Hungry Jack's NBL
Bulk Nutrients Fantasy Fix | Round 4
Written for nbl.com.au by Tom Hersz
It’s Christmas week and that can only mean it’s time to reflect.
With three rounds down in NBL22, we can now reflect on which teams look strong and which need to step up. We can reflect on the players who have impressed so far and those that we’d hoped for more from. And we can reflect on our preseason expectations and take stock of how those are playing out.
For example, there were question marks over what Caleb Agada could give Melbourne United offensively. He answered those by averaging 20.5 points across Round 3.
There were questions about whether the Cairns Taipans had enough firepower to compete this season and they’ve answered those so far by winning two straight games.
We were also wondering which new team or teams may enter the top four this season and the Sydney Kings, who have been short-handed to start the season are starting to answer that call too.
So, as you share a Christmas meal with friends or family, or just enjoy a quiet weekend, take some time to reflect and ask yourself what else you may have learned so far this season.
Your NBL Fantasy team probably needs some adjusting and as you begin to figure out what you’ve learned, it’s the perfect time to put that knowledge to good use as we start to plan for the coming schedule.
As always, the Bulk Nutrients Fantasy Fix can lend a hand to help you best utilise that knowledge.
I’d also like to wish those members of the Illawarra Hawks who are unwell, a speedy recovery. Let’s hope they’re back soon.
Round 4 (Dec 26 – Dec 28)
1 Game: Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, New Zealand, Perth, Sydney, Tasmania
0 Games: Illawarra, S.E. Melbourne
Unfortunately, the game slated for Thursday night between the Hawks and the Phoenix has been postponed. That might have been the game of the round as two title favourites battled it out.
So now, with just 4 games slated for your Christmas round and no team playing more than once, this week is really about setting your squad up for Rounds 5 and 6, and perhaps beyond then too.
And with the schedule for rounds 7 through 9 now released, that planning just got a whole lot easier.
There’s now a clear divide between teams that have doubles in the next six rounds and those that don’t – Melbourne and Perth, I’m looking at you!
So that should be your starting point as you plan your trades for the Holiday period. Look ahead to Round 5 and beyond, and set yourself up for success now.
To help you work out how much you have at your disposal, let’s check out the top 10 price risers and price fallers after Round 3;
- Robert Franks: +$100,000 ($1.28m)
- Zhou Qi: +$100,000 ($1.23m)
- Stephen Zimmerman: +$100,000 ($1.25m)
- Duop Reath: +$100,000 ($1.22m)
- Tahjere McCall: +$100,000 ($1.19m)
- Luke Travers: +$100,000 ($0.970m)
- Biwali Bayles: +$100,000 ($0.414m)
- Cameron Bairstow: +$94,000 ($1.22m)
- Majok Majok: +$91,000 ($0.829m)
- Yannick Wetzell: +$88,000 ($1.11m)
- RJ Hunter: -$100,000 ($0.891m)
- Dane Pineau: -$100,000 ($0.805m)
- AJ Ogilvy: -$100,000 ($0.792m)
- Cameron Gliddon: -$100,000 ($0.767m)
- MiKyle McIntosh: -$100,000 ($0.755m)
- Tom Digbeu: -$100,000 ($0.592m)
- Ousmane Dieng: -$100,000 ($0.586m)
- Will Magnay: -$91,000 ($0.840m)
- Dejan Vasiljevic: -$89,000 ($0.764m)
- Makur Maker: -$87,000 ($0.696m)
In another high scoring round, there were seven players who rose by the maximum $100k after Round 3. Headlined again by Robert Franks, Zhou Qi and Luke Travers, they were joined by Duop Reath, Biwali Bayles and the two healthy Taipans imports in Tahjere McCall and Stephen Zimmerman.
Reath was the best scorer of those, with a total of 113 fp on the round, followed by Franks with 100 fp. But it was Jarell Martin who topped the round with 135 fp over the Kings’ three games, while teammate Xavier Cooks – a very popular captain choice – was next best with 129 total fp.
