Here is a little rundown on the major “arguments” you hear for getting a player. It is important to have a clear head when selecting players and not be sucked in by trite clichés.


I'm getting him because he is a POD 

A POD or (player/point of difference) is a player with very low ownership, making your team more unique if you bring him in.


Unless you are the POD King never, ever pick a player because he is a POD. Better yet don’t even think about the ownership levels of a player, you either like what a player brings to your fantasy side or you don’t. PODs are a completely superfluous piece of information because whether a player is a good fantasy option has zero correlation to his status as a POD. 


In Premier League Fantasy there is hardly ever talk of PODs (it does happen sometimes and they call them differentials), in fact the opposite is true, it is seen as a major advantage to have the most popular players to mitigate the damage of them having big games for everyone else but you. However, because league fans are a bit more anti-establishment the talk on NRL fantasy is always about PODs. We need to stop talking about PODs. 


If you have done your research and find a player and he happens to have low ownership, well and good, but don’t let that low ownership distract you from what actually matters: is he going to be a good fantasy player this season? 


And, don’t forget that a POD that is very good rarely stays that way for long. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, one of the buys of the 2015 season started with less than 20% ownership. That changed pretty quickly once coaches saw his numbers improve dramatically at fullback. They then immediately brought him in, and only missed a few rounds of big scores and a trade. It’s not like you can’t trade in a good player once he proves himself. 


PODs can become a factor in the latter part of the season, when you need to make up ground. But, you’ll make up more ground by saving a trade to use when injury strikes, rather than bringing in a mid-range spud that no one else wants.


For H2H, PODs can be important as you have specific matchups to manage and plan for, but they are still over-rated. In Overall they are poison.


He’s a must have 

There are many players or strategies that could win NRL Fantasy in 2017 and none of them involve a must have player. People need to stop suggesting anybody is a must have; you’ve got a pool of money which is split over players priced at their past averages, so you can absolutely make up the point scoring potential of a gun player by taking two players valued less. It is the scoring of the whole team that matters, not the score of an individual player.


It might be easier to have one of the best players as your captain but players like Andrew Fifita, Jack de Belin, Joey Leilua or Jarrod Crocker are nowhere near sure things, so none of them should be talked up as must have players. As for cash cows, it might be safer to have a popular cash cow, but by their nature cash cows are inherently uncertain, so again it is hard to suggest they are a must have.


I’m going with my gut 

Most of our guts have shit for brains and unless your gut has a good track record of making decisions, then you probably shouldn’t be going with it. Upper echelon Fantasy players might talk about going with their gut, but what they really mean is that having weighed all the pros and cons and understood the risks they've made a decision. When the rest of us use our guts we are taking a wild guess that Steve Matai will be a decent fantasy player.


Well researched decisions always trump gut decisions in the long run. In the next article, we’ll investigate this further.


I learnt last year that….

Be very careful that you actually understand what it is you learnt last season. This sounds really stupid but people have a terrible tendency to make blanket assumptions based on their limited experiences. Take 2015 where a commonly heard refrain was “I’ve learned from last season when I had no gun CTRs”. This was in fact a massive misinterpretation of what went down in 2014.


Just because a strategy didn’t work last year doesn’t mean it won’t this year and the reverse is true too. Understand why certain approaches did or didn’t work and you might come up with a more relevant lesson. 


This is Aubusson’s year 

When will we learn?