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Punt Blocks

Blocks are very difficult to find as they tend to be concentrated among just a handful of players. In 2013-2014, only four players, Serge Ibaka, DeAndre Jordan, Anthony Davis, and Roy Hibbert averaged over two blocks a night. Owners will often reach for blocks at the expense of other categories due to their scarcity. Because of this, it makes a lot of sense to just ignore the category completely. Point guards and wings get a bump in this build, but as always, it’s not just about looking at the rankings without blocks and picking the highest ranked player. You still want to try to be strong in as many categories as possible. When ignoring blocks, you still want to be competitive in FG% and rebounds. What makes this build tricky is that many of the big men who provide solid rebounding and FG% impact are poor from the charity stripe. That makes targeting guards who are strong from the line important in this build. You will also want to keep a close eye on your turnovers as many of the players who get a bump in this build are turnover prone.

Note: The round that I recommend taking each player is based off of Yahoo Fantasy Basketball’s rankings and where I think each player will or could be available in a standard 12-team draft. All punting guides are for standard, 9-category leagues. 

Categories to target: FG%, FT%, Rebounds, TOs

Round 1 Targets: Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Steph Curry, James Harden, Chris Paul, Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook

R2) Dirk Nowitzki – As mentioned in the opener, FT% is a concern with this build due to some of the big man targets. Dirk gives you a huge head start (89.9 FT% on 4.7 FTA) there as only Durant and Harden had a larger positive impact on FT% in 2013-2014. Nowitzki isn’t a great fit in this build with KD and Harden as picking Nowitzki after one of those two is overkill in points and FT%.

R2) Kawhi Leonard – Make sure your first-round pick is a big-time scorer as the points hit that comes with drafting Kawhi is significant (12.8 PPG). His steals (1.7 SPG) are the main attraction, but the rebounds (6.2 RPG) and non-existent tunovers (1.2 TOPG) are very useful as well.

R2) Blake Griffin – Blake’s FT% continues to trend upwards (71.5 FT%) and there’s no better second-round target for this build if you need FG% (52.8%) and rebounds (9.5 RPG). Blake is also a very solid source of out-of-position assists (3.9 APG).

R2) Chris Bosh – Bosh saw his blocks spike in 2012-2013 (1.4 BPG) but that number came back down to Earth last season (1.0 BPG). Expect his blocks to remain low with his increased focus on the other side of the ball. In his last year in Toronto, Bosh averaged 24.0 PPG and 10.8 RPG on very good percentages (51.8 FG%, 79.7 FT%). I expect his line to be closer to 21 PPG and 9 RPG this season, but the great percentages will still be there as will the recently added three-ball (0.9 3PG).

R3) Mike Conley – Conley fits well into every build outside of punt assists and punt steals. He’s scoring more (17.2 PPG) and his threes (1.4 3PG), assists (6.0 APG), and steals (1.5 SPG) will again be excellent. Conley finished 13th-overall without blocks in 2012-2013.

R3) Paul Millsap – Millsap’s percentages are not ideal (46.1 FG%, 73.1 FT%), but he is a goldmine of out-of-position stats (1.0 3PG, 3.1 APG, 1.7 SPG). Expect his FG% to improve with the return of Horford and the defensive attention that is given to him. Last season was the first season of Millsap’s career where he did not shoot over 49% from the field.

R3) Ty Lawson – Another solid all-around-option whose percentages are less than ideal (43.1 FG%, 79.8 FT%). I expect Lawson’s FG% to rise as he becomes more comfortable in Brian Shaw’s system. His counting stats, without blocks, are very similar to John Wall’s who is going almost 20 picks earlier in drafts.

R4) Nikola Vucevic – Great target due to his exception rebounding (11.0 RPG), solid FG% impact (50.7 FG% on 12.2 FGA), and acceptable FT% (76.6 FT%). Vuc has the defensive stat mix that we are looking for from a big in this build (1.1 SPG, 0.8 BPG).

R4) Rudy Gay – Gay’s FG% improved significantly after move to Sacramento (46.4 FG% over the last three months of the season). Rudy rebounds well for a SF (6.0 RPG) and is also solid from the line (82.2 FT%) on fairly high volume (5.3 FTA). The only thing holding Rudy back from being a perfect fit for this build is his turnovers (3.1 TOPG).

