Round 17 lines up as the trickier bye round to manage this year with many teams likely to have less players than round 13. With Origin 2 in the rear view mirror and the last bye round just around the corner lets assess the options.
Isaiah Papali’i (Parramatta Eels) 839k 84BE – At 29.1% owned IPap will likely be the most popular captain choice in round 17 and likely a must. Not breaking any ground here, get him for round 17. A break even in the 80s means you can wait a week.
Ryan Matterson (Parramatta Eels) 827k 73BE – One of the lesser sung keeper options, Matterson has averaged 62 in his 50+ minute performance since returning from injury in round 4. With his omission from the NSW squad for game 2, I find it unlikely he gets back in without quite a few injuries. Still at only 5.8% ownership, Matterson seems a great round 17 buy, though likely out in Round 16.
Adam Reynolds (Brisbane Broncos) 803k 60BE – Returning from injury this week, Reynolds has been one of the elite halves so far this year averaging near 60 and as long as he can stay on the park will be a great Rd17 option.
Nicho Hynes would likely top this list if not named as 18th man for Origin 3.
The Keepers & PODs
The Eels Spine – All of the Eels spine (bar Gutho) will be targets for overall coaches and all priced within 32k of each other. Dylan Brown, the most expensive at 691k, while Mitchell Moses is the cheapest at 659k. Parra have a relatively easy draw home making both Brown and Moses likely solid bench halves for the run home. Mahoney I think is a rung below the top 4 hookers but you could certainly do worse as a 17th man. Will Penisini is another highly owned Eel and worth holding onto for now. Shaun Lane (664k) is another that is potentially flying under the radar. Lane has a three round average of 57.7 and a five round average of 54.2 with no tries since round 7 and significant increase in run metres.
The Knights Forwards – All at less than 4% ownership make these PODs quite interesting. David Klemmer the most expensive at 759k and the least enticing for me. Mitch Barnett and Tyson Frizell are both very interesting from a value perspective and both under 3% ownership. Barnett priced at 589k projects to average in the low to mid 50s for the run home and put up a very solid 51 in 66mins (HIA) against Canberra. The only question mark is whether he can hold out Fitzgibbon for the rest of the season. Frizell priced at 667k had his own HIA issues against Canberra but still projects as an elite edge. In his 80min starts this year Frizell is averaging just under 58 on the year. The Knights face only two teams currently in the top 6 in their last 10 games and none of the top 3 teams.
Murky Cronulla Waters – Cameron McInnes (703k) has been the best option in this Sharks team but I have my question marks over whether he can be a keeper moving forward. His PPM since taking over the starting lock role in round 7 has been excellent at 0.9. The doubt comes in his minute fluctuations being any where between 50 and 65 on a given week. With Finucane’s return from injury, if McIness were to continue to play in a 50-55 minute role it would leave him averaging in the mid to high 40s and not a keeper. Certainly a hold until round 18 for owners. Jesse Ramien (554k) also another option and likely a keeper centre.
Melbourne Elite – The always consistent Storm have a few options, the most popular likely being Ryan Papenhuyzen (756k). Likely returning from injury in Round 16, coaches can have a free look at the elite fullback before pulling the trigger in round 17. The biggest question mark will be the goal kicking. I expect Meaney will continue to kick in the short term which would bump Papenhuyzen’s pre-injury average of 55 down to 46.4. A keeper for sure but likely over priced without kicking duties. Jahrome Hughes (600k) is cheap enough now to be worth a punt for some after a stellar outing for the Kiwis against Tonga. I don’t think he’s a keeper though and I’d rather spend the 60k to get Moses if in the market for a half.
Lonely Leichardt – The lone keeper in Leichardt Joe Ofahengaue (693k) has been superb this year averaging 51 and could be in line to take on more responsibility with injury striking Alex Twal. At only 1.8% ownership he could be a difference maker to your Round 17 rank. Our very own Dale Williams said it best here: “I think Ofahengaue is a terrific POD. If your someone who likes to take a gamble, I place Joe up there with one of the best under the radar POD’s available right now”. Check out his brand Trident Clothing for some comfy clothes and to support your fellow fantasy players. David Nofoaluma (577k) is one for the risk takers in need of a WFB.
The Dirty Birds – A mid range and potential keeper centre, Jack Bird (456k) has fallen enough in price to be worthy of consideration here. Likely a low 40s scorer for the run home, Bird’s price fell sharply following a broken arm and a few poor scores following the injury. With Aitken moving back to the centres, Bird could be the perfect round 17 pivot. Jack De Belin (656k) has also put up some decent scores in recent weeks, though with his poor PPM is likely a cut below keeper.
The Bunnies Backs – Souths have a couple of options in the back line with Campbell Graham (630k) putting up some great scores and Latrell Mitchell (591k) returning from injury. Probably best to give Latrell a week to see how he looks after such a serious hamstring injury plus a break even in the 70s.
The Cash Outs
Cronulla Sharks – The Sharks throw up a few options in the way of fullback Will Kennedy (254k) and potentially Brayden Trindall (220k) if Hynes were to be selected as 18th man again in Origin. If this is the case Trindall seems an ideal cash out being basement price and also acts as a ‘handcuff’ for Hynes should injury strike.
Melbourne Storm – Tyran Wishart could be a popular option at 244k with the young utility likely to fill in for Munster. Slightly more expensive at 389k, Brandon Smith will likely be in line for a good score filling in for Harry Grant and could make a solid 18th man, though might be a bit too pricey. Chris Lewis (247k) is a potential buy with Felise Kaufusi and Trent Loiero both out this week. Grant Anderson (271k) has seemingly won the wing spot and becomes an enticing cash out.
South Sydney Rabbitohs – The usual easy buy of the cheap hooker replacement for Damien Cook is gone this year with Mamouzelos priced at 366k. The only potential options I see here are 220k Davvy Moale or Shaq Mitchell grabbing a bench spot with Murray and likely Arrow in origin camps. We may also see the return of Trent Peoples (305k) to fill in on an edge for those who still have him.
Newcastle Knights – No one here really of note unless you’re feeling frisky and want to punt on one of the wingers Edrick Lee or Dominic Young around the 315k mark.
Wests Tigers – No Origin players here but a few sub 400k options worth keeping an eye on are Kelma Tuilagi (354k) who seems to have little competition for an edge spot outside of Alex Seyfarth following the departure of Leilua. Everyone’s pre-season darling Stefano Utoikamanu (396k) may also be worth keeping on the watch list. Slated to return from injury this round, the young prop finds himself with opportunity to land back into an expanded minute role following injury to Alex Twal. Fa’amanu Brown (304k) is named to start at hooker this week and could be a solid cash cow. Fenu Pole (220k) has been named to debut in Round 16 and is another potential cash out.
Parramatta Eels – No real options here unless injury strikes in round 16.
Brisbane Broncos – Keenan Palasia (266k) looks the best of the bunch here with Haas, Carrigan and Capewell away in origin camps. The young forward would likely be in line for an expanded role in round 17 and will likely only get cheaper this week with a break even of 38. Te Maire Martin (298k) another cheap fullback option but probably better alternatives out there.
St George Illawarra Dragons – A possible option to fill in at Halfback for Hunt is Moses Mbye (318k), though if the role goes to Sullivan, Mbye will still have a solid minute role at hooker.