Everything you need to know to build your team ahead of the season.
The season tips off on 5 October when Melbourne United takes on the Adelaide 36ers at the Titanium Security Arena. So, it’s almost time to start your armchair coaching and reach for glory with the Ladbroke’s NBL Fantasy.
It’s bigger and better this season and is gearing up to be a must play for all Aussie Hoops fans with a phone or internet connection.
If you’re unsure where to start and want to learn the rules of the game, you’re in the right place. Read on as we take a look at the new fantasy game and provide some tips on how to create your team.
Log into Fantasy NBL and sign up.
We then need to select the team and get to work watching games. The following sections will help with this. Before we move on though if you have played other NBL fantasy games before there are several rule changes.
The rule changes assist players who can make an impact on the box score. There is also now a season-long fantasy and a new Game Day option which sees you pick a team of 6 from the player playing on the day.
The Game Day option will likely make for more long-term players as people start crashing as the season goes on. So if you bomb out, keep watching and picking Game Day teams as there may still be wins to be had.
Once you have registered I have created two leagues to get involved in:
AUSSIE HOOPLA BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Limited to the first 20 players to enter is a public head to head league. This league does not tip off until the third round, giving time for the dust to settle – League code: 47Y36NYL
THE AUSSIE HOOPLA NBL OPEN
Full open public league, classic fantasy scoring – League code: LC32MXAH
Ok, you’re registered and in the league, now let’s look at selecting the team.
Can you pick a select a team that can beat Melbourne United this season?
The deadline for Round 1 is surprise surprise, 5 October 2017.Your budget is $10 million and you must select 11 players. Importantly this must be made up of the following:
- 2 Point Guards
- 2 Shooting Guards
- 2 Small Forwards
- 2 Power Forwards
- 2 Centres
- 1 Sixth Man
This is made up of one starter and one bench player. How you select this will be vital as your bench will get 50% scoring whereas your starters will get 100% scoring. Only your sixth man is unrestricted which makes the choice here even more important. Picking a sixth man who will consistently add to your totals and not break the bank will be one of the more challenging aspects of the selection.
Finally, you get 2 trades per week. Combining this with considerations based on the schedule and home form (see below), you can better inform your trades and keep your side strong through the season.
The Scoring System
The NBL Fantasy scoring system is as below:
|Points||Off Rebs.||Def Rebs.||Assist||Steals||Blocks|
|1 Fantasy Point per point||3 Fantasy points per offensive rebound||2 Fantasy points per defensive rebound||3 Fantasy points per assist||4 Fantasy points per steal||4 Fantasy points per block|
|TO||3 PT make||2PT Miss||FT Miss||Double Double||Triple Double|
|– 2 Fantasy points per Turn Over||1 Fantasy point per 3pt shot made||-1 Fantasy points per FG Miss||-1 Fantasy points per FT Miss||10 Fantasy points per Double Double||20 Fantasy points per Triple Double|
Players also receive two fantasy points per team win.
When selecting your team there are a couple of key highlights that stand out. Assists and Offensive Rebounds will add big to your scores. Guards who contribute with a lot of assists and the guys who get in there and get offensive rebounds will be valuable. Chasing the guys who can get
Chasing the guys who can get double-doubles, even if not high scoring ones is another likely strategy. Going for guys who can fill up Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals and Blocks could be profitable. This also takes the shine away from picking “the stars”. Players that can put up solid numbers and provide several assists or rebounds will score good fantasy points.
The Choices and Tips
Rather than a list of suggestions on who to choose, this section is your preseason report on what to consider and the current form leading into the season.
Consider the Schedule
Schedule of double game rounds for NBL 2017/18 season.
Using this chart we can see there are runs where players from certain teams will get twice the chances to score big. Consider picking players from teams with a couple of doubles in a row could be vital for getting momentum. Don’t underestimate it in a fantasy game. Getting off to a good start is just as important in the world of fantasy as it is for the team on the court.
Adelaide opens the season with two doubles and Brisbane have one game during the opening two rounds. The extra games at the start of the season mean you may want to consider players from Adelaide in your starting squad. However, their home games drop and spike in the rounds after.
The Home/Away Form
NBL Home Court Advantages for NBL 2017/18 – courtesy of @fantasystarsau
The entire NBL 2017/18 season as Home/Away.
The above is a cumulative chart of the advantages based on the run of Home/Away games. Also, see the quick reference table to help you work out who is playing where each round.
EDIT: It has come to my attention the next section is not clear. The following is not related to the first two rounds alone. These are based on the distribution of home and away games. When picking what players to keep in whilst your trading away for as many double round players as possible, considering the Home/Away advantage could be the difference maker.
It is no secret the Home Court advantage exists in NBL. Last season the home team came away with the win 61.61% of the time.
The Win/Loss records for the NBL 2016/2017 season.
As an example, consider rounds 3 through to 7. During this period if you cannot keep all the players on doubles, keeping players from Brisbane throughout the period could still be ok. They will remain at home through this period and have another run of doubles after round 7.
A few important things to consider here.
- New Zealand has a rather stable schedule with their Home/Away games
- Perth has several home games during the first 6 rounds of the season.
