ULTIMATE OVERALL/H2H BYE PLANNING GUIDE

NAVIGATE LIKE A BOSS

With the addition of the bye, this 2023 season is sure to separate the “men from the boys”. We will show you how to navigate the byes like a boss, including which players to target in specific rounds, and the implications of different captaincy choices to kick off the season. Buckle up! There will be a simple table at the end, so don’t get overwhelmed if it’s too much.

APPLICABLE TO BOTH: THE VALUE OF MONEY IN THE EARLY ROUNDS

Contrary to the belief of many fantasy players, the “price per point” is not a fixed amount after a ball is kicked, and in the early rounds the value of money is not the same in the later rounds. The way they calculate the price per point is relative to the total number of points actually scored versus points projected to be scored (or similar).

Early in the season, the projected points are all whacked out and many players score more points than they did the season prior – see all our “value” options. Typically there are many less players that decrease in value – usually value comes from players retiring or going to super league, stalwarts being replaced by rookies, injuries, etc. This causes the value of a point to decrease (think about it this way – if there was a house for every person on the planet, the value of a house would be less because it isn’t as hard to get), meaning that a player beating their BE doesn’t ACTUALLY mean they will rise in price, it just means their price will be impacted evenly compared to all other players. This is why players can hit their BE but their price still drops. This is the game calibrating the value of a point.

Where this is important is when you look at players on a tight value gain schedule – see Jack Gosiewski or Mitch Dunn for example trying to gain enough cash before Heilum Luki returns. We look at a BE calculator, who has no capability to calculate the actual BE because it can’t factor this in, and see enough money being generated when in fact these price rises will be stunted early. This also happens in the Origin period, when gun players are replaced by rookies for random weeks.

The moral of this particular story is simple – look to purchase players with long term value prospects, rather than short term “smash and grab” style guys.

OVERALL ITEM 1: CAPTAINCY

As we all should know by now, planning too far ahead in Fantasy is a fool’s errand. For this reason, we are going to look at “up to the first bye” for our analysis here.

In our mind, there are 3 captain choices – Nathan Cleary, Nicho Hynes and Cam Murray. The main difference between the halves and Murray is that Murray does not have a bye before Origin, where both Cleary (rd3) and Hynes (rd6) do. Hynes also has a bye in round 13, which sucks for those thinking about picking him because he avoids Origin. We have Cleary (69) and Hynes (68) projected higher than Murray (65), so how does the math shake out?

PLAYERPROJ.WEEKSTOTAL PTS
MURRAY65 (X2 CAPT)121560
CLEARY69 (X2 CAPT)111518
HYNES68 (X2 CAPT)111496
CAPTAINCY REPLACEMENTPROJ. 551PROJ. 55
EMG REPLACEMENTPROJ. 301PROJ. 30
ASSUME A REUBEN COTTER/MATT BURTON LEVEL PLAYER FOR CAPTAIN, MATT DOOREY/TYRELL SLOAN LEVEL EMG

On first glance, this shows the Hynes strategy approximately 21 points overall better off (1.75 points per week) and the Cleary strategy approximately 43 points overall better off (3.6 points per week), and if the numbers were that simple this would be the end of it.

A few key points to remember:

  1. Replacing an elite tier captain with an option like a Burton/Cotter comes with a risk. In a soft matchup for Cotter rd 3 against the Warriors, he could get an early shower like he did against the Titans in 2022 and throw up a 36 in 55 mins. Same goes for Burton in a showdown against the Rabbitohs in round 6. Burton put up 4 scores of 30 or less in 2022, where Murrays floor was 44 outside injury.
  2. Same goes for replacing the points with a Doorey/Sloan/Talau type from the EMG, who could just as easily post a 15 as a 30 completely negating your advantage. The luxury of the Murray route is you remove the guesswork and keep the floor. Fun fact: Murray had a higher floor than Cleary in 2022!
  3. Let’s say you get the 55 and 30, Murray is $53k and $80k respectively cheaper than Cleary and Hynes. Is 2-4 points per week really the best you can do with that $50k-$80k? If it is, you need to go back and read our website again!

Now I know what you want to say –

“Cleary has a higher ceiling than Murray” – in fact, Murrays highest score in 2022 was better.

