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NBL Store Fantasy Fix | Round 16

Written for nbl.com.au by Tom Hersz


Bench depth is often underrated.


With so much focus on headline talent, it’s often easy to forget that without depth, most teams would never win.


And we saw several examples of that in Round 15; where key contributions off the bench were the difference in the game.


Clint Steindl hit some big shots for Perth on Friday to end any chance of a Hawks’ comeback; Daniel Kickert and Shaun Bruce made huge contributions for the Kings as they ended the Taipans’ win streak on Saturday; Eric Griffin dominated Melbourne’s frontline, never letting United back in the game; Taylor Braun and EJ Singler kept the Bullets scoreboard ticking over to hold off the Breakers; while Kendall Stephens busted out for a career-high 20 points as the Phoenix kept their Finals hopes alive in Wollongong on Sunday.


Without those contributions, the results of those games may be different, so they highlight how important it is to have reserve players who can carry the load when your starters are struggling, in foul trouble or being taken out of the game by opponents’ defensive schemes.


For Fantasy purposes, having a deep and productive bench is also important. While they may only score half the fantasy points, they are often the difference between winning and losing.


And when the schedule lightens up like it has, having a productive second unit where you can then utilise them on single rounds, or sub them in when they have a double, means you have a much greater chance of putting up a big score week to week.


Of course you need both bench strength and great starters in fantasy, so if you’re looking for some direction, your NBL Store Fantasy Fix is here to guide the way.


Round 16 (Jan 17 – Jan 19)


2 Games: New Zealand, SE Melbourne, Sydney


1 Game: Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Illawarra, Melbourne, Perth


Round 16 brings the third straight week of just three teams on a double, but two new entrants have joined to mix. The Hawks run of four-straight doubles is over, while the Phoenix and Kings start a mini-run of two straight rounds, making them a hot commodity for this week’s trades.


Beyond this round, the Bullets have doubles in Rounds 17 and 19 – the latter being the first week of Fantasy Finals, so they’re a team to consider for that bench strength this week.


Of course you can’t do anything to strengthen your roster without some cash, so let’s check out the top 10 price risers and price fallers after Round 15;


Risers

1.   Scotty Hopson: +$100,000 ($1.53m)

2.   Dane Pineau: +$100,000 ($1.45m)

3.   Will Magnay: +$100,000 ($1.17m)

4.   Xavier Cooks: +$100,000 ($0.928m)

5.   Brendan Teys: +$100,000 ($0.738m)

6.   Mirko Djeric: +$87,000 ($0.956m)

7.   Kendall Stephens: +$85,000 ($0.353m)

8.   Bryce Cotton: +$83,000 ($1.63m)

9.   Jae’Sean Tate: +$74,000 ($1.44m)

10. Mitch Norton: +$72,000 ($0.683m)


Fallers

1.   Mitch Creek: -$100,000 ($1.73m)

2.   AJ Ogilvy: -$100,000 ($1.42m)

3.   Melo Trimble: -$100,000 ($1.32m)

4.   Terry Armstrong: -$100,000 ($0.380m)

5.   Adam Gibson: -$90,000 ($0.803m)

6.   Didi Louzada: -$82,000 ($0.794m)

7.   David Barlow: -$81,000 ($0.741m)

8.   Cam Oliver: -$80,000 ($1.94m)

9.   RJ Hampton: -$74,000 ($0.760m)

10. Casper Ware: -$71,000 ($1.15m)


DJ Newbill led the round with 93 total fantasy points – the only player to top 90 fp, but Dane Pineau’s monster single-game line (84 fp) placed him atop the $100k max price rise list along with Scotty Hopson (81 total fp). Xavier Cooks, Will Magnay and Brendan Teys also rose by the max, while Mirko Djeric and Kendall Stephens turned their hot shooting into big increases too.


Foul trouble slowed Mitch Creek (18 fp), causing a max price decrease, while AJ Ogilvy, Melo Trimble and seldom-used Next Star Terry Armstrong suffered a similar fate. Didi Louzada’s limited minute return caused his price to drop too.


As you trade out those high-priced Taipans, hopefully you have some money to strengthen your squad. Here are the best trade-in options for Round 16.


Matt Hodgson, C, BNE ($1.02m): He has had an up and down year, but while Will Magnay seems to be getting all the headlines, Hodgy has quietly strung together two solid games with a 41fp average across them. This week the Bullets face Illawarra – a team he’s averaging a whopping 50.3 fp against this season, and with the Bullets schedule being one of the more attractive ones coming up, Hodgy is a great way to strengthen that bench of yours.


Lamar Patterson, SG/SF, BNE ($1.63m): While Scotty Hopson and Mitch Creek are your wing priorities this week, Patterson is someone you’ll want come Round 17 when the Bullets have a double. He’s been doing his thing lately, averaging 48.6 fp over his past 5 games and his price is heading north again, so if you have the others already, now’s the time to jump on board with Lamarvellous.



