The Sydney Roosters NRL Fantasy Guide for 2014, part two: cash cows and avoidables.

If you missed part one which discussed the must haves and maybes for the Sydney Roosters, click here.

As mentioned in part one, this is an analysis of the Roosters players and their respective prospects in the NRL Fantasy competition — although some of the analysis could be used in theory for Supercoach (all except for the halves, that is).

I find the Fantasy scoring more predictable and more indicative of how a game is actually played. I can look at the stats on NRL Fantasy and see a score of, say, 50 from Daniel Tupou, and know he’s had a good game because a try is just eight points and more emphaisis is given to tackle busts, running metres and defence.

Conversely, if I see a score of 51 on Supercoach from Nathan Merrit, for example, that could be him landing on the ball three times over the line by accident because a try there is worth 17 points.

NRL Fantasy is infinitely more predictable, and it’s for this reason I’ve based the below and the previous must-haves/maybes analysis on that scoring system. At any rate, most of the analysis is more on potential than anything, and often the prices are very similar as are the strengths and weaknesses to each game.

Forgive the digression. On with the show!

Potential Cash Cows

Samisoni Langi, half/second rower, $123,400.

Source: Roosters.

Source: Roosters.

If Maloney is called up for Origin, it’s reasonable to assume Langi will be the stand-in. He was in line for the gig last year but a shoulder injury ruled him out.

His defence is too shaky to make him a must-have despite his tempting price, as unless it improves out of sight it’s unlikely he’d snag a regular spot. But he runs the ball well and in the absence of Maloney he’d be the primary goal kicker.

He had a shocker in defence against the Sharks in round 24 last year but in other games he played he ran it well in the centres, one in particular against the Tigers when he had seven runs for 77 metres. His leg drive is incredible, and he’s one to watch around Origin time.

Stats unavailable. 

Kane Evans, front row, $107,000. 

I’m adamant that Evans will play this year, if not from round one. He has the size, the speed, the offload ability and tackle-busting finesse to make an impact in the NRL.

Keep a close eye on the round one teams. If he makes it, take it as a guarantee that every other fantasy player will have him too. And if he dominates against the Bunnies off the bench, he’ll be impossible to keep out.

Stats unavailable. 

Remi Casty, front row, $155,000. 

He’s an unknown at this level but the club has big wraps on him and he should get a run from round one. He’s not a typical cash cow in that he starts at an above-minimum price, but if he can get through the same workload off the bench that Luke O’Donnell and Moa did at different stages last year, it’s not unreasonable to expect a $50K-$100K increase over time.

He’s athletic, skilled and nimble, and from the snippets of footage i’ve seen of him seemingly has an ability to score tries close to the line.

But until we see him in the trials or the World Club Challenge it’s hard to gauge the impact he might have at this level.

Stats unavailable. 

Avoid almost at all costs

Mitchell Pearce, halfback, $316,300

Source: Daily Telegraph.

Source: Daily Telegraph.

If he were the sole general play kicker for the Roosters — as he was two years ago — and if he wasn’t a threat to play Origin again this year you’d say MP7 is a must-have.

But he doesn’t run the ball enough or break the line enough to justify the price tag while he’s sharing the genral kicking duties with The BBQ, especially when you can get a dual position half/fullback like Anthony Milford, a five-eighth and goal kicker in Todd Carney or even take a punt on a dual position half/second-rower coming off a rare down year (from a  fantasy perspective) in Feleti Mateo.

If Pearce plays Origin again this year there isn’t much point wasting a trade later on with so many decent options around him.

If he doesn’t? It’s another story, but still — it would take a lot to justify Pearce getting the nod, even though he led the NRL in try assists and line break assists last year and tackles well for his position.

From a fantasy viewpoint, there are much better options.

2013 Averages per game: 0.22 tries, 0.96 try assists, 0.26 line breaks, 0.86 line break assists, 20.87 tackles, 1.17 one-on-one tackles, 2.61 missed tackles, 1.3 tackle busts, 0.65 offloads, 0.57 errors, 33.26 metres per game, 4.26 runs, 7.81 metres per run.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall, centre, $213,200.

It’s tempting to believe the mercurial centre will be able to revisit his 2010 Centre of the Year feats, and this writer hopes more than anyone that he can combine that with his improved defence to take his game to another level. He won’t play Origin, which is also a plus, and his injuries are rare.

