With Nathan Cleary in doubt, many may turn to Payne Haas as a captaincy option if they do not believe Tom Trbojevic can sustain his blistering form. With the Broncos seemingly on the right track and passing the eye test in the trials to date, it seems necessary to have a look at the prospects of our boy Payne to see if he is a worthy captaincy candidate.
Looking at the upcoming season, our starting point must be to establish the likely role of Haas in this Broncos side. In all likelihood, given the team and the fitness of Haas, the sweet spot is probably somewhere between 60 and 65 minutes. Our expected minutes for the Broncos forward pack is (roughly) as below:
With Flegler suspended to start the year, and Carrigan coming off injury, we expect this to be pretty close to the rotation (with Palasia or Jensen taking the Flegler role early) with the potential that Carrigans minutes may grow through the year. Given the horrors of the last few years, we expect the Broncos to want to start well, which means big minutes for Haas.
Across 2019-21, Haas has a sample size of 39 games between 55 and 69 minutes, his likely role for 2022. Within this sample, the average is 63.3 points (new scoring) in 62.2 minutes, which is a PPM of around 1.02. There is also only 4 T/O tackles in that sample, which we expect would at least be up around 20% meaning an additional 0.4PPG which pushes Haas up to 63.7 which boosts it to about 1.025PPM.
If we extrapolate that out to 65 minutes, we get an average of 66.6 Fantasy Points.
Through this, we also need to keep in mind that in 36% of games, the Broncos had less than 47% possession, a number which is unlikely to continue with their improving side. When we look at the splits, we see the below averages based on possession:
|<46% POSESSION||47-53% POSESSION||>53% POSSESSION|
Statistically, what this shows is that, in tightly contested matches, Haas performs at his peak from an output perspective. With the game on the line and the Broncos in the fight, Haas stands up. This increase is a mix of base stats and attacking stats, as well as the added improvement in the demerits category. All of this confirms what we already know about Haas – he is a big time player who steps up in crunch time.
We expect the Broncos to be a lot more competitive in 2022, with the likely outcome being they are in a higher percentage of close possession games. The flow on effect to Haas should be a higher percentage of games he is on the field for longer, and a higher percentage of games where Haas is busting his butt at the 1.06PPM he displays above. As a result, we can put the ceiling of Haas at around 69 points per game across the season.
Where you really lose going with Haas instead of Cleary or Trbojevic is the ceiling games. Basically, Haas is going to get you a guaranteed 45 (barring injury) with a 75% chance he is going to score 55+. Unfortunately, 50% of his games are going to range between 55 and 69, with only 25% going on to be a 70+ score. The good news is that he doesn’t need a try to get that 70+ score, with only 33% of those ceiling 70+ score games involving tries.
Compare this to the 2020 version of Nathan Cleary, who had 1 nightmare game sub 30, with a dead even rate under 55 points, between 55 and 69, and 70+ scores, with 11% of his scores higher than the ceiling of Haas. 2021 Cleary was obviously a different animal, with only 6% of scores under 55, 19% of scores between 55 and 69, and 75% 70+, with 44% of his scores for the year being above the ceiling of Haas.
|54 OR LESS||55 – 69 PTS||70+ POINTS||CEILING|
|HAAS 62-69 MIN||25%||50%||25%||86|
All of this to say, if you want a ceiling, Haas isn’t really your man. If you want “slow and steady wins the race”, you can definitely go with Haas as your captain. You might look to run him in tandem with a guy like Papenhuyzen, who you can throw the captaincy on in a soft matchup if you need to go for a ceiling play.
I think your worst case with Haas is he holds his value all year, but he is a safe as houses vice captain or captain option that you can’t go wrong with in 2022.