Friday, 14 April 2017 00:00

What We Learnt - Knights vs Roosters

1. Sione finally delivers
It feels like we've been waiting a long time for this score from Mata'utia. Excuse me while I go and pick him up.

2. Baaaaa-bye Lamb
I said this last week and I'll probably say it again next week but Brock Lamb needs to go. 40+ points in base stats (tackles, run metres and kick metres) but -12 in missed tackles and penalties. If he could just muster the odd try assist he'd punch a decent score out. Having said all this, I'll probably keep him. 'Just one more week'. Why not.

3. Baaaaa-bye Yates
He scraped his way to his break even but I think it is safe to say, the Yates train has returned to the station. It's time to jump off.

4. Pearce vs Reynolds
Which ever gets selected for Oranges, the other should be selected for your team.

5. That's all I've got. This game was rather boring.

Published in NRL Fantasy
Friday, 14 April 2017 00:00

What We Learnt - Bulldogs v Rabbitohs

1. Frawley on the bench is good for...
...James Graham. He played all 40 minutes in the first half and only had a 8 minute break in the second. He was definitely less effective than normal with only 25 points in the first half but as always he finished the game strongly and ended with his 3rd straight 55+ score.

2. Michael Lichaa sucks
The same as Robbie Farah at the Tigers, Lichaa does nothing to help this team win. If Mbye can last 80 minutes at hooker, Des MUST leave Frawley at halfback.
3. Angus Crichton is good for fantasy
He outscored James Graham. If we didn't tell you enough last week, you need to get him before he costs more than 500k. This kid is that good.
4. Adam Reynolds is a must
Provided he doesn't play Oranges (and I'm being very hopeful on current form), Reynolds is an absolute must for your side. 2016 wasn't great for Adam but he's back to his best this year.
5. Keep an eye on...
Aiden Tolman. I told you last week and I'll tell you again... a great POD for the bye period.
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Sunday, 09 April 2017 00:00

What We Learnt - Storm vs Sharks

1. Andrew Fifita finally shows up
62* in 51 minutes is Fifita's highest score of the year and it couldn't come at a better time. Many were becoming disillusioned with his scoring this season but Fifita showed why he cost 601k to start the season. He''ll need to do it a few more times to get his average up but if anyone can, Fifita can.

2. Wet weather footy is good fun to watch
Maybe it was the fact that it wasn't my players dropping the ball but I love a wet game. More tackles, more tackle breaks, more missed tackles (if you're James Maloney). Big points from Cam Smith!

3. Time to buy...
Paul Gallen? He's averaging over 55* and plays 2 of the 3 major bye rounds. I hate him more than anyone but he could be the perfect replacement for Fifita (if he plays Oranges)

4. Time to sell Pt 1...
Jayden Brailey? Tonights 34 will give him a nice bump in price and should lower his BE. He looks set to continue around the 50-55 minute mark but showed tonight he can score reasonably with those minutes. Obviously he isn't a keeper but he could have one or two more weeks in him.

5. Time to sell Pt 2...
Ryley Jacks. With Munster back in the next 2 or so weeks, Jacks time is coming to an end anyway, but he also sat on a sub 30 score until the last 5 minutes tonight. That 36 was very handy for his value but I'll be looking at offloading Jacks to the likes of Hampton or Frawley.

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Sunday, 09 April 2017 00:00

What We Learnt - Warriors vs Eels

1. Kieran Foran is good at football
He makes the Warriors a much better team, no doubting that. Could the Warriors make him a better fantasy player? Yes he has played two weaker teams but Issac Luke looks to him as much as he does Shaun Johnson and with better attacking options outside him than Steve Matai, Foran could find himself scoring some decent points.

2. Norman and Gutherson...
...come crashing back to earth. 23* and 15* points respectively. All those eyeing up the Eels pair for the bye period (or those that had already purchased them) will be kicking themselves. On their day they are both genuinely great fantasy players but (especially without Bevan French) this Eels team lacks some attacking spark that these two thrive on. I would expect them to average out well over the season but expectations will be slightly tempered after today.