But the truth is the Roosters don’t utilise him in the centres much in attack, and he began to play better last year when he played direct — which he did more often as the season wore on.

That means fewer tackle busts and — as was the case last year — fewer line breaks and tries.

Stats unavailable. 

Tautau Moga, centre, $107,000.

Moga is out until the middle of the season after knee surgery mid-2013. The price is tempting, even as a filler, but avoid at all costs for now.

Dylan Napa, second row, $$111,600.


Dylan Napa.

You can use him as bye coverage, sure. But don’t expect him to come out of nowhere and become a must-have. To wit: he played 80 minutes against the rabbitohs in round 26, and made 50 metres off eight runs.

He’s still raw and prone to both errors and cheap penalties.

I fucking love the kid and his energy is infectious, but they don’t measure big hits and the ability to force other nearby rangas to yell “ARGH YOU FOOKIN TWAT”, at least in NRL Fantasy.

You’d be better off spending the dosh on a potential rookie starter such as Nathan Brown of the Tigers or getting Nathan Peats to fill the position. Or both.

Stats unavailable.

Mitch Aubusson, second row/centre, $262,400.

Source: Northern Star.

Source: Northern Star.

He is likely to come off the bench, and even if he doesn’t his utility value makes it impossible to predict where he’ll play for more than a few games at a time.

If he plays centre he’s an avoid at that cost, but if he starts at second row or lock, his tackles alone justify the price if you name him at centre and he’s always on the verge of a line break or try.

But he’s closer to the avoid category than maybe. I have fallen into the trap of picking him because he’s been named second-rower in round one, only to see him on the bench the next game or in the centres where his base stats plummet.

He’s  good this year for bye coverage and his line-breaking ability is somewhat tempting. But I just can’t do it anymore, Mitch.

It’s not you, it’s me.

Stats unavailable.

Anthony Minichiello, fullback, $209,100

The price alone means you’d have to go with Toops — the stats are far better and the potential for huge scores is multiplied by a factor of infinity.

Mini just doesn’t break the line, make enough metres, set up tries or score them the way he used to.

If this were NRL Fantasy 2003-2006, Mini is a must-have. But alas it’s 2014, and NRL Fantasy does not give points for positional excellence, great captaincy or heart.

2013 Averages per game: 0.29 tries, 0.19 line breaks, 3.67 tackles, 0.19 one-on-one tackles, 0.81 missed tackles, 2.52 tackle busts, 0.52 offloads, 0.82 errors, 113.48 metres gained, 13.24 runs, 8.57 metres per run.

Daniel Mortimer, half/hooker, $137,400.

He’s only going to get 20 minutes or so a game, and while he’s tough as fuck the sheer lack of minutes and price above the minimum makes him an avoid, unless of course Jake Friend suffers an injury.  Unlikely, considering his arms are the size of my torso.

He could be good bye coverage as he’d be the first to step into the halves if both MP7 and Maloney are called up, but even then, it’d be a five-game rental before you trade him. Unlike Langi, his running game and goal-kicking aren’t likely to result in a massive score or a price increase in such a short period of time.

Stats unavailable.

Frank-Paul Nu’uasala, second row, $197,400.

Unless he gets moved to the front row or unless very single other option at second row for the Roosters becomes unavailable, FPN shouldn’t be purchased. His work-rate isn’t large enough to justify the cost at all, and there’s a good possibility he comes off the bench as he did in the Grand Final.

When he runs the ball 10 times a game, as he did for a five-or-six game stretch last year, he can be wildly effective. But it’s not consistent — often falling in the five-and-six run range — and no-one runs at him enough for him to get large tackle counts.

Stats unavailable.

Isaac Liu, front row, $212,400.

He’s unlikely to start even from round one, and while he does score well when he gets time it’s simply not enough over the course of a game to justify such a large capital expenditure.

If he plays off the bench, let his price drop and nab him at bye time if he starts in the second row to get a good price increase. But given the Roosters’ depth at that spot and with Evans/Napa/Casty/Aubo all battling for that bench spot, the investment early isn’t worth it.

Stats unavailable. 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on Twitter, Facebook or even in the comments section below.


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