The Memphis Grizzlies‘ fantasy outlook isn’t as promising as their Western Conference aspirations, but there is value to be had. Here’s a look at what you can expect from their starting unit for the upcoming season.
PG – Mike Conley: 48th overall player, 16th PG
He’s a better point guard in real life than he is in fantasy, and with the lack of a perimeter scorer, Conley is going to have to have to increase his scoring if he wants to finish as a fantasy starter (top 14). He’s not the explosive athlete that seems to be all the rage these days, but his patience and defensive prowess make him a player worth an early selection.
He is averaging over two steals per game over the past three seasons and led the league in thefts last season with 174. He increased his scoring last season by getting to the free throw line more often (a great thing for a 79 percent career free throw shooter) and should continue to benefit from the Grizzlies dominate post game.
Conley is going to play every game (has missed a total of nine games over five seasons) and produce a solid, if not spectacular stat line with extreme consistency.
SG – Tony Allen: 159th overall player, 54th SG
Another player that is more valuable to the Grizz than he will be to your fantasy team. He is going to defend the opponent’s best player and therefore get his 1.5 steals per game, giving him late-round appeal from a fantasy perspective. Allen is averaging over nine points per game in his Grizzlies career, a nice perk if you roster him in a deeper league for his defensive skills.
He emerged in the postseason from a statistical standpoint (10 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals), so there is some fantasy potential there given his 26-plus minutes per game, but counting on Allen with regularity is a mistake.
SF – Tayshaun Prince: 157th overall player , 48th SF
In 37 regular season games with Memphis last season, Prince averaged 8.8 points, the first time since his rookie season that he failed to average double figures. With some experience under his belt as a Grizzlies, player it is reasonable to think that Prince averages closer to his career mark in points (12.6).
The elite rebounding nature of the rest of this front court should open up spots for the lanky forward to average a handful of rebounds, but that is about the extent of Prince’s fantasy value.
PF – Zach Randolph: 69th overall player, 30th PF
At 32 years of age, Randolph is no longer “First name 20, Last name 10”, but he is still a double double machine. The elite passing ability of Gasol and Conley will continue to get Randolph good looks near the rim, allowing ZBo to hover around the 15 points he averaged last season.
He’s not loaded with upside, but 50 double-doubles while making three quarters of free throws has value in every fantasy league that I’ve ever been a part of and is somebody I’m targeting if he slips into the sixth round.
C – Marc Gasol: 13th overall player, 3rd C
Gasol has always shot a high percentage, scored at a reasonable rate, and has been among the best passing bigs in the league. But now that you can add Defensive Player Of the Year to that skill set, he deserves first-round consideration in all fantasy formats.
He was one of two players to block at least 1.7 shots per game last season and shoot 80-plus percent from the free throw line (the other was some guy named Tim Duncan), allowing him to produce at a top big man level while also helping in a traditionally guard dominated stat.
The free throw accuracy and court vision (assist average has increased each season) make Gasol the ideal place to start your fantasy franchise, as rostering him doesn’t force your hand in the coming rounds. I’m thrilled if I pick at the back end of the first round and draft Deron Williams and Gasol to anchor my squad.