NBL Fantasy: Injuries throw up surprise opening
This weekly column is produced by Dean Zardo and Steve Chalmers
The opening round of the 2019/20 NBL Fantasy season has been run and won, with a number of surprises throwing up some interesting thoughts and prospects going forward.
A number of omissions, most of which was due to injury threw many fantasy owners into a frenzy (including myself!) and forced players to switch their teams they settled on prior to Thursday night's opener.
When the announcement from Melbourne United arrived prior to Thursday night that both David Barlow and Casey Prather were set to miss, many players threw caution to the wind with United stars such as Shawn Long, Melo Trimble and Mitch McCarron. However, it was the owners who held Chris Goulding who were paying the price, sitting out of game two thanks to a knock he picked up in the opener.
Owners were lying on the floor after pre-season stand out Didi Louzada carried too much of the load in the Blitz and had to sit due to a back complaint. A very popular selection was Louzada, with many opting to stick fat and keep him in their respective sides (owned by 33% after R1).
The interest in Illawarra
The Hawks went down to the Brisbane Bullets in their only game of the opening round and if they hadn't already provided intrigue to fantasy owners before the season started, you were probably playing the wrong game.
However, buyer beware!
The Hawks now hold three straight doubles and for me personally, I just didn't like their minutes rotation from the opening round (from a fantasy perspective).
Lamelo Ball and Aaron Brooks will be fantasy stars, however it's more so those looking to secure bargain basement or value picks in up-and-comers such as Emmett Naar, Daniel Grida and Sam Froling .
The trio clocked 36 minutes between them, in which they were involved in an entire 12-player rotation. If this is to be a common theme, I just can't see the effectiveness being there to live up to their price point and above.
Per The Pick and Roll's Jordan McCallum, nearly a quarter of Illawarra's offensive possessions ended up in isolation plays - something which will fall on the shoulders of their two star guards (Ball and Brooks).
With the Hawks' fixture opening up immediately, I could only suggest both Ball and Brooks to be the go-to players this early on in the season.
Kouat Noi - Cairns Taipans
Each week we'll highlight a number of players from the past week or identify a player you can keep your eye on going forward in a number of different categories (which you'll find below).
Noi has to fill this section for the opening round after showing NBL fans what to expect on a weekly basis. He won't provide a double double for you every week, but he's in a great position to shoulder a fair share of the load up in Cairns and that means he'll be a lock for your NBL Fantasy team.
Dane Pineau - South East Melbourne Phoenix
He hasn't got the schedule in the front half of the season to make you smile from ear to ear, but he's certainly got the heart and hustle that you would like to see from a guy that can secure a solid spot on your bench.
If Mitch Creek can open up and tell the world about his grit and determination after just one round, then you can expect more of it!
Andrew Bogut - Sydney Kings
He was a high priced superstar to open up the season and he's dropped a cool 87k already. His performance on the weekend isn't the reason why he's in the pressure cooker for the opening piece however.
It's because fantasy owners are hoping he does the exact same in Round 2 before they can jump on the reigning MVP for good! How low can he go?
South East Melbourne's John Roberson very lucky not to be first cab off the rank here, although thinking he'll feature fairly quickly with his game play.
It's harsh to throw someone into the Never Again file after just one round, so we'll keep this one up our sleeve when required.
BrisbaneWill MagnayAnkle - TestMelbourneDavis BarlowThumb - Expected R3 returnCasey PratherKnee - Expected R3 returnChris GouldingKnee - Will play (USA)Sam McDanielAnkle - 4 to 6 weeksEveryoneBYE - NBLxNBA tripNew ZealandEveryoneBYE - NBLxNBA tripPerthWani Swaka Lo BulukAnkle - UnknownSouth East MelbourneAdam GibsonCalf - TBCTerry ArmstrongFoot - TBCTai Wesley Hamstring - 3 to 6 weeks
We see you! Anything that catches our eye, we'll attempt to share with all of our readers.
So, you've come here for a reason haven't you? Who do you bring in for the next round? Let's make it simple, below are a few names (at different levels) who you can target:
PG: Lamelo Ball (Illawarra) $0.95m
SG: Aaron Brooks (Illawarra) $1.05m
SG/SF: Mitch Creek (South East Melbourne) $1.62m - be careful here, Phoenix have an awful schedule, but you don't want to be priced out when you actually need him.
SF/PF: Kouat Noi (Cairns) $0.35m
PF: Nick Kay (Perth) $2.09m
PF/C: Dane Pineau (South East Melbourne) $0.41m
C: Matt Hodgson (Brisbane) $1.19m
Now for those you should be keen to oppose:
PG: John Roberson (South East Melbourne) $1.00m
PG: Emmett Naar (Illawarra) $0.66m
PF/C: Daniel Kickert (Sydney) $0.68m
Want to get involved? Start an NBL Fantasy team today!