Stat analysis: Vital numbers to beat the best, RD 19

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

Stat analysis

Analysing the top 20,000 teams after Round 18

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 accordingly.

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 this week.

I’ll still share the overall player ownership tables for those interested, but will focus my comments on the injuries.

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Quantifying the carnage

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 this week. 

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 best estimate.

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 Tabuai-Fidow etc.

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.

FLB

CTW

HFB-5/8

2RF

FRF

HOK

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 options.

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!   

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