Your starter kit for the NBL 2021 fantasy season

A massive year lies ahead, and we've got everything you need!

The NBL season is finally here, which means another opportunity to get stuck into some NBL Fantasy!

Due to COVID-19, it’s going to be an interesting Fantasy season, with player availabilities and fixtures potentially impacted as the year goes on. In fact, this preview has already changed twice because of the alterations to the fixture!

If you’re new to NBL Fantasy, or are coming back after a long time away from the game, it’s a pretty simple concept! Basically you have a salary cap of $10m to select 11 players to fill your squad. Each player scores points according to their statistical performances in each round. Your starting line-up, which includes a “Sixth-Man”, get their full points, while your bench only scores half of what they would have if they were a starter.

Round-to-round strategy is important when talking NBL Fantasy because throughout the season teams have multiple-game rounds. So obviously if a team is playing twice in one round you want their players in your Fantasy team. To help out with this, you get trades throughout the season to bring new players in.

With this preview, we’ll look to give you the best start to the season with some must-haves, cheapies, and potential points of difference.

Let’s get stuck in!


MUST-HAVES

Mitch Creek (Phoenix - SF/PF) - $1.87m

Mitch Creek is the definition of a stat-sheet stuffer in the NBL. Last season the star from Horsham 20.1 points, 7.27 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game. That resulted in an average of 47.31 Fantasy points per outing.

He is expensive at $1.87m, but well worth every penny. There are very few complete players in the league like Creek and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him up his numbers from last season. In the first revision of the fixture, the Phoenix were set to play three games across the first two rounds, they still have a matchup in the opening round, so let’s hope they keep their double in Round 2.

Donald Sloan (36ers - PG/SG) - $1.0m

The revised schedule sees Adelaide play twice in the opening round, which means Donald Sloan slides in as a must-have. As with all new imports/major signings, Sloan comes in at the decent price of $1.0m and is well-worth snapping up before that price jumps.

At 6’3”, Sloan is a decent-sized point guard that can put the ball in the hole and also create for his teammates. He has played over 200 NBA games, and in that time also showcased his ability to rebound the ball amongst the trees. Expect a big Fantasy season from the 32-year-old.

Deng Adel (Hawks - SF) - $1.0m

A preseason injury looked as though it was going to derail the start of Deng Adel’s season, however, he is confident of being ready to go come Round 1. Adel has NBA experience and can seriously mix it up on both ends of the floor. His athleticism and length make him a big-time steals and blocks threat, and it should also result in a strong rebound count.

The Hawks are down to one game in the first round but if fit, Adel should be in your team. Expect his price to rise throughout the season, which means it’ll be good to get him in early.

Mojave King (Taipans - SG/SF) - $0.85m

Under $1.0m and playing twice in the first round, get Mojave King into your team. Obviously one preseason game is a lot to go off but 21 points in less than 21 minutes is hard to argue with. Plus, if you saw him play in the NBL1, you’d know he was ready.

Plenty of people will have star Taipans point guard Scott Machado in their Fantasy teams, and for good reason. However, he comes in at $1.90m - a price tag which just rules him out of this section.


CHEAPIES

Yannick Wetzell (Phoenix -PF/C) - $0.25m

After South East Melbourne’s first preseason game against the Bullets, it’s almost impossible not to include Yannick Wetzell in this section. In that particular game, he had 20 points, six rebounds and three assists in an impressive performance. There wasn’t as much to scream and shout about in the second game but he played limited minutes.

With Dane Pineau out injured for around a month to start the season, Wetzell won’t be starved of opportunity. He is just $0.25m and you can definitely expect that price to jump up!

Jack McVeigh (36ers - SF) - $0.54m

Considering they have two games in the first round, it’s well worth having an Adelaide ‘cheapie’ in your team. I’m more than happy to run with Jack McVeigh who has shown some seriously good signs in the preseason, including 15 points and eight rebounds in Adelaide’s second game against the Bullets.

He showed some good improvement last season and expect that trend to continue in 2021. Plenty of people will be excited about Giddey, but at $0.31m cheaper, McVeigh looks the better Fantasy option.

Yudai Baba (United - SG) - $0.3m

Obviously, Jock Landale was a marquee signing for United, but one that could also provide a very important presence is Yudai Baba. The Japanese star showed some class in the preseason against Cairns, recording 11 points and two steals in just under 22 minutes. He should play some valuable minutes for Melbourne and is currently priced at just $0.3m.

United are playing once in the first round, however, he is a fantastic cheap option that should provide points and in turn free up the salary cap for premium players.


POINTS OF DIFFERENCE

Jarrell Martin (Kings - PF/C) - $1.0m

As an import, a few teams will have Martin, but he has somewhat slipped under the radar compared to some of the other recruits around the league. In fact, he is owned by just 7% of Fantasy teams at the moment. The former LSU Tiger has played just under 200 NBA games, averaging 7.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in his best season.

Martin has size and bounce and should be very active on both ends of the floor. Expect him to record a number of double-doubles, which is Fantasy gold, meanwhile his ability to knock down the long ball is also very enticing. Won’t be as popular as some other imports but is well worth a look as a point of difference.

Majok Deng (Taipans - PF) - $1.14m

As mentioned earlier, the Taipans have two games start the season. It means that teams will be jam-packed with Cairns players, although one that plenty have looked over is Majok Deng.

The 27-year-old is owned by just 4% of teams and could offer a solid point of difference for your side. Last season he averaged 12 points and four rebounds per game, playing solid minutes. His price tag has no doubt scared some people off, however, he may be worth a look in the first two rounds.

Colton Iverson (Breakers - C) - $1.0m

Currently, Colton Iverson has the lowest owned percentage of any import in the league. That means if you’re keen on a point of difference, he is one of the top choices. After the first round of the schedule was revised again, the Breakers miss out on an opening-round matchup. It means Iverson probably isn’t worth having in Round 1, but is worth a look at some point in the first month of the new NBL year.

Iverson is a terrific passer, and as a 7-footer it’s no surprise he can clean the glass. There are clearly some concerns from Fantasy players about how much of the ball he will see in offence, but expect him to still be a double-digit scorer with a high field-goal percentage. The big centre is certainly flying under the radar.


Hopefully that has given you some names to look at for your NBL Fantasy team as we edge towards Round 1. But before we go let’s talk captain selections for the opening slate of games.

Your captain scores double, so it is important to nail your choice each week. In Round 1, the Taipans and 36ers have double-game rounds. Picking a star player from any of those teams is a great way to go.

Donald Sloan is well worth a look, playing twice at home. He has strong international experience and will obviously see a lot of the ball at point guard. Another choice could be Cairns point guard Scott Machado. He didn’t feature on this list of players, however, if you’ve managed to squeeze his large salary into your team he would be a great captain choice having averaged 48 Fantasy points last season.

Good luck (you’re going to need it in a “COVID-season”), choose wisely, and hopefully you can knock over your mates!