Rounding out the top ten price risers were three big men who’ve all started the season off strongly in Cam Bairstow, Majok Majok and Yanni Wetzell.
On the flipside, the max decreases for Dane Pineau, AJ Ogilvy, MiKyle McIntosh and Tom Digbeu continue, while unfortunately, Cam Gliddon, RJ Hunter and Ousmane Dieng have joined their ranks this week.
Some of that is due to limited minutes as they continue to ramp up after injuries, while for others it’s just poor play. Unfortunately, if you owned these guys, they’ve not been helping your cause of late.
Will Magnay, Dejan Vasiljevic and Makur Maker also had big price drops to round out the top ten fallers, but you’d have to think better days are ahead for each of them.
Now that you know your trade budget, it’s time to look at the top trade targets for Round 4.
Robert Franks, PF/C, BNE ($1.28m): Franks continues to deliver for his owners. With 100 total fp across the round, Franks has the second highest fantasy point average in the league right now. The Bullets don’t have a double until Round 6, but then have another one in Round 8, making Franks a very wise choice if you don’t already own him.
Nathan Sobey, PG/SG, BNE ($1.46m): While he couldn’t re-create what he did against Perth in Round 2 when they met again last Friday, Sobey bounced back on Sunday against the then undefeated Hawks. He had 17 points, 4 boards and 5 assists on his way to 38 fp and now has three straight games at home on tap where he usually performs well. Sobes hasn’t shot the ball at a great clip so far this season, but he’s still finding way to score and contribute with 16.8 points, 6 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He’s not cheap, but he is damn good.
Tahjere McCall, SG/SF, CNS ($1.19m): With the schedule opening up for the Taipans (doubles in rounds 5 and 6), it’s finally Tahjere time. He’s been on fantasy radars since the preseason, but the early singles made him a difficult investment. That all changes now and he should no longer just be on your radars, he should be near the top of your list. McCall’s versatile game is made for this fantasy format. Averaging 16.3 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and even chipping in a couple of blocks, McCall can do it all. His biggest weakness is his outside shot, where he’s never been a strong three-point shooter, but he makes up for that by getting to the free throw line (6 FTAs per game) and is strong from there at 78%. McCall is averaging 53.3 fp on the season (equal third overall) and his score has increased in every game.
Stephen Zimmerman, C, CNS ($1.25m): We knew he’d be a strong rebounder (league leader) and decent shot blocker, but the Snakes newest import big is much more than that. Through three games, he’s proven he can also score, dish out some dimes and get in the passing lanes. He also knocked down a three-ball against Adelaide in Round 3. And while he’s only managed one double-double in their first three games, he’s actually averaging a double-double (12.3 points, 11.7 rebounds) on the season. Zimmerman had a team-high 61 fp against the 36ers and is now averaging a very handy 53.3 fp in NBL22, which ranks equal third in the league. Cairns’ upcoming schedule makes Zimmerman a very real target for your centre spot.
Duop Reath, C, ILL ($1.22m): There’s obviously a big question mark over the Hawks right now given the COVID outbreak within the team, so this is more of a watchpoint recommendation. If you don’t own Reath already, you can’t ignore what he’s doing. His game against New Zealand in Round 3 was massive, with 73 fp, and his lowest score through four games this season is 40 fp. He’s getting more and more comfortable in Goorjian’s system and the league. Unfortunately, with no games this round and possibly only one double on the horizon (Round 5), I can’t recommend you trade him in at the moment. But, if that schedule changes to make up for the lost game in Round 4, then he’s one to keep an eye on as a target.