- Brisbane have a run of home games from round 3 to round 7 which could be beneficial as it runs into another run of doubles.
- Cairns has an excellent distribution of home/away games.
- Sydney has the toughest start to the season with their Home/Away games. However later in the season, hey have a strong run of home games to the finish.
Picking players from New Zealand and Cairns to fill the roster could be a good bet for stability through the middle of the season. For the gamblers, Perth and Brisbane could be the way to go at the start of the season (after Round 2).
Be careful though not to let your heart rule your head if you go with this strategy. Remember that if a player has a great start to the season it does not mean it will continue all season and backing the strong starts could mean ruin for your team.
It is still a shame the Blitz was not televised.
The Blitz is the main source of pre-season stats we can use to inform our choices. Many fans were unable to see NBL teams participate in the NBL Blitz due to the competition not being televised but by using the live box scores from each game and listening to Dan Boyce breakdown each squad on the NBL Blitz podcast are basically the best tools those who didn’t see the games have to gauge talent.
Based on the Blitz stats though we can get an idea of who is in form going into the season, even if we can’t get a solid idea of all the imports. From the Blitz performances, there are a few standout performances to highlight. The table below is the top 20 individual game performances.
Ten key takeaways
- Mitch McCarron: Based on the fantasy scoring system he had his best game performance of the Blitz vs New Zealand. He would have racked up 67 points in this game. He is an integral part of Cairns and if he can find this form during the season could be a strong pick combined with Cairns favourable schedule.
- Kyle Adnam: He will not get as many minutes during the season but could be a solid contributor off the bench with his Blitz performances in mind.
- Tai Wesley: Try not to be fooled here. If his minutes are not as much his performances may not reflect this. However, if Melbourne suffers injuries he might be worth considering.
- Lucas Walker: Could be a solid bench contributor during the season but again try not to be too fooled by the performance here.
- Cameron Gliddon: $1.33 million and he would have put up a 46, 35 and 22 through the course of the Blitz.
- Chris Goulding: 41, 39 and 30 through the Blitz. Some reservations remain about how everyone will line up for Melbourne and if this will be maintained but is impossible not to notice the strong average.
- AJ Ogilvy or Josh Boone: 45, 33 and 20 through the Blitz. Consistent as ever and although costly as the most expensive player in the game could be value for the money. Also though Josh Boone played two at 37 and 29 so picking between the crown jewels of the fantasy game is a tough one.
- Stephen Holt or Travis Trice: He scored a 37 and a 33 before a below par 5. Proceed with caution but as one of the imports is a price tag at $1 million is attractive and he had solid minutes during the Blitz. Travis Trice scored 45, 29 and a 9 again with solid minutes. Both struggled during the Cairns game, but with all the talk on Melbourne’s backcourt is Brisbane the real super duo.
- Casper Ware or Bryce Cotton: Ware played two and was at his average on the game at 37 and 34. He is, however, an expensive addition at $1.72 million. What makes him worth it is the team play he adds whilst scoring. Cotton played two and scored a 6 and a -1. Now Perth was a shambles during the Blitz with imports not finalised, injuries etc. and you shouldn’t expect it to continue, but this highlights Bryce Cotton’s key problem, consistency.
- Mitch Creek: Point scores of 43, 33 and 19 and he is priced at $1.4 million. This seems fair and a few early double rounds make him a solid starting choice.
Bring in the imports?
Many of the imports start the game $1 million in cost. For some players, this may become a bargain. The prices will begin adjusting from week one and getting in early may be a big score or a huge risk. Here are three to consider:
- Ronald Roberts could be a solid gamble. His field goal % for Tofas SC in Turkey was 64.9%. On top of this, he makes a number of rebounds and scored Double-Doubles on two occasions in 10 games played last season. He also scored in a 34 and a 33 during the Blitz during games with solid minutes.
- Stephen Holt returns to the league with a price tag of $1 million. As covered above along with Trice, his performance at the Blitz was solid. He comes in cheap but Brisbane only plays one game in the first two rounds. The tough choice is whether to back any Brisbane players out of the gate or leave some room to bring them in if they start showing performances after round 3.
- Demitrius Conger ha the potential to score across the stat line. His Blitz was so strong I saved it for now. He scored a 46, 43 and a 28. The upside here is huge. If he performs during Illawara’s doubles at the start of the season he could be the one to bring about the strong start your looking for. Last season he played 54 games for Port of Antwerp Giants in Belgium. He contributes across the box score and deserves a huge recommendation to be considered for any fantasy coaches’ team.
Drop the stars?
The scoring system and the tight cap make the stars mostly overpriced. As you will see $10 million will not go far and choosing the solid players is likely to pay more dividends. Also, the new scoring system could hurt a few players.
Everything above is all well and good and hopefully has given you an outlook of the season. Fantasy, however, is about spending that hard-earned virtual cash efficiently.
Here is a few quick fire final few considerations to help manage your emotions and look at the money.
- AJ Ogilvy – $1.88 million is a lot considering you need to spread your funds across the court, but his Blitz was solid as mentioned above and he could be the consistent rock of the team.
