The Fantasy King: Market Movers

Filed in Uncategorized by on May 9, 2013

By Mick 'the King' Adams

With just about a third of the season in the books the Supercoach top 20 makes for an interesting read. All the usual suspects are represented as expected, with some on the rise, like Robbie Farah (1st), and Billy Slater(8th); and some on the decline- Gallen (13th), Parker (10th), Fensom (18th) the most notable. Players who impressed in 2012 such as Aaron Woods and Trent Merrin have built on their fantasy credentials and now rank among the first players picked when building a fantasy squad (although Merrin has been on the wane of late). Sonny Bill Williams has been a revelation for the Roosters and one of the fantasy buys of the year. Then there are those who you would never expect to see rank so highly, players such as Andrew Fifita (9th), John Sutton (11th) and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (12th). All in all, it’s been a hard one to figure out.

After eight rounds though you do start to get a better sense of where players are heading, and seeing former top-10 fantasy players sitting outside the top 100 has led me to look at the players who have seen the biggest drops from their respective starting prices. There are various reasons these players have fallen so far, so I’ve split them up into five categories.


Category 1: Good player, bad team

Jarryd Hayne (-$94,300; 6th biggest drop)

Hayne has been in this category for a few years now, and has not done himself many favours. There have been miles of column inches written about Hayne’s woes and I don’t really want to add to that except to say that as a league fan I would love to see him recapture that 2009 form. Four years removed from that however he’s well and truly on the clock. Of his eight games this year four have netted above average fantasy totals, which is the same ratio as in his injury-ravaged 2012, where he had six good scores in twelve games. This should be good news for Hayne owners. The bad news of course is that he plays for Parramatta.

Todd Carney (-$67,600; 11th biggest drop)

Maybe I’m being a tad unfair calling the Sharks a bad team, but given their off-season moves they are surely the most disappointing, even accounting for that long ASADA cloud hanging over them. An upset golden point away win in Newcastle could be the spark they need, as there is certainly (for now) no reason they can’t right the ship. Carney equalled his best score of the season and still had a 15k price drop, an indication of how poor his performances either side of that injury were. It should be noted that if his teammates were better finishers he could have had a great score in the round 7 match against the Dogs. Of the players in this category I think Carney has the most potential to get back to somewhere near his starting price. For those still playing the old fantasy model, it could be a good time to snatch him up.

Benji Marshall (-$54,100; 13th biggest drop)

Yes, the Tigers were effectively fielding a reserve grade side so pronounced is their injury crisis, but that was just putrid on Friday night. Benji polled three Willie M points in that debacle, and probably deserved the 2 and 1 votes too. Maybe he was still not quite right in coming back from injury, but regardless his form this year has not been good. And with his two good fantasy scores this year coming in the only two Tigers wins he has been on board for, he’s definitely a half that needs to be winning to be a viable fantasy starter. Not likely this year.

Brett Morris (-$64,300; 15th biggest drop), Josh Morris (-$63,500; 16th biggest drop)

The twins are close in more ways than one, each also dropping by $24,000 following their round eight performances. For Brett that was understandable, given he lasted just 14 minutes before going down injured with his score at -1. Josh’s drop is a bit surprising, given his 38 wasn’t terrible, and despite two consecutive sub-30 scores his fantasy form to start the year hasn’t been terrible. I’d be leaving Brett well alone this season, but he could be a bargain next year when the Dragons’ much needed recruits arrive. Josh however presents a bit of value at the moment.


Category 2: Form Correction

Ben Roberts (-$84,000; 8th biggest drop)

There’s nothing I can say about Ben Roberts that Nick Tedeschi hasn’t been saying on a seemingly weekly basis over the last couple of years. For this reason the likely end of the Ben Roberts era-NRL is a touch bittersweet- don’t you go anywhere Ben Pomeroy! Back to Roberts however, his price has been reduced almost to rookie rates, as big an indictment on his abilities as anything. At least he can’t fall any further, having almost certainly played his last game.

Ken Sio (-$70,300; 10th biggest drop)

Started the year with a bang, scoring 81 against the Warriors. Since then he hasn’t broken 30, and has consecutive scores of 14 in his last two starts. I found his sustained fantasy form last year quite perplexing given that from what I saw he was certainly not a great winger. These things inevitably work themselves out over time however and the $148,400 he is currently worth seems about right.

Jonathan Wright (-$65,200; 14th biggest drop)

I actually have very little to say about this guy, except that he is surely one of the most anonymous players in the competition today. I know literally nothing about him. He had one of the highest scores among the twenty players on this list on the weekend though, so if Carney can get the Sharks going again he might work his way off this list. Or maybe he’ll injure a toe at training this week and never be heard from again.


