Payne Haas (MID): BRISBANE BRONCOS

Injury ankle in the past?

After his worst fantasy year on record thus far, and a year filled with niggling shoulder injuries, Payne Haas finds himself at a relative discount in comparison to recent years priced at 56.7 ($809,000). As I’m sure many remember, Haas suffered the first of multiple shoulder injuries in round 8 and was never quite the same stat sheet crushing monster we’d come to know. It caused much debate in the fantasy community whether to hold or to sell week in and week out but with an offseason to recover, can Haas return to his tackle busting best?

From round 8 onwards Haas averaged only 51 points at a PPM of 0.84, far below his historical average. From round 1 to 7 (6 games played), his output was far more in line with what we’ve come to expect from Haas, averaging 70 at a PPM of 1.05. Where was he losing points after the injury? Likely an unsurprising revelation to most, he lost the majority of his points in a reduction to his usual tackle count numbers, dropping from 37.5 tackles per game in his first 6 appearances to only 30 per game from round 8 onwards (removing his one appearance under 50mins), with his missed tackles also slightly increasing. For a man with two bum shoulders, it stands to reason you may try to make a little less contact than usual and be less effective when doing so. His metres per game also dropped from 190m over the first 6 rounds to 158m for the remainder of the season as well as a drop off in his offloading numbers as well. Of course the Broncos losing 5 of their last 6 would have played somewhat of a role in the drop off in run metres, however his tackles didn’t increase over the span either indicating the statistical drop off was in large part to these injuries.

Payne’s role has been fairly consistent under Kevin Walters playing between 60 to 65 minutes most weeks and I think that’s unlikely to change, especially with the loss of Kobe Hetherington. So with a full offseason to recuperate and no bye round before State of Origin begins, Haas seems like a potential cut price keeper with about 6 points of value on offer and a reliable captaincy/vice-captaincy option to begin the year. With a PPM of close to 1 when fit and a known consistent role, I believe it’s quite likely we see Payne return to his best in 2023 and comfortably average in the low to mids 60s for the opening months prior to State of Origin. Has a down year scared you off the Payne train to be put in the never again basket, do you prefer to wait until after origin to buy or is it full steam ahead for round 1?

(REGULAR RYAN)