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NBL Store Fantasy Fix | Round 6

Written for nbl.com.au by Tom Hersz

Things can change quickly. That was pretty much the theme of Round 5 as three teams who lost their opening game of the round, managed to change their fortunes and close out the pre-NBL Cup portion of the season with a win.

Illawarra lost a tight one to Melbourne and then won a tight one against Sydney. The Phoenix got blown out by Perth and then came back with a blowout win against them on Sunday. And similarly Brisbane turned a 15-point loss into a 19-point victory against Adelaide.

Things are also going to change further for South East Melbourne in a few weeks when their new blockbuster signing, Ryan Broekhoff, joins them for the latter stages of the NBL Cup.

Broekhoff, with his world class shooting, great defence and strong rebounding from the wing position, elevates Simon Mitchell’s squad from a Finals contender to a title contender.

Yes, fortunes can really change just like that. Whether you make adjustments or bring in reinforcements, there are always ways to get better and your Fantasy team is no different.

Sometimes all you need is a different matchup, while other times a good, old-fashioned upgrade will help.

So if you need to turn your fortunes around, or are just looking to make that leap from good to great, you’ve come to the right place. Your Fantasy Fix is here.

Round 6 (Feb 10 – Feb 23)

2 Games: Adelaide, Cairns, Illawarra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, S.E. Melbourne 

1 Game: Brisbane, New Zealand

Round 6 marks the official start of the four-week NBL Cup. Each team will play every other team once, so eight games over that span. For some, that means an even spread of two games per week, while for others the schedule gets a little interesting with a single in one round and a rare triple-header round on tap as well.

In Round 6, Brisbane and New Zealand draw the short straw with just a single for each. So all those Vic Law, Nathan Sobey, Tai Webster and Corey Webster owners have a choice to make. Hold and cop a single, knowing a triple is coming, or trade out for the certainty of a double. 

Personally, I’m holding Vic Law and Tai Webster so I can enjoy their hearty schedules in rounds 7, 8 & 9, but if you feel like you need to make that change to help you win your matchup, I wouldn’t blame you.

To assess your financial position before you make that call, let’s take a look at the top 10 price risers and price fallers after Round 5;

Risers

  1. Isaac Humphries: +$100,000 ($1.50m)
  2. Vic Law: +$100,000 ($1.42m)
  3. John Mooney: +$100,000 ($1.39m) 
  4. Ben Moore: +$100,000 ($1.19m)
  5. Shaun Bruce: +$100,000 ($0.815m)
  6. Yanni Wetzell: +$100,000 ($0.750m) 
  7. Jack White: +$100,000 ($0.750m)
  8. Dejan Vasiljevic: +$100,000 ($0.704m)
  9. Tyrell Harrison: +$100,000 ($0.697m)
  10. Tai Webster: +$81,000 ($1.27m)

Fallers

  1. Lamar Patterson: -$100,000 ($1.38m)
  2. Corey Webster: -$100,000 ($1.27m)
  3. Scotty Hopson: -$100,000 ($1.22m)
  4. Anthony Drmic: -$100,000 ($0.718m)
  5. Didi Louzada: -$100,000 ($0.699m)
  6. Emmett Naar: -$100,000 ($0.564m)
  7. Clint Steindl: -$77,000 ($0.421m)
  8. Harry Froling: -$76,000 ($0.753m)
  9. Robert Loe: -$75,000 ($0.842m)
  10. Deng Adel: -$73,000 ($0.732m)

Isaac Humphries led all scorers with 127 total fantasy points across the round, closely followed by John Mooney with 124 and it was those two who headlined the maximum price rises. Vic Law and a surprising strong round from Shaun Bruce also featured amongst those players who made you as much as possible this week, while Ben Moore’s improved play continued. In all, nine players rose by the max with Tai Webster rounding out the top 10.

A familiar list on the other side of the equation though as Lamar Patterson, Scotty Hopson and Corey Webster once again dropped by the max in Round 5, along with three other players. Rounding out the top 10 of the price fallers is Deng Adel whose $73k price drop brings him down to a very reasonable $732k price tag and makes for an interesting upgrade option for your SF bench spot.

Now you know how much money you have to upgrade your squad, let’s take a look at the best trade targets for Round 6.

Isaac Humphries, C, ADL ($1.50m): Not much has changed here, except that Humphries is now the most expensive player on the Sixers. He continues to perform at an MVP level and led the round in scoring on the back of an 86 fp master class against Brisbane on Saturday night. If you’re deciding between him and Jock Landale, Humphries has clearly got the higher ceiling each week.

Scott Machado, PG, CNS ($1.85m) & Cam Oliver, PF/C, CNS ($1.89m): After an unexpected bye in Round 5, the Snakes start a new string of doubles which brings this dynamic duo right back into the fore. They are not cheap, but they are the second and third highest scoring fantasy players in the league, so sometimes you’ve got to spend big to earn the big rewards. You know what to expect from these guys. This will come down to your other players and how much spare cash you’ve been stashing.

Cameron Bairstow, PF/C, ILL ($1.06m): I had him here last week, but I think some folks needed to see it again to believe it. Well Bair obliged with another solid showing versus Melbourne, before producing his best game of the season in the win over Sydney. A double-double including 6 o-boards, a block and a triple on his way to 52 fantasy points in a reserve role is another clear indication of the upside he has. At that price, he’s a great value option with the Hawks having four straight doubles on tap. 

