One of the most interesting features on the Rugby League Fantasy Pro website is the ability to go back and review your team from last year, see what price you bought and sold players, what profit or loss you made on them in trades made, round by round scoring and captaincy performance and more. The link can be found here:
In an exercise of accountability and an effort to improve in 2023, I want to look at the trades I made in 2022, successful or not, and try to glean some lessons for this season.
You can follow along with the trades here to save me adding a table every round…
Started the season with an 808 – absolute hot trash and a rank of about 22,000 overall. While most had Capt. Cleary, I started with “value buy” Angus Crichton and copped a 47. Not a disaster, but not captain material either. I did manage to grab all the key cash cows in Randall, Nanai, Schneider, Tago, Crichton, and King, but also managed to start with Nicho Hynes which was a nice saved trade. Only one trade this round, Welch with his busted achilles made way for Grant (who was suspended Round 1). This is why you ALWAYS keep some cash in the bank to fix an early mistake or injury in one trade.
Moved the captaincy to Harry Grant, and was rewarded with a 61 point score and a top 2500 rank for the week, which vaulted me from outside the top 20000 into the top 10000. With Angus Crichton moving to the interchange and Billy Smith getting injured, I was able to make my first two mistakes of the year, trading in Jai Arrow and Tom Starling.
The (emergence?) of Leo Thompson and great cash cow Brodie Jones saw me move on from Billy Walters ($100k profit – good) and Fletcher Baker (mistake). In reality, I could have saved a trade on the Baker-Thompson deal, they were the same price here and realistically Baker was doing fine, but the FOMO on Thompson got me sucked in. First lesson of the year – make sure when you jump ship there is CLEAR 10 extra points value. I also managed to work out Nicho Hynes was a monster, and captained him from Round 3 to 24 with only 7 times captaining someone else all year after the first two rounds, pushing up to about 2500 overall with a top 500 weekly finish to follow up my 2500 the week before.
I am starting to question at this point if I should be giving fantasy advice, but after seeing TPJ crank out 69 minutes I was all in, along with Davvy Moale who I grabbed as someone I thought would pick up extra minutes. Unfortunately those minutes went to everyone but him and we are up to 5/7 bad (in hindsight) trades so far.
Finally got the shits with Jai Arrow after averaging 42 since I got him, and Vailea got dropped, so I made one great trade here snagging Tolutau Koula, and one not so good trade with David Fifita. Ultimately I had to try something to get upside, with my rank tanking from 2500 to 8500 after some diabolical scoring in rounds 4 and 5.
Back in the winners circle with a 77 from captain Harry Grant, but that is about my only success for this round, picking up Jason Taumalolo and Kalyn Ponga, who I would lose a combined $135k on. Absolute shocker start to the year, by my count 8/11 bad trades to start the year with the power of absolute hindsight.
Here is really where I started to succeed, ditching failed experiments Junior Paulo and Kurt Mann for Jackson Hastings and a sub $600k Angus Crichton. Don’t be shy to buy players back my friends, this decision to set that aside made my season. This was 100% the turning point for my season despite having a fairly poor score.
Another good week of trading, banking a $123k profit from Jones and buying Adam Elliott and Josh Jackson, who were loyal soldiers for me all year. Also moved on from Fifita who picked up an injury.
Welcome Pat Carrigan and Matt Burton, who make 6 good trades in a row. Absolute fill up week here, and I managed to finish in the top 200 for two weeks in a row, moving from rank 7888 to 1193, my best position of the year prior to the final round. I count 9 good trades and 8 bad ones by this point, but I have some momentum.
Took a chance and failed on Trent Peoples, but Reece Robson at $700k was another master stroke, banking the $310k combined profit from Chris Randall and Leo Thompson. Another lesson here to check whether players are in the top 30 or not!!!
Xavier Savage at $220k (froth) and Tohu Harris this week, the latter of which put up just under a 50 average while under my tutelage. Had I conserved a few trades earlier, I could have moved Tohu on for an elite scorer, which could have helped me push even higher.
After finding out Peoples was never coming back, I cashed him out to Jason Saab, which would land me a nice profit later in the season so I am calling that a good trade, bringing me to a total of 13 good and 9 bad trades in the season to date. I really had to start saving trades here as I was max trades except one.
