Fantasy by the Numbers: Round 21
A closer look at some of the key recent Fantasy performances, and what they mean for your planned trades for the upcoming round.
Premium forwards begin to fall
With the bye rounds now a thing of the past and coaches building towards their ideal squads, many have been loading up on some of NRL Fantasy's most expensive – and highest-scoring – players on the run to the finals. The timing therefore couldn't be worse for new owners of Ryan James (FRF/2RF, $524,000) and Paul Gallen (FRF/2RF, $452,000) as the pair's scores have begun to nosedive.
James has been one of the surprise packets of the season, going from a mid-price forward who lost too many points with penalties conceded and errors to a point-per-minute machine, with his peak 119 against the Rabbitohs in golden point in Perth in Round 13. Averaging 62.7 earlier in the season, James' average has dropped down to 59.3 on the back of three relatively disappointing scores of 47, 42, and 39. Playing more than 60 minutes from Rounds 13 to 17, James got through just 47 and 52 minutes respectively in his past two starts, and apart from two offloads, hasn't recorded a single attacking stat since Round 16 (where he managed a try, line break and five tackle breaks to accompany 37 tackles and 191 metres). It's James' unique blend of a high workrate and attacking stats that have made him such a force in 2016, with his drop off in attack and reduced minutes impacting his Fantasy output. A breakeven of 97 means his price is set to fall even further.
Gallen's case is similar, if not slightly less complicated. The Sharks lock's scores this season have essentially come from base stats (tackles and run metres) alone, and against the Roosters and Knights in the Sharks' past two matches, coach Shane Flanagan has looked to manage his captain's workload on the back of a full Origin campaign, playing just 59 and 52 minutes respectively. The Titans and Raiders should provide his side a sterner test, with Gallen likely to get through more work in the middle in those fixtures. However matches against the Dragons, Rabbitohs and Roosters are unlikely to trouble the in-form Sharks ahead of their Round 26 meeting with the Storm. A high break even of 77 this week should deter most from trading Gallen in, and it's likely there will be other better options for your pack ahead of the Fantasy finals. James, on the other hand, might be ripe for the picking in the coming weeks.
Top scores in Round 20
Jarrod Croker (CTR, $437,000): 81
Jordan Rapana (WFB, $347,000): 81
Trent Merrin (2RF, $515,000): 80
Ben Barba (HLF/WFB, $355,000): 74
Ethan Lowe (2RF, $353,000): 70
Bottom scores in Round 20
Tim Grant (FRF, $282,000): 1
Young Tonumaipea (WFB, $199,000): 1
Adam Clydsdale (HOK, $291,000): 2
Nathan Friend (HOK, $198,000): 3
Tom Opacic (CTR/WFB, $128,000): 4
Top Round 20 price increases
Bunty Afoa (2RF, $230,000): +$41,000
Konrad Hurrell (CTR, $197,000): +$38,000
Ben Barba (WFB/HLF, $355,000): +$35,000
Taane Milne (CTR, $164,000): +$34,000
Thomas Leuluai (HLF/HOK, $233,000): +$33,000
Top Round 20 price decreases
Cody Nelson (2RF, $326,000): -$44,000
Ryan James (FRF/2RF, $524,000): -$37,000
Will Chambers (CTR, $392,000): -$30,000
Bryson Goodwin (WFB/CTR, $306,000): -$29,000
Tui Lolohea (HLF/CTR, $230,000): -$27,000