“Murray won’t average 65” – Why not? Outside his injury game he averaged 66.4 INCLUDING the reduced minutes in origin.

“Murray is due some regression – career high PPM” – Cleary just lost a gun back rower and replaced him with a bloke who couldn’t win a job in a bottom 4 side, and lost his hooker and replaced him with a back up level hooker. This is going to impact him.

Ultimately, you can go with Cleary or Hynes and we will not stop you, but the numbers are with Murray, particularly for Overall players.

The benefit for going the Hynes route would be the fact that he would save you a trade compared to going for the Murray strategy, provided the highest floor and ceiling of any of the three players in 2022, and will be available for two of the three major bye rounds.

MURRAY SIDE BONUS: We are going to advocate SELLING Murray in round 13 and buying Hynes in round 14 after 2 byes are down. We know you are NEVER going to sell Cleary, which means you will be eating a 0 from your $1M man in rounds 16 and 19 too, not to mention any additional matches he is rested.

OVERALL ITEM 2: BYE MANIPULATION EARLY ROUNDS

The following teams have no byes prior to Round 13, and their players need to be considered first priority assuming they present the right value:

  • North Queensland
  • Brisbane Broncos
  • Canterbury Bulldogs
  • Parramatta Eels
  • South Sydney Rabbitohs

There are a number of options for these teams who we are avoiding, and this would remain that way even with a favourable schedule.

Further to this, the following teams have byes before Round 13, but their non-origin players are available in Round 13 and should be targets anyway:

  • Canberra Raiders
  • St George Dragons
  • Dolphins
  • Manly Sea Eagles
  • Newcastle Knights
  • Warriors

As with the previous list, players should be omitted who we are suggesting to avoid. We suggest a maximum of 2-3 players from these teams, but that won’t be an issue for anyone except maybe the Knights.

Also, naturally, Origin players from these teams are probably the worst selections – so hard avoid on DCE and Tom Trbojevic if you were not already. Of this list, Hamiso and D. Saifiti represent the largest risk of Origin selection, with the only other option being a debut for Horsburgh or a Frizell resurrection.

It is not to say that you should avoid any players not on the above teams, but for Overall players these are likely the best selections and there is the strong building blocks of an overall team in the above list.

If you were to build a team ONLY of players who are on this list that are either a buy or a caution listed on our website, you would end up with a team that looks like this.

This is why we have it as teams to avoid IF POSSIBLE without giving up obvious value:

  • Melbourne Storm
  • Cronulla Sharks
  • Penrith Panthers
  • Gold Coast Titans
  • Sydney Roosters
  • Wests Tigers

At the end of round 13, these teams will only have 1 more bye, with the Tigers, Titans and Sharks in 17 and the Roosters, Storm and Panthers Round 19. You should still take the obvious buys from these teams even as overall players, but obviously limit it as much as possible to take full advantage of the early overall points.

OVERALL ITEM 3: BYE MANIPULATION THE ORIGIN PERIOD

As we mentioned earlier, part of the strategy of going the Captain Cam (Murray) route would be selling Murray to get a player who you can put the C on in round 13. Of all the options in terms of game theory, the best seems to be Joseph Tapine, who will already be 1 bye down and is also available in the Round 14, 17 and 19 bye weeks when multiple teams are on their bye. As long as you snag Nicho Hynes prior to round 16 when Tapine goes on bye, you will have an elite scorer to captain the whole way.

For interest, Nathan Cleary is unavailable for at least 2 of those rounds (16 and 19) where you would be getting likely 30 points per week more out of Tapine, if you even had a full 13 players in those rounds. More than likely, whatever Tapine scores would be 100% points you wouldn’t have had otherwise – likely 110+ points in the plus column.

For our “optimum selections” teams list, you could hold the Dogs through the round 13 bye comfortably, as they will be available in Round 16, and then sell before the Round 17 and 23 byes. The Rabbitohs are holds the whole way through to round 24 for non Origin selections, and the Cowboys and Eels can be held too until their byes in Rounds 22 and 25, but won’t be there in Round 19. Any Broncos are sell candidates Round 16 (on their first bye) as they miss 3 more weeks including both major bye rounds and Round 23.

OVERALL ITEM 4: THE RUN HOME

Essentially, once the Round 13 bye is over, you can target some specific teams.

