Hungry Jack's NBL
Bulk Nutrients NBL Fantasy Fix | Round 8
Written for nbl.com.au by Tom Hersz
Even when we think we know it all, we get surprised.
Brian Goorjian – the GOAT of NBL Coaches – put together a scout to face Melbourne United, which rightly had his players going under on ball screens against Matthew Dellavedova. Sag off him and dare him to shoot from long-range. It was better than the alternative of letting him get past his defender, draw help and then dish to open shooters like Chris Goulding, Caleb Agada or David Barlow.
Or so Goorj thought …. but Delly had other ideas. He nailed his first three, then his second and so, he kept shooting. And he kept hitting. He made 5 straight before missing one late in the first half.
And when all was said and done, Delly had nailed 7 of 11 from deep on his way to an NBL career-high 33 points. He also had 8 assists and 4 boards as United beat the Hawks in the ‘Gong to claim their sixth straight win.
To put this into perspective, Matthew Dellavedova nailed 7 threes in an NBA game exactly … well zero times. Never did it. His best effort was hitting 5 in his rookie season back in March of 2014 when with the Cavaliers.
Delly came into this game having made 3 of 22 attempts on the season! He increased his 3FG% from 13.6% up to 30.3% in one game.
So just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you don’t. Surprises happen – and that’s usually when we, as fantasy managers, can benefit the most.
For someone like Delly, his true value lies somewhere in between 3 for 22 and 7 for 11. His 8 assists are a proxy for what he can do, but also a tad high, while his 4 boards were exactly what you should expect.
My point is, if you think a player has not yet hit their peak, then take a chance on them. If you see upside based on past play, usage or opportunity, then go after it. Those small points of difference can often help you get those extra fantasy points you need to boost your ranking or get that win in your league matchup.
If you need a little help to steer you in the right direction, your weekly Bulk Nutrients NBL Fantasy Fix is here once more.
Round 8 (Jan 21 – Jan 26)
3 Games: Brisbane
2 Games: Adelaide, Illawarra, Melbourne, S.E. Melbourne, Sydney
1 Game: Cairns, Perth, Tasmania
0 Games: New Zealand
We nearly got through an entire round unscathed. Six of the seven games were played in Round 7, with just one postponed.
After the postponement of the Cairns vs New Zealand game, there are still a whopping eight games on the fixture for Round 8.
Brisbane lead the way with three games, five more teams have a double, with just Perth and Tasmania playing only the one game this round. Unfortunately, New Zealand will not play in Round 8.
Even after losing one game, we have a bumper round ahead. Eight games in just six days, means a lot of action, but even more opportunity for your fantasy squads.
To help reconcile your budget for this week’s trades, let’s check out the top 10 price risers and price fallers after Round 7;
- Xavier Cooks: +$100,000 ($1.53m)
- Robert Franks: +$100,000 ($1.48m)
- Sam Froling: +$100,000 ($1.48m)
- Zhou Qi: +$100,000 ($1.33m)
- Cameron Bairstow: +$100,000 ($1.32m)
- Caleb Agada: +$100,000 ($1.31m)
- Jo Lual-Acuil: +$100,000 ($1.24m)
- Peyton Siva: +$100,000 ($0.956m)
- Izayah Le’Afa: +$89,000 ($0.743m)
- Yanni Wetzell: +$81,000 ($1.39m)
- Matthew Hodgson: -$100,000 ($0.843m)
- RJ Hunter: -$100,000 ($0.791m)
- Dane Pineau: -$100,000 ($0.705m)
- AJ Ogilvy: -$100,000 ($0.692m)
- Cameron Gliddon: -$100,000 ($0.667m)
- Will McDowell-White: -$88,000 ($1.03m)
- Robert Loe: -$71,000 ($0.362m)
- Mitch Norton: -$70,000 ($0.817m)
- David Barlow: -$70,000 ($0.534m)
- Deng Deng: -$69,000 ($0.527m)
Back to some real price movements with six games played and eight players rising by the maximum $100k. That list was led by Jo Lual-Acuil (130 total fp) and Xavier Cooks (125 fp) who led the round in scoring, closely followed by Sam Froling (112) and Caleb Agada (101).
Cooks and Agada have both now made more than $300k profit on the season and just keep producing week after week. Cooks is now the third most expensive player in NBL Fantasy behind the duo from Perth.
