Jake Averillo (CTR/WFB): CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

Budget dual worth the risk?

In 9 performances of 70+ mins at fullback, Jake Averillo has posted 6 tries but only an average of 29.1 Fantasy Points. Starting from a 25 break even, can he improve enough to become a mid 30s scorer and a cash cow?

Lets start with some areas for improvement….

First of which, the average ladder position of his opponents in those matches was 5th-6th. He faced 1x 1st, 2x 2nd, 1x 3rd, 2x 4th, 7th, 11th and 16th. Typically speaking, better teams restrict scoring of their best players, and Averillo was absolutely one of the Bulldogs better attacking weapons last year. He actually only registered about 90 metres and 1.8 tackle busts per game, where we can definitely see some improvement coming in an improved Bulldogs side.

Secondly, Averillo failed to register a try assist in his 9 performances. Typically, even fullbacks with limited passing skills will set up a try or two by accident. With Kikau, Sutton, Mahoney and Alamoti joining the ranks along with a fitter Pangai and a full preseason, we expect the Bulldogs to put on more points, which will mean more try involvements and attacking stats for Averillo.

Having a settled spine with a quality dummy half cannot be overstated, and with weapons like Pangai and Kikau running off the edges, Averillo should have plenty of room to move out the back. Really, we are only looking for an extra 20-30 metres per game, half a tackle bust and a try assist every 3-4 games to push that 29 average up to a 35 average.

Purely theoretically, the Dogs have had a significant change in personel, swapping Josh Jackson and Paul Vaughan for Viliame Kikau and Ryan Sutton. They may look to play more up tempo, offloading the ball, actively looking to break tackles and spreading the ball, all of which will help to increase the stats of Averillo out the back.

Obviously, the downside is we are likely to see some try regression, from 6 down to maybe 4 in a similar sample. This would correct that average down a few points, so if we don’t see a significant increase in output from Averillo we could see some low, inconsistent scoring which is no good for anyone. Averillo put up a 7 against the Sharks in 80 mins, but the Sharks were a top team all year hitting their straps right at the optimum time.

Purely from a game theory perspective, Averillo is CHEAP, has DPP, is in a traditionally low scoring position, has an improved roster, and does not have a bye until the first major bye round in week 13. Based purely on this alone Averillo should be in your team, setting aside any player bias you have against him – which I am sure exists.

The big thing to keep in mind is this – we only need Jake Averillo to be 2022 Daine Laurie quality out the back to have 10 points value.

AMATEUR MARK

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