Post Round 13 teams to target non Origin players…

  • Storm (Rd 19)
  • Titans (Rd 16)
  • Tigers (Rd 17)
  • Sharks (Rd 17) – NICHO HYNES!!
  • Panthers (Rd 19)
  • Roosters (Rd 19)

Additionally, you can target these teams after Round 14 is over…

  • Knights (Rd 19)
  • Sea Eagles (Rd 19)

There is no problem with targeting some origin players through this period, particularly in rounds 17 onwards, but teams to avoid as they will miss Round 19 plus an extra week:

  • Rabbitohs RD 24
  • Canberra Raiders Rd 20
  • St George Dragons Rd 20
  • North Qld Cowboys Rd 22

So, simplified, here is a chart showing best practice for buy, hold, not ideal and sell…

BUYHOLDACCEPTABLESELLAVOID IF POSS.
RD1COWBOYS
EELS
RABBITOHS
BRONCOS
BULLDOGS
N/ARAIDERS
KNIGHTS
DRAGONS
DOLPHINS
WARRIORS
MANLY
N/ASTORM
SHARKS
ROOSTERS
PANTHERS
TIGERS
TITANS
RD9-12RAIDERS NO
DOLPHINS NO.
R1 “BUY”
TEAMS
ORIGINSTORM OR.
KNIGHTS OR.
DOLPHIN OR.
SAME AS
ABOVE
RD13WARRIOR NO.
DOGS NO.
STORM NO.
TIGERS NO.
SHARK NO.
STORM OR.
EELS OR.
COWBOY OR.
RABBITS OR.
KNIGHTS OR.
ORIGIN
OTHER
RD14SHARKS NO.
STORM NO.
TITANS NO.
TIGERS NO.
ROOSTER NO.
PANTHER NO.
EELS NO.ORIGIN
ORIGIN
RD15/16KNIGHTS NO.
MANLY NO.
EELS NO.
COWBOY OR.
RABBITOH OR.
BULLDOGS OR.
STORM OR.
ORIGIN
OTHER
RD17TITANS NO.
WARRIOR NO.
PANTHERS OR.
ROOSTERS OR.
MANLY OR.
KNIGHTS OR.
STORM OR.
RD18TIGERS NO.
SHARKS NO.
EELS OR.
RD21+
CANBERRA
DRAGONS
ALL ELSEWARRIORS
BULLDOGS
COWBOYS
WHOEVER
IS ON BYE
BRONCOS
RABBITS
EELS
NO. = NON ORIGIN PLAYERS, OR. = ORIGIN PLAYERS

Ultimately, this is a guide only, and it is important to capture obvious value where it presents itself. Nobody is going to handle the byes perfectly, but it doesn’t hurt to know what the framework for the strategy is to put yourself in place to succeed.

A format of a final team for an overall player might look something like…

HOK: Grant + Cook – trade to Robson round 24
MID: Yeo + Tapine + Tino + Murray – trade to Haas round 24
EDG: Crichton + Papali’i + Fifita/Bateman
HLF: Cleary + Hynes + DCE/Munster/Doueihi
CTR: Manu + Holmes – trade to (Bird/Lomax/Ramien) round 23
WFB: Tedesco + Papenhuyzen + Latrell – trade to (Turbo/Drinkwater) Round 24
EMG: 4x ?? – As long as you had a CTR there Manu covers WFB

To execute this team, you will need to save 4 trades (plus injuries) from round 21 onwards for the closing rounds. If you are running short on this number, you may need to take a “shortcut” – I.E skipping Holmes and going straight to a Bird/Lomax/Ramien, avoiding an Origin player like Yeo and selecting one of the Tigers guys, or taking a slightly lower projection player like Doueihi (maybe) instead of running with DCE/Munster. The key difference will be executing smart trades in the middle rounds, and not being shy to have big $$ in your bank for a round or two while you wait for guns like Hynes to come off bye.