- Majok Majok – if he improves his points could be great value. $1.04 million gets him into the Centre and frees up cash for a different star.
- Josh Boone – at $1.82 million he is the second most expensive player this season and with reason. Also his Blitz was solid and the performances in New Zealand post the Blitz would have scored a healthy set of points also.
- Mitch Creek – $1.4 million that could be well spent. Solid FIBA Asia cup campaign, solid Blitz and a vital player for Adelaide.
- Damian Martin – $1.34 million but a poor Blitz based on this price with a 17 and a 16. However he works across the stats and could be a solid contributor. Perth also have a strong start with the Home and Away advantages.
- Kevin Lisch – His average is at 39.33 and I see no reason he won’t maintain this. He contributes across the stats but will cost a hefty $1.73 million. Consider though that Sydney have two double rounds early on and the Home/Away court advantage starts ok for Sydney.
- Chris Goulding – will he lose out or flourish? The Melbourne United team is stacked and he should have the ball in his hand left come the regular season. However he comes in at $1.33 million. Solid during the Blitz and if Melbourne flourish he could be a better value choice than Casper Ware.
- Nathan Sobey – $1.74 million for last year’s great success story. Blitz was strong also with 38, 24 and a 9 but these are all below his listed average of 39.46. He could be hurt by the new scoring system and seems a big risk to include even with the early doubles. Consider carefully.
- Bryce Cotton – 36.18 average and $1.58 million. Very poor Blitz but Perth’s issues with the Blitz are well documented and we can’t use this as a barometer for his regular season. Alarms are sounding though and might not be worth the early risk in the ups and downs of his performances.
- Todd Blanchfield – $1.05 million and a way above average Blitz with 39, 37 and 30 all above his listed average of 23.91. Sydney’s early doubles also could make him excellent value. If he performs he is worth the money.
- Lukas Walker – $0.25 million!! He is likely to be in the rotation and as the potential to contribute to Fantasy scores. His top score in the Blitz should put him in your radar along with the next player.
- Craig Moller – Good pre-season. Minute’s rotation could be kinder to him than the bargain basement $0.26 million suggests. The SF position is the lightest position for Melbourne going in and he could contribute to Fantasy scores. 26, 18 and 6 in the Blitz are all above the listed average of 5.96. In fact, it’s one of the better jumps above average along with Blanchfield.
- Isaac Humphries – young players in their first seasons can be tricky. Adjusting to the NBL can be harder than it seems, but if anyone will its Humphries. Is Blitz was 28, 16 and 6 and he is on a Sydney side that will rely on him. He’s an outside consideration to start in your team. Seriously. For Sydney to be successful he has to perform. He costs $0.6 million and I would predict a lot of fantasy coaches will have him on their bench at the very least. Sydney’s favorable run home may see him join a lot of sides as the season wears on.
- Matt Hodgson – possible starting centre and big early schedule for Adelaide. 54 and a 13 in the blitz shows value. He comes in at $0.95 million.
- Tai Wesley – comes in under a million at $0.99 million. His Blitz and pre-season have been incredible. 55, 44 and 30 in the Blitz. He can contribute across the box score and will be in the rotation significantly. Some may be worried about Tai given Prather’s arrival but don’t count him out.
- Casey Prather – No Blitz stats but solid games in New Zealand but he comes in at $1.62 million. If it all goes right he could be the man this season. Personally, I want this to happen as a die-hard Melbourne fan but proceed with caution. Fantasy points come down to scores across the stats and Melbourne doing well may not translate to Prather being your talisman.
- Rotnei Clarke – $1.49 million makes this is a flip of a coin choice. His Blitz was 45, 34 and 18 which is right around his average.
- Adam Gibson – $1.27 million and a below average Blitz at 24, 16 and 14. The second round bye doesn’t help as if you’re backing a Brisbane player, you should not back too to start. The signs are not good here for fantasy points.
- Mike Vukona – $1.11 million with Blitz at 39, 34 and 7. Take away the limited minute seven and what do you have. Ten point jump on his average of 25.3. New Zealand stays above the Home/Away advantage most the season also.
Fighting your inner fandom
As I have alluded to I am a Melbourne United fan. In fantasy, you must be aware of your preferences and fight them when they’re not helpful. All would be fantasy coaches who made it this far do consider this when picking your team.
I have put together a pack with all the Blitz stats converted to fantasy points and fixture charts to help guide you and best of luck with the season.
Access it by clicking here: https://1drv.ms/f/s!ArCEw3Ro2dQbrDan352g7A4CyEMG.
If you do join up to the game – https://fantasy.nbl.com.au/ – then look for these leagues.
Head 2 Head (The Aussie Hoopla Basketball League): will commence from Round 3 and would love to see you there. Limited to 20 places. League code is 47Y36NYL.
Open League (The Aussie Hoopla NBL Open): Open to anyone with no limit traditional fantasy league. League code is LC32MXAH.
Note that the season long prize scoring does not start until Round 3. If you are only playing for the big prizes only Adelaide’s opening two double rounds are not as important as they seem.