The Watchlist

Updated: April 5, 2017

In my new weekly segment I’ll be looking closer into a few players who are worth further consideration prior to lockout.

For the record I think that the must haves this week are Gideon Gela-Mosby (GGM) and Corey Harawira-Naera (CHN) but enough has been written about them so they are omitted from the list below. Yes they are good purchases, yes you should trade Winterstein, Yates, Suli to get them in etc etc blah blah..

However for those who may have jumped the gun and got GGM or CHN in a week early, who else might you want to look at?

Kalyn Ponga – Price – $122,600 – 51.4% of you already have him in your team which is mind-blowing in itself. Obviously if you have him you are happy with the news that he has been named in the 14 for the Cowboys this week, however those without him face a difficult decision as to whether to trade him in or not.

To reiterate GGM and CHN are the best picks this week but for those who may have moved a week early on either, Ponga presents a conundrum.

On the Pro’s list for Ponga is the fact that even if he just walks on the field and scores a point he will be looking at a price rise somewhere in the vicinity of $35k. He has a projected score of 66 and if he hits this he will be looking at 80k on the nose.

Combined with the fact that Lachlan Coote is in some doubt this week and he makes a very tempting prospect. We know he has the ability to score well and against a Tigers outfit in shambles if he jags the starting fullback role he is a must have for all 17’s.

HOWEVER sans news that Coote is injured I would not advise trading him in. I am of the opinion that if Coote passes his fitness tests Ponga will not play. Paul Green has plenty of depth with more versatility in his players named at 15-21 and it would not surprise me to see him drop off all together in favour of a player who can relieve Hampton at hooker. Moreover Paul Green has previously stated that he only see’s Ponga as fullback relief this year.

If for some reason he stays as a bench utility he is still a no go for mine. Why? Look no further than Ben Hampton’s statistics to see how much Greeny uses his number 14. 5 Games for an average of 14.8. He is probably the only player to start the year at 150k and lose money and is now essentially rookie price. Jake Granville is scheduled to be out for 4-6 weeks so by that time if used in the same way as Hampton, Ponga will have lost most of the cash he has made. So then what is your plan with him? Trade him out in 2 weeks even though he may play again in the origin period? Or hold through the byes and essentially run a nuffie for the next 20 rounds.

There are plenty of better options than Ponga this week and it is going to be hard to carry both him and GGM on your CTW bench in the next few weeks when they drop out of the Cowboys 17.


Josh Hodgson – Price $292,600 – After playing the full 80 last week and scoring a respectable 55 the young Englishman is firmly back on my radar. If you predicted that before round 6 the difference in price between him and Jayden Brailey would be only 70k you should go and put a fifty on 40 numbers of Keno.

He probably isn’t a must have this week with a BE of 52 and given the other options on offer but have a crack at the Raiders ridiculous up-coming schedule of Titans, Warriors, Sea Eagles, Bulldogs, Knights, Eels..

At 7.3% only ownership I think he will become a gun POD in the next few weeks. He has had a slow start coming back from an ankle injury and also picked up a sternum injury in round 4 so he is not without risk. It’s worth noting that he was back to nearly 40 points in base stats last week so is increasing his workload and with a team like the Raiders the attacking stats aren’t far away. For someone like me who is still running Phythian I will be monitoring the situation closely and picking him up as soon as he shows some consistent 80 minute performances, he can then be held until round 14 or longer and is a serious reserve.

Joseph Leilua – Price $351,100 – Like Hodgson, Leilua has struggled with early season form and has a discount of about 130k heading into Round 6. From what I have seen so far though, he looks seriously unfit. I do think that he is a decent price at the moment, but I am not buying into the must have thing for BJ. Sticky Ricky has said that this year we should expect a more disciplined showing from his outfit and that they won’t be scoring as many points as they did last year. Whether that’s the reason for the offload being put away or some sympathy eating in the off season with his pregnant missus, BJ has averaged 79 minutes this year for an average PPG of only 44.

Keep in mind also that BJ’s 2016 season was the anomaly, in 2013 – 2015 he averaged 54, 57, and 43 points each year. Yes I know that he went on a tear from this point onwards last year but based on what I have seen I think you are much better off just copping the extra 100k required for Croker or Rapana (if he ever drops). With an average base of only 20 points this BJ is just as likely to give you blue balls as he is to get you over the line in your Head 2 Head.

Elliot Whitehead – Price $353,200 – Of all the cut price Canberra options available this week I think that Whitehead is probably the safest option. Unlike BJ and Hodgson who are cheap due to injury returns/laziness, Whitehead comes at a cut price due to being stuck out in the Centres when Croker was injured earlier this year.

There aren’t a whole heap of decent 80 minute options left in the forwards this year and so Whiteheads 2016 average of 61 is looking more and more appealing by the minute. Whitehead has a solid floor in base stats of around 40 in the second row. As above, the Raiders have a ridiculous run coming up and play the round 12 big bye round. Whitehead plays on the same edge as Leipana but doesn’t have as much risk so I see him as a solid option for those who might opt for Croker/Cotric but don’t want to miss out on the right hand side action.

Whitehead has a BE of 28 so you would want to move this week or next before his price goes back up. Is a seriously solid POD at 1.2% ownership.

Nathan Brown – $335,500 – Those who watched Nathan Brown in Parramatta’s round 5 game may have wondered why he appeared to be playing all over the park.  The simple answer is that he was. In a 68 minute base stat bonanza Browny played at Hooker, Lock and in the Prop Rotation. In the last two games Brown has scored 59 and 58 points in Base alone! Thats Paul Gallen territory.

So why the extra minutes? It seems that Brown is a bit of the mister fixit in grinding games, starting lock Beau Scott has been down on form and the Eels have some big boppers in their forwards who just don’t have the durability to stay on the field for long periods of time.

Nathan Brown has been named on the bench once again this week and Tepai Moeroa is back on an edge so even with a BE of 11 id wait another week to see whether the 60 odd minutes he has had in the last two weeks is the rule or exception.

Call me crazy but if its the former, Il be strongly considering a Vaughn to Brown trade in the coming weeks for a 100k profit, similar output, and better bye coverage.

My Pick of the Week – Brenko Lee- Price $346,700 – This is the guy I have my eye on this week if the Coote mail is that he is playing.

Don’t believe what you read about him being shifted to the wing when Holland comes back. The less unco Lee has played Centre all year including when Holland was in the team. During that time he has maintained a base stat average in the Euan Aitken upper echelon of the CTW. In his last start against the Broncos of his 53 points, 41 were in pure base! Combine this with the fact that he is a massive ball hog and when he does pass its via offloads only and this guy is set for a breakout year.

The staggering thing about Brenko is that he has maintained a 2017 average of 59 without a try and with only 1 linebreak. No doubt the Bulldogs attack has been woeful but they are about to play the Knights, Rabbitohs and Tigers in succession.

If that doesn’t sell him then also consider that he is only in 1.2% of teams and is about to go up against the Knights right hand side defence this week and we know what that means. Welcome to my team Brenko – You may find yourself in orange in round 6.

As always I welcome any and all feedback – I can also be contacted on instagram @ underdog_fantasy where I also put the Break Even’s up each week for easy access.

Next week on my radar for the watchlist is Jesse Bromwhich, Corey Oates and Valentine Holmes. If there are any others you want a further analysis on let me know!

Written by Kyle Robson –  Instagram: underdog_fantasy


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