Zhou Qi, C, SEM ($1.23m): A somewhat similar conundrum surrounds Zhou this week. With the Phoenix’s Round 4 game now postponed, they don’t play again until the new year in Round 5. The Phoenix have a double in Round 6 and then again in Round 8 which was where the appeal for Zhou came in. He’s been nothing short of dominant so far in his four games, especially over his last two games. Averaging 13.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1 steal and shooting a ridiculous 71.9% from the field, it’s his rim-protection that is really boosting his fantasy value. He’s already blocked 17 shots (4.25 bpg) and each of those translates to huge fantasy value. He’s scored 79 and 74 fp in his last two games. If we get some clarity on when the postponed game will be rescheduled, then you almost have to own Zhou Qi from Round 6 (if not sooner), so start planning now because his price will likely rise again after Round 5.
Josh Magette, PG, TAS ($1.18m): While we may have seen Magette’s floor on Wednesday night against Sydney, he remains one of the elite point guards in the NBL. And that is certainly true in NBL Fantasy also, where he ranks first at that position by both total fantasy points and average. You know what he’s about by now. Most games he’ll drop between around 6 dimes, grab 5 boards, swipe a steal or two, hit a couple of triples and pitch in between 15 and 20 points. The FG% is the one knock, but all the other things make up for it. The new schedule also just revealed that the JackJumpers have four straight doubles from Rounds 6 through 9, making him even more valuable over the coming weeks.
Clint Steindl, SF, TAS ($0.598m): After Magette, it’s been a struggle to find consistent fantasy producers from the league’s newest team. However, one player who is providing a solid return on your investment is Steindl. He’s performed well in three of their last four games, averaging 31 fp in those games. He costs you just $5,339 per point he’s scored and he looks like he’s comfortable in his role within this team. On Wednesday night, he did his damage early and finished with 15 points, 2 steals, 1 block and 3 triples on his way to a solid 31 fp. If he can score around that mark, or even just below it, on a consistent basis, then with that favourable schedule, he’s a great option for your bench.
Others to consider:
Majok Deng, PF, CNS ($0.832m): The talent has always been there, but Deng has struggled to put it on display consistently. He did however, put it all on display in Round 3, with an equal career-high 23 points against his old homies from Adelaide. Knocking down a scorching 5 of 7 from long range and 9 of 13 overall, he also added 6 boards, 1 steal and 1 block for an impressive 53 fp. We need to see it again to fully trust him, but with the Snakes’ having those two doubles coming up, he’s another interesting option to look at.
Jarell Martin, PF/C, SYD ($1.22m): This is the Jarell Martin we’ve been waiting for. After a strong showing at the Blitz, Martin struggled in the opening three games before finally unleashing his talent against South East Melbourne and Tasmania. Averaging 18 points, 12 rebounds, 1 steal and 1.5 made 3s across those two games, he topped 50 fp in both and led the round in total fantasy points. The Kings’ schedule is not very appealing with singles until Round 9, but the upside from Martin is certainly there.
With no teams having doubles this week, it really goes by who will have the biggest single game of the round.
Zhou Qi is off the table now unfortunately, as is Duop Reath. So that then makes us look at Robert Franks, Tahjere McCall, Stephen Zimmerman, Bryce Cotton and Vic Law as the next highest scoring fantasy players.
The matchups can help us here. Franks goes against the Snakes duo in McCall and Zimmerman. Franks will match up with Majok Deng, while McCall will likely face Sobey and Anthony Drmic. Zimmerman goes against Tyrell Harrison.
The Perth duo face the Adelaide 36ers. You’d have to think Mitch McCarron will spend a fair amount of time on Bryce Cotton, while Vic Law should see a lot of coverage from Daniel Johnson and Todd Withers.
Of those matchups, I like some more than others, so with that said, here are my top three Captain choices for Round 4:
Robert Franks, PF/C, BNE
Stephen Zimmerman, C, CNS
Vic Law, PF, PER
I would rank them Franks, Law then Zimmerman, but I like what they could all give.
And to be honest, I think McCall and Cotton will have big games too.
Remember, your trades this round are about setting you up for the coming weeks, so make sure you play the schedule wisely.
Starting with some of the names above will serve you well, but make sure you check in to see if there are any more schedule changes announced.
Wishing everyone who celebrates a very Merry Christmas. May your stockings be stuffed with fantasy points galore!