The Fantasy King year in review Part 2: Duds, Busts and Disappointments

Filed in Uncategorized by on August 23, 2013

By Mick 'the King' Adams

In part two of my fantasy season review, I present my top ten fantasy busts of the year. Let’s dive straight in, keeping in mind that 2013 rankings are liable to change before the end of the season:

10. Paul Gallen

2012: 16th overall, average 94.27; 2013: 78th overall, average 80.33

It’s hard to call a player averaging over 80 points a game a fantasy dud, but he has certainly been a bust for anybody who drafted him in the first round this year, playing only twelve games. I warned about the dangers inherent in selecting Gallen and Parker with first round picks in my season preview. Parker remains the best player in fantasy by some distance and should be the first player off the boards again next year, but I feel vindicated in my preseason assessment of Gallen.

Yes the injuries are becoming more common, and the ASADA wagons are still circling (meaning the question of where to take Gallen in drafts could well be moot by the start of season 2014), but more than that we are seeing a definite decline in production from the inspirational Sharks and NSW captain. In the few games he has played this season his average hit up count has dipped under 20 per game for the first time since forever, and he is playing fewer and fewer eighty minute games. It must be said though that his production for those 20 or so hit ups remains phenomenal- averaging over 180m per game. Gallen remains a machine, but not one you should spend your first round pick on next year.

Verdict: Bust


9. Andrew McCullough

2012: 20th overall, average 57.38; 2013: 34th overall, average 54.19

I am a McCullough fan, and you will notice that unlike other players on this list, his drop in average from last year to this has been minimal. He makes the cut more because of what I was expecting from him. I felt that this was his year to make the leap and he hasn’t really done it, owing much to the Broncos doing the hooking-by-committee thing which has become quite fashionable in recent years. McCullough is averaging less than an hour of game time per week, which is not enough for a player like him to become a top notch fantasy hooker. In a similar category is the Dragons’ Mitch Rein, who is looking more and more like he has hit his talent ceiling- a Simon Woolford style hooker who has ability and a smart head but lacking the physical tools and skill to put him in that elite class. McCullough’s ceiling is higher, but whether that translates into a better fantasy year in 2014 I’m unsure.

Verdict: Disappointment


8. Liam Fulton

2012: 32nd overall, average 65.35; 2013: 62nd overall, average 56.39

Fulton’s case is a funny one. He’s getting plenty of game time each week, has a good average tackle count (35+ per game) and unlike in previous seasons, has not had too many games where he was shifted into 5/8 to address the Tigers’ perpetual depth woes. Where Fulton is really seeing a decline is in attack. Although his creative attacking stats are not too bad, his average hit up count has taken a hit, sitting at just over nine a game. Furthermore, the majority of those hit ups have been under eight metres, losing him a point each carry. This suggests that his reduced average and lower season ranking can most likely be put down to a market correction following the Supercoach scoring changes. They have lost him about five points a game, which would have put his average not too far below his 2012 mark. Something to consider when drafting him next year.

Verdict: Bust


7. Ashley Harrison

2012: 94th overall, average 62.12; 2013: 112th overall, average 48.22

I spoke earlier in the year about time catching up to Harrison, who at 32 should still have a couple of good years left but has taken a physical beating in recent years. His lowly ranking in 2012 despite maintaining a 60+ average (Harrison played only 17 games last season) is evidence of that, and while he has stayed on the field for most of this season he has definitely dropped off in almost every category. Will start 2014 much reduced in draft value.

Verdict: Bust


6. Gavin Cooper

2012: 8th overall, average 63.58; 2013: 97th overall, average 49.89

Has seemingly fallen back in the Cowboys second row pecking order, often starting games from the bench and playing 80 minutes only twice this year. Cooper is only 28, so there is no reason that Neil Henry’s successor in Townsville won’t see fit to restore his game time next season, but for 2013 Cooper owners it’s been a bad year.

Verdict: Bust


5. James Tamou

2012: 27th overall, average 60.14; 2013: 82nd overall, average 52.56

Tamou is another who hasn’t seen a massive drop in average but is on the list due to a failure to kick on. His form to start the year did not warrant his NSW selection and he squandered the faith shown in him with his off-field shenanigans. He is a strong runner who I thought would benefit from the hit up pointscoring changes but has been found wanting. My view of him at the midway point of the season was that he had all the hallmarks of a big waste of space, and I’ve seen nothing since to make me revise my opinion.

Verdict: Bust, disappointment


4. Nate Myles

2012: 7th overall, average 71.05; 2013: 83rd overall, average 55.41

Like his Titans teammate Ashley Harrison, Myles has seen a drop in game time and effectiveness. Unlike Harrison, at 28 Myles still has time on his side. Regardless, it has been a massive drop off from a top ten 2012 finish to being in danger of dropping out of the top 100 a year later. There is no reason why he couldn’t reclaim his high fantasy value next year but he will start the season a high risk draft pick.

Verdict: Bust


3. Feleti Mateo

2012: 3rd overall, average 68.00; 2013: 59th overall, average 49.52

Disgraceful by any measure. Has always been frustrating, both from a fantasy and reality standpoint, but put aside his inconsistency in the back half of 2012 to storm home and finish 3rd among all pointscorers. This year he has been dreadful. Talking about him at any length just makes me sad as regular readers will know, so I will stop. I will not be drafting him under any circumstances next year.

Verdict: Dud, bust, disappointment


2. Benji Marshall

2012: 17th overall, average 58.17; 2013: 155th overall, average 40.37

In a season where the fantasy scores were set up to give more weight to attacking stats Marshall was in a position to crack the top ten this year, as four other halves have done. Instead he sits at a staggering 155th overall. I was sympathetic to Marshall’s plight earlier in the year as he struggled for form on a dud team. Most players go through form slumps, whether permanent or temporary, and Marshall seemed like a decent enough guy. As the drama unfolded in recent weeks my opinion of Marshall has changed. The disinterest he has shown in the games since the shit hit the fan is shameful, a complete slap in the face to all the Tigers fans who have supported him all this time. Good riddance.

Verdict: Bust, dud


1. Dave Taylor

2012: 6th overall, average 68.13; 2013: 104th overall, average 51.82

If Tamou is on the verge of being a waste of space, then the term is much too generous to apply to Taylor. He always had the look of one of those footballers you could imagine weighing about 150kg in twenty years, but it seems he’s trying to speed up the process. Taylor is one of the laziest defensive forwards in the NRL, averaging less than twenty tackles a game. While he remains a potent attacking threat when the Titans have the ball, his fitness level is clearly not up to NRL standard, averaging only 52 minutes per game. Taylor’s fitness, commitment and enthusiasm were all called into question at various points of last season, filling up much column space as Queensland greats implored him to step up and live up to his obvious talent. Tellingly, this year we’ve heard hardly a word, as if everybody north of the tweed is tired of talking potential. If his effort reached a tenth of his talent he’d be one of the best forwards in the game. Others have fallen further in fantasy average, others have had bigger ranking drops, but there has been no bigger disappointment in my eyes than Taylor.  

Verdict: Bust, disappointment


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