R4) Thaddeus Young – Young gives you across-the-board production including elite out-of-position steals (2.1 SPG). Be aware that he has been inconsistent from the line. Over the last three seasons, Thad’s FT% has ranged from 77.1% to 57.4%.

R5) Eric Bledose – The blocks that were suppose to be a huge part of his value never materialized in his first year in a Suns’ jersey (0.3 BPG). Bledsoe is a good fit for this build due to his above-average shooting from the floor (47.7 FG%) and his strong rebounding (4.7 RPG).

R5) Jrue Holiday – Jrue gives you a little bit of everything (4.2 RPG, 7.9 APG, 1.6 BPG). However, he’s still turnover-prone (3.1 TOPG) and his FT% is likely to regress (81.0 FT% in 2013-2014 but 74.9 FT% in 2012-2013).

R5) Wes Matthews – Wes is another player who fits into most builds due to his points (16.4 PPG), threes (2.5 3PG), and FT% (83.7 FG%) but he gets an even bigger boost than usual in this build (0.2 BPG). In 2013-2014, Matthews finished 33rd-overall without blocks.

R5) Tony Parker – He was awful last season but has traditionally been a very good option for those punting blocks due to his excellent percentages (49.9 FG%, 81.1 FT%). As always, he’ll hurt your threes (0.4 3PG) and rebounds poorly, even for a guard (2.3 RPG).

R5) Jeff Teague – Teague is a nice option in the middle-rounds due to his assists (6.7 APG) and very strong free-throw shooting (84.6 FT% on 4.8 FTA). Expect Teague’s FG% to improve (43.8 FG%). Teague shot 45.1% from the field in 2012-2013 and the return on Horford will mean there will be less defensive attention paid to Teague.

R6) David West – West should see most of his averages rise without George and Stephenson in the lineup and he was already very useful in this build due to his rebounding (6.8 RPG), solid FT% for a big (78.9 FT%) and average blocks (0.9 BPG). Expect his rebounding average to improve this season as both George and Stephenson are very strong rebounders for their positions.

R6) David Lee – Lee was made for the punt blocks build thanks to his rebounding (9.3 RPG), FG% (52.3%), FT% (78.0%), and lack of blocks (0.4 BPG). He might see some of his minutes taken by the underrated Draymond Green, but Lee should still be your primary, mid-round big man target.

R7) Kyle Korver – Gives you a huge bump in threes (2.6 3PG) if your earlier point guard picks are weak in that area (Parker, Teague, Holiday). Korver is also a decent rebounder (4.0 RPG), and his percentages, while on low volume, are sublime (47.5 FG%, 92.6 FT%). Korver finished in the top-30 without blocks in 2013-2014.

R7) Lance Stephenson – Stephenson is a nice fit for this build due to his excellent rebounding (7.2 RPG), assists (4.6 APG), and shooting from the floor (49.1 FG%). His FT% is below-average (71.1 FT%) so make sure that you’re making up for that elsewhere. Stephenson won’t be great value at this spot (84th-overall without blocks last season) but punting is not just about picking the players that get the biggest boost due to the punted category. You still have to win five categories every week and if you need certain stats, especially after the first half of the draft, don’t be scared to grab a player who provides those stats but won’t provide exceptional value.

R7) Jose Calderon – Calderon was a top-50 player in this build last season despite seeing his role shrink in Dallas. The triangle isn’t the ideal system for point guards to produce big numbers, but his assists (4.7 APG) this season should be closer to his 2012-2013 average of 7.1 APG. He doesn’t score (11.4 PPG), rebound (2.4 RPG), or steal (0.9 SPG) but at this point in the draft, no one will give you more combined assists and threes (2.4 3PG).

R8) Joe Johnson – Johnson has long been overrated in fantasy as he’s never provided much in the way of defensive stats (0.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG). Luckily only one of those categories matters in this build so fire up JJ if you’re looking for a late source of points (15.8 PPG) and threes (2.1 3PG). Expect his assists (2.7 APG) to rise with Pierce in Washington and Livingston in Oakland.