First bye round saw me bring in Moses, Frizell and Taumalolo (again), missing the mark on all three really. Ended up selling Frizell for a monster $125k loss, Moses for a $18k loss and holding an unplayable Taumalolo in my emergencies. That said, I did cash in a total of $500k profit on Starling, Hastings and Tago, so its not all bad, but could have done better.
Finally fit Nathan Cleary into my team, where I got a grand total of 3 scores out of him before his brain explosion. SO FRUSTRATING. Also brought in Volkman, who only played 2 games. I was stagnant at the 1500-2500 rank for about 7 rounds and looking to make some moves, but not skipping Cleary cost me even though at the time it was a good trade.
No trades here for two rounds, punching out some bog average rounds while I saved for a final push. Only had a few players in the round 17 bye week which pushed me down about 1600 ranks, although I knew by this point I was too far behind eventual champion Will to do anything legit and was 100% H2H focused.
Cashed in the monster $400k profit on Max King to grab Isaiah Papali’i, another good decision here in the first week, before pushing all in and grabbing Haas, Doueihi, Fifita and Booth, moving on from mid range scorers like Frizell, Koula, Savage and Jackson (who toiled all year but just didn’t have the ceiling). I managed to put up a top 100 score in round 19, kick starting my push to my best ever rank.
Picked up Munster, Yeo, DCE and cheapie Mbye to push to the end with my last 4 trades, with Carrigan, Saab, Moses and Cleary gone for the bulk of the rest of the year. Easy decisions and quality scorers to help me, making the grand total 21 good trades and 15 bad ones of my 36 total trades, counting trades that I made a good cash out but bought the wrong guy as a bad decision. 58.3% strike rate on predicting the future is ok, but I think my expectations are higher, despite finishing the year at a rank of 1166. I guess it just shows that you really don’t need to make perfect decisions all year to get a strong rank.
In summary, this is how it all shook out:
As you can see, there was nothing special here, but finishing in the top 5000 on more than 50% of the rounds definitely set me up for success. My goal for this year is to focus more on the numbers at the bottom of the graph, particularly given 6 of the first 12 rounds were in the 20000+ category, only finishing there twice after Origin started, being the round 17 bye round and the one round I was unable to field 17 players.
Looking at this in more depth, we need to look closer at my starting team and where I went wrong from a process perspective, as nobody is perfect but process can be:
As we can see, there are a few obvious issues in the process for selections.
- Invested WAY too heavily in WFB position, which is bad process. WFB and CTR are comfortably the most volatile positions, and rely heavily on attacking stats, which are typically reduced in the early rounds while teams build combinations.
- Didn’t select an elite captaincy option, and was punished for it with a 47.
- As a result of the overspending at WFB, I ended up with a slew of mid range MID options, including Welch, Arrow and Paulo who underperformed. I did manage to capture all of the critical mid/edg cash makers in Tuilagi, Nanai, Jones and Mann though so that worked well.
- The halves were just diabolical all season, given Burton and Hynes would have been at CTR and WFB respectively all year to take advantage of the positional eligibility. Schneider was a great cash generator, but I really needed to pair him with an elite option early, which I could have done had I not gone down the Teddy/Papenhuyzen route, and given the limited “cheat codes” this year it seems even more important.
- Going with the crowd worked well most of the year, and missing Taylan May might be my single biggest error all year when every man and his dog had him.
In short, it seems obvious, but the lessons I learned from this:
- Save trades you idiot.
- Try to start better, with the seemly better strategy being to “cheap out” on the volatile positions (WFB/CTR) and spend up in the other 4 positions while capturing all the best cash making options and taking advantage of any beneficial DPPs.
- Make sure you have top end talent in your team that is captaincy worthy early.
- Make sure that if you do trade, you are selecting players with clear upside on the guys you are trading out, and avoid players carrying niggling injuries such as rib cartilage.
- Jump on with the crowd on seemingly obvious cash makers, particularly those with high upside, and try to focus on adding top level talent to your team rather than going bargain hunting (obviously get elite talent at a bargain i.e Angus Crichton)
- Save trades you idiot.
I hope you enjoyed my article and analysis, we would love to hear some comments from you on what your best and worst trades were for 2022 and what lessons you are taking into the 2023 season.
2 thoughts on “2022 Trade Review”
Worst trade probably Sexton to Moale but needed the cash for the next couple of weeks to get Cleary in. Also can’t believe I owned Mitch Barnett for 3 weeks.
And this from the reigning champ!