Where do I begin with the Grizzlies? Admittedly, I follow the Grizzlies more closely than any other team in the NBA, so when it comes to their fantasy prospects I can certainly speak to the value of everyone from Zach Randolph to camp hopeful Ronald Dupree. The thing about the Grizzlies is that while they are a bit top-heavy, they do have plenty of one- or two-cat helpers you can snag later in the draft.
That said, you’re likely not going to find any real surprises on this team. The starting lineup is locked in and the team is pretty deep, even having lost O.J. Mayo and trying to deal with Darrell Arthur‘s injury.
With that said, let’s see if we can nail down the true value of these Memphis Grizzlies.
Marc Gasol is the team’s top fantasy contributor, coming off his fantastic All-Star season. The thing about Gasol is that he won’t hurt you in any category, like some 7-footers might. The other thing is that he’s turned into one of the league’s top big-man passers, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him dish close to four assists per game this season. That’s fantastic for a center… Rudy Gay is one of those fantasy contributors who does a little bit of everything, he just doesn’t excel at any particular category — save for, maybe, scoring? He’s still worthy of a 3rd-round selection, especially in roto leagues… Some aren’t particularly high on Zach Randolph, who is coming off his worst season as a pro. That, however, had everything to do with the fact that he missed 2-plus months due to injury. Now, he’s completely healthy and I am convinced he’s going to go back to being an 18 and 10 contributor. His maturation over the past few seasons has been impressive, and he knows how to be less of a usage compiler and more of an efficient big man. I think targeting Z-Bo late in the 4th round, early in the 5th sounds about right. And that, to me, reads as nice value… Mike Conley has become one of the top fantasy contributors among point guards, thanks in big part to him posting 2.2 steals to go along with 12.1 points, 6.5 assists per game and a 86.1 percent showing from the line last season. And if you’ve been keeping an eye on him in the preseason you know that he’s showing even bigger improvements, especially in his scoring. Conley could easily turn in a top-30 season, as someone being drafted in the 5th or even 6th rounds… Tony Allen is not a slam dunk fantasy starter, but he’s close, mostly because he has the ability to lead the league in steals. Again, it’s close, but he’s worth considering late in drafts to slot in as a UTIL.
HANDCUFFS & SLEEPERS
Josh Selby is in line to play some decent minutes this year, as the team’s top 3-point shooter. With the loss of O.J. Mayo, the Grizzlies, who were the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA last season, needed to find a replacement for their best 3-point shooter. Enter, Selby. He could easily average close to two threes per game, however, when it comes to his fantasy game he doesn’t do enough of anything else to make him a must-start… Jerryd Bayless gets a lot of fantasy love prior to the start each season based solely on his “potential.” The problem is, he doesn’t have much of a fantasy game, really, never really showing that when given the opportunity he can “rise to the occasion.” In Memphis, he’s going to play probably close to 15-18 minutes per game as Conley’s backup, which is great for the Grizzlies, but no so much for fantasy owners… Marreese Speights has a ton of ability, but he too hasn’t been able to “put it all together.” If, however, there was a Z-Bo injury, Speights would slot in and be an instant must-own…. Tony Wroten is one of my favorite players in the NBA — dot, dot, dot — but he has no fantasy value. I just wanted to give him a shout out!
PG – Mike Conley, Jerryd Bayless, Tony Wroten
SG – Tony Allen, Josh Selby, Wayne Ellington
SF – Rudy Gay, Quincy Pondexter, D.J. Kennedy
PF – Zach Randolph, Marreese Speights, Darrell Arthur
C – Marc Gasol, Hamed Haddadi