Ja Morant is one of the few rookies that will have ample opportunity in year one. The Memphis Grizzlies are a team on the come up with a lot of young talent, but the usage will go to Morant early and often. This bodes well for year one fantasy production, and he is already being drafted as the 50th player off the board. This number might rise slightly as we head closer to the season. While there will be some growing pains along the way with bad shooting stretches and turnovers, Morant has crazy high upside, and is the number two behind Zion Williamson for odds to take home the Rookie of the Year award.
Morant produced strong numbers in college, averaging 35 minutes in his two year career with Murray State. His sophomore season, he posted a 24-5-10 line on average, which was a jump from 12-6-6 in the year prior. Morant did undergo a knee procedure back in August, but is 100% heading into the year. He will open the season as the Grizzlies starter, and should see a bulk of the minutes with just Tyus Jones backing him up. With no real high usage option, expect Morant to come in and be that jump starter for the offense.
Ja Morant Projected Fantasy Stats
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) March 21, 2019
An athletic and high motor guard is always going to catch our eyes for upside in fantasy. Morant racked up 58 steals in 33 games last season in college, and also had 27 blocks. His overall athleticism is going to bring in some defensive stats, but he has a ways to go before being called a strong defender. Turnovers will be an issue this year, and that is a category that will hurt overall upside if you are looking at true fantasy points. He averaged 5.1 turnovers per game last season, but did average double-digit assists. I wouldn’t expect the same amount of assists in year one, but Morant has the upside to average eight assists per game this season, which is where we have him at.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Morant flirt with a few triple-doubles this season, as his rebounding is decent. This is more his motor that drives the rebounding production. He is one of the few rookies to target in drafts, and he has some of the highest upside out of the group of top picks from this last draft. His draft spot is certainly aligned with the upside, but due note that this is a heavy point guard draft.
We are pretty fixated on Morant’s upside, but we do need to talk about his floor. As mentioned above, Morant is going to have some growing pains. The turnovers will be high, and because this team also isn’t loaded with offensive options, he might struggle with assists at times. Morant should still average over 15 points per game this season, but the peripheral numbers might be where we look for a lower floor. A 14-3-6 floor is in play, which would not be an ideal line for his draft spot at the moment. Morant is someone you are drafting for upside, because there are plenty of better floor plays still on the board past his draft spot. I could see Morant’s floor rise as the season goes on, and see a similar season to a few other rookies where the last 40 games are far stronger than the first. This would create a possible by low situation if he struggles out of the gate in Memphis.
What to Expect
While I get the temptation with a high motor point guard who will jump into big usage, by issue is that he is being drafted ahead of Mike Conley, D’Angelo Russell, and De’Aaron Fox currently. 12 spots ahead of Fox is a bit ridiculous for me. I like the upside he brings, but I won’t be kicking myself if he doesn’t fall past the 60th spot in the draft for me to grab him. Murray and Zion’s hype is already buzzing for fantasy, and the ADP has been quick to adjust. This means passing on names with a proven track record, or even guys with higher upsides. The auction value is still in range with the names above, but therefor you at least allocate funds accordingly. I can’t justify the ADP, at least for now.
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