The Fantasy King: the Fantasy Ladder

Filed in Uncategorized by on April 4, 2013

By Mick 'the King' Adams

A few weeks back I looked into the effect winning made to the fantasy scores of playmakers, which resulted in the not really all that surprising finding that it is quite helpful. With four weeks in the books, I thought it as good a time as any to expand the investigation and look at the competition as a whole. Glancing at the ladder after four weeks, the first thing that jumps at the eye is that all eight teams outside the top eight are sitting on one win from four. Of course this has as much to do with happenstance as anything else, but it does point to a worryingly high level of mediocrity infecting the lower end of the table.

Now turning our attention to fantasy, here’s the premiership ladder if it were decided by Supercoach scores:

Rank (NRL rank)     Team              Points              Players in top 100 (players w/50+ avg.)

1 (1)                 Melbourne       3341                            11 (9)

2 (6)                 Syd Roosters   3300                            9 (7)

3 (4)                 Gold Coast      3267                            9 (7)

4 (3)                 Manly              3201                            8 (6)

5 (2)                 Souths             3185                            7 (6)

6 (11)               Penrith             3178                            7 (5)

7 (7)                 Cronulla          3128                            6 (5)

8 (5)                 Newcastle       3040                            6 (3)

9 (12)               St Geo Illa       2994                            4 (3)

10 (14)             Nth Qld           2871                            5 (4)

11 (9)               Brisbane          2853                            7 (7)

12 (8)               Wests              2816                            4 (3)

13 (13)             Parramatta       2761                            4 (2)

14 (10)             Canterbury      2659                            6 (3)

15 (15)             New Zealand  2519                            3 (3)

16 (16)             Canberra          2518                            3 (3)


With only one team from outside the NRL top 8 breaking into the fantasy top 8, it’s pretty clear that the strength of a team as a whole must be considered when drafting/trading players. Of the top 100 ranked players in Supercoach, 53 come from teams in the top 8. This ratio doesn’t say much in itself, but the closer you get to the top, the more important winning becomes. Of the top 20, only Trent Merrin and James Segeyaro come from teams in the bottom eight.

After breaking down the data over the last couple of days, here are some stray observations about the fantasy ladder:

Beware Melbourne backs

While having Melbourne Storm players in your fantasy squad is obviously an advisable course of action, it comes with the caveat to choose wisely. The 11 Storm representatives in Supercoach’s top 100 accounts for 80% of the club’s total points, with The Big Three alone gobbling up almost 30%. Tellingly, Will Chambers (94th) is the only Storm three-quarter represented in the top 100, which says a lot about the way Melbourne like to play. That famous fulcrum system they use has brought a lot of success and probably isn’t going anywhere. This means that while Duffie, O’Neill et al. might dine out occasionally, as a rule Melbourne players are to be avoided in the Centre/Wing position. I have a lot of time for Chambers though.

The Tigers are in trouble

Tigers fans should be concerned about their lowly fantasy ranking. Depth has been an enduring issue at Tigertown. The S.O.S. callout to Ray Cashmere last year was troubling enough before reports this week that John Skandalis was potentially being sounded out yet again. I don’t know if the selection of Braith Anasta at halfback can be put down to a lack of depth or something else entirely but regardless it should set alarm bells ringing.

There are four Tigers players in the top 100. I’m sure without pausing to think you could rattle them off. Outside of Farah, Marshall, Woods and Fulton, what Tiger playing this weekend could you have in your team with any confidence? The Tigers have had a pretty bad run with injuries over the past couple of seasons, but after a while you have to start wondering whether it’s luck or poor practices.

Farah’s fantasy dominance at the Tigers is staggering. He accounts for a league-high 12.68% of the Tigers’ fantasy total after four rounds. By any measure Farah has started the year well, but outside of Marshall there’s been little support. Of the Tigers 6 try assists for the season (beaten only by the wretched Warriors for worst in the comp) all can be put down to either Farah or Marshall. If one or both goes down for any extended period it’s curtains.


The Tigers – creativity = The Dragons

Trent Merrin’s 11.59% share of the Dragons’ fantasy output is second only to Farah. Worryingly though, unlike the Tigers hooker, as good as Merrin is he cannot be expected to run the Dragons attack. Of the four Dragons in the top 100, it should surprise nobody to see Merrin, Nightingale and Mitch Rein figure, but Nathan Fien’s good fantasy showing to start the year is a bit perplexing. I, like many fans, had damned Price’s decision to start Fien at halfback before the season began. He has by no means been great, and has been downright awful at times, but he has out-performed Soward thoroughly. A small chunk of Fien’s points have come from the three (of eight total) try assists he has provided the Dragons. Soward’s contribution to the tally? 0.

Warriors on the up?

I hope so, as my pre-season endorsement of Feleti Mateo as the top overall draft pick has so far seemed like the worst call since Minichiello lent his phone to Mark Gasnier. Following that streak-breaking, confidence-raising victory against the Cowboys however, things are finally looking up for the Warriors. And hopefully for Mateo, who managed a season high 45, enough to earn him a recall to the starting lineup this weekend. With the Warriors firmly rooted to the bottom of the table with the Raiders in both fantasy and reality something’s got to happen soon. With players like Mateo, Simon Mannering and Konrad Hurrell all outside the top 100, there’s a lot of potential for improvement.

The Roosters won the off season

Beating out stiff competition from the similarly active Sharks, the Roosters’ improved ladder position so far this year points to the fact that their recruitment has been top notch. Luke O’Donnell notwithstanding, the trio of Williams, Maloney and Jennings have helped to put the Roosters in a strong position to contend this year. This is demonstrated in their leaping of four spots up the fantasy ladder into second position, with the recruits leading the way. SBW has been the most impressive of them all, only a hit up off averaging 80 for the year, a feat surpassed only by Farah, Smith, Gallen and Merrin.


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