PROJECTED STARTING 17, ROUND 1 2022
FULLBACK: CLINT GUTHERSON $645K 52BE (2021 AVG 51.4, 57.6 AGAINST BOT 8)
Fantasy Outlook (M): Off what is essentially a full season, Gutho wouldn’t normally merit a write up here, but the Eels managed to get arguably the best starting schedule of any team in 2022. Across the first 8 weeks, the Eels play only 1 side projected for the top 4, before going through all three other top 4 projected sides in rounds 9, 10 and 11. On the other side of the coin, they play 3 sides projected for the bottom 4, along with the Sharks and Knights who are both looking vulnerable. It is very possible that the Eels go into their round 9 matchup with the Panthers at 7-1, so Gutherson deserves a mention here as an early season POD matchup based play. NEW SCORING IMPACT: Negligible impact for Gutho, who remains a likely week 1 avoid.
LEFT WING: SEAN RUSSELL $260K 21BE (BOOM OR BUST 21ST MAN WFB COVER)
LEFT CENTRE: WAQA BLAKE $430K 35BE (2021 AVG 35.5, FINAL 5 GAMES 48.8)
Fantasy Outlook (M): Blake had an absolute shocker for the most part in 2021, averaging under 30 until his final 5 full appearances. Essentially, he was “try or bust” in 2021 and I do not see that changing in 2022. Some may look at him and see a potential POD option, but given the (surprising) depth at the centre position this year I think you can safely skip this one.
RIGHT CENTRE: WILL PENISINI $350K 28BE (21 AVG 37.6 IN 5 GAMES INCL FINALS)
Fantasy Outlook (R): Penisini had some solid performances in his first taste of first grade putting up a near 34 average with 1 try from 3 games. Prior to his first grade call up Penisini posted a respectable 43 point average in NSW Cup with 5 tries in 13 appearances. Whether he’s a buy or not will likely depend on how much of a discount fanhub gives us here, anything sub 30 will likely bring him into consideration for a starting team cash cow spot. NEW SCORING IMPACT: Inclusive of finals, Penisini averaged 2.4 tackle breaks and 0.4 offloads, which drags him back down to a 35-36 average with the new scoring. What is appealing about Penisini more than anything is his base average of 14 tackles and 130 metres, with a floor of 12 tackles and 110 metres. Given he is only 19, this is very impressive, and he may have room to grow.
RIGHT WING: BAYLEY SIMONSSON $356K 29BE (2021 AVG 28.6, 70+ MIN WING AVG 30.6)
NEW SCORING FANTASY OUTLOOK: Like Simonsson needed any more excuse to be irrelevant, but Simonsson sees a 4 point reduction with tackle bust rules, and projects to average below his BE, which is impressive at $356K. Any avenue to fantasy relevance would need to come via an increased attacking rate, which is something we would need to see before assessing.
LEFT HALF: MITCHELL MOSES $631K 51BE (2021 AVG 55.5, 59.2 IN FULL GAMES)
Fantasy Outlook (M): Similarly to Gutherson, Moses history as a ‘flat track bully’ is extensive, so much so that he was used in our article specifically to highlight players like this. Moses scoring increases by about 20% against bottom teams, and he faces a pretty easy slate of games to start the year. NEW SCORING IMPACT: Unfortunately for Moses, he also cops a huge nerf with the scoring changes, which pushes his projected average BELOW his break even, even with the injury affected games. Much safer to go with one of the more balanced halves at cheaper price.
RIGHT HALF: DYLAN BROWN $641K 51BE (2021 AVG 51.2, NO OBVIOUS CHANGES)
RIGHT BACK ROW: $782K 63BE ISAIAH PAPALI’I (2021 AVG 62.8, 65 IN 70.1 AT BR)
Fantasy Outlook (R): 2021s buy of the year, Ipap finally reached the fantasy potential I knew he had (was just 2 years too early when I bought him). It remains to be seen if his upcoming move to the Tigers will impact his role at all (I’d guess not since BA needs to win) but if he was to lock down a big minute edge role there does appear to be a couple of points of value here following an end of season stint at Prop in 2021. At his price he’s likely a final team target and not one I’ll be starting with. NEW SCORING IMPACT: Papa loses about 3 points per game combined tackle busts and offloads changes, bring him to “at value” or maybe slightly too expensive.
LEFT BACK ROW: SHAUN LANE $563K 45BE (EDG AVG 47)
LOCK: NATHAN BROWN $582K 47BE (2021 AVG 45 IN 59.4 MIN, 47.7 IN 50+ MIN GAMES)
Fantasy Outlook (M): I think it needs to be said, Brown had the lowest PPM of his career in 2021, and was down 0.05ppm from 2020. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but playing 60 mins on average it is about 2.5 points per game. Brown might look like a value this year due to this trend, but he is quickly approaching 30 and this may in fact just be the new norm for Brown, who has always been more of a base stat guy than anything. I say TRAP.
PROP: JUNIOR PAULO $569K 46BE (2021 AVG 44, UP TO 45.2 WHEN STARTING)
PROP: REAGAN CAMPBELL-GILLARD $536K 43BE (2021 AVG 41.2, 43.6 EXCL INJURY GAME)
HOOKER: REED MAHONEY $780K 63BE (2021 AVG 61.2, 63.7 EXCL INJURY GAME)
Fantasy Outlook (R): Mahoney was a break out star last season and the hooker we deserved prior to his re-doing his shoulder. Similarly to Papali’i he has a slight discount due to an injury effected game but not enough for me and will likely be an end of season target. NEW SCORING IMPACT: Mahoney also gets a 2-3 point reduction in average thanks to new scoring. He is priced above his projection, but still a gun pick up in draft and in late season.
BENCH 1: OREGON KAUFUSI
BENCH 2: MAKAHESI MAKATOA
BENCH 3: RYAN MATTERSON $683K 55BE (21 AVG 52.3, 57.3 WHEN 60+ MINS)
Fantasy Outlook (R): Matto had a bit of an up and down 2021 with another concussion in round 2 followed by a reduction of minutes by round 11 much to the pain of fantasy owners (Mark included). Despite all this it might surprise some to know his ppm was basically the same as 2020 and that holds up when looking at his 70+ minute average where he managed a 60 point average. So there’s no questioning Matto’s fantasy ability, he certainly hasn’t lost a step so there’s certainly a stack of value here if he goes back to his previous big minute role. Hopefully some more information shakes out on his role in the pre-season otherwise he’s a high risk/high reward option for those daring. NEW SCORING IMPACT: With the reduction in tackle busts and bolstering of offloads, Matterson becomes even more of a potential reward, averaging 2.3 offloads per game in 2021 60+ min performances while only relying on 1.5 tackle busts per game. This could push his potential average into the 60s, even with the odd 10-15 mins being stolen. The question STILL remains whether Matterson can avoid those costly sub 60 minute games, which dragged his average down in 2021.
BENCH 4/UTILITY: JAKOB ARTHUR
FORWARD PACK PROJECTED MINUTES
|PLAYER NAME||PROJ MINS|
*MAIKA SIVO will miss the first month or two of 2022 due to injury
* MARATA NIUKORE will miss round 1 due to suspension
FRINGE PLAYERS NOT PROJECTED FOR TOP 17