Tom Abercrombie, SF/PF, NZB ($1.09m): Age is but a number and as the calendar turned to a new decade, it seems Mr. Abercrombie turned back the clock instead of forward. The 32-year old Breakers veteran has been having one his best stretches of the season over the past three games with averages of 19 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 3.7 threes and a healthy 40.7 fantasy points. His 82 total fp in Round 15 ranked 4th overall and with the Breakers on a double again, it looks like just the right time to bring him forward into your team.


Scotty Hopson, SF, NZB ($1.53m): Refer last week’s Fix. If you don’t have ‘Hop’ in your team, you’re still doing it wrong.


Rob Loe, PF/C, NZB ($0.970m): A career-high 24 points on Thursday against Cairns was a great sign for Loe who is still recovering from his fractured skull in some ways. Loe is now averaging 32.4 fp over his past five games and trending up. The Breakers have a double this week and again in Round 18, making Loe a great way to add some depth in your frontcourt at a cheap price.



Mitch Creek, SG/SF, SEM ($1.73m): Yes, it was another down game for Creek – this time slowed by foul trouble, but you can’t keep a good man down for long. With so much on the line in terms of the finals race, you know Creek will bounce back and do everything possible to lead this team back up the standings. That means more trademark box score stuffing, and with two straight doubles and a price that has dropped by the max again, it’s the perfect time to drink from the Creek.


Dane Pineau, PF/C, SEM ($1.45m): A Great Dane is described as large and noble, a gentle giant and often referred to as the “Apollo of dogs.” Apollo was the Greek God of the Sun and boy has Dane Pineau been hot lately. The MIP candidate had another whopping game on Sunday with 14 points, 19 rebounds and 3 blocks. If you’re counting at home, that’s 39 rebounds over his past two games. There’s nothing gentle about that production. His 84 fantasy points was the highest single-game score of the round and he’s now averaging 78.5 fp over his past two games; if that’s not hot, I don’t know what is.


Tai Wesley, PF/C, SEM ($1.29m): Since his return from injury, Wesley’s production has been like a yo-yo. This past round, he was slowed by foul trouble and some poor shooting. Credit the Hawks’ defence for much of that, but the grown man is certainly capable of much better as we saw the previous week against the Breakers. With a double this week and next, even if the yo-yo continues – which I’m guessing it won’t – you’d still be getting great production across the round as Wesley is averaging 37.6 fp over his past 5 games. The grown man is ready to deliver for you.


Xavier Cooks, PF, SYD ($0.928m): “He’s been huge,” Kickert said of Cooks following their win on Saturday. “We got a super high-quality player, but a really, really easy guy to integrate into any team.” Cooks has integrated well, even if he’s still finding his legs after nearly 3 months on the sidelines. He’s not scoring a lot, but contributing in a variety of other ways; be it crashing the o-boards, finding open teammates or protecting the rim. He’s averaging 40 fp over his past 5 games, 40 fp over his past 3 games and he had 44 fp on Saturday. That kind of production for under a million bucks is exactly how you strengthen the depth of your roster – especially with two straight doubles on tap.



Jae’Sean Tate, SF/PF, SYD ($1.44m): 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. The only thing JT didn’t do on Saturday was perform with the cheerleaders during timeouts or serve you food in your seat. He’s now averaging 19.3 points, 7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1 block over his past three games. That’s a healthy 49.7 fantasy points over that span, so with two straight doubles, let him serve you up a tasty line in Round 16.  


Others to consider:


Miles Plumlee, PF/C, PER ($0.987m): 25 fantasy points on debut in just 16 minutes after two days with the team. That’s not a bad start and the NBA veteran will only get better from here. The Wildcats don’t have a great schedule with just one double left in Round 18, but Plumlee could be a difference maker at some point, so watch this space.


Didi Louzada, SG/SF, SYD ($0.794m): After a three-game lay-off, the rust was real for Louzada, but he still made an impact. Will Weaver said post-game that following a bad turnover right before Louzada came off from his first stint on court, Weaver barked at him when he came off. “He looked me right in the eyes, copped it, came back in, gave us big minutes and defended his ass off as soon as he came in. That’s just the kind of person he is.” And that’s just the kind of player he is, which is why he’ll only get better from here and at that price, he’s a great value way to add some depth.



Captain’s Choice


For the third straight round, there are just three teams on doubles, so your choices are far from endless. Here are my top three choices for Captain in Round 16:


Mitch Creek, SG/SF, SEM


Scotty Hopson, SF, NZB


Andrew Bogut, C, SYD


Bogut has been playing less minutes of late as he’s being managed towards the playoffs, but he’s still capable of some monster fantasy lines. The Kings haven’t played the Breakers since Round 3, but he put up 155 fantasy points across that home and away series then. The Kings second game is against his old pal Dane Pineau so you know he’s gonna bring something extra for the Great Dane.


Hopson is the logical choice here based on recent form, but something tells me Mitch Creek is going to have a monster round. He won’t be happy with how he’s played the past two games and will do everything he can to avenge their earlier losses in both Perth and Sydney, so I’m going with Creek as the top choice.


Remember to make sure you have depth for flexibility and production. You never know when someone from your bench will be the difference between winning and wondering what might have been.



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