No doubt about it, David Nofoaluma had a down year last year. As Fantasy coaches, it is important to look for players who had down years to see if there is any potential for a bounce back. Lets take a closer look at David Nofoaluma to see if that potential exists here, as he has seemingly gone under the radar at 1.3% ownership.
Ryan politely indicated to me that I should add a disclaimer to this article: It is entirely possible, some would say likely, that the Tigers remain a dumpster fire in 2022, the form of Nofoaluma had nothing to do with the new rules, and he does the exact same thing this year, therefore rendering some of the assumptions made in the article below incorrect.
We have a great sample size for David, who has registered 99 games across the last 5 seasons. Year by year (new scoring), these years look like:
At $455K with a 37BE, there is significant value here at first glance.
Based on what we can see in the above table, it looks as though Nofoaluma “broke out” as a winger in 2019, increasing his try scoring rate from 33% the two years prior to over 55% for 3 years running now. Obviously we can’t project the 85% try scoring every year, but it remains in his range of outcomes.
So what happened to him in 2021?
Looking at the yearly breakdown, Nofoaluma had a consistent base of about 23.5 points for 2019/20, which dropped to 19.5 in 2021. This 2019/20 base is made up of 5.6 tackles, 170 metres and 1.5 kick diffusals per game, nothing unsustainable for Nofoaluma here. His tackles went up negligibly in 2021, but run metres dropped by over 30 metres per game. Kick diffusals also halved.
Corresponding with the drop in run metres, attacking stats also expectedly dropped by 2-4 points per game, with TBs down from 6.9 and 5.9 to 3.7, but career high offloads of 1.9/h and 0.35/g per game. If I had to put this down to something, I would say it is probably a function of the new rules, as Nofoaluma is a base stat accumulator style player. Add to this, the constant chopping and changing at the right centre position, not to mention the halves, and it is no surprise that the attacking players at the Tigers struggled.
With the partial wind back, combined with the upward trajectory for the Tigers thanks to some exciting new signings which should provide some much needed stability that Tigers are desperate for, I think we can project better things for the Tigers and Nofoaluma in 2022.
So how should we project him? This would be the floor for me…
|ESCAPE IN GOAL||25%||0.5|
Now, this only represents 5 points value based on the BE of 37, but this is essentially the floor for Nofoaluma in 2022. What about the (likely) ceiling?
|ESCAPE IN GOAL||50%||1|
This would represent a career year for Nofoaluma, but also it is made up 100% of milestones he has hit in the past (just has never done it all in the same year). This would represent a monster 14 points of upside, and isn’t even his theoretical “ceiling”, as we have seen him register try scoring, offloading and tackle bust numbers higher than what is shown here. His theoretical ceiling probably has 3 or 4 more points to go, but isn’t something I would deem in the “likely” range of outcomes for him in 2022.
That said, earlier in the preseason we did an analysis on strength of schedule and its impact on attacking players, and Nofoaluma is no different. In 2019/20 (which we are using for our projections), Nofoaluma had 17.5 attacking points per game against top 4 sides with a 36% try scoring rate, compared to 33.5 attacking points per game against the other 12 sides, with (as you might have guessed) a much higher try scoring rate of 91%. He also had a much higher floor, with only 3 games (13% of games) under 35 points at an average of 52PPG (no 1.5ppg T/O tackles) compared to 45% of games under 35 points at 33.8 average.
Prior to their bye in round 13, the Tigers face 2 projected top 4 sides – the Storm in round 1 (who will be without Grant, Smith, Munster, Kamikamika and more) and Manly in round 9. Based on their outs, I think its fair to say we can place the Storm as a mid table team for week 1, making Manly (who surrendered almost 17 points per game with Turbo in the side last year) the toughest assignment for the Tigers in the opening half of the season.
So where does that leave us?
In short, 10-11 games of a highly likely average 50+ with some serious weekly upside (48% of games 55+ points). Id be expecting based on the schedule…
5x 55+ scores (ceiling 80)
5x 35-54 scores
2x 20-24 scores
Using the middle of all of these, that puts us at an average of about 54 prior to the bye, which out of interest is roughly where we have a number of the second tier keeper WFB options like James Tedesco and Nicho Hynes. You could be looking at a potential straight swap to one of these guys all going to plan, without having to spend the money to get them in the start of the season where money is tight.
For the sake of a balanced article, it has to be said that the Tigers are still projected by many online gambling agents to be the likely recipients of the wooden spoon (bit rough I think), and many of their “exciting” signings are high variance – Hastings and Peachey have both displayed that their best and worst games are a long way apart, and Gildart is an English outside back. With no Doueihi before the bye when we are looking to capitalise, the right centre position will likely remain a turnstile with new recruit Gildart being a predominantly left side player. That said, there is no doubt that with a team featuring players like Peachey, Utoikamanu, Leilua, Brooks, Laurie, Liddle and Hastings, there is going to be some opportunities for Nofoaluma to show his attacking prowess.
When I started this article, there was no way I was starting with Nofoaluma, but I think I just convinced myself. God speed everyone who follows me into the breach!