Peyton Siva had his best round of the season, scoring 98 fp across the Breakers’ two games and recouping much of the value he’d lost since the start of the season.
Cam Bairstow just keeps on truckin’, scoring another 66 fp and earning another max price rise. He too, has earned over $300k on the season.
Robert Franks also keeps on producing with another game over 50 fp (54) to earn his faithful owners an additional $100k. His price has increased by just shy of half a million dollars on the season as the biggest earner in the league.
Meanwhile Zhou Qi rises by the max despite his 19 fp game, due to the 3-week rolling average counting his two 70+ games from rounds 2 and 3 still. Yanni Wetzell and Izayah Le’Afa round out the top 10 price risers.
On the flipside, RJ Hunter’s terrible injury and early exit cost him the max and he was joined by Matt Hodgson, Dane Pineau, AJ Ogilvy and Cam Gliddon – all players whose minutes have been limited as they get back to 100% health.
Also not maintaining their value this past week were a pair of Breakers in Will McDowell-White and Rob Loe, plus David Barlow, Mitch Norton and Deng Deng.
With your fantasy bank balance in check, let’s take a look at the top trade targets for Round 8.
Cameron Bairstow, PF/C, ADE ($1.32m): If Delly’s game shocked some people, this guy’s production in Round 7 (66 fp) should be no surprise to anyone. Yes, he’s been a little up and down, but he’s scored in double figures in four of six games, had two double-doubles in his last three games and proven to everyone that he’s still a force in this league. Whether starting as he did this week or coming off the bench, he’s playing solid minutes and with the Sixers now having three straight doubles, he’s a very solid and reliable frontcourt option.
Mitch McCarron, PG, ADE ($1.29m): It was nice to see aggressive Mitch in Round 7, even if it was mostly just in the first half. But that’s what he can do. Mitch had 6 points, 5 assists and 8 rebounds to halftime, finishing with 10, 8 and 12 when all was said and done. That all-around production has always been the appeal, and his first double-double on the season was a nice treat ahead of this juicy upcoming Sixers schedule. Mitch is certainly going to be a popular choice.
Robert Franks, PF/C, BNE ($1.48m) and Nathan Sobey, PG/SG, BNE ($1.44m): You know what these two are about by now. They have a three-game round. That is all.
Tahjere McCall, SG/SF, CNS ($1.19m): Word out of Cairns is that the extra lay-off helped McCall get over that knee injury and he is good to go for Round 8. The Snakes were to have a double this week (now a single) but do have doubles in Round 10 and 11. The originally published season schedule had them on doubles in Round 12 and 13 also, but that is subject to change. It would have been the perfect time to bring in McCall and utilise his all-court talent, but may behove you to wait a couple more rounds now.
Sam Froling, PF/C, ILL ($1.48m): Speaking of talented big men with great upcoming schedules, Sam Froling put on a display and a half against Sydney last Thursday night. He went off for a career-high 27 points and also gave us 10 boards, 2 steals, a block and a three. His 76 fp were also a career-high. He then backed that up with another double-digit rebounding game against Melbourne, although he failed to trouble the scorers much. Still, Froling is averaging 49 fp on the season and 55.3 over his last three games, making him one of the best producing players in the league right now. To top that off, the Hawks have 7 games in the next three rounds!
Tyler Harvey, PG/SG, ILL ($1.37m): It was only a matter of time before the All-NBL First Team guard got himself going and he did that against Sydney. He knocked down some shots early (something that’s been a rarity this season) and kept going from there on his way to 23 points with 5 assists and 6 threes. His 52 fp was his highest total since Round 1 and much needed. He was a little quieter against Melbourne, who put the clamps on him, but you get the sense the beast has been awoken. With that favourable schedule, Harvey could be a beast on your team too.
Jo Lual-Acuil, C, MEL ($1.24m): With Melbourne having three straight single game rounds after this week, it’s tough to recommend burning a trade to bring in JLA for Round 8. But man was he great in Round 7. He had exactly 65 fp in both of United’s games, topping the round with 130 total fantasy points. He blocked 7 shots across the round and also averaged 16.5 points and 12.5 rebounds. He was a beast and is also reasonably priced compared to other Centre options. If you think you can make it work to then trade him out next week, then go for it. You’ll certainly get a strong return on your short-term investment.
