either of these is often minimal. I can't tell you how many times I've seen my opponent beat me by just one measly steal or block. Every single one counts.

The players highlighted below are just some of the defensive studs who most definitely should be on your radar this season.

Featured Promo: Our friends at Sharp App have created the ultimate tools for sports bettors. Download the FREE app to track bets, compare odds, get daily picks from the most accurate models in the industry, and identify the sharp side of any bet. Use promo code BALLER to get a month free of Sharp Pro access. Get The App!


Fantasy Basketball Studs for Blocks

Centers are a valuable position in fantasy hoops. They can help you out in so many facets of the game. Some can average almost 30 points per game. Some have no trouble getting you 10-15 rebounds per outing. Their field-goal percentages are usually top-notch. Then there are a select few who can even help you dominate your opponent with the blocks they provide. Anthony Davis is the ultimate example of this. So, besides the eight-time NBA All-Star in Los Angeles who averages 2.3 blocks per game, here are some other shot-blocking studs who can surely help you compete in what is often a critical category to win:

Rudy Gobert - C - Minnesota Timberwolves

Gobert had 137 blocks last season for the Utah Jazz, which was the second-highest total output in the NBA. He's consistently averaged at least two blocks per game every single year, other than his rookie season. Over the span of his career, he's averaged 2.2 blocks per game. The only real concern this time around might be his move to Minnesota, and being paired up with fellow big man Karl-Anthony Towns. Other than that, Gobert is about as consistent as you can get when it comes to blocking shots.

Myles Turner - C - Indiana Pacers

Turner has been one of the best shot blockers in the league over the past few seasons. Last year he averaged 2.8 blocks, and the prior year he averaged an incredible 3.4 blocks per game. The main issue is he doesn't get the volume because he seems to be battling injuries every season. However, on a per-game basis, you can't do much better than the Indiana center.

Robert Williams III - C - Boston Celtics

After locking up the starting position this past season, the fifth-year center averaged 2.2 blocks in just under 30 minutes per game. His 134 total blocks were third among all players, and his Per-36 Minutes average of 2.7 was also one of the best in the league.

Jaren Jackson Jr. - PF/C - Memphis Grizzlies

Triple J led the league last year in blocks, and it wasn't even close. His 177 total blocks were 40 better than second-place Gobert. He played in a career-high 78 games too, which certainly helped, but his averages were still incredible. Not only did he average 2.3 per game, but he also averaged 3.0 when looking at Per-36 Minutes. Unfortunately, he's currently set to miss several months this season due to injury, so we'll have to just wait and see if he can continue this strong showing when he returns.

Hassan Whiteside - C - None

As of this writing, Whiteside is still an unsigned free agent. He played backup to Gobert in Utah last year and averaged 1.6 blocks in less than 18 minutes per game. His Per-36 Minutes average of 3.2 was not even the best of his career. The veteran center also has a career average of 2.24 blocks per game and has shown to be a reliable defensive anchor when he gets the opportunity. Look to stream him in if he does end up getting minutes with someone this season.

Whiteside isn't the only player to monitor for minutes either. Players such as Daniel Gafford, Mo Bamba, and Mitchell Robinson all have shown to contribute sufficient block numbers when given the opportunity.


Fantasy Basketball Studs for Steals

Steals are much harder to predict. In fact, of the nine typical categories, steals have the highest variance not only from game to game but from year to year as well. Popular podcaster Josh Lloyd recently presented a study showing the yearly correlation for each of the categories, using a sample size of the 184 players who were ranked in the top 250 for each of the past two seasons. It showed that steals had the smallest correlation. What that basically means is that a player's steals average is the least likely stat to remain consistent from one year to the next.

Now, because I'm here to point out who exactly is best in getting you steals, ignore that last paragraph. No, I'm only kidding, but use that information to at least temper your expectations. You can still make an informed decision based on historical data, along with current projections, for a given player. Some great steal guys are basically in the same situation as they were last season, so it's reasonable to expect similar results.

Looking at last year's results is fine, but check out career averages too. When you do that, you'll notice players who are way more consistent than others when it comes to getting you those juicy steals.

Just like with Anthony Davis mentioned earlier with blocks, we are just going to skip past the players with great steals averages that are being taken in the first few rounds for multiple other reasons already. This includes players like Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Tyrese Haliburton, and Dejounte Murray. Getting any of these guys is a great start to getting you the steals you need on a weekly basis. Digging a bit deeper though, the following five players are more or less steals "specialists."

Herbert Jones -SF/PF -New Orleans Pelicans

The second-year forward played in 78 games his rookie season and racked up a total of 130 steals (1.7 per game). That was good for third-highest in the entire league last year. Additionally, his Per-36 Minutes average was an even stronger 2.0 steals per game. With a plethora of offensive weapons in New Orleans now, Jones will have one job to do when he's on the floor: play elite defense. Look for his steals numbers to continue this season.

