During our team lists podcast, we took a look at Jackson Hastings and came up with the idea that we really didn’t know how to project him, and had kind of dismissed him before even giving him a chance. Being the knowledge seeking, diligent blokes that we are, I am going to have a crack at assessing whether he has any fantasy value.
Firstly, lets have a look at his career to date in the halves in the NRL:
Now you might be wondering why the attacking numbers are so low, and the answer is that Hastings went 18 games without scoring a try, and played most of his career as a young half in a very bad Roosters team. Now you might say “But Mark, the Tigers are a bad team”, and while thats true, there is no doubt Hastings has improved as a player.
Across his last two seasons in the Super League, Hastings has 18 tries in 56 appearances, which is a 32% try scoring rate – very achievable for NRL halves. Lets be safe and go to 25%. The other item is the kick metres, where we expect an even split with Luke Brooks, meaning a bump up to 210-240 metres per game, at least an extra point or two.
We can also look at the run metres, obviously being a much bigger, more experienced half now means he is more likely to run the ball. The halves for the Tigers averaged 110 (Doueihi) , 95 (Brooks) and 30 (Mbye) metres respectively in 2021, and I think we know where Hastings fits in this scale. I think 80 is a fair number for run metres as a minimum, giving Hastings another 3 points on the above.
So, 34 + (1 or 2) + 3 + (3 or 4) (average pts for try is about 14 divided by 25%) = 41-43. This would be the minimum projection but there is absolutely room for upside here.
The other question we have to ask is who is going to be kicking goals at the Tigers?
Adam Doueihi is coming off his second ACL injury, so they may look to limit his workload and goal kicking is an easy one to pass on the responsibility. Luke Brooks has precisely 6 career goals, compared with 49 for Hastings. It is entirely possible he is the goal kicker for the Tigers, which is historically worth about 6 points per game. If we were to find out that Hastings is the goal kicker for 2022, that would push him up to low 50s, and reflect too much value to ignore at a starting price point of $450k.
Without it, a 36 BE into a player who will almost certainly average about 43 if not more, with upside to 50+ with goal kicking, is probably right on the line of value in this new format. The justification I can find for passing on Hastings is that there is so many other halves that you need to roster, with Cleary plus the two cheapies.
Nonetheless, halves are an integral part of an NRL team and I can’t think of a better position to make an integral part of your fantasy team if you want to select Hastings.