Well Amateurs, it has been a long offseason. NFL, as much as we love it, just doesn’t hit the same. As a result, we are back – probably earlier than required – with our first piece of NRL Fantasy Analysis for the 2022 season, in the form of an early look at the upcoming NRL draw, and how it may impact your selections.
As a rule, strength of schedule is not something we have factored in very heavily (if at all) in the past, but as we strive to improve, it is important to note that schedule absolutely played a factor in the scoring of many players in 2021.
|PLAYER NAME||TOP 6||BOT 6||DIFF|
INTERPRET THE DATA – PART 1
So, what we have here is a list of 10 Fantasy relevant players across different teams, positions and play styles within their positions. What we can see specifically is a very clear trend where players who are considered “attacking players” like Tedesco, Latrell, Moses and Trbojevic are clearly better against weaker teams, where “accumulator” style players like Tohu, Murray and Jackson only have a slight increase (which we can put down to a swing of 1 tackle made/missed or a few less metres against better defense).
As a rule, most players showed an increase, with only Cook showing a slightly lower average against bottom teams, which we believe would be due to him conserving himself through Origin period and not having to attack with Latrell (+18.7) doing all the work.
The outlier here is Cameron Munster, who seemed to “take his foot off the accelerator” against the bottom teams and give the reins to Hughes who showed a +7.5 while Munster was a -13 against the weaker sides. Talk about stepping up in the clutch! Ultimately we need to put this down to the personality of Munster as the new leader of the Storm, and recognise it as the exception to the rule that it is.
RANKING THE TEAMS
As it stands, we have grouped the sides into 3 tiers, being “elite”, “contenders”, and “cellar dwellers”. They are ranked thus (in no particular order):
ELITE (0): Storm, Manly, Penrith, Roosters
CONTENDERS (+1): Rabbitohs, Eels, Titans, Broncos, Titans, Bulldogs, Raiders, Sharks
CELLAR DWELLERS (+2): Warriors, Dragons, Tigers, Cowboys
Now we can argue the merits on some of these, but this our Amateurs consensus team rankings which will evolve as we get closer to kick off. We have used a top and bottom 4 as it was easier to split, and really trying to work out who is 6th/7th or 10th/11th is an exercise in futility even during the season, let alone months before round 1.
DOING THE NUMBERS
Across the first 8 weeks is where we will be looking to gain some serious value, and booming attacking plays are the new meta for scoring Fantasy points, so lets have a look at who has the most favourable schedule heading into 2022. We will use a +2, +1, +0 system, with the highest scoring team having the best schedule:
INTERPRETING THE DATA
So essentially here what we have is 3 teams with great draws, being Melbourne Storm (arguably the best being the only team that doesn’t play a projected top 4 side), Parramatta Eels and Sydney Roosters. There are 4 teams with atrocious draws, being Manly Sea Eagles, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Newcastle Knights and the dead last Canterbury Bulldogs who play 4 games against top 4 sides and only 1 game against a bottom 4 side.
So what does this mean for Fantasy managers?
Well, Turbo is probably off the round 1 start list, as is a few smokeys we highlight at Canterbury. On the other side of the coin, James Tedesco and Angus Crichton become a very interesting round 1 options. There are also a few cheapies floating around potentially in the Storm backline (cough Coates) who face no top line competition in the first 8 weeks.
In summary, ultimately we have no idea how teams will perform, but our projections are in line with 2022 premiership opening markets, which is as good a place as any. Use this tool as a guide, but don’t let it define all of your selections, and as always – Fantasy responsibly.
Check out our homepage at http://www.amateursfantasysports.com/nrl for more