With just two weeks to go and carnage in terms of players
being rested, suspended or injured, this week’s article will focus on
quantifying the impact of those injuries, suspensions and restings so that you
can better understand how you might be impacted relative to others and plan
No doubt many teams are considering whether to burn their
remaining trades this week or hold onto one for next week.
Only the smartest of teams find themselves in the luxurious
positions of having four trades left.
With more carnage no doubt around the corner next week, some
big decisions need to be made – especially with so many big players being out
I’ll still share the overall player ownership tables for those interested, but will focus my comments on the injuries.
Teddy rested, Haas released on compassionate grounds, Mann
suspended, Koroisau rested, Ponga returning…what a crazy TLT.
Let’s look at the most owned players not available for
selection this week.
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
key player that are well owned – ranked by the players with the highest level
of ownership across the top 20,000 teams.
Not surprisingly, Teddy and Payne Haas top the list and Kurt
Mann comes in fourth.
Five of the top eight players who are not playing this round
are either nuffs or Gold Coast cash cow Beau Fermor.
Whilst teams plan for these players not to play, in a week
where lots of other players are out they do start to create shortages for some
teams – more on that later.
Other key players out this week are Api Koroisau (21%
ownership amongst the top 20,000 teams, but just 5% amongst the top 100 teams),
Sio Siua Taukeiaho (11% ownership), Josh McGuire (8% overall and 4% of the top
100) and Ryan Papenhuyzen (5% overall and 2% of the top 100).
So, where does this leave teams? The table below sets out
the number of teams with different numbers of players unavailable for selection
Things can obviously change between now and then (e.g. Jason
Taumalolo could be promoted to the starting side) but as of today this is my
As an example, there is one team in the top 100 with 11
players unavailable prior to trades this week.
That happens to be the team coming sixth – and who was
second this time last week. That team will be sweating on the availability of
Jason Taumalolo – otherwise they will be in the unfortunate position of playing
at least one player short. Ouch.
A further 4 teams in the top 100 are down to just 15
available players pre-trades…and some of these are players that they would not typically
want to start right now…guys like Tyson Gamble, Phoenix Crossland, Hamiso
If any further big names get rested prior to game day – which must be a possibility – then we could see a lot of teams in grand finals or chasing top 10, top 100, top 1,000 etc struggling to field a team.
VC looping and the dreaded AE disaster
Of course, having exactly 17 strong players can lead to a
dream opportunity to implement the VC loop. This can be a massive advantage –
essentially a free shot at a captain like Damien Cook or Cody Walker this week
against the Bulldogs.
It’s nervous times because if one of those 17 withdraws prior
to game day you are screwed – but equally it may be a good opportunity to hold
fire on trades if you do have 17 players to only use if you need to make a late
replacement – especially with more carnage looming next week.
The VC loop is also a serious option for any teams with 18
or 19 players – which based on the table above could be a lot of teams.
The risk with the VC loop of course, is the dreaded
auto-emergency disaster – that guy on the bench who you never wanted to play
who comes on for five minutes and makes three tackles.
The table below sets out the ownership of various players
that are well owned and playing this week who most teams in grand finals or
seeking top 10 or overall glory would ideally not want to be playing.
Some are bigger risks than others. As an example, Jarrod
Croker would not be an ideal starter at CTW this week – but is much less of an
AE disaster compared to the likes of say Daejarn Asi.
Interestingly, the two players who are most owned in the top
1000 who could cause issues are Tyson Gamble and Tom Ale – both named from
almost nowhere to play this week. Both looked like handy DPP nuffs not long ago
– but could prove costly. Only time will tell!
Players ownership levels by position
For those interested, the tables below set out the latest player ownership levels in each position.
Given we only have two weeks left and most trades will be restricted to emergency replacements this week (anyone say Payne Haas?), I won’t bother with the commentary, but they may provide you with the data you need to make one final POD move with two weeks to go.
Round 18 Captaincy Choices
Round 18 saw the vast majority of teams captain Teddy. Those teams brave enough to captain Cameron Smith, Nathan Cleary or even Cameron Munster were rewarded.
With no Teddy
this week, the captaincy choice will be crucial – and there are some juicy POD
Nathan Cleary takes on the Cowboys and will likely be the most popular option in Teddy’s absence. Kalyn Ponga will also be very popular against the Dragons in Newcastle.
Souths have several
players with attacking upside playing the Dogs – so I expect the likes of
Damien Cook, Cody Walker and even Cameron Murray to attract interest.
Finally, the likes of Ryan Matterson could make for a handy VC wildcard against the hapless Broncos.
The boldest POD of all however, could be Tommy Turbo. If Turbo returns, he would be a massive POD move at captain – and don’t forget he scored a monster 194 against the Titans two years back!
Good luck again to everyone in Round 19 – but in particular the Cooma Stallions who are now sitting in 7th place. Good luck Tim!