The 2017 hooker scenario is pretty simple.
If you don’t own Cameron Smith then you’re running with a POD. He’s easily the best hooker available and you’ll want him in your run home side. Currently 37% of coaches own Smith but that figure will grow slightly as the bye period approaches. How does this make sense when Smith doesn’t play any of the big bye rounds? Ideally most of us want to get Smith into our sides as soon as possible along with a decent back up for the bye period. We should start preparing for this so let’s look at the other options:
- Jayden Brailey ($204.4k, 50% O/S, 45 AVG) is the only other hooker not considered a POD but he isn’t performing at the level of a first choice option. Some coaches will be looking at upgrading Brailey as soon as his value stops growing but is there really a rush to do this? Let’s keep in mind that the Sharks will play rounds 12 and 15 which is perfect for short term coverage. I’ll be showing him the door either after round 15 or when Seggy takes over as the main hooker; whichever comes first.
- Cameron McInnes ($421.8k, 9% O/S, 76 AVG) is one of the better options available with his respectable base output and attacking involvement. He’s certainly worthy of holding through the bye period as your first choice hooker despite not being available for round 12. Don’t be too worried about the Dragons’ nightmare run into the bye period. His base output is solid and he’ll have plenty of opportunities for attacking stats through the bye period when St George have a very favourable run.
- Andrew McCullough ($392.4k, 7% O/S, 72 AVG) is one of three hookers I’d consider as my first choice option through the bye period (McInnes and Smith being the other two). He’s a base stats machine and is showing a lot of confidence when the Broncos are on the attack. The only concern with McCullough is what to do with him after round 12. He isn’t available for rounds 15 and 18 and it’s not worth wasting a trade finding a replacement for four rounds until you get Smith.
- Kaysa Pritchard ($175.4k, 10% O/S, 32 AVG) is the ‘last resort’ option for the bye period. He’ll simply be a number in your team that’ll give your score a small boost by about 30 points. Those running with the Smith/Pritchard combo can easily switch between the two but I wouldn’t recommend trading him in for the sole purpose of bye coverage.
Round 4 was very kind to me although my captain choice was a little disappointing (Peachey). Luckily the rest of the team performed well and I cranked out 1256 points. This ranked me inside the top 1000 overall which is a nice spot to be in as the bye period starts to approach. I need to start thinking of round 12 when doing my trades this week although the more attractive choices aren’t available for the first big bye round.
Get Rid of ‘Em
A lot of coaches will be looking for reasons to squeeze Taumalolo into their sides. He’s a good trade-in option but we can’t get rid of players prematurely just to make room for him. In saying that, Sione Mata’utia owners should take this opportunity to get the Cowboys’ lock into their side.
- Robbie Farah ($353.3k) simply isn’t producing the scores required for your first choice hooker. He may be available for round 12 but I don’t think he’s worth holding solely for the extra number through the bye period. There are plenty of better options available.
- Konrad Hurrell ($304.1k) is averaging 42 PPG which isn’t that bad, but he also has a BE of 72 and has a nightmare run of opponents ahead of him. I can’t see his next five scores being worthy of your CTWs. He also isn’t available for the first big bye round. Give him the flick.
- Brock Lamb ($257.6k) has been a nice surprise for those of us who took the gamble. He has risen by $81k in value and may continue to climb with this break even of 37. He’s averaging 50 PPG but he’s certainly capable of low scores as we saw last week (29 points).
- The Verdict: Honestly there’s no right or wrong move here. He’s at that point where he’s likely to hover around the same price tag for some time and it’s not like we’re playing him in our seventeen. There’s no rush to trade him out but you could bring in a more productive replacement if you feel your team will benefit. Go with your gut.
- Roger Tuivasa-Sheck ($305k) has been frustrating to own and I can’t believe he actually lost money with his first change. He now has a break even of 100 and is likely to drop even more in value.
- The Verdict: Some coaches will be using RTS as a gateway to a cheapie. This will also free up some of your cap for a nice upgrade elsewhere. The Warriors will be up against the Titans this weekend so we have to assume Tuivasa-Sheck will be capable of attacking stats. In saying that, he has never scored over 75 points against the Titans so he’s more than likely going to drop in value once again. This is irrelevant if you plan on keeping him long-term but he’ll need to step up his game to be considered a keeper once again. I’m going to keep the faith and hopefully he’ll bust out some nice scores in the coming weeks. Keep in mind that he’s also available for round 12. He’s a HOLD
- Bryce Cartwright ($497.2k) is probably the most annoying player to own at this stage and hasn’t been named to play this weekend. Many coaches are staying faithful but honestly, how much longer can we have half a million bucks sitting in our NPRs?