3. Praise lord baby Hay-zoos...
...that even with a first half double, Bodene Thompson barely made it to his BE (55). In the first half, everything was coming right with SJ linking up with Thompson for the Warriors first try. In the second half, Luke seemed to direct everything to the left meaning that Thompson was left out in the cold. Eventually he got a bit busier and scored a very nice 58*. For all those eyeing him up, I think now is the time to buy an underpriced keeper.

4. The Johnson roller coaster begins
Okay, in the past, the SJ roller coaster went from 80 to 15 in the space of a week. This year, Johnson has 4 games over 60 and his lowest score is today's 43. As previously mentioned, everything in the second half seemed to go away from Johnson and he was very unlucky not to get a tip on from Simon Mannering as he ran into a gaping hole which would have led to a try and a healthy points boost. Just like last year I would expect Johnson to finish as the highest point scorer in the halves so don't be scared by his below average game today.

5. Under the radar
Well, not really anymore. Nathan Brown now has 3 60+ games in a row. If he continues to start at lock, he's an absolutely brilliant option over the bye period.

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Saturday, 08 April 2017 00:00

What we learnt: Cowboys v Tigers

  • Let's make this real clear: Ivan Cleary hasn't turned around the Tigers in five days. 
  • The big news out of this game might be what is the problem with JT and how cursed is the Cowboys’ spine? JT hobbled off late in the game and he’ll join Coote and Granville in the recovery room while Michael Morgan watches his back. Ben Hampton would be the most logical replacement for JT but he’s already replacing Granville. The Cowboys really could use Ray Thompson back this week.
  • Elijah Taylor scored a try with a line break which is exciting. Unfortunately, he lost all those points and more in missed tackles. ET finished with 10 missed tackles and he’s definitively proven he can’t defend Jason Taumalolo.
  • Speaking of Taumalolo he had a massive game and was the only real force in the middle of the field for the Cowboys. He managed 10 tackle breaks and 250 run metres for 87 points. His price is going to be much lower later in the season but he’s looking like a good fantasy option.
  • Jason Taylor joined the Fox crew this week and one of his first gigs is halftime analysis on the team he got fired from two weeks ago and they are playing great. I guess that’s a bit like being asked to MC your crazy ex-girlfriend’s wedding but she’s not so crazy anymore and you still love her. That’s rough for Taylor. Funny for us though. He also came back for fulltime and it was none too subtle that JT didn’t ask Mitchell Moses any questions post-match.
  • Ben Hampton scored well for fantasy (43 points) but he had a very average game and a lot of the Cowboys on attack and defense was due to Hampton not quite fitting the role yet. It’ll be interesting to see if he keeps the spot.
  • Kalyn Ponga plays fantasy and he owns himself, you could tell by the ole he did on McIlwrick’s try. He was about to reach out and touch him but he knew it was hopeless so he cleverly avoided a missed tackle by getting his arms out of the way. These are the hidden plays that make for a great fantasy player, the sort of plays Tom Trbojevic doesn't make. Ponga was on track for a crappy score but a late game run added about 10 points and he finished with 32.
  • Josh Aloiai really sucks. If I was Ivan Cleary my first order of business this week might be sending his arse back to NSW Cup where he belongs.
  • If he is going to keep coming off the bench Coen Hess is going to play about 60 minutes a game and that means he’s pretty much peaked. He added a late try to push his score from 30 into the 40’s (and finished with 50) and he’s a try scoring freak but playing 80 minutes gives you a 20% greater chance of scoring those tries. As a Hess owner I’d just like to see him starting, the bench is a lot of uncertainty.
  • Jamal Idris showed some signs of his best form this week and at his best he’s a keeper at CTR. Is this a sign of things to come or just a fluke? I think a sign of things to come, his 46 included six tackle busts, tackle busts are what Jamal does. 
  • Shaun Fensom scored 3 point and got injured. Two years ago this would have wrecked the fantasy community. Now? Nobody even notices. Such is the death of a fantasy star. 
Published in NRL Fantasy
Saturday, 08 April 2017 00:00

