Round 15 saw Damien Cook continue to stamp his claim as the premier fantasy hooker in the competition with 85 points. The main captaincy options, Hynes and Cleary also resumed business as usual with 83 and 79 points respectively. With Round 17 looming, it’s time to stack up on bye-round players and get those keepers.
BUY, BUY, BUY
Jahrome Hughes was a breakout star in 2021 and became a keeper as he benefitted from the rule changes. 2022 has been a starkly different story and a string of poor scores has seen him drop almost $150K from his starting price. Yet a strong 2 try outing against the Broncos has seen him steady the ship. At 600K, a breakeven of 48 and a strong upside, Hughes won’t lose you money, but he plays Round 17 and could potentially become a keeper. Worth the punt, buy.
The much-hyped rookie looks to have relatively strong safety in his position with Chanel Harris-Tavita taking time away from the game next year. Against a dominant Panthers outfit, Volkman was able to get 32 points largely attributed to 27 tackles. The risk with Volkman is the lack of data on him at the NRL level. However, at close to basement price, one to look at as a cash-out to allow for the rest of your side to be upgraded.
ONES TO WATCH
Papenhuyzen was in red hot form throughout the first 9 rounds of 2022, most notably Round 4 against the Bulldogs saw him score 4 tries and get 3-line breaks on his way to a mammoth 102 points. However, knee and hamstring injuries have seen him have an extended stint on the sideline. Round 16 sees him listed in the reserves, and so he is one to watch as he may be a late inclusion for the Thursday game. If he is, snap him up. A keeper that plays Round 17? Sign me up.
Fifita’s 2022 season has been a roller coaster. Despite strong base stats, he has failed to consistently get the big attacking plays that made him such a dominant force in 2021. At 700K and with a breakeven of 83, Fifita will see his price drop significantly further as he works his way back into form from the bench. His inconsistency in the role he has played over the last two years needs to be considered by coaches who are looking to pick him up. Yet if his price falls below 600K, I think many will take the punt on the huge potential upside.
Latrell Mitchell was a keeper fullback in 2021 with an average of 56 and an impressive last 6-round average of 65. However, we need to consider that like Trbojevic, Latrell was a key beneficiary of the rules in 2021 that saw a plethora of attacking stats. Looking back to 2020, Latrell only averages in the mid-30s while playing fullback, albeit his first season in the position. Additionally, Souths are no longer the side they were last year, with the loss of Adam Reynolds and Latrell himself. Watch and wait and see if Latrell can turn around the fortunes of Souths and match his high standards from 2021. With a breakeven of 75 and a past 16-point game set to inhibit any future price rises, you can afford to hold your trades for now.
Luciano Leilua has traditionally been a 50-point scorer throughout his career. Yet his last 4 games have been far from that with an average of only 28.25. His price is now at a point where he looks to be a strong back-end of the season buy. However, a breakeven of 67 and a bench spot initially at the Cowboys means that his price is likely to drop further. Will be one to get in the post-Origin period as his price bottoms out.
Brown has won the starting hooker spot over Jacob Liddle. At 304K, he could be a potential option to make money. However, the concern is his job security. There have already been reports that Luke Brooks has been training at hooker, and in a struggling side, change is just around the corner. One for the extremely risky, worth waiting a week before making your decision.
The return of Victor Radley sees Nat Butcher return to the Bench. A 12-point outing against the Eels has seen his breakeven rise to 62, and his average this year when starting on the bench is only 40, meaning that further price drops will likely come. Sell.