Marcus Smart - PG/SG - Boston Celtics

Smart is a great example of why looking at career averages can be beneficial. The Boston guard is a savvy veteran who has always played strong, solid defense. Last season, he averaged 1.7 steals per game and has a career average of 1.6 steals per game. He's been consistently reliable too, averaging at least 1.5 steals in all but one season since he's been in the league. Smart is not going to win you the category on his own, but his steady production will most certainly keep you in contention on a weekly basis.

Matisse Thybulle - SF - Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers forward has seen a slight improvement in each of his first three seasons, averaging 1.6 steals over his career so far. However, what really stands out is his Per-36 Minutes average, which was an impressive 2.5 steals last year. If he ever gets more minutes, he could easily lead the league in total steals. In the meantime, he's a very solid streamer when you need some steals late in the week.

Alex Caruso - PG - Chicago Bulls

Caruso was given more opportunity when he signed with Chicago last year, and his increase in minutes also translated to an increase in his steals output. In 41 games played, he averaged 1.7 steals. What's more impressive is that even though his minutes increased, his Per-36 Minutes average still ended up at 2.2 steals. With Lonzo Ball set to possibly miss more time to start the season, look for Caruso to continue getting some decent minutes this year. He may not contribute much in other categories, except perhaps some assists, but the steals numbers could still be there.

Gary Payton II - SG/SF - Portland Trailblazers

The Portland guard only averaged about 17 minutes over 71 games last season for the Warriors, but he still averaged almost 1.5 steals in those minutes. His Per-36 Minutes average was a whopping 2.8 steals. Now that he's in Portland, he could end up with more opportunity which would translate to some great defensive numbers. This should make him, at worst, a very solid steals streamer this season.

Other players worth mentioning here are Lonzo Ball, De'Anthony Melton, and Jordan McLaughlin. Though they may not get the volume this season (due to either uncertainty in minutes or missed time), their Per-36 numbers are high enough to include them in the conversation.


Fantasy Basketball Studs for Stocks (Steals Plus Blocks)

If you're looking to get more bang for your buck, you can also seek out the players capable of helping you in BOTH categories at the same time. Several studs that were already mentioned above, along with a few others, averaged at least one steal and one block per game last year. Jackson Jr. and Williams III just missed the list, each averaging 0.9 steals per game. The leader among these is Davis, who averaged 3.5 steals+blocks per game.

If you do in fact want to grab guys who help you out in both of the defensive categories, aim for the bigs rather than the guards. Forwards and centers with high block numbers can achieve decent steal numbers much easier than steal-heavy guards can get you enough blocks. Keep that in mind when streaming or trying to fill holes in your roster with your last one or two spots.

Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy basketball mobile app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, lineup notifications & DFS articles. All free!

More Fantasy Basketball Analysis


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Weekly Rankings
Compare Any Players
Starts and Sit
Daily Fantasy
Who To Pickup
Fantasy Updates
24x7 News and Alerts


Eddy Alvarez2 hours ago

Brewers Sign Eddy Alvarez
Brandon Nimmo2 hours ago

Yankees Have Met With Brandon Nimmo
Justin Verlander2 hours ago

Mets, Yankees Interested In Justin Verlander, Carlos Rodon
Jameson Taillon2 hours ago

