Over the last few years, the Grizzlies have done a wonderful job combining two significant aspects of Memphis culture: wrestling and basketball. I reference this because I feel a wrestling stable is the best way to describe the Grizzles collection of post players. You have the main-event staple, industry wide icon in Marc Gasol, ala Triple H. You have the enforcer, no talk, all action muscle in JaMychal Green, ala the Big Boss Man. And you have the ultra-talented, future mega superstar in Jaren Jackson Jr., ala Randy Orton. And then you have Ivan Rabb...well, the best stables usually only had three memorable talents.
If this group can get anywhere close to the production of Marc and Zach Randolph, there will be plenty of happy fans in fantasy and reality. Instead of getting tables, lets have some fun looking at their fantasy potential.
Rabb likely has the smallest chance to have fantasy value of any Grizzly. He is the most traditional post player on the roster, but likely is the least talented as well. Even if injuries were to happen to Gasol, Green, or Jackson Jr, the Grizzles will likely feature smaller, more talented lineups. Overall, I feel Rabb’s only long shot chance at fantasy relevance is a disastrous season in Memphis. Just like that scenario, I hope to avoid Rabb at all costs.
Yahoo: 191st, 71st
Espy: 137th, 32nd
JaMychal Green is a very intriguing fantasy talent. His skillset offers more across the board potential that most power forwards, and fits a big team need for the Grizzlies. He can shoot the three, is not a liability in shooting percentages, and adds value on defense. However, Green’s calling card is the skill he significantly improved in last year:
While Green did miss significant time due to injury to start last season, he came back a more skilled player than before. He is only the second Grizzly in recent years to post higher than a 17% total rebound percentage with 1500 or more minutes played. The other person’s name is Zach Randolph. Make no mistake, Green was Randolph’s heir apparent. While not as impactful or talented, he plays the role well. And with rebounding likely a weakness for this year’s team, his ability will give him plenty of opportunity to produce.
Despite the attractive potential, there is a bit of caution. The Grizzles just spent a pick on Jaren Jackson Jr., their most anticipated roster addition in several years. If he plays well, Jackson Jr. could cut into Green’s playing time. Furthermore, if the Grizzlies struggle, Green becomes their most active trade chip. On a more talented roster, Green is likely a key reserve off the bench. With this in mind, I’d focus on Green around picks 110-130 in redraft, and with one of your last few picks in dynasty. Green could easily be a steal if he produces like he did last year over a full season.
Jaren Jackson Jr.
Yahoo: 94th overall, 32nd pf
ESPN: 118th overall, 25th pf
I get it. The talent and potential are oozing. The projected fantasy impact is mouth watering. The defensive ability is...
STOP. HALT. BREATHE.
Now think. Just like Memphis fans will reluctantly have to try, fantasy owners will have to park their projections with patience. Jaren Jackson Jr. could have more fantasy potential than any player from this draft, and for that matter, any Grizzly in franchise history. But that is speculation for the future, and our focus is now.
There are reasons to be cautious. Unlike most lottery teams, the Grizzlies have a veteran core with the goal of returning to the playoffs. They are not going to immediately feature Jackson Jr. Furthermore, Jackson Jr. himself is extremely raw. While he is ultra talented, improving his basketball IQ and effectively doing the small things in a team scheme are works in progress.
While its good to keep those cautions in mind, there still is plenty of positives to target Jackson for this year. He is a defensive stat monster, with top five block potential in the league. He also should be a good source for lobs and the occasional three. That is his likely contribution this year. Jackson should be a top 115 pick in redraft, and top 50 pick in dynasty.
Don’t reach too far, but if you feel you need too, Jackson Jr.’s potential makes it worth it.
Yahoo: 38th, 11th C
ESPN: 37, 7th C
Just like the famous finisher of his WWE Alter Ego, Gasol comes with a pedigree. In this decade, Gasol has consistently been a top 50 fantasy producer. He has done it through being an across the board contributor who actually helps you in the percentage based stats as well. Instead of dominating a few categories like most centers, Gasol adds value to everyone.
With each passing year, there is caution with Gasol that only grows. Eventually, he will start to decline as age catches up. However, over the past two years, the addition of a 3 pointer has allowed him to maintain his value. That is the key with Gasol: his basketball IQ lets him evolve his game to counteract any restrictions age may bring.
This year, Gasol could take a slight step back when it comes to counting stat categories. The reason being is less usage may make him more effective. This should help his shooting percentages get back to career norms. A conservative stat line for Gasol would be 15.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, and 1 three pointer per game. That production should make him a top 40 player in redraft and top 75 player in dynasty. Draft him as a major contributor to your championship run.
Of the guards, forwards, and post players, the post players will likely generate the most value in fantasy. Dynamic talents along with personal strengths matching team needs means plenty of action will go through Gasol, Green, and Jackson Jr.
Overall, the Grizzlies offer plenty of sources of fantasy value. Targeting Gasol, Green, Anderson, Conley, and Jackson Jr. is a smart play as you head to the middle or later rounds of your draft. As for the waiver wire, I feel the Grizzlies could be one of the more valuable teams in producing pick-ups. Opportunity is abound, and whoever shows they will perform will seize it. Just like the Grizzlies hope to see a lot of potential lead to production in reality, this establishes a guide for you to see how the Grizzlies can offer a lot of potential to you in fantasy.