Stat analysis: Rd 4, vital numbers to beat the best

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

Stat analysis

Round 3 was a fascinating one for changes in player ownership.

With a series of gun players out for what now looks like a single week, many teams elected to trade out these keepers for others in the hunt for points. In particular, I’m amazed how many traded out a must-have player such as Nathan Cleary.

Whilst those teams may have been rewarded for points last week, it could come at a long term cost. In particular, many of the trade in targets (Luke Keary and Ben Hunt in the halves in particular) went down with much longer injuries of their own meaning a lot of teams have burnt trades in a short-term grab for points. I’ll assess some of those impacts as we analyse each position.    

Talking about injuries, Round 3 was extraordinary for the number that we saw. Some look to be season-ending – most notably Luke Keary – whereas others such as Ryan James’ HIA killed SuperCoaches who had him in their 17 (and yes, I was one of them). 

That’s not to mention injuries to popular SuperCoach players such as Lachlan Lam, Bradman Best, Michael Morgan and Joseph Tapine.

Let’s go through the ownership of players in each position after Round 3.

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Fullback

The table below sets out the proportion of teams in the top 100, top 500, top 1,000, top 5,000, top 10,000 and top 20,000 that own each fullback. I have then included the proportion of teams overall that own each player according to the official SuperCoach site.

The key change in terms of ownership this week was in relation to Ryan Papenhuyzen. 

Papenhuyzen’s ownership in the top 1,000 teams fell from 69% to 59% this week, with Latrell Mitchell increasing from 21% to 27% and each of RTS, Clint Gutherson and Alexander Brimson increasing by 1-2%.

Personally I think Papenhuyzen is the clear number two fullback in SuperCoach, so it will be interesting to see how this unfolds. As a holder of Papenhuyzen, I’m very happy for 40% of the top sides to now be running without him.

CTW

Player ownerships by CTW early in the season are always going to reflect early season variance – the big question is whether you trust that a guy on a tear is going to keep it up (like Nofa did last season for pretty much the entire year) or whether you try and sell high and buy low and get lucky at CTW.

Jamayne Isaako is a classic example here. After a monster score of 114 last week, it’s not surprising to see the leading teams skewed towards owning Isaako. In fact, 30% of the top 100 and 25% of the top 1,000 teams own Isaako versus just 10% of overall teams.

Personally I think you’d be a brave SuperCoach to jump on the Isaako train. As an owner in early 2020, I couldn’t possibly go there again. I know he kicks goals and can score a good try every now and then – but he’s not going to play the Bulldogs each week. But good luck to those who go with him.

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At the other extreme, Zac Lomax is surprisingly under owned by the leading teams in my opinion. In fact, 0% of the top 100 teams own Lomax and just 4% of the top 1,000 teams own him. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t finish the year as one of the leading CTWs, so picking him up at the right time could be a huge POD move. 

I also imagine there are plenty of SuperCoaches watching the price of Nofa. A $45k price drop this week is projected to be followed by a $25k price drop next week – at which point I imagine many of last year’s owners must get tempted. 

He was just such a consistent gun last year and I think he will be hard to ignore – especially if you can spend a bit of cash and upgrade a guy like Isaako or Blake Ferguson who don’t have the proven consistency of a Nofa.

Five-eighth

Whilst there wasn’t a huge amount of action at five-eighth last round (in terms of changes in player ownership), I do not expect that to be the case this week. 

Injuries to Luke Keary and Lachlan Lam combined with Jake Averillo being dropped and Matt Moylan looking like Matt Moylan, mean that we will see a huge number of teams bring in Josh Schuster. A ‘second-rower’ available at five-eighth that isn’t Bryce Cartwright…yes please.

Kodi Nikorima is now the highest scoring five-eighth this season and off the back of a massive 134 points I imagine he will also attract some interest from those looking to trade Luke Keary in particular.

Halfback

Now here is the one I just don’t understand. I suspect most SuperCoaches would agree that Nathan Cleary is an absolute standout choice at halfback this year. 

Despite that – and what clearly looked like a one week injury (and of course I could be wrong there) – over 10% of teams traded Cleary out in a chase for points. 

In fact, 42% of the top 100 teams and 23% of the top 1,000 teams do not have Cleary. To rub salt into the wounds, many of these teams appear to have traded Cleary to either Luke Keary or Ben Hunt – who are both now gone themselves.

So that’s two trades wasted for round 3 scores of 33 and 41 respectively. Granted, it’s better than the 20 points I got for my auto-emergency in Jason Saab – but I’ll take those two trades for 20 points every day of the week.

Easy in hindsight I guess – and if Keary or Hunt scored tons then maybe the gamble would have been worthwhile.

2RF

Apologies to Ryan James. Just as I comment that it’s great to see him back and healthy he suffers a concussion. My bad mate.

I also commented last week that it would be a brave SuperCoach who stuck with Ryan Matterson given his history of concussions and long stints on the sideline.

It would appear that most teams agreed with me, with ownership of Matterson plummeting. 

His ownership amongst the top 1,000 teams dropped from 43% to just 3%…and just 1% amongst the top 100 teams.  

With Matterson now named to play this weekend that makes him a massive POD for those brave enough to have stuck with him. Wow.

Not surprisingly, the leading teams are heavily biased towards ownership of David Fifita and Mitch Barnett – the two top scoring 2RFs after three rounds.  

Meanwhile, Tohu Harris continues to fly under the radar. Tohu doesn’t have the monster scores that a Fifita or Barnett can produce – but he has to be the most consistent 2RF over the past two years who just doesn’t seem to attract the levels of ownership that he arguably deserves. 

Tevita Pangai has had a huge start to 2021, but his relegation to the bench this week with the return of the cavalry at the Broncos must be of concern to his owners.

FRF

Not a huge amount of action at FRF last week in terms of player ownership. I suspect a number of SuperCoaches will be carefully watching how Kevvie Walters uses Payne Haas in his first game back. If Haas can play anything close to 80 minutes he could prove a handy POD for those who move early.

HOK

Not surprisingly, there were some major changes in player ownership at hooker last week. 

Ownership of Jayden Brailey and Ben Hunt surged – with Hunt in particular increasing from 0% of the top 100 teams to 25%. I suspect many of those teams are running Hunt at halfback though. 

Round 3 Captaincy Choices

Whilst Teddy was the most popular captain in Round 3, teams brave enough to captain David Fifita were rewarded – with 12 of the top 100 teams having benefited strongly from that move last week. In fact, the two teams now leading overall both captained Fifita – so hats off to them.

If Round 4 doesn’t throw up some variation in captaincy choices then no round will. 

On paper, there looks to be three blowout matches to start the round which could offer massive SuperCoach points to the likes of Nathan Cleary (against the Sea Eagles), Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell and even Damien Cook (against my Bulldogs) and Ryan Papenhuyzen (against the Broncos). 

Those guys could score anything. It’s easy to think of vice captaining any of those guys – but many of us are still running with enough risky players on the bench that the AE risk means the better move might be to throw the captaincy band straight onto whoever you think.

Good luck again to everyone in Round 4. I’ll be at the Dogs v Souths game hoping for some form of Good Friday miracle.  

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