Matthew Dellavedova, PG, MEL ($1.08m): When you catch fire like that, you get a mention in the Fantasy Fix. Delly has had his moments as a productive fantasy asset this season, but had a very dry spell that’s a little concerning. His ceiling is huge (75 fp in Round 2), but his floor (16 fp against Tasmania in Round 5) is something to be wary of. If you want to chance it, he could surprise you again, but I’d probably steer clear given the inconsistency and unfavourable schedule.
Xavier Munford, PG/SG, SEM ($1.12m): He finally got to play and finally bounced back from a steady decline in fantasy production. Munford put that behind him as he delivered exactly what you can expect from him most weeks. 17 points, 7 assists, 5 boards and 2 threes on his way to 48 fp. I love how he attacks when needed, but also lets the game come to him. He’s a little unassuming as a star point guard, but that’s exactly what he is; a star. The Phoenix have three doubles in the next four rounds, making Munford a cheap and smart choice at either guard spot.
Zhou Qi, C, SEM ($1.33m): 19 fp. Ugh. I know. But you can put that one down to rust and a poor effort from the entire team. The upside with Zhou Qi is too big to ignore, and the schedule adds to that. If you don’t own him, now’s the time.
Jaylen Adams, PG, SYD ($1.04m): I’m not going to lie, I expected more from Adams this past round. But then I reminded myself that the guy hadn’t played in 6 weeks before taking on the Hawks last Thursday. He was pretty good in that one with 39 fp, but then struggled against the Breakers on Sunday. He’s working some of the rust off and still learning to play with his teammates, but the talent is there. And the schedule is too. Like South East Melbourne, Sydney have three doubles in the next four rounds. Adams is another affordable option at PG like Munford who will only get better.
Xavier Cooks, PF, SYD ($1.53m): S.T.U.D. That’s Cooks. He has elevated his game this season to another level and it’s a joy to watch. He’s now had a double-double in three straight games (65 fp per game over that span) and in four of his last five games (59 fp over that span), but it doesn’t stop there. Cooks is also averaging 2.2 blocks over his last five games and has also been huge on the o-boards (13 in his last three games). All of that adds up to tremendous fantasy production. He’s expensive, but he’s worth it.
Others to consider:
Michael Frazier, SG/SF, PER ($1.04m): No double this week, but the Cats do go twice in Round 9, meaning Frazier is one to keep an eye on. After an injury interrupted start to the season, he’s finding his groove. He’s averaged 43.5 fp over his last two games and seems to have found his comfort zone amongst this group. Frazier’s minutes have started ticking up and his production has followed. Certainly an option to think about for next week.
Dejan Vasiljevic, SG, SYD ($0.688m): It was always going to take a few weeks, but DJ busted out on Sunday for a season-high 13 points, 4 assists and 46 fp. He also swiped 2 steals, blocked a shot and hit 3 triples. With RJ Hunter out and no replacement imminent, DJ has a chance to carve out a larger role over the next few weeks at least, and the Kings schedule is great over that period.
With so many games, that means so much more choice for Captain this week. Although, like last week, with one team having three games that takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation for us.
Robert Franks is the third highest scoring player in NBL Fantasy and the only Brisbane player in the top 15, so he goes to the top of the list.
Nathan Sobey gets a look too, although you’re not picking him as Captain over Franks if you own them both.
Aside from Brisbane, there are many other great options on doubles, but based on form, the ones I like most are Xavier Cooks, Zhou Qi and Caleb Agada.
Sam Froling and Jo Lual-Acuil would also get a look, although I’m a little hesitant about JLA given the lower floor on his scores.
Taking that all into account, here are my top three Captain choices for Round 8:
Robert Franks, PF/C, BNE
Nathan Sobey, PG/SG, BNE
Xavier Cooks, PF, SYD
Franks is the clear top choice and then Sobey’s three games would rank ahead of Cooks’ two.
I do like Zhou Qi to bounce back and he’s another one I’d strongly consider. If not for Sobey’s three games, I’d have had Zhou in my top three.
Remember, surprises happen, but they’re usually based on a player’s form trying to revert to the mean. Sometimes they bounce up before coming back down a little, but they’ll always find the right level eventually.
If you like a player who has underperformed so far, then trust yourself as you just might catch fire like Delly did. Trading for one of the names listed above is a great place to start.