What we learnt: Raiders v Titans

  1. Anyone else hate when the Raiders play in their Cowboys' strip? I spent the whole night thinking Jarrod Croker was Kalyn Ponga.
  2. Speaking of Croker did you ever think you’d see the day that the Raiders' scored 42 points while Croker scored less than 15 fantasy points? I think he might update (am I mistaken or did he have an assist on Cotric’s try?) but it was a fairly anonymous game from the Raiders' skipper who ceded the kicking duties to Aidan Sezer. Croker had a BE of 46 so he’s losing money this week and could have a week or two with a high a BE as well. Watchlist.
  3. Brad Abbey is going to take six or seven weeks before he matches the 71 points Jordan Rapana managed in the first half. Rapana’s first half stat line was ridiculous – three tries, three line breaks and nine tackle breaks. Rapana would hit three figures by the 68th minute and finished with a provisional score of 116 which is the second highest score we’ve seen since 2014 (Ryan James’ 119 last year is the best). One stat that Rapana can claim though is tackle breaks. His 18 tackle breaks surpass Shaun Kenny Dowall’s 17 against the Knights last season as the most since 2014.
  4. Jarrod Wallace finally let us down with his first sub 40 score of the year. In his first five games Wallace had a low score of 40 and three games in which he scored over 50. He looked like a bit of a keeper option but I wonder if that’s the bubble getting popped. Wallace had a BE of 27 so he’s still increasing in value but sometime in the next couple of weeks he’s going to peak and we’ll have to make a decision.
  5. Elliott Whitehead hit his BE this week so his price is on the rise for the first time this year. His score was helped by a try but he’s a try scorer so at his price I think he’s a great buy this week.
  6. Karl Lawton has started two games and scored 44 and 53. If it weren’t for the spectre of Nathan Peats returning soon Lawton would be an exciting purchase at CTR and he’d end up the first ever HOK/CTR DPP (note: I’m making this up, but I can’t think of a HOK/CTR DPP before).
  7. So, Dale Copley anyone? Those first two games were flukes, this 10 isn't. He just isn't that good. If you traded him in take the price rises and get him out of your team.
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Saturday, 08 April 2017 00:00

What We Learnt - Sea Eagles vs Dragons

1. Jack de Belin train chugs along
JdB had a monster game, playing 71 minutes and scoring a try which lead to 63* points. In a similar mould to Sam Burgess and James Graham, I would to tell you to snap him up but the Dragon's don't have the best bye period schedule. He might be worth holding if you have him but I wouldn't target him until after round 18.

2. Euan Aitken has a fast start
With 51 at half time, many would have been expecting massive things from Aitken. Unfortunately, he didn't score any more tries and was pulled off at the 68th minute mark (he came into the game with a niggle). 60* is nothing to turn your nose up at but 9 points in 28 minutes isn't great either.

3. Paul Vaughan is a PPM monster.
I tried to tell everyone this years ago (just ask K5). He was extremely under-utilised at the Raiders and I bet Ricky Stuart is regretting letting him go. 61* in 57 minutes means that Vaughan has now scored 357 points in 305 minutes this season. Monster stats. Yes, he can keep it up and is definitely a keeper. Buy him when you can.

4. Keep an eye on...

5. It's time to go...
Brian Kelly. I have no idea where he got 13 points from but his time in my team is definitely up. Cash out or upgrade to Aubusson. Yes, I just recommended Aubusson.

6. It's time to buy...
Paul McGregor. Surely Paul Vaughan doesn't make that much of a difference to this team? They are playing ridiculously well this year. Did they spend the off season on Mars?

Published in NRL Fantasy
Friday, 07 April 2017 00:00

What We Learnt - Panthers vs Rabbitohs

1. Sam Burgess
See James Graham note from last game. Buy. Buy now!

2. Such a shame Pt 1...
That Corey Harawira-Naera's time in this team is limited. 47* points in 60 minutes and by my reckoning he's owed 2 tackle breaks from his first half try. He's actually a really good footballer. Here's hoping they can find a place for him on the bench when JFH and Cartwright return. He deserves it. Also, how nice is it to listen to someone that actually has a grasp of how to pronounce his name. Cheers Vossy!

