Round 16 saw a couple of surprise packets with Edrick Lee producing a mammoth 89 points in his 5-try outing against the Titans. Taukeiaho and Ofahengaue followed closely with 85 and 84 points respectively. Cleary disappointed coaches with only 54 points against the Roosters. Meanwhile, Cook looms as potentially the best captaincy option for the end of the season with a 5-round average of 73.8, unmatched by either Hynes or Cleary.
CLEAR CUT CAPTAINS
With Cleary and Cook out of the picture, it's time to look at some of the key captaincy options for the Round 17 bye-round.
His omission from the main Origin squad with Jack Wighton coming in as the 18th man means that he will be the no.1 captaincy option for the round. With an average of 69.4 for the season, he remains almost 2 points of Cleary and is continuously mounting his case as the ideal captaincy option in normal weeks. Therefore, in the bye round without Cleary, the obvious captaincy choice.
Before his injury and excluding the game after Origin where he saw reduced minutes, Matterson had a five-round average of 70. A break-even of 77 means he may lose cash for any coaches that pick him up. But he is a season-long keeper and with an ownership of 5.4%, he is a key point of difference. One for the bold.
His return from injury saw a season-low 38 points against a red-hot Cowboys outfit. However, the bye-round sees a middle-of-the-pack Dragons outfit without their marquee man Ben Hunt, which should see plenty more opportunities for the goal-kicking half. With a season average of 55.5, he is not a bad option for those looking for an alternative option.
BUY BUY BUY
With trades coming at a premium in the back end of the season, these buys not only represent a round 17 number but also keepers for the back end of the season.
2 tries in the last 4 minutes allowed Papenhuyzen to scrape his way to 53 points. He also looks to have started to take the goal kicking which was a concern for coaches leading into this fixture. The concerns are whether he comes back into the scoring relatively slowly in a similar fashion to his return from a concussion last year. However, as a keeper wing fullback that also plays Round 17, a slight dip in average may still be worth it with the extra points in the bye. He may lose you some cash, but he is a keeper wing fullback.
A loss of his 80-minute role and a large reduction in running metres have seen Isaiah Papali'i drop by over 100k in the last 3 weeks. A high break-even means that he is likely to drop further in price. But at 790K, he is still a steal for a keeper that has proven his worth over the last 2 seasons, and he was still able to generate big points when not playing 80 last year. Buy him.
Frizell has seen 2 poor scores in succession (1 injury affected) which has seen his price tumble. At 639K, he is at a discount for a player who has averaged in the mid-50s for the last two seasons and hasn't had to deal with the burden of Origin in 2022. Buy.
ONES TO WATCH
The back end of the season sees the transition into a final squad. So, this week's ones to watch provide a mix between cash-outs and potential cut-price keepers. Plus, an eye on those to get rid of to fund the big guns.
The Knight's hooker was elite in 2021, particularly in the first half of the season. However, the second half of the season saw his attacking stats and turnover tackles fall away, resulting in much poorer scoring. At 741K, and starting from the bench, he isn't a buy for coaches. This should also see his price fall over the next couple of weeks. But he may be a shrewd back-end of the season POD for coaches with trades up their sleeve. Put him on your watchlist.
Even with the return of James Tamou, Fonua Pole keeps his bench spot after an impressive debut. His debut saw him score 43 points in 42 minutes largely through base stats. A break-even of 0 also means that he is likely to continue making cash. The concern is whether he will be able to maintain his minutes this week or whether he will see reduced activity due to other forwards.
After only 3 minutes for his 2022 debut, Rodwell finally got some decent time on the park and produced 28 points in 25 minutes. At 220K, he proves to be a great cash-out option that plays Round 17, but with Nathan Brown lurking in Jersey 18, there is a real risk that he loses his spot and doesn't play another game this season. Trade him in if you are okay having a red dot and just need the cash.
The veteran hooker has seen his price drop almost 200K in the season as he has ceded minutes. Some games have even seen him relegated to the bench and only get 22 minutes. Round 16 finally saw him return with a 51-point outing over 80 minutes. At 500k, could be a spicy option for any coaches looking to snap up a bargain potential keeper that also plays the bye round.
In line with expectations, Latrell was a key beneficiary of the 2021 rules that saw him elevated to elite status. Despite a dominant victory over the Eels, he was only able to put out 43 points. With a breakeven of 59, there is still time to watch him, but he still has the potential to be a keeper in the back end of the season.
Ezra Mam & Billy Walters
Both of the Broncos bolters have made coaches significant cash but look to be approaching their peaks. Watch their performances in Round 17 before deciding, but it may be time to move them on after.
A disappointing loss to the Souths saw many of the Eels players struggle to generate the big points. A season-low 7 tackles saw Penisini only score 17 points. However, his prior scoring has been strong but at 547K, if you have other centre guns, it may be time to move him on after the bye round.
For any coaches still holding Hastings, a 5th consecutive score below 40, plus a reduced role in general play kicking means that he can be moved on for a genuine gun.
Arguably one of the rookies of the season, Kiraz made the most of his first crack at first grade with an impressive 7 tackles busts leading on his way to 48 points. This impressive performance saw him land a starting spot down the track and he has made coaches over 250K. However, his price looks to have peaked and coaches could move him on to a gun such as Papenhuyzen or consolidate their gains.