H2H ITEM 1: CAPTAINCY

A lot of the Overall stuff still applies here, particularly early. The difference comes regarding Cleary, where the only round he should be unavailable is Round 3 thanks to Ivan’s tendency not to rest his Origin players. If you back in your ability to pick a Round 3 captain and replacement from your EMG, and you want to save a trade, lock Cleary into your side prior to round 1 and leave him there for the entire year. It would not be suggested to go for Nicho Hynes for H2H players prior to round 18, given he will be unavailable for 2 H2H matchups and is the most expensive option of the three. Definitely want him for the back end, but you can wait until the bye rounds are over for him and get him in for finals.

H2H ITEM 2: BYE MANIPULATION EARLY ROUNDS

The following teams have no byes prior to Round 13, and their players need to be considered first priority assuming they present the right value given they will allow you to field the strongest 17 every week, and have extra games to gain quick value:

  • North Queensland
  • Brisbane Broncos
  • Canterbury Bulldogs
  • Parramatta Eels
  • South Sydney Rabbitohs

This is where the strategy for overall and H2H go on different paths…

Logically speaking, early in the season is where the gap between “emergency fill ins” and normal top 17 scoring players should be the closest. Once you upgrade your (Adam Elliott?) to an (Isaiah Papali’i), the gap between these guys and a random cheap WFB or such sitting in your EMG should grow significantly. By this logic, theoretically, it makes more sense to select players from teams who have EARLY BYES, as you can get them out of the way while sacrificing the least amount of points gap. Furthermore to this, we also want to target teams who play two major bye rounds where there are no H2H matches (more info later).

These teams are:

  • Sydney Roosters
  • Penrith Panthers
  • Brisbane Broncos
  • Gold Coast Titans
  • Melbourne Storm

The Broncos are the only team that appear on both lists, so they should really be the #1 round 1 priority for H2H players through to after Origin really. We expect them to be battling for a spot in the top 8 and unlikely to have the luxury to rest players.

There are some top tier guns in these sides, both Origin reps and not, and these players should be your key targets here, with all but the Broncos available through the end of season after their early byes.

This is an example of what a (almost) compliant H2H starting team would look like…

As with the advice for Overall teams, we shouldn’t ignore obvious value or pick players who aren’t as good for the sake of being “fully” compliant. For example, selecting a player with a late bye from teams like the Warriors (Rd 12), Dolphins (Rd 11) or Knights (Rd 10) isn’t going to hurt you too much, particularly if you sell them before their bye. We really just want to be avoiding middle byes (rd 6-9) and guys on tight value windows where possible.

H2H ITEM 3: BYE MANIPULATION MIDDLE ROUNDS

Round 14, 17 and 20 byes you want to be the most mindful of here to try and avoid players from these teams where possible until after their respective round is over.

Round 14: Knights, Sea Eagles and Eels

Round 17: Tigers, Sharks and Bulldogs

Round 20: Rabbitohs, Raiders and Dragons

Based on this, you should be able to lock in all but 3 of your ideal final team (Tapine, Murray and Cook) after the Round 17 bye.

H2H ITEM 4: BYE MANIPULATION LATE ROUNDS

After State of Origin and the Round 20 minor bye is done, there is still 1 bye a week to go. Special shoutout to the Eels who miss the H2H finals and have their bye in Round 27 when many players get rested (check to ensure that your H2H grand final is round 26). The following teams are on byes as follows:

Round 26 (Grand Final): Rabbitohs

Round 25 (Semi Final): Broncos

Round 24 (Prelim Final): Cowboys

Obviously, try to avoid keepers from these teams if you can, or at least keep trades up your sleeves to ensure you can swap them to alternate guns. With Mitchell, Haas, Cotter, Murray, Carrigan, Cotter, Cook and Robson all likely final team keepers level scorers, you will no doubt want to have at least a few of these players and use some trades here.

Shout out to the Warriors, Bulldogs and Dolphins who also have byes at the business end, though as it stands there is maybe only 1 top level keeper across all three of these teams (Matt Burton) so it should be easy enough to avoid them.

Suggest a format of a final team for a H2H player might look something like…

HOK: Grant + Cook – trade to Robson round 24
MID: Yeo + Tapine + Matterson + Murray – trade to Haas round 24
EDG: Crichton + Papali’i + Fifita
HLF: Cleary + Hynes + DCE/Munster
CTR: Manu + Holmes – trade to (Bird/Lomax/Ramien) round 23
WFB: Tedesco + Papenhuyzen + Latrell – trade to (Turbo/Drinkwater) Round 24
EMG: 4x ?? – As long as you had a CTR there Manu covers WFB

This means you only need to save 4 trades (plus injuries) from round 21 onwards for the closing rounds, and you can go ham through the middle trying to generate enough cash to get to the above team or something resembling it.

