PROJECTED ROUND 1 STARTING 17
FULLBACK: CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD $437K 35BE (2021 AVG 35.3, 20/21 FB AV 43.1)
Fantasy Impact (R): It was a year to forget for CNK as he battled injury for most of the year. One of the stand out cash cows (turned 18th man for me) of 2019, Charnze has been the definition of consistently, averaging about 43 for each year when he’s played 50+mins since 2019. There’s no doubt some upside here, whether there’s enough will depend on your outlook for the Raiders in 2022. If dealt a favourable schedule to start the year he could prove to be a solid mid range cow. NEW SCORING IMPACT: CNK sees only a minor change in scoring with the new rules, about half a point, which means he is actually a very decent value this year. He is kind of in a “no mans land” between mid ranger and cash cow, but nonetheless a value.
LEFT WING: NIC COTRIC $369K 30BE (2021 AVG 31.6, 2017/18/20 WING AVG 37.8)
Fantasy Impact (M): Last year I was one of the biggest fans of Cotric early season due to his tackle busting, running scoring plus the added defensive workload at centre, but the reality is that Cotric is maybe THE most dependent on tackle busts option in the NRL as a percentage of his overall scoring, and this change is a big hit to him. If you ignore his poor seasons in 2019 and 2021, his average on the wing is 37.8, which is reduced down to about 35.5 with the new scoring system for a total of 5 points value (and thats being pretty generous on the projections. A lot of people are arguing Cotric over Stephen Crichton, but the reality is that Crichton managed to average similar scores with half the tackle busts and a similar try scoring rate. I won’t sit here and argue with you if you want to take him, but for me he is a dud.
LEFT CENTRE: JARROD CROKER $292K 23BE (2021 AVG 22.7, CAREER CENTRE AVG 38.2)
Fantasy Impact (M): Croker had BY FAR the worst season of his extensive career and has been on a steady decline since the moving of Jack Wighton to his inside shoulder. He declined from a consistent 39-46 average to 35.5 in 2019, 29.2 in 2020 and then 24.2 in 2021. Ultimately we really need to put it down to the degenerative knee condition he is suffering from. That said, while healthy, Croker is essentially guaranteed his role due to him being the club captain, although he is a potential candidate for medical retirement if they can’t get him right in the offseason. He is unlikely to be relevant but may be worth a spot in emergency subject to how your cap situation looks, particularly given his lack of reliance on tackle busts.
RIGHT CENTRE: MATTHEW TIMOKO $445K 36BE (21 AVG 36.9, CAREER CTR AVG 42.9)
Fantasy Impact (M): Thanks to a few injury impacted games, Timoko gets a nice discount heading into 2022 and finds himself with a fairly solid role out here at right centre. With a last 3 average of over 50 and a decent schedule, Timoko looks to be an astute pickup and a possible keeper centre for this year. NEW SCORING IMPACT: Timoko is negligbly impacted by the new scoring format, only losing about 1 point per game on his centre average.
RIGHT WING: JORDAN RAPANA* $571K 46BE (2021 AVG 48.7, 2021 WING AVG 43)
LEFT HALF: JACK WIGHTON $596K 46BE (’21 AVG 48.2 (20% TRIES), 20′ AVG 55.2 (50% T)
RIGHT HALF: JAMAL FOGARTY $655K 53BE (21 AVG 55.1, FULL GAME AVG 60.9 – 330KM)
Fantasy Impact (M): With the move to a new team and a new halves dynamic in the Nations Capital, we need to explore the fantasy implications. In 2021, George and Sam Williams averaged 230 kick metres, about 100 below Fogarty. For Fantasy purposes, this means one of two things – either Fogarty is going to lose 5 points in kick metres, or Wighton will. My money is on the latter, with the “real footy” plan being to have Wighton freed up from some of the kicking duties to allow him to use his running impact. The issue is that Fogarty had about 7 points per game in goal kicking, which will disappear here making him well below value, not to mention the nerf to kick metres costing Fogarty another 5.5 points per game. IF Croker misses out, which is unlikely, Fogarty is still only likely to match his BE making him a no go.
RIGHT BACK ROW: ADAM ELLIOTT $598K 48BE (CAREER AVG 44.3 IN 77 MIN BACK ROW)
LEFT BACK ROW: HUDSON YOUNG $686K 55BE (2021 AVG 55, 2021 BACK ROW AVG 60.1)
Fantasy Impact (M): One way or another, it seems as though the back row spot at the Raiders is going to hold some value, whether it is CHN, Young or Rushton as the smokey. Young is probably the least appealing of the three for fantasy managers given his already high price, but there may still be some value there for people looking for an early season keeper level POD.
PROP: JOSH PAPALII $635K 51BE (2021 AVG 49.6, 50+ MIN AVG 52.8 PTS IN 56.4 MIN)
PROP: JOSEPH TAPINE $579K 47BE (2021 AVG 45.1 IN 41.1 MINUTES – ONLY ONE TRY)
LOCK: ELLIOTT WHITEHEAD $551K 44BE (2021 AVG 42, CAREER 40.1)
HOOKER/MIDDLE: JOSH HODGSON $627K 50BE
BENCH IMPACT HOOKER: TOM STARLING (2021 AVG 33, 2021 HOOKER AVG 53.6)*
Fantasy Impact (M): NEW SCORING IMPACT: Looking again at Starling after prices and rule changes, plus Hodgson signing elsewhere for 2023, there is an opportunity here to get some valuable cover in the (frankly desolate) hooker position. He is almost unaffected by the rule changes, and may even come out ahead between the TBs and OLs. At the role he played in 2021 of 50-55 minutes off the bench, Starling absolutely represents value, which could be as high as a full 10+ points. At worst, he is a decent scorer and cover through the bye rounds until later in the year, at best Hodgson leaves early and he becomes a gun for the run home. Win/Win.
BENCH 2: RYAN SUTTON $558K 45BE
BENCH 3: EMRE GULER $477K 38BE
BENCH 4: COREY HARAWIRA-NAERA $640K 51BE (21 AVG 48.1, 2021 BR AV 56.1)
Fantasy Impact (R): Harawira-Naera was one of the stand out cash cows turned almost keeper in 2021, putting up some fantastic edge performances. He’s a big tackle busting and offloading weapon but the biggest variable (as with any Raider) is the whims of Ricky Stuart. We thought CHN was destined for keeper status in 2021 before being benched in round 21 and then suspended a week later. The looming departure of Hodgson could have flow on effects here as it frees up 50 minutes in the middle that we think will be filled by Whitehead, but for now probably too risky to be an option in 2022, particularly starting at such a high price. NEW SCORING IMPACT: CHN takes a 2+ point downgrade here, meaning his value is only about 3 points and with the riskiness of his role and minutes factored in he is a comfortable leave.
*Jordan Rapana will miss the opening two rounds due to suspension
FRINGE PLAYERS NOT PROJECTED TO MAKE STARTING 17