Written for nbl.com.au by Tom Hersz
The Make-A-Wish round entered the NBL fixture for the “First Ever” time in Round 15 and what a success it was.
With each team sporting their freshly designed “City” jerseys, it gave the fans the opportunity to see and purchase some great new looks. In the process, much-needed funds were raised to help make some dreams come true for kids doing it tough as they battle life-threatening illnesses.
While everyone had their favourite jerseys, the exposure it gave the Make-A-Wish Foundation was the real winner, and getting extra eyeballs through some blockbuster games – and another dose of Open Air Hoops at the Australian Open – certainly proved a winner.
As we enter the final round of the Sportsbet NBL Fantasy regular season, you may have a wish of your own.
It could be to get one more win to qualify for your league’s finals. It could be to bolster your position in the standings. But it might just be to see your roster round into form before you start your Fantasy Finals campaign.
Whatever your wish is, you’re going to need the right players, so come get your weekly Fantasy Fix as we look to Round 16.
Round 16 (Feb 1 – Feb 4)
2 Games: Brisbane, Cairns, Illawarra, Melbourne,
New Zealand, Sydney
1 Game: Adelaide, Perth
Whilst not quite the cornucopia of games we had last round, we still have a very healthy schedule with 6 of the 8 teams having a double.
Adelaide and Perth are back on singles, but the Sixers come back for another double-dose next week, so you could hold Sobey or Johnson if you so choose.
The Wildcats have back-to-back singles, so best to sell off Kay and Cotton again if you can, to prepare for your semi-final in Round 17.
Meanwhile, Cairns ends a run of 5 straight doubles after this round, so it’s time to think about how to exit Trimble and Jawai or any other Snakes you’ve been riding.
A reminder that Melbourne and New Zealand have doubles the rest of the way, but if the Breakers lose again this round, they won’t have much to play for the week after, except playing spoilers, so tread cautiously there.
If you know you’ve qualified for Fantasy Finals, make sure you are planning ahead beyond this week, but if you need to win to get in, then try to maximise those doubles once more.
Having some funds to upgrade is critical this time of year, so let’s take a look at the top 10 price risers and fallers after Round 15;
- Nick Kay: +$100,000 ($1.65m)
- Melo Trimble: +$100,000 ($1.55m)
- Josh Boone: +$100,000 ($1.52m)
- DJ Kennedy: +$100,000 ($1.33m)
- Mitch McCarron: +$100,000 ($1.18m)
- Finn Delany: +$100,000 ($0.644m)
- Clint Steindl: +$100,000 ($0.522m)
- Jack McVeigh: +$100,000 ($0.441m)
- Adam Doyle: +$86,000 ($0.480m)
- Patrick Richard: +$78,000 ($0.983m)
- Andrew Bogut: – $100,000 ($2.22m)
- Nathan Jawai: -$100,000 ($1.06m)
- Ray Turner: -$100,000 ($0.840m)
- AJ Davis: -$100,000 ($0.711m)
- Mitch Norton: -$95,000 ($0.613m)
- David Barlow: -$83,000 ($1.10m)
- Jason Cadee: – $81,000 ($1.11m)
- Mika Vukona: -$81,000 ($0.854m)
- Terrico White: -$75,000 ($1.07m)
- Jordair Jett: -$64,000 ($1.03m)
Whilst Nick Kay and Melo Trimble led the way this week with max rises, there were three other men who did likewise after a dominant round. Josh Boone, DJ Kennedy and Mitch McCarron all played key roles in Melbourne’s two big wins and with their schedule so friendly, they’re all worthy of consideration.
They were also joined by some young guns in Delany, Steindl and Mr O-Board McVeigh who lifted when their teams needed them most, which translated to some nice fantasy lines.
Not faring as well were two big men who’d been dominating in weeks’ past in Bogut and Jawai. They both fell by the maximum and for Jawai it’s now a concerning trend as any consistency he’d had for a while has dissipated.
Two new imports in Ray Turner and AJ Davis continue to struggle to find their roles, while Mitch Norton’s night, and sadly his season, ended early due to a torn calf. He can safely be traded out of the 10% of teams that had him rostered.
If you need some sure things, here are the top trade targets for Round 16.
Cameron Bairstow, PF/C, BRI ($1.05m): Bair is still a little up and down on form, but when he’s up lately, he’s been great. Against the Kings on Friday night, he had probably his best game since coming back from injury with 23 points and 10 rebounds along with a block and a steal. He didn’t back it up on Sunday in Auckland, but it’s great to see him showing he can get back to an elite level of play. He plays Sydney twice this week so if he can replicate that form in either of those games, it will be a productive round. If he can do it twice, he’s in for a monster round.
Lamar Patterson, SG/SF, BRI ($1.66m): If you don’t have him, your opponent does. Be like your opponent and get Patterson.
— NBL (@NBL) January 25, 2019
Cameron Gliddon, SG/SF, BRI ($1.20m): Gliddon’s floor is pretty high. The one game of his last five where he failed to score at least 10 points, he still managed 29 fantasy points. Gliddon does it on both ends and that’s what makes him valuable. With two more doubles, he’s definitely a smart choice.
