Lone Scout: The 'guns' and the 'duds'
The first bye round comes up this week, which for many of you head-to-head players means a week off from duties.<br><br>However, for the guys going for the Toyota at season’s end, it’s a particularly nerve-racking time. Hopefully you have heeded my advice and set your team up accordingly. <br><br>It will still be an anxious time with players due to back up, or not, and if you can get somewhere over 500 points you’ll be doing very well indeed. <br><br>But rather than dwell on the bye week, I have decided to take a look back at just which players are turning out to be the ‘guns’ this season, and which have been nothing but duds thus far. <br><br><b><a href="http://bigpondvideo.com/nrl/263030" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to watch Lone Scout's weekly video which has some advice about which positions to stack.</a></b><br><br>Rather than look at total points and cash values, for the benefit of this column I’m going to go by average score per round, with a minimum three games to their names. I’ll give you the top five or so in each position.<br><b><br>BIG GUNS</b><br>These are the guys who are bankable week in, week out… <br><br><b>Second Row:</b> I have decided to start here, as six of the 10 best overall averages are second-rowers and as such these are the meat of any top scoring side. Four of these six superstars are somewhat unsurprising, but two of the ‘big guns’ came from the clouds a little.<br><br>The current best average in Dream Team goes to Bronco Corey Parker, who averages 56.20 points a round from his five games. The next best back-rower is Bulldog David Stagg (fourth overall) who has a 53.50 average from eight games, followed by Parramatta’s Nathan Hindmarsh (fifth overall) at 51.62 from eight games. <br><br>This trio has always been regarded as Dream Team gold but the next best, Canberra’s Shaun Fensom, wasn’t on anyone’s radar before the year started. Fensom, with a 49.83 average in six games, is seventh overall – but the questions remain as to whether he can ‘maintain the rage’ from the bench. Either way he has made great cash for those who got on board early!<br><br>Titan Anthony Laffranchi (ninth overall) is next best with a 47.71 average from seven games and is another solid performer you could have banked on in the pre-season. <br><br>The final top-10 back-rower is another dark horse, Wests Tiger Liam Fulton, who after spending time in the UK, came back with plenty of question marks. But despite leaving Australian shores in average form, he has been awesome in 2010, averaging 47.67 points from six games. (And a special mention to Shark Paul Gallen at an average 47.25 from eight games.)<br><br><b>Hookers: </b>Cameron Smith is the man here, despite his team’s well-documented dramas. Second overall in Dream Team averages, Smith is at 53.88 a match from eight rounds of football. <br><br>Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah ranks next at 50.25 points a match from eight games (sixth overall) while Titan Nathan Friend ranks third (12th overall) with an average 46.75 from eight games. <br><br>Sea Eagle Matt Ballin is the next best dummy-half, with an average 41.12, followed closely by livewire Rabbitoh Issac Luke (40.88 points a match). <br><br><b>Front row:</b> Injured Bulldog Ben Hannant is, not surprisingly, the best prop in the competition. He has averaged 42.57 from seven games. Warrior Sam Rapira is next at 41.50, and then comes Titan’s veteran Luke Bailey at 40.62. Rooster Nate Myles is next at 40.0, with the Sharks’ Country Origin debutant Shark Kade Snowden rounding out the prop top five at 39.0. <br><br><b>Halves:</b> Gold Coast skipper Scott Prince, just returning from an injury lay-off, is the top half in Dream Team 2010 (third overall) with a 53.75 point average from four games. Raiders five-eighth Terry Campese is next, eighth overall, with his 49.0 point average. <br><br>Melbourne and Australian halfback Cooper Cronk ranks next best at 46.0 points a round, with money-maker and City Origin debutant Trent Hodkinson next at 44.29. <br><br>Last year’s MVP Jamie Soward, still trying to find his Dream Team feet in 2010, rounds out the top five with a 42.88 point average. <br><br><b>Centres/wingers:</b> Anyone lucky enough to snaffle up Rabbitohs forward Ben Lowe as a centre is getting great value, with an average 42.29 points a week. Ben Smith from Parramatta is the next guy on the list with 37.57 points a week and Rooster Mitchell Aubusson comes in third at 34.38. <br><br>Dragons centre Matt Cooper is running fourth at 33.33, while Panther Luke Lewis finishes in fifth with an average 32.12.<br> <br><b>Fullbacks:</b> Rooster Todd Carney and Warrior Lance Hohaia are the pick of the custodians, with an average 28.88 points per match each. They are followed by Eel Jarryd Hayne and his 28.75 point average, Kurt Gidley’s 28.33 and Michael Gordon’s 26.0. Expect Gidley to climb the ranking with more football under his belt.<br><br><b>THE DUDS</b><br>And now for a quick look at the guys who have done nothing for anyone this season… with at least three games to their name.<br><br><b>Second Row: </b>South Sydney youngster Jason Clark is the worst performer, with an average of just 9.43 points a week from seven games. Titan Sam Tagataese has just 12.25 points a week on his record and Dragon Ricky Thorby isn’t much better at 12.75. <br><br><b>Hookers: </b>When it comes to the struggling rakes, the title is currently with Titan Riley Brown who pumps out just 4.75 points a match. Jason Clark and his 9.43 points gets a run in this position as well, while injured Raider Travis Waddell and his 18.75 average is down on what plenty of experts were expecting. <br><br><b>Front Row: </b>The number one Dream Team dud of the props is Bulldog Jarrad Hickey and his 9.60 point average. Frank Puletua and his 11.33 points per round ranks next, with Cowboy Manase Manuokafoa being the next worst at 12.0 points per game. <br><br><b>Halves:</b> Shark Albert Kelly, the man plenty hoped would be a big money-maker, is the worst of the halves with an average of just 10.20 points. Titan Will Zillman, usually a fullback, is the next worst at 10.71, with Ben Farrar, another former five-eighth playing fullback, coming in at an average 11.25 points a round. <br><b><br>Centres/wingers: </b>Geoff Daniela from the Wests Tigers is by far one of the worst ‘regular’ players; if you are one of the 529 people with him, he should be traded – when he plays his average of just 1.67 points has ‘emergency reserve’ written all over it. Bronco Jharal Yow Yeh is next worst at 5.33 points, with the ‘top three’ rounded out by Shane Elford and his 7.0 point average. <br><br><b>Fullbacks: </b>Bronco Denan Kemp leads the losers in this position with an average of just 7.50 points, with Wests Tigers Mitch Brown (9.25) and former Golden Boot winner Anthony Minichiello next at just 10.25 points.<br><br>So there you go. By the way guys, all of these stats and plenty more can be found with a little digging around the Dream Team Stat Centre. You can track players you think might be about to explode and keep an eye on just about everything else. <br><br>Also, don’t forget about the <a href="http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=393719326796" target="_blank">Handsome Hammy Video Challenge</a> on my <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nrllonescout" target="_blank">Facebook page</a>! There are tickets up for grabs, people!