Mets, Rangers In On Jameson Taillon
Noah Syndergaard2 hours ago

Orioles Meet With Noah Syndergaard
Justin Verlander2 hours ago

Mets Now Looking At Justin Verlander
Trea Turner2 hours ago

Padres Have Met With Trea Turner Twice
Kevin Holland3 hours ago

Hoping To Rebound With Main-Event Victory
Stephen Thompson3 hours ago

Set To Headline Main Event
Bryan Barberena3 hours ago

Will Highlight Co-Main-Event Matchup
Rafael Dos Anjos3 hours ago

Rafael dos Anjos In Saturday's Co-Main Event
Jordan Poole4 hours ago

Delivers 30 Points Off The Bench
Devin Booker4 hours ago

Remains Red-Hot Versus Houston
Zion Williamson4 hours ago

Dominates Against The Spurs
Joel Embiid4 hours ago

Comes Close To A 30-Point Triple-Double
Anthony Davis5 hours ago

Notches Season-High 44 Points
Kevin Love5 hours ago

Records A Double-Double Off The Bench
Jimmy Butler5 hours ago

Returns In Top Form
Dejounte Murray5 hours ago

Leads Hawks To Victory
Johnny Gaudreau5 hours ago

Has Another Multi-Point Performance
Patrik Laine5 hours ago

Returns With A Two-Goal Effort
Mathew Barzal5 hours ago

Pots A Power-Play Goal
Roman Josi5 hours ago

Bags Two Power-Play Points
Matt Duchene6 hours ago

Logs Three Points In Friday's Win
Mika Zibanejad6 hours ago

Stays Hot With 12th Goal
Brady Tkachuk6 hours ago

Notches Three Points Versus Rangers
Matt Schnell11 hours ago

Matthew Christopher Schnell Hoping To Be A Tough Out
Matheus Nicolau11 hours ago

Can Continue To Make Strides In The Division
Josh Hart17 hours ago

Listed As Doubtful For Saturday
Tyrese Haliburton17 hours ago

Will Play Friday
Drew Eubanks17 hours ago

Questionable For Saturday
Jaden McDaniels17 hours ago

On Track To Return Saturday
Alex Caruso17 hours ago

Probable On Friday
Jacob deGrom17 hours ago

Signs Five-Year Deal With Rangers
Dario Saric17 hours ago

Moves To The Starting Lineup
Brandin Cooks18 hours ago

Won't Play Against Browns
Mike Williams18 hours ago

Ruled Out Against Raiders
Brandon Bolden18 hours ago

Josh Jacobs, Brandon Bolden Questionable
Joe Mixon18 hours ago

Ja'Marr Chase, Joe Mixon Questionable For Week 13
Jason Castro19 hours ago

Announces His Retirement
Deebo Samuel19 hours ago

Is Questionable For Week 13
Teuvo Teravainen20 hours ago

Activated From Injured Reserve
Lewin Díaz20 hours ago

Lewin Diaz Claimed By Orioles
Jakub Voracek20 hours ago

Dealing With A Concussion
Andrew Cave20 hours ago

Phillies Claim Jake Cave Off Waivers From Orioles
Sergei Pavlovich20 hours ago

Can Secure Fifth Straight Win Saturday
Justin Verlander20 hours ago

Yankees In On Justin Verlander, Carlos Rodon
Kawhi Leonard20 hours ago

Paul George, Kawhi Leonard Return To Practice Friday
Calle Jarnkrok20 hours ago

Out For At Least Two Weeks
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander20 hours ago

Questionable To Suit Up Saturday
Chris Martin20 hours ago

Agrees With Red Sox
Tyler Bertuzzi20 hours ago

Set To Miss Six Weeks
Torrey Craig20 hours ago

Ruled Out For Friday’s Game
Jesse Winker20 hours ago

Abraham Toro Heading To Brewers
Anthony Cirelli20 hours ago

Nearing Season Debut
Dennis Schroder20 hours ago

Unavailable For Friday's Game
Brayden Schenn20 hours ago

Questionable For Saturday
Jakob Poeltl20 hours ago

Jeremy Sochan Remain Out For Friday’s Game
Kolten Wong20 hours ago

Mariners Acquire Kolten Wong From The Brewers
Sam Gagner20 hours ago

Rejoins Jets Lineup
Doug McDermott20 hours ago

Josh Richardson, Doug McDermott Will Miss Friday’s Contest
T.J. Warren21 hours ago

Set For Season Debut Friday
Courtland Sutton22 hours ago

Jerry Jeudy Questionable
Pittsburgh Steelers22 hours ago

T.J. Watt Questionable For Week 13
Ja'Marr Chase22 hours ago

Bengals Optimistic Ja'Marr Chase Will Play
Zay Jones22 hours ago

Travis Etienne Jr., Zay Jones Questionable To Face Lions
Najee Harris23 hours ago

Will Play, Jaylen Warren Questionable
Justin Fields23 hours ago

Will Face Packers
Jerick McKinnon23 hours ago

Expected To Play
Matthew Stafford23 hours ago

Ruled Out, John Wolford To Start
Tai Tuivasa24 hours ago

Facing Off Against Dangerous Heavyweight
Jack Hermansson24 hours ago

Looking For Victory Over Rising Star
Roman Dolidze24 hours ago

Set For Huge Test Saturday
Kyle Daukaus1 day ago

Looking For Big Finish Saturday
J.K. Dobbins1 day ago

Won't Face Broncos
Antonio Gibson1 day ago

Listed As Questionable Against Giants
David Njoku1 day ago

Ruled Out Against Texans
David Njoku1 day ago

Unlikely To Play In Week 13
Travis Etienne Jr.1 day ago

"Good To Go" For Week 13
Michael Carter1 day ago

Doubtful To Face The Vikings
Zack Britton1 day ago

Should Be Full-Go For Spring Training
Salvador Perez1 day ago

White Sox Looking To Trade For Salvador Perez?
Trea Turner1 day ago

Padres In the Market For Trea Turner?
Kolten Wong1 day ago

Giants, Mariners Interested In Kolten Wong
Bryan Reynolds1 day ago

Unlikely To Be Dealt
Willson Contreras1 day ago

Astros, Cardinals Top Landing Spots For Willson Contreras
Eryk Anders1 day ago

Hoping To Prevent Losing Skid On Saturday
Anze Kopitar1 day ago

Nets Two Goals In Thursday's Win
Matthew Tkachuk1 day ago

Tallies Three Points Thursday
Matthew Beniers1 day ago

Continues Hot Streak With Historic Goal
Sean Monahan1 day ago

Notches Two Assists Against Calgary
Jake Oettinger1 day ago

Stops All Shots Thursday
Jason Robertson1 day ago

Pots A Hat Trick Versus Anaheim
Ryan Johansen1 day ago

Leads The Way Versus Devils
Jakobi Meyers2 days ago

Officially Active For Week 13
Justin Fields2 days ago

Practices In Full On Thursday