IN SUMMARY

So, simplified, here is a chart showing best practice for buy, hold, not ideal and sell…

BUYHOLDACCEPTABLESELLAVOID IF POSS.
RD 1BRONCOS!!
ROOSTERS
PANTHERS
STORM
TITANS
COWBOYS
BULLDOGS
EELS
RABBITOHS
ALL OTHERS
RD 2 – 12
AFTER BYE
DRAGONS
MANLY
TITANS
DOLPHINS
STORM
TIGERS
SHARKS
RAIDERS
KNIGHTS
(IF MAXED)
BULLDOGS
COWBOYS
BRONCOS
RD 14WARRIORS
PANTHERS
ROOSTERS

ALL OTHERS
TIGERS
SHARKS
BULLDOGS
EELSEELS
RD 15KNIGHTS
MANLY

ALL OTHERS
SHARKS
TIGERS
COWBOYS
BRONCOS
BULLDOGS
RABBITOHS
RAIDERS
DRAGONS
EELS
RD 18TIGERS
SHARKS
BULLDOGS
ALL OTHERS
EELS
RABBITOHS
RD 20EELS
STORM
KNIGHTS
MANLY
PANTHERS
ROOSTERS
ALL OTHERSRABBITOHS
RD 21 – 22RAIDERS
DRAGONS
ALL OTHERS(IF MAXED)
DOLPHINS
WARRIORS
RD 23+
AFTER BYE
ALL OTHERSALL KEEPERS
FROM SELL
UNTIL BYE
BRONCOS
COWBOYS
RABBITOHS
NO. = NON ORIGIN PLAYERS, OR. = ORIGIN PLAYERS

Ultimately, this is a guide only, it is important to capture obvious value where it presents itself. Nobody is going to handle the byes perfectly, but it doesn’t hurt to plan to succeed.

IN SUMMARY AND CLOSING

Ultimately, more important than anything through this process is to get the right players into your team from a value perspective. Do not read this article as an overall player and hear “I need to squeeze 5 Broncos into my side and avoid better cash makers”. As an example – going Reece Walsh instead of Luke Garner in a similar price bracket.

Just to give you an idea how that shakes out maths wise –

PLAYERWEEKSPROJECTIONLIKELY POINTS
GARNER1145.5500
REPLACEMENT23060
WALSH1341.5540

In essence, what this shows us is this – as long as you play that Round 13 bye right and have 13 available player, you are better off taking the smart money with Garner for $50k less and not putting a clock on your need to trade him, particularly considering he will be available for your Round 16 bye round and the minor bye rounds in 14 and 17.

The H2H player sees this a bit differently, with 1 less replacement week Walsh comes out slightly in front, and with a positional advantage (WFB harder to fill) you might take the Walsh side here with the knowledge you will be trading him in Round 14 to a Manu type.

All of this obviously also relies on your trust in these specific players, of which we have no trust at the Amateurs in Walsh but we have said our piece on that. This is the exercise all fantasy managers must do for themselves, where in the projection range do they see each player landing, because 5 points a week over 27 weeks makes a big difference.

Our suggestion from here – hit “clear” on your team, and start again. Try building your team from your favourite players that fit the “buy” category, then the “acceptable” category. If there is anyone missing who you feel is ESSENTIAL – for example Brandon Smith with his combination of upside and ownership % (see our game theory on PODs) – plug them in. You will probably find your team looks similar to the one you had before, but with some tune ups you didn’t see from a game theory perspective.

Now, if you feel you MUST get players that aren’t in your team (I.E overall teams going for Cleary), do the exercise above for yourself counting the points up to Round 13, and then really think about if you want to do it. If you still want to do it, pull the trigger, but know that you are taking a calculated risk against the numbers, even though you might be fitting another aspect of Game Theory (example not going Cleary creating a POD situation).

Hopefully we have created less headaches with this article, it will be available all year for reference material. All the best for the upcoming season, love you guys.

AMATEUR MARK

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