Fantasy basketball is a huge phenomenon, especially since the rise of sports gambling. With the option to pick a different fantasy team every day, along with the chance to win money, picking the right fantasy combination has become a science of basketball knowledge, fantasy sports expertise, and a pinch of luck.
For the first time in a few years, the Memphis Grizzlies have a plethora of fantasy basketball weapons. Granted, it may not translate into wins in real life. However, they have a multiple players that could help you win some money or beat online opponents in season-long leagues.
Who are some players you should target? Are there any late-round picks that could swing your season this year?
Jaren Jackson Jr.
Jaren Jackson Jr. will likely be the first Grizzly off draft boards, and for good reason. Though he may not be a nightly double-double, his game is so well-rounded that it almost offsets it. For starters, he should see an uptick in touches and scoring opportunities, making that 13 point game benchmark an easy one to surpass — probably somewhere between 17-19. In addition, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him average two blocks and a steal a game, which is huge for leagues that value defensive numbers. He also shoots 3’s at a good volume for a big man, so in leagues that reward 3-point specialists, Jackson benefits here.
When it comes to snake drafts, Jackson should be a solid mid-round pickup with potential to outperform his draft position.
It honestly wouldn’t be shocking if Jonas Valanciunas was the Grizzlies’ best fantasy basketball player. Any given night, he’s a 20-10 threat, with the potential for the occasional 20-15 or 20-20 performance. He also adds value in the assist and block department, as he’s not necessarily a black hole offensively, and he’ll at least swat 1-2 shots a game.
Valanciunas will be a great draft steal, regardless of the size of your league. In 6-team leagues, he’ll make a sneaky good waiver pickup. If you want to build a team where most of your players can finish with a double-double, Valanciunas fits the bill and would be a great backup center for your squad.
Rookie point guards are tough to gauge for fantasy basketball. At the beginning of the season, they tend to turn the ball over a lot, and their shooting numbers are inefficient. However, they also show real signs of growth throughout the year, as those flashes of potential become more consistent.
The same holds true for Ja Morant. If he starts the season averaging 13 and 6, that necessarily wouldn’t be bad. However, he could very well resemble De’Aaron Fox or Trae Young’s production during the second half of the season, hovering around 18 and 8 ballpark.
If that’s the case, Morant is the mid-to-late round draft pick that could ultimately help your team make a push for the playoffs or even a championship.
The Memphis Grizzlies also have a few guys you should target in deep leagues — ones with 14-16 teams.
Brandon Clarke may not have eye-popping numbers this season, but his overall consistency and versatility should garner a look for your team — ESPN has him 4th among rookies. He’s hardly going to miss shots, as he mainly hovers around the rim. His defensive activity will result in blocks, steals, and rebounds as well. Even if he averages 8 points and 6 rebounds with a steal and a block a game, that’s still solid for a guy you’d spend a late pick on.
Dillon Brooks could be a steal fantasy candidate for the Grizzlies. He’s likely to receive starter minutes at the 2 spot this year, and he’s not going to receive nearly as much attention from opposing defenses as he did his rookie season. He doesn’t offer as much in terms of rebounding, assist, or defensive numbers, but if he could score 10-12 points a game on good efficiency, he’d be a nice pickup for a deep league.
Jae Crowder offers a lot of versatility for fantasy numbers. Last year, he averaged 11.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.8 steals, and 2.2 three’s a game. Similar numbers this year would be a huge late-round boost for your fantasy team.
If healthy, Kyle Anderson is another good value pick in deep leagues. He doesn’t score often, but he’s uber-efficient from the field. He’ll also dabble in most statistical categories, as he’s a great rebounder and passer for his position, and typically racks up good steal numbers.
Hopefully, you can find some fantasy luck this year with some Memphis Grizzlies helping you either win a championship, or win some money for a few nights.