Captain’s Challenge: Round 15 skipper options

We run the rule over the best NRL SuperCoach captaincy options to select in Round 15.

Captain's Challenge

A three round average of just 65PPG for James Tedesco has thrown the captaincy decisions wide open.

It’s a welcome relief as it finally gives both overall and head-to-head players the opportunity to make up ground on rivals.

A shout out to regular captaincy columnist Steve Heavener who bypassed Teddy last week in favour of Nathan Cleary and Kalyn Ponga who both outscored the Roosters fullback comfortably.

Let’s take a look at the options in Round 15.

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Safety first

Nathan Cleary

Cleary’s consistency for a halfback is quite remarkable, scoring under 50 just once this season.

He has a 3RA of 106PPG and a 5RA of 96PPG. He has three tons this season along with a 99.

Cronulla may be playing some decent footy, but their defence isn’t anything to praise.

They’ve conceded 306 points this season which is the most of the top 11 sides, and a whole 50 points more than the next worst team in the top eight which is South Sydney.

In a show of his incredible confidence at the moment, Cleary is getting copious touches each game and is a very reliable scorer with huge upside as we know.

Kalyn Ponga

While I’m an enormous KP fan boy, I’d normally have him in captain risky as we know he can go low at times as we’ve seen recently.

However I just can’t see it happening in an afternoon game against the Cowboys in Newcastle.

I’ve spoken in depth about it on the podcast, but the decision to keep him on his less preferred right edge bamboozles me.

I thought Blake Green’s arrival would have seen KP play more on the left with Green being an organiser.

His first game for the club it did happen, but Ponga was back on the right for the majority of the game against Manly.

Regardless, I still think he’ll see more left edge ball as the run to the finals heats up.

The Cowboys pack is pretty decent, but their edges are trash. I can see Ponga turning one on and I believe records may be at risk.

The Cowboys concede the most SuperCoach points to fullbacks in the competition.

Teddy put 178 on them back in Round 9.

James Tedesco

I’m so excited that Teddy has become somewhat of a POD captaincy option, oh how quickly things can change.

The Tigers have leaked the second most points of the top 11 ranked teams and that included 28 against the Dogs who prior to last week had scored the least in the NRL (they’ve since overtaken Brisbane.)

If it weren’t for Ponga’s match up, and Luke Keary being out which I think will kill Teddy (see my squad breakdown), I’d have been going with the Rooster.

He was captained by just 7% last week, although this was obviously influenced by the Thursday night game and against the resilient Storm outfit.

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Risk it for the biscuit

It feels funny to have reliable scoring forwards as per below in the risk it category, and the safety first loaded with backs, but 2020 is far from a normal year.

While the below are obviously more likely to score you 70 odd (in theory being safer, I know) than the backline players, this is more about the difference in ceiling.

I say risk it, because the risk lies in that the above guys have obviously proven capable of going 140+ this year (along with solid base), whereas the below are unlikely to hit those heights.

So if you’re not on board the above guys and they go large, there’s risk in falling behind…

David Fifita

Fifita has returned from injury with scores of 79 and 80 and now faces an improved, yet hardly gun Dragons outfit in Brisbane.

Brisbane’s side is so depleted that they are forced to send all their attack through their strike weapons in Fifita and Kotoni Staggs.

Fifita is at low ownership, particular in comparison to the expected popular captaincy options, and with a couple of tries he could score a big century and it wouldn’t shock me at all.

John Bateman

If there’s a position you want to target in SuperCoach it’s on the flanks of the Titans.

Bateman gets that opportunity this week and his combination with fellow countryman George Williams who he’s played stacks of footy with back home flourished last weekend.

Bateman will attack Ash Taylor and whoever replaces the suspended Kevin Proctor on the Titans left edge.

Despite a hefty injury toll, the Raiders are building gradually towards finals and Bato looks set to go large once again.

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Consensus

It’s Ponga for me. I’m big on going attacking players in day games rather than night as I feel the dry conditions are just so beneficial to scoring well. I think Ponga could easily eclipse 100 points and the sky is the limit for him here.

My VC will likely be on Cleary, but I also feel that most SuperCoaches will either have the C or VC on him.

Throwing it on Teddy as a bit of a POD play is an option for anyone not captaining Ponga.

Yep, things are that weird at the moment that even giving Teddy the VC could be a POD play…

For a rundown of last week’s captaincy choices see Adam Druissi’s statistics below.

SUPERCOACH TERMINOLOGY KEY

MPG = Minutes per game

PPG = Points per game

PPM= Points per minute

BPG = Base per game (point accrued in tackles + runs + missed tackles)

POD = Point of difference

3RA = Three round average

5RA = Five round average

BREAKEVEN (B/E) = The score a player must record to earn a price rise.

*Please note all our stats are taken from the geniuses at nrlsupercoachstats.com

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