Category 3: Time remains undefeated; winning streak extended to 106 years.

Paul Gallen (-$94,300; 4th biggest drop)

Gallen’s injury-shortened round 8 saw his price fall $36000, meaning his 4th overall ranking needs to be heavily qualified. Regardless, even without that 36k drop he would be on this list. Gallen will still be a popular captaincy choice upon his return, and will still be a first round draft pick next year, but the writing is on the wall. I’ve spoken about his statistical regression this season, and this is exacerbated by persistent injury threats of late.

Anthony Minichiello (-$60900; 17th biggest drop)

Never a fantasy standout, Minichiello nevertheless had a pretty decent year by his standards in 2012, and was a semi-handy option as Origin cover. His price at the moment, 175k, is actually almost identical to his closing price in 2012. I don’t know how the Supercoach powers that be found an extra 60k of value, but shame on anyone who paid that much for him. For draft players left with few other options I have more sympathy. Even with the rejuvenation of the Roosters attack Minichiello has been a rubbish fantasy player, failing to break 50 so far in 2013.

Brett Stewart (-$60,800; 18th biggest drop)

Given that he is a prolific tryscorer and a vital cog in the well-oiled Manly machine when at his best, Stewart has always been a little disappointing as a fantasy player. He came off injured against the Dragons, but played a full first half for only 3 points. He’s always been a bit too brittle to have any real confidence in starting, and at 28 that’s not likely to get any better.


Category 4: Victim of a changing system

Nathan Peats (-$151,000; 1st biggest drop)

I actually like Nathan Peats quite a lot. With Issac Luke missing a lot of football last year Peats was given plenty of time to shine and took advantage of it. He impressed on the field, and especially from a fantasy standpoint. With a healthy/not suspended Luke always ahead of him in the pecking order however, Peats’ opening price of 253k was always going to be too high. However, there are clear indications that Peats’ troubles go way beyond that. In 2012, Peats shared rake duties with Luke on eight occasions, averaging 44 minutes per game. This year, he has averaged 21 minutes per game in his seven starts. His fantasy output has similarly halved, going from 41 points in those eight 2012 games to 20 points this year. Coach Maguire obviously has a different game plan in mind this season and you can’t really argue with the results.

Interesting postscript to the Peats issue- in the five games of 2012 in which he played 80 minutes, he averaged 75 points. If Peats manages to find another club in the off-season which would give him a better chance of starting, he must be considered for a mid-round draft selection.

Dene Halatau (-$94,900; 3rd biggest drop)

He could have easily slotted into category C, as he is a spent force unlikely to finish the year in first grade. However, after giving him an inordinate amount of game time last year, it seems like Des Hasler has come to a similar realisation, playing Halatau sparingly so far. Once a handy dual position buy, he now has precisely zero fantasy value.

Gavin Cooper (-$74,900; 9th biggest drop)

Signs of life for the Cowboys second-rower, who had his first 80 minute game for the year on Saturday night and passed 50 points for just the third time this season. Attacking points have been few and far between for Cooper this season, but it will be interesting to see whether Neil Henry, who played Cooper from the bench in rounds 5-7, has a change of heart and returns him to the 80 minute role he played for the majority of 2012. One to watch.

Kevin Kingston (-$58,500; 19th biggest drop)

I spoke about Kingston’s likely reduction in worth earlier in the season, and so it has played out, with James Segeyaro effectively stealing the mass of fantasy points Kingston earned last season. He’s getting plenty of game time, averaging 62 minutes to Segeyaro’s 57. However Segeyaro is scoring 62 points a game, thoroughly outpointing Kingston’s 40. This trend is likely to continue unabated.

Dean Whare (-$57,400; 20th biggest drop)

Whare is the only player in this category who had a self-imposed system change, switching to the risible Panthers from Manly for the opportunity to play fullback. That experiment lasted five weeks, in which Whare averaged a paltry 33. Since then he’s been moved to the centres, where he played most of his football with Manly. A return to more familiar territory hasn’t helped his output unfortunately, averaging 30 in the three games since the move. Meanwhile young Matt Moylan has impressed since his debut as the Panthers custodian.


Category 5: Too Hard Basket

Feleti Mateo (-$94,800; 4th biggest drop)

Issac Luke (-$86,800; 7th biggest drop)

Dave Taylor (-$67,100; 12th biggest drop)

Tired of talking about these three, so I won’t. See you next week. 


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