- The Verdict: The rumour is that Carty is currently a ‘week by week’ scenario and could possibly miss up to another month of footy. I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Don’t bother holding him any longer. Use that money elsewhere because you can’t keep producing competitive scores with that amount of money going to waste each week. You could have another gun in your seventeen or even a productive cheapie. He’s a SELL
- Josh Hodgson ($319.9k) has been one of the more disappointing players of SC 2017. He started the season priced over $400k due his impressive 2016 form but has already lost around a quarter of his value. I’m shocked that he’s averaging just 33 PPG and even more surprised that he produced a 15 point game in round three.
- The Verdict: Many Hodgson owners are standing strong and we need to respect that. A player of Hodgson’s calibre can potentially regain the lost value and it looks like the worst could be behind him. He has a break even of 105 so we have to expect another price drop but owners should start to look at the plus side. The positives with holding Hodgson are the rise in attacking potential due to the start of a more favourable draw, along with his round 12 availability. Hodgson owners should stay firm while coaches who are considering him should wait another week or two. Just be wary that he’s battling an injury this week and could be a late exclusion.
- James Graham ($396.5k) has been scoring slightly below his usual average and now has a break even of 87. I’ve noticed a handful of coaches want to give up on the pommy forward, possibly making room for Vaughan, Taumalolo or DeBelin.
- The Verdict: If you still own Graham after the opening four rounds then I’d be staying firm. He already lost $32k last weekend and he won’t be losing any more than $20k after this week’s game. He plays two of the three big bye rounds (including round 12) and he’ll keep the base stats flowing for your team. You’ll find a number of coaches will pick him up for bye round coverage too. He’s a HOLD
- Bodene Thompson ($384.5k) now has a break even of 44 after his $58k loss in value last weekend. He may have an average of only 45 PPG but we need to keep in mind that he produced two 26 point games in the opening rounds of the season. He is now playing among the starting pack and is back to his brilliant best.
- The Verdict: I think Bodene should be considered highly when doing your trades this week. We can safely assume that $384k will be the cheapest he’ll get now that the 26 point games start to drop from his rolling average. He’s also available for round 12 and has every chance to be a keeper. He’s a BUY
- Sam Burgess ($444.1k) has been a little underwhelming for those of us who forked out $499k for his services. Coaches that decided to hold off on Surgess should try to identify the best time to trade him in prior to round 12. He’s starting to get back to his best as we saw during the first half of round four but unfortunately a concussion saw him miss the remainder of the game. He’s usually a base stats machine and he’ll be a great addition to your side during the bye period with his perfect coverage. There’s no need to pay attention to his 105 break even either. Those that own him will have him in their sides for the entire season which makes his BE irrelevant. Owners may as well keep him as we’ve already lost $55k while others will pick him up for a very appealing price.
Best 5 Break Evens (Must have played at least two games)
Kalyn Ponga ($122.6k): -77
Nelson Asofa-Solomona ($264k): -16
Marcelo Montoya ($122.6k): -14
Kurt Capewell ($177.5k): -12
Ryan Simpkins ($143.6k): -10
Worst 5 Break Evens (Must have played at least two games)
Bryce Cartwright ($497.2k): 164
Jackson Hastings ($350.7k): 135
Anthony Milford ($390.8k): 131
Semi Radradra ($454.3k): 129
Kurt Mann ($297.2k): 116
Team List Tuesday
Kalyn Ponga named as a reserve
Abbey and Montoya will play their third game
Coen Hess returns to the bench
Jake Friend returns from injury
Braiden Burns returns to the centres
Valentine Holmes named at fullback
Harawira-Naera named as Carty’s replacement (2nd game)
Kieran Foran named in the halves
Jamal Idris returns to the centres
BJ Leilua to average 65+ over the next six weeks
Valentine Holmes to crack 80 points this weekend
Surgess to reward those who hold him with a 75+ point performance