R8) Zach Randolph – Not a perfect fit for this build due to his weak percentages (46.7 FG%, 74.2 FT%) but Zach can still really hit the boards (10.1 RPG) and score (17.4 PPG). Only target him if you really need the boards. Zach seems like a natural fit for this build (0.3 BPG) but is just a two-category player at this point.

R8) Nikola Pekovic – I’m not a fan of Pek this year due to his expected minute decrease and injury history (as well as his excellent backup Gorgui Dieng), but if there was a build that you wanted to target him in, this is it. Pek doesn’t block shots (0.4 BPG) but he does rebound (8.7 RPG), and score efficiently (54.1 FG%).

R8) Darren Collison – Collison is a late, cheap point guard option that posted top-80 numbers in this build last season despite only playing 25.9 MPG. Collison disappointed the last time he was given a starting job, but at worst, he should be a good source of dimes (5.1 APG in 2012-2013) and FT% impact (88.0 FT% on 3.4 FTA).

R9) Jonas Valanciunas – Valanciunas looked like he was well on his way to being one of the league’s better shot-blockers when he averaged 1.9 BP36 in his rookie season. He regressed badly in that area in 2013-2014, only averaging 0.9 BPG and 1.1 BPG36. The blocks have fallen but his rebounding has remained very solid (8.8 RPG in only 28.2 MPG). Big V’s percentages are also very strong for a player being drafted this late (53.1 FG%, 76.2 FT%). Val’s downside is that he will be a drag on your assists (0.7 APG) and steals (0.3 SPG).

R9) Markieff Morris – Markieff is a good bet this late due to his breakout potential and all-around-production. In only 26.6 MPG last season, Morris averaged 13.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG , and 0.8 SPG. Add on his very solid percentages (48.6 FG%, 79.2 FT%) and you have yourself a very useful player.

R10) Anderson Varejao – Few have the upside that Varejao has this late in the draft, but he is not your everyday injury risk. Last season was the first time in four years that Varejao played over 31 games. When healthy, he’ll be a great source of rebounds (9.7 RPG) and out-of-position steals (1.1 SPG). The last time Varejao played with LeBron he shot 57.2% from the floor.

R10) DeMarre Carroll – Don’t expect a repeat of last season’s top-40 finish without blocks with Horford back and Atlanta improving their wing depth. However, Carroll should still be useful thanks to his threes (1.3 3PG), rebounds (5.5 RPG), and steals (1.5 SPG). Carroll is also decent from the field (47.0 FG%) and never turns the ball over (1.1 TOPG).

R11) Jeremy Lin – Point guards late, especially when punting blocks, are always a good option. Nash is already experiencing nerve issues which is terrible for those who love basketball but great for Lin’s fantasy value. Lin, in his only year as a starter in Houston, posted top-80 value in the punt block build that including averages of 6.1 APG and 1.6 SPG.

R12) Carlos Boozer – Boozer has a chance to bounce back from his awful 2013-2014 campaign. Boozer doesn’t block shots (0.3 BPG), will score some (13.7 PPG), and will hit the boards (9.8 RPG) but don’t reach for him. He’s only a two-category player.

R12) Reggie Jackson – With Thabo Sefolosha in Atlanta and Kevin Durant looking like he’ll be out for a while, Jackson could provide great value at this spot, for at least the first couple months of the season. Jackson should give you at least four dimes a game (4.1 APG), a three (1.0 3PG), and a steal (1.1 SPG) but he is also a sneaky source of FT% impact (89.3 FT% on 2.2 FTA).

R13) Kelly Olynyk – Olynyk looks like the starting center in Boston and should be a good, late source of rebounds (5.0 RPG in only 20.0 MPG) while providing out-of-position threes (0.6 3PG). Olynyk won’t hurt you from the line (81.1 FT%), but if you grab him, you’ll be hoping to see his FG% improve (46.6 FG%).

R13) Marco Belinelli – Belinelli’s upside is capped due to Pop’s rotations, but you could do worse with your last pick if you are looking for threes (1.6 3PG) from a guard who doesn’t hurt you from the floor (48.5 FG%). Despite only playing 25.2 MPG, Belinelli cracked the top-100 without blocks in 2013-2014.

Follow me on Twitter @EliteFanBBall for the latest fantasy basketball news and analysis. I will gladly answer any fantasy basketball related questions that you may have. 

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