Fantasy Basketball Sleepers 2013: Defensive Weapons That You Need to Draft

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIOctober 25, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 5:  Derrick Favors #15 of the Utah Jazz signals to the fans during an open scrimmage to the public at EnergySolutions Arena on October 5, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

The 2013 NBA regular season is rapidly approaching and the time for fantasy basketball drafts to take place is running out. This has every owner searching for answers, as there's a need for aid in virtually every statistical category.

The question is, where can you find the best defensive value?

Fantasy Basketball Defense Rankings
1.Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets35.812.42.41.1
2.Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls36.811.12.11.2
3.Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder31.
4.Larry Sanders, Milwaukee Bucks27.
5.Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs30.
6.Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons35.
7.Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans28.
8.Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies35.
9.Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers33.
10.Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz23.
2012-13 Statistics via

Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz

/Getty Images

Position: Power Forward

Age: 22

Experience: 4th Season

2012-13 Season Averages

17.57 PER, 23.2 MPG, 9.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.7 BPG, 0.9 SPG

Over the course of the past three seasons, Derrick Favors has seen his playing time limited by the presence of established stars in the starting lineup. With both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap signing with other teams, the Utah Jazz will now trust Favors with starter's minutes.

If there's one area that Favors is going to shine, it'll be on defense.

The former Georgia Tech star averaged 9.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 0.9 steals in 23.2 minutes of action during the 2012-13 regular season. Those numbers equate to 16.3 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 1.6 steals per 40 minutes.

With Favors in line to see playing time in the ball park of 35.0 minutes per game, expect him to average a double-double with high block and steal numbers.

According to ESPN, Favors' current average draft position is 61.5. In standard 10-team leagues, that makes Favors available as a sixth-round draft pick, but that doesn't mean you should wait to take him.

He will be a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate once he enters his prime, and in 2013-14, Favors will flash that upside. Capitalize on it by drafting him.


Tobias Harris, Orlando Magic

/Getty Images

Position: Forward

Age: 21

Experience: 3rd Season

2012-13 Season Averages

16.05 PER, 23.6 MPG, 11.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.8 BPG, 0.6 SPG

In 2012-13, the Orlando Magic made an incredibly underrated trade for forward Tobias Harris. Previously an underutilized reserve with the Milwaukee Bucks, Harris emerged as one of the best young all-around players in the NBA with Orlando.

The term "young" might need to be removed from that phrase in the near future.

After the 2013 All-Star break, Harris posted averages of 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 blocks and 0.9 steals per game. That offensive production is enough to intrigue any fantasy basketball owner, but if you're in need of defense, Harris will contribute in every category.

That type of production can't be found with just any player.

Harris should have more opportunities to make plays with Victor Oladipo in the lineup, specifically as a shot-blocker against heavily-covered slashers. Already proven to be a force on the glass, this opens the door for fantasy owners to grab an all-around threat late in the selecting process.

Per ESPN, Harris' average draft position is currently 71.9.


Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors

/Getty Images

Position: Power Forward

Age: 26

Experience: 9th Season

2012-13 Season Averages

17.33 PER, 28.7 MPG, 10.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.0 SPG

When it comes to finding a defensive weapon in fantasy basketball leagues, the key is to have balance. Not every player can block shots like Serge Ibaka and rarely will they force turnovers like Chris Paul, but many will contribute in multiple areas.

Amir Johnson of the Toronto Raptors can be that player for you.

In 2012-13, Johnson averaged 10.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.0 steals in 28.7 minutes per contest. After the All-Star break, Johnson upped those numbers to 10.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 0.9 steals in 31.8 minutes.

ESPN reports that Johnson's current average draft position is 109.6 in fantasy basketball drafts, which makes him the definition of a steal.

Johnson has become one of Dwane Casey's most trusted players due to his ability to play hard-nosed defense. The added benefit with Johnson is that he'll routinely force turnovers and block shots in the Raptors' defensive-minded system.

These aren't superstars, but all three could offer the defensive boost that every fantasy basketball owner needs.