3. Such a shame Pt 2...
That Damien Cook can't get an 80min gig. 29 points from 33 minutes in the first half and he showed he's a very capable number 9. If only Robbie Farah would bugger off.

4. Such a shame Pt 3...
That there aren't massive rulers on the sidelines. Some of those bombs from Nathan Cleary tonight were absolutely astonishing. I don't think anyone would have been confident under those. Massive.

5. Is Trent Merrin no longer a keeper?
Subbed off after 24 minutes and the old Merrin would normally have scored 24 or more points in that time. He only had 17. He came back on to finish with 32* and Merrin is quickly slipping into that 'undervalued keeper' territory, with no sign that he can actually be a keeper.

6. Speaking of under-valued keepers...
Adam Reynolds looks to be regaining his previous form. With 81* points, his average is now over 50. Definitely a POD for the bye rounds.

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Saturday, 01 April 2017 00:00

What We Learnt: Storm v Panthers

  1. What the heck happened to our hero Kaufusi? This was by far Felise’s worst game of the season thanks to having six missed tackles. And here’s an interesting stat: Kaufusi hasn’t had a tackle break since round 1! This was the first round all year that Kaufusi was outscored by Kenny B. Hopefully this is a one off.
  2. Kaufusi wasn’t the only fantasy let down as Billy Slater and Trent Merrin were also very underwhelming. Slater missed a heap of tackles, though some late tackle breaks helped him get to 32 points, while Merrin didn’t really do anything with just 20 tackles and 119 run metres, and finished with just 21 points, that’s gross.
  3. Jesse Bromwich looked like he was on track for his first decent score of the year but he went backwards over the last 10 minutes and ended with just 37 points. Bromwich continues to lose money and until we can see some regular 45+ scores he shouldn’t hit your fantasy radar.  
  4. Corey Harawira-Naera had a massive 41 point first half but he added only 3 points in the second half before getting subbed in the 61st minute. There was some level of gloating in the game thread by CHN owners but I think they need to check themselves, much like with Ponga the issue isn’t what he does on the field but how long he stays on the field for. If CHN is out of the side next week then the $50k he has made still isn’t worth it, just save the noise for after he’s played another game or two.
  5. The Panthers halves combined for 91 points which represents about three weeks of play from the Tigers halves. TMM scored 50 points with a try while Cleary had 41 despite making a net point gain from tackles of just six points (12 tackles, 3 missed tackles). TMM will kick start some price increases but I can’t see him consistently hitting the sort of returns you need from a fantasy player.
Published in NRL Fantasy
Saturday, 01 April 2017 00:00

What We Learnt: Raiders v Eels

  1. Aidan Sezer just managed to beat out Trent Hodkinson’s effort from the earlier game. But 14 points! You can not be serious. Sezer had 8 tackles. 8! And he missed 4 tackles too. He only kicked for 96 metres. There’s some seriously non-existent players in the halves this year.
  2. Hopefully you didn’t get onto Joey Leilua this week. His price will take another $20k hit this week whole his score looks a lot like one of the guys you traded out to get him. Leilua missed more tackles than he broke this week but that probably won’t happen too often, while his try was only worth 11 points rather than a 24 point Leilua special.
  3. Nick Cotric was one of the big winners from this game. His late try boosted his score from a decent high 30’s score to an awesome 56. He’s very popular and I can’t see many scenarios where you didn’t have him in your 17 so he was probably just a win for us all. Yay us!
  4. Kaysa Pritchard had his best game of the season with a 44 point effort. If he can keep his scores up around that 40 point mark he could start to make some really useful price rises after being a slow burner to date.
  5. Anyone else cheering when Blake Austin managed to hold up Corey Norman denying him a try, tackle break and line break? Just me. I’m a twisted, bitter soul sometimes.
  6. Speaking of Eels halves…..Clinton Gutherson came up with his worst performance of the year. He dropped 12 points in missed tackles and errors after having just 16 points of negative stats in the first four games. I wouldn’t worry too much about this effort, just pretend he’s a fullback and accept that there will be some inconsistency to his performances, he’s still a keeper at WFB.
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