Todd Blanchfield, SF, ILL ($1.20m): In a similar vein, the man they call Vinnie has been solid, even when not spectacular. He had a nice showing against Melbourne under the open stars, but the whole Hawks team failed to play their best in Blanchfield’s 250th game in Canberra on Saturday, although they did leave with a win. Facing the Cats and Snakes this week, Blanchfield has averaged 38.5 fantasy points in his last two against Perth this season and a whopping 47.6 against Cairns, so he should be in for a strong round.
AJ Ogilvy, C, ILL ($1.22m): I’m less confident in recommending Ogilvy for two main reasons. Number one, he’s historically not played at all well in Perth, and while the last time was in Round 1 after the 4OT classic versus Melbourne, it’s still a concern. The second is I’ve struggled to understand his game this season. His best is still bordering on elite, but the flipside is he goes missing in games sometimes. His current form – averaging 41 fantasy points over his past three games – suggests he’s trending up at the right time of year, so if you want a point of difference, he could be your man.
Josh Boone, C, MEL ($1.52m): Remember when we were worried about Boone’s form and continued price decline? Me either. Any talk of a regression this season has been firmly quashed and he’s averaging a whopping 68.8 fantasy points over his past four games – all double doubles by the way. He’s put up 12 rebounds and 2 blocks per game over that span including a ridiculous 21 offensive boards (5.25 o-reb per game). And while having a double round against New Zealand’s imposing front line of Long and Wesley seems daunting, Boone had 26 points, 10 boards and 5 blocks last time he played them and has only lost to them once in United’s past 6 meetings with the Breakers (coming off a 4OT battle). As I said … nothing to worry about here.
DJ Kennedy, SG/SF, MEL ($1.33m): My guy (that’s right Homicide) is back to his stat-stuffing best after missing two games recently following a minor car accident. Big Play DJ more than lived up to his name during Round 15, averaging a tasty 16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block over the two games. He did a little of everything on his way to 129 total fantasy points – good for third best this round. Isn’t that the kind of production you’d wish for?
DJ Kennedy took out Bunnings player of the game honours in the @MelbUnitedHQ W stuffing the stat sheet with 16 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and a block ? @bigplaydj1 #MELatADE #NBL19 pic.twitter.com/RQsOXhRpzy
— NBL (@NBL) January 28, 2019
Mitch McCarron, PG/SG, MEL ($1.18m): I told you Mitch was making you fantasy money again. The combo guard put up a $100k price rise but more importantly, he put up 98 fantasy points across the round. If you’re counting at home … of course you are … that’s 150 fantasy points over his past three games (50 per game) and he’s averaged 42.6 over his last five. He is playing with supreme confidence right now, scoring in a variety of ways as well as racking up the dimes and defensive stats. Exactly what you need.
Casper Ware, PG, MEL ($1.54m): Apologies for the United overload, but when you win both your games by an average margin of 23.5 points and score 113.5 points per game over the round, it tends to translate to fantasy value. Ware is no exception, putting up 46 fantasy points per game over his past five contests. He took out Bunnings player of the game honours against the Hawks with 25 points; the fourth time in his past six games he’s topped that mark. You get the idea.
Shawn Long, PF/C, NZL ($1.85m): I’ve separated the twin (towers) this week as they’re really the only Breakers you want to own right now, so deserve their own billing. Long remains in beast mode, averaging a hearty 61.3 fantasy points over his past three games and 49.8 over his past five. He’s topped 50 fantasy points in 7 of his past 10 games and does not look like slowing down any time soon. He’s not cheap, but he’s also not like many others.
LONG IS ?
— NBL (@NBL) January 24, 2019
Tai Wesley, PF/C, NZL ($1.76m): After nearly triple-doubling against Cairns (16pts, 10ast, 7reb) with a bonus 4 steals, Tai struggled against Brisbane, but he’s still been incredible all season. You know he’ll be fired up against his old teammates from Melbourne, so is more than safe to deploy for a double round of fun times.
Andrew Bogut, C, SYD ($2.22m): Bogut ‘only’ had 49 fantasy points against Perth on Sunday. Seriously, unless he’s in foul trouble, that’s his floor. If you traded him out last week and can find the money to bring him back for these next two rounds, you will not be disappointed.
Others to consider:
Jack McVeigh, SF, ADL ($0.441m): The rookie’s minutes have trended up with Ramone Moore out and he’s made the most of it. McVeigh had 7 offensive boards against Melbourne on Monday – seven! He’s now averaging 28.75 fantasy points over his past four games and with a double next week in the Fantasy Semi-Finals, could be a great way to save some bucks to deploy elsewhere.
Patrick Richard, SG, NZL ($0.983m): Like his team, if Richard was a little more consistent, he’d have had a great season. When he’s on, as he was against Brisbane on Sunday, he looks great. He had a season-high 60 fantasy points and while he likely won’t top that mark again, he has topped 50 fantasy points on four other nights. A cheaper option with a healthy schedule is certainly an option.
Another week with lots of options given how well plenty of guys are playing right now, so even if you don’t have Bogut, you can hope to maximise your Captain’s impact. Here are my top 5 Captain choices for Round 16 in order;
- Andrew Bogut, C, SYD
- Josh Boone, C, MEL
- Lamar Patterson, SG/SF, BRI
- Shawn Long, PF/C, NZL
- DJ Kennedy, SG/SF, MEL
Of course you could also go with Trimble, Wesley or Ware this week, those are the five I trust most this week.
Don’t wait for someone else to grant you a wish this week – it’s too important. Make the smart trades and get yourself a spot in those Fantasy Finals.