Justinian Jessup, SG/SF, ILL ($1.10m): It’s getting harder to ignore what this young man is doing. Before the season started, we all knew he could shoot. Now we know he’s an elite shooter. We’ve also since learned that he’s a gifted passer and a solid rebounder. What you may not have noticed is his work on the other end of the floor. Possibly overshadowed by his teammate, Justin Simon, Jessup has made a real impact defensively, both for the Hawks and his fantasy owners. He’s averaging 1 steal per game on the season and has blocked 6 shots over his past 4 games. He had 40 fp in both games in Round 5 and while that may not be his floor, that floor is quickly rising.

Scotty Hopson, SF, MEL ($1.22m): Not even Hopson’s best game of the season (46 fp) was enough to stop his price from falling further, but it was enough to get our attention. If you recall what I said about him last week, it was centred around flourishing with a bigger load due to the various injuries Melbourne is carrying. Well that’s exactly what happened against the Hawks and Hopson is just getting started. Don’t forget how dominant he was last season and then look at his bargain price. We can expect a lot more and in double doses each of the next four rounds too.

Mitch McCarron, PG/SG, MEL ($1.12m): Again, I made the case for McCarron last week with Ili and Goulding out. He was always going to have a higher usage rate and would need to generate more offence. Mitch had a season-high 17 points to go along with 7 dimes and 3 triples. His 48 fantasy points actually led United and now that his price has started heading north again, Money-Makin’ Mitch is officially back as a fantasy asset.

John Mooney, PF/C, PER ($1.39m): He’s the number one ranked player in all of Fantasy. He ranked 2nd in total points in Round 5. He’s had a double-double in four of his five games. He’s averaging 1.8 steals and 1.4 blocks on the season. Oh, and he hit a three in both games last round. Does he need to do more for you? Put simply, he’s a fantasy stud and if you’re trading out Vic Law, Finn Delany or any other big man, he should be your first choice to replace them. The only minor downside is a single in Round 7, but that’s followed by a triple game round in Round 8.

Mitch Creek, SF/PF, SEM ($1.60m): I know, I know, he’s an obvious choice right? Well some may have avoided him last week, thinking he may get “Perfed” again, to borrow a phrase from the Basketball Blokes. However he was anything but that, as he led the charge for SEM in both games this past round. Creek was great in their loss on Thursday with 53 fp and then after a quiet first half on Sunday, he came back with a vengeance for another 44 fp in their blowout win. Creeky is now averaging a rock solid 50.4 fp over his last 5 games and has another double on tap to help you out. Obvious choice indeed.

Shaun Bruce, PG, SYD ($0.815m): Looking for a cheaper option who can still produce? Well then call on Bruce. Ok, enough of the rhymes, but in all seriousness, Bruce has been playing some very consistent and productive basketball of late. In Round 5, he led the Kings with 87 total fantasy points and is now averaging 38.3 fp over his past 3 games. He’s done it mostly with assists, steals and threes, but hey – those all add up. Bruce is averaging 7 dimes over that span and on Sunday he was two points off a double-double. With no word yet on Jarell Martin, Bruce may need to carry a bigger offensive load this week and the Kings have four straight doubles coming up, so he’s worth a look.

Others to consider:

Sunday Dech, SG, ADL ($948k): With Donald Sloan gone and Jeremy Kendle not yet ready to take on a big role, Dech has had the opportunity to do more and he’s done it pretty well. He had his best fantasy output of the season on Saturday with 47 fp and, even in a blowout loss on Monday, he put up 26 fp. Not amazing, but far from awful. SG is particularly shallow this season, so finding a good value option like Dech could help more than you realise.

Matt Hodgson, C, BNE ($1.03m): After missing the start of the season with injury, Hodgy is still ramping up. You wouldn’t have known it on Monday night though as even after missing the Saturday clash, Hodgy went to work and had 8 points, 9 boards (5 o-reb), 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block on his way to a season-high 48 fp. He’s only going to keep getting better this season, so one to watch for your back-up Centre option in future weeks.

Sam Froling, PF/C, ILL ($1.03m): He struggled against Sydney on Sunday, but before that he’d been quietly putting together a really nice season. Froling was averaging 41.2 fp before that last game, which is actually really great value for someone at his price. He’s been a little inconsistent in terms of defensive stats, but makes up for it on the offensive boards where he ranks third on the season.

Captain’s Choice

I’m kicking myself as in Round 5, without Mooney on my team I had to choose between Humphries and Law as my Captain. I had Humphries locked in and then changed my mind on Wednesday afternoon, going instead with Law. 9 points, 10 boards in one game, then 27 points and 9 boards the next. Nary a double-double to be found, unfortunately.

Why am I telling you this? Because getting this right each week could be the difference between winning and losing. It certainly was for me in one league. 

So this week, we’re going to go by form and matchups. If you’re not a double-double threat, you’re probably not going to get the nod. Here are my top three choices for Captain in Round 6:

Isaac Humphries, C, ADL

Cam Oliver, PF/C, CNS

John Mooney, PF/C, PER

With Oliver back and on a double, he immediately comes back into play for those that still own him. And of course our two scoring leaders from Round 5, with 8 double-doubles between them have to be considered.

Humphries faces Sydney – who could be without Jarell Martin, and the Phoenix. He’s averaging 50.5 fp against the Kings and 69 fp versus SEM, which is mighty attractive. Oliver goes against the Hawks (50.5 fp this season) and United who he had 65 fp against back in their Round 2 loss. While Mooney will see United (he had 52 fp against them in Round 4) and the Kings, who he hasn’t played yet. 

A lot could come down to those Kings matchups and whether Martin can play or not, but even if he does, I’m going with Humphries as my top choice. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these guys to be honest, but I like Humphries ability to impact the game on both ends slightly more than the others and I don’t think SEM has a great match up for him.

Remember, things can change quickly, but you have to be open to change and embrace it. Make the smart choice and you should also see some positive results.

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