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Fantasy Basketball Block Specialists - Draft Targets


Finding shot blockers in fantasy basketball is sometimes like trying to get your hands on those buttery crab legs at your neighborhood Chinese buffet. Once some are available, they are usually gone before you can leave your table, or in this case, before you can open your fantasy platform app. Since the beginning of fantasy basketball, players that have the ability to swat shots at an above-average to elite level get taken very early in drafts. It often leaves us either punting the category or try the category-by-comity-type strategy, which really, never pans out.

Then you get the freaks that show up out of nowhere, like Hassan Whiteside circa 2015 and you are lucky enough to have gambled on him early on the waiver wire and he then single-handedly turned around your dreadful season into a promising playoff push. Either way, these shot-blocking “specialists” are often far and few between. Yes, there are the Rudy Gobert’s, Anthony Davis’, Myles Turner’s and last season’s surprise, Mitchell Robinson who we know will do the job, but then after that top-tier, it gets a little more interesting. I am also not saying all these above mentioned are a guarantee either as all of these big men have a history of injuries and/or inconsistencies or in Robinson’s case, still quite young and raw.

So, what do we do after these big-named shot blockers are gone? It is hard to stomach taking JaVale McGee with your fourth-round pick because he is not guaranteed to offer much else and his minutes fluctuate quite a lot based on matchups. Once you get out of the top-15 shot blockers from last season, it gets quite interesting, but there is still a way to rack up the swats with sneakier, later-round picks. Here are some under the radar shot blockers to key in on in drafts that offer more than just the one category we are looking at.

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Serge Ibaka - PF/C, Toronto Raptors

The veteran big man had somewhat of a resurgence last season under new head coach Nick Nurse. Yes, he is not the three-blocks-a-night guy he was in Oklahoma, but back then, he was a second-round fantasy gem. Nurse found a way for Ibaka to be more impactful in fewer minutes and his valued showed not just in the box score but with helping his squad nab the elusive Larry O'Brien trophy.

Ibaka put together arguably his best season in a Raptors’ uniform this past season and even after Gasol arrived, his minutes and scoring did take a dip (27.2 minutes to 23.3 and 15.0 points to 12.6 a night), but his rebounds increased (8.1 rebounds to 9.1 a night) and most importantly, his blocks per night went from 1.3 to 1.6 a night in just 23.3 minutes a night across 22 games. We can expect similar, if not a slight increase in these numbers this coming season with Gasol most likely to miss some games for ‘load management’ purposes.

 

Derrick Favors -PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans

No more playing second fiddle to possibly the league’s best shot-blocker, Rudy Gobert. Favors will be the main man in the middle for the Pelicans this season. Favors posted 2.2 blocks per-36 minutes last season and you know that number could have been even higher if Gobert did not beat him to the spots.

Favors is coming into his prime at age 28 and is ready to become the fantasy beast we had hoped before Gobert blossomed for the Jazz. To continue on with his numbers per-36 minutes last year, Favors posted 18.3 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 1.1 steals. You will be getting more than just a shot-blocking specialist; you get a well-rounded big man with two-position eligibility.

 

Brook Lopez - C, Milwaukee Bucks

It is hard to believe that BroLo was actually fourth in the league in blocks per game last year with 2.2 a night. It is even harder to believe the Lakers let this man walk, as he would be the perfect fit alongside newly acquired Anthony Davis. Lopez is an interesting center for sure as he manages to block shots at an elite level but rebounds as well as an average starting small forward (just 4.9 rebounds a night last season).

Yet, it is not a mystery anymore that this man can fill it up from deep as he was 25th in the league last season with 2.3 makes at a more-than serviceable 36.5% clip. He will most likely slip in drafts once again this season, but his unique ability to rain threes while swatting shots makes him a shot-blocking specialist any team could benefit from.

 

Deeper League Options

In deeper leagues or if you just want to snag some sneaky blocks, these guys can fill the void and add a little extra to help your squad.

All stats from the 2018-19 season

  • Nerlens Noel (PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder) – 1.2 blocks a night with 0.9 steals.
  • Richaun Holmes (PF/C, Sacramento Kings) – 1.1 blocks a night in just 16.9 minutes with elite field-goal percentage (60.8).
  • Maximilian Kleber (PF/C, Dallas Mavericks) – 1.1 blocks a night with 1.1 makes from three.
  • Mason Plumlee (PF/C, Denver Nuggets) – 0.9 blocks a night with 3.0 assists.
  • Alex Len (PF/C, Atlanta Hawks) – 0.9 blocks a night with 1.0 makes from three.

Being the rarest of all stats, sometimes you do indeed have to reach to get that big man that provides consistent numbers in this category. Although, if you don’t reach for the Gobert’s or Turner’s, you can still find blocks in drafts. You may not win the category every week, but you can still be competitive on a weekly basis without neglecting other categories.

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