Stat analysis: Vital numbers to beat the best

Statistics wizard Adam Driussi provides invaluable breakdowns to allow you to differ your side from those atop the rankings.

Stat analysis

Adam Driussi is here to deliver SC Playbook readers with a comprehensive breakdown of key statistics to help you gain an invaluable insight into edging the game’s top ranked players.

Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of the largest data analytics firm in Australia (Quantium) and is also a SuperCoach and Bulldogs tragic…three times top 100 finisher including 32nd last year.

Here are the key figures he found from Round 6.

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Top 20,000 teams analysis

With so many ghost teams (deserted SC players), accurately assessing certain statistics can be misleading, particularly when looking for a guide to player ownership levels and PODs.

The player ownership stats just never felt like a proper guide to the teams that were anywhere near the lead.

Having followed that hunch, I decided to analyse the top 20,000 teams in detail and the results are pretty interesting. Let’s start with player ownership percentages by position as at the conclusion of Round 6.

Fullback

The table below sets out the percentage of teams ranked in the top 100, top 500, top 1,000, top 10,000 and top 20,000 teams that own each fullback and contrast that with the ownership levels as per the SuperCoach site.

As you can see, not surprisingly, the higher ranked teams are significantly more likely to own Sir Teddy, whilst the lower ranked teams held on to Ryan Papenhuyzen too long.

CTW and dual FLB/CTW

CTW is where it starts getting interesting. Note that given the ownership dominance of the premium fullbacks, I’ve included the dual position FLB / CTWs in the table below.

As you can see, almost all of the top 20,000 teams own Bradman Best and Isaah Yeo – compared with the 56% and 47% ownership levels quoted on the SuperCoach site for all teams.

That makes complete sense – and is an example of the ownership stats that were frustrating me when I was trying to decide on POD moves last year – especially against the other teams in the top 100.

There are a few players, however, where the ownership levels vary dramatically by rank. In particular, the leading teams are significantly more likely to own Josh Mansour, David Nofoaluma and rookie Jake Averillo than lower ranked teams – and way more than overall teams according to the SuperCoach site.

Similarly, the leading teams are much less likely to own players like Jarrod Croker, Maika Sivo, Blake Ferguson, Jamayne Isaako and Kotoni Staggs.

Sorry to rub it in for those of you who spent the dollars on these guys instead of Sauce and Nofo. For what it’s worth, I got Sauce right but also have Croker stuck in my NPR losing cash!

Halves

Given the number of dual position halves, it is easier just to group the five-eighths and halfbacks together for the purpose of this analysis.

Unfortunately, the early season injury to Nathan Cleary means that there is not much happening in the halves.

Most teams are running a broadly similar combination – or where they vary no half is standing out so much as to yet be a must have.

Simply put, your selection of halves to this point has not really determined your rank. I do note, however, that a number of top 100 teams brought Shaun Johnson in last week.

2RF

Similar to CTW, 2RF is the other position that largely dictates the ranking of teams to date.

Along with your selections at CTW, decisions like bringing in Cam McInnes or Angus Crichton early as opposed to the likes of Cam Murray, Jurbo or Billy Kikau are the calls that probably determine your current rank.

The ownership stats for Cam McInnes are why I bother to do this analysis. Depending on where you are ranked, he’s either a huge POD or not a POD.

For those in the top 1,000, so many teams brought him in (and captained him by the way) that he is no longer a genuine POD. 50% of the top 1,000 teams own Cam McInnes versus just 9% owning .

Cam Murray – despite more than twice as many teams overall owning Cam Murray.

Meanwhile, the ownership stats of David Fifita give us some inkling into the number of zombie teams out there. 16% of teams still have him in their squad?!

FRF

Similar to the halves, FRF has not been a huge differentiator of team ranking.

Every serious team has Payne Haas (except for two crazy teams in the top 100?!) and most are running with cash cows in JTB, Toby Rudolf or Zane Musgrove.

From there most teams in the top 20,000 currently have either David Klemmer or Alex Twal.

Teams still running with Marty Taupau or Josh Papalii are either zombie teams or are off the pace.

HOK

Again, hooker is not a position where there has been a lot of action. So many teams have probably followed the same strategy of starting with Api and Brailey (or Walters) and then bringing in Harry Grant that there is very little differentiation by rank.

Those teams that did start with Damien Cook either traded him out before round 3, or are currently paying the price for holding on.

Perhaps that will change in future rounds and hopefully we see gun players like Cook and Cameron Smith create some more variation in teams here.

Round 6 Captaincy Choices

Finally, it is interesting to take a look at the captaincy choices last week for teams by rank.

Again, it shows that the stats vary dramatically by rank. Interestingly, despite most teams near the top getting there by captaining Teddy against the Bulldogs in Round 5, we actually saw quite a bit of variation in Round 6 captaincy choices.

Cam McInnes (playing against the Gold Coast) was actually the second most popular captaincy option amongst the top 500 teams – with 17% of the top 1,000 teams captaining McInnes versus just 2% overall.

It kind of makes a mockery of these overall stats in my opinion. Whilst he was playing the Raiders, I was surprised to see that none of the top 100 teams captained Turbo – ironic considering he outscored most of the other popular choices and was on track to far outscore them before going off injured.

Again, another stat that can be misleading is the ridiculously long tail of captaincy choices overall (the 24% of ‘other’ captains in the table above).

Again, I suspect this points to a very large number of zombie teams with maybe no captain at all.

Certainly, we can see from the table that 98% of the top 20,000 ranked teams choose a captain in the range of expected options.

Summary

In summary, player ownership levels (and hence PODs) vary dramatically by ranking zone.

In many positions, SuperCoaches are pretty much on auto pilot – and unfortunately we can probably add fullback to that now that Turbo is out.

A small number of decisions most likely determine your rank to date – your choice of CTW and 2RF beyond the obvious choices like Best and Yeo, and your choice of captains each week.

Good luck in Round 7.

Help support the future of the site by signing up to SC Playbook for detailed SuperCoach analysis from hundreds of additional articles throughout the 2020 NRL season.

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