Round 18 saw the final run of Joey Manu with 103 points to reward coaches before being moved back to centre this round with the return of Luke Keary. Meanwhile, despite being owned by only 6.5% of coaches, Garrick scored 78 points without a try, cementing himself as a mainstay in any backline. Round 19 sees the return of several Origin stars who were rested as coaches look towards head-to-head finals and the overall final stretch.
BUY, BUY, BUY!
Whether you’re playing head-to-head or overall, look to load up on keepers for the final run home.
Damien Cook (HOK) - 12.7% Ownership - $925k
Why isn’t he in more teams? Damien Cook has an outstanding 2022 and sits in as the third-highest average for 2021, only 0.5 points per game behind Cleary. Yet while Cleary sits in 36.6% of teams, Cook is only in 12.7% of teams and isn’t rising quickly. He averages almost 10 points more than any other hooker. Not only will he score well, but he also provides an interesting POD captaincy option for the run home. If you can, buy him and reap the rewards.
Harry Grant (HOK) - 13% Ownership - $718k
Now if you can’t afford Cook, Grant offers an interesting option to coaches. Grant looks to have secured the 80 minutes for the foreseeable future. In games where he has played at least 70 minutes, Grant averages 58.7 points and at his price, he offers more value than Cook. One for the shrewd.
Cameron Murray (MID) - 10.4% Ownership - $816k
But back to Souths, regardless of their club’s form, they still offer some great options fantasy-wise. Much like Cook, Murray is also the clear standout option in his position. Despite reduced minutes in the origin period, he continues to impress with a 49 and 71 in his two appearances. Now with a fit and firing Latrell, and the origin period behind him, Murray is a must-have.
Daly Cherry-Evans (HLF) - 10.4% Ownership - $836k
For me, still a premier half in the fantasy sphere, and ranked at no.2 in our preseason, he has impressed with a stellar season. He has scored the fourth-most points of any player in the game despite missing games with origin which is a testament to his skills. With three 70+ scores on the trot, his price continues to climb ever higher. The real interesting aspect is that he has picked him up the goal kicking over Reuben Garrick which potentially makes him one of the best captaincy options for the run home. Pick him up before he gets out of reach.
Latrell Mitchell (WFB) - 14.3% Ownership - 620k
Coming back from injury, it was always a risk with Latrell, but his performances as of late have put him into the upper echelon of fullbacks. A season-high 12 tackle bust game against the struggling Bulldogs saw him get 98 points and has sent his price skyrocketing. At 620K, Latrell looks to be a steal as his base also looks to be more reliable than in previous years. The only concern is that a tough draw ahead may see his scores be more consistently in the 40-50 range rather than the big games that he has seen in the last two weeks.
Adam Doueihi (HLF/WFB) - 3.5% Ownership - $522k
A return to the five-eighth position saw Doueihi revert to his form of 2021 with 1 try and 9 tackle busts on his way to 83 points. Historically Doueihi has averaged almost 63 points a game when starting in the five-eighth position, albeit this was largely in the 2021 attacking era where he was able to benefit from the rule changes. Yet it needs to be noted that Tigers struggled in 2021 and Doueihi largely scored in base stats. The signs look promising, but it may be worth waiting a week before pulling the trigger.
ONES TO WATCH
Falling guns continue to populate the ones to watch, with numerous potential keepers coming to the fore.
Nat Butcher (MID/EDG) - 4.94% Ownership - $548k
A series of unfortunate events have seen him drop $76K over his last 3 appearances, yet an injury to Sitili Tupouniau sees him return to the 2nd row where he has averaged close to 50 points a game when starting. Even more enticing is the fact that these scores have come largely in base stats with an average of 41 tackles and 81 metres a game. Yet a high breakeven means that he will likely continue to fall, wait for the bottom and pick him up.
David Fifita (EDG) - 8.12% Ownership - $645K
Let’s get straight to the point, the biggest concern with Fifita is whether he can keep his starting position. Even in 2021, when he starts, he averages 58.7 points, but Holbrook moving him to bench and even centre sees his overall average at 50. At $645K, he looks like an enticing option, yet maybe wait a week to ensure he keeps his starting spot. But with almost no ownership in the Top 5000, it’s worth the punt if you are looking for a point of difference.
Kalyn Ponga (WFB) - 7.22% Ownership - $495K
Excluding his debut season, Kalyn Ponga has been a revelation in the fantasy sphere and has averaged around the 50-point mark consistently. Yet in 2022, excluding his 15-minute stint against the Panthers, he has only averaged 42.3 points. But a strong Origin run has seen him hit a purple patch of form which he looks set to translate to the Knights. At 495K, with two 50+ scores on the trot and the goalkicking duties now in his duffle bag, Ponga looks primed for the picking. If you are struggling for cash, it is worth a punt, but for most, it is probably worth waiting a week.
Joseph Manu (WFB/CTR) - 16.5% Ownership - $778k
Joseph Manu has had a dream run in 2022 that has seen his price rise almost 200K from its starting value. But the return of Luke Keary will see him return to the centre position where he has averaged only 45 points. Wait for his price to peak and downgrade for upgrades elsewhere.
Ryan Papenhuyzen (WFB) - 15.59% Ownership - $658k
The injury-ridden run for Papenhuyzen continues with a fractured kneecap set to sideline him for the rest of the season. A straight swap to either Tedesco or Latrell may be the way to go.