Underdogs Analysis: The Watchlist

Updated: April 21, 2017

The Watchlist – Round 8

As usual in this segment I dissect a few players worth further analysis. Last week Angus Crichton was my buy of the week and I predicted that SJ would maintain a 5 game average less than 60 heading into round 12..

This week there is less ‘must haves’ on the market so it’s not a bad round to consider holding those trades. There are still a few guys worth discussing however, not just for this round but looking ahead to the byes which are fast approaching.

Another general piece of information worth remembering at this stage of the competition is that the rep round is coming up between rounds 9 and 10 and there will be no NRL games on the weekend starting 7 May (it’s a tough time of year for all addicts). This is worth keeping in mind especially when looking at the casualty ward as players will have an extra week to recover and thus 2 week injuries may actually mean they are available for the next round in this period.

For something a bit different I have composed this week’s list by position;


I spoke about Josh Hodgson a few weeks back and wish I had taken my own advice. He now has a 3 round average of 65 and was back to 80 minutes last week. His early season dip in form seems to be behind him and with money still to make and round 12 availability he still is not a bad buy this week.

I’m trading in Kodi Nikorima this week as I still have the Python as my reserve hooker. With the Bronco’s soft upcoming draw and the lack of cash cows on the horizon I think he is a smart buy as long as you have a plan to trade him out.

Whether you get him in at Hooker or 5/8 I don’t think you can consider him as an option in your 17 any later than round 11. The Bronco’s always struggle through the origin period and I’m sure Bennett will be pushing for Hunt to return when his big boy’s (Maguire, Gillett etc) are out come round 12.

Once Hunt is back he will go back to the Bench utility role which we saw deliver Nikorima a whopping 7 points in round 6.

It’s not too early to start thinking about what hooker combinations are going to get you through the byes. For most of you with Cam Smith you should be looking at holding Brailey or Kaysa Pritchard or potentially trading in Damien Cook depending on the Farah situation.

For mine, the plan is to move K Niko on to Jake Friend in round 12, hopefully without too much cash required. Rather than a drop in form Friend has been struck down with an illness over the past few weeks which explains his minutes dropping to less than 60 a game. Due to this you will be able to pick up Friend for about 300k (120k discount on his starting price) in a few rounds. When looking at bye period options the key is not only look at a decent schedule but also at players whose value is going to increase over the period. Friend fits the bill perfectly. Mitchell Pearce should be playing origin which means that Friends involvement should increase through this period as shown when Pearce was out last year and he averaged over 70 PPG. He also compliments Cam McInnes perfectly if you own him and then one can be shifted for Smith come round 20.



Two guys that have seriously benefitted from Frawley’s inclusion on the Bulldog’s bench are James Graham and Aiden Tolman. With the Bulldog’s juicy Bye schedule you will be wanting to make a move on one of these guys sooner rather than later.

Since Frawley’s inclusion Grahams minutes have jumped from an average of 54 minutes to 68 per game! With a PPM of 1 he is starting to get very hard to ignore and boasts a 3 round average of 74 ppg with about 70 of that in pure base stats. If you think he can keep that up he will be priced about $480k prior to round 12 so now is the time to buy him for a 50k discount.

Every year Aiden Tolman is the POD little brother of his front row partner and this year looks to be no different. Tolman too has benefitted from the inclusion of Frawley to what has previously been a 4 forward bench at the Dog’s. Like Graham, Tolman’s minutes have increased slightly to just over 60 per game (up from around 55) over the last 3 weeks. In last week’s match against the Rabbitohs Tolman managed a gargantuan 69 points in pure base from just 60 minutes which led to a 2017 high score of 73!

Tolman can be picked up this round for $388,400 and with a BE in the 40’s is on the way up. He doesn’t offer as much as Graham and is all base stats but he is a good POD for head to head players and would not look out of place as a reliable reserve in any team throughout the bye period.

I’m not buying too much into the talk that the increase in minutes is a result of David Klemmer being injured. The minutes were there for both players before his injury and unlike other clubs with 80 minute second rowers (imagine Greg Eastwood at the end of 80 haha) the inclusion of Frawley on the bench should see the pattern continue.



Not too much new value in the 2nd row this week however there are a few Dual CTW Position players worth a shout (Crichton still trumps IMO).

Sione Matautia burnt a lot of people at the start of the year (how rude of him to get consecutive concussions) but has been back to 80 the past 2 games. Last week he pumped out a solid 63 for the 6000 remaining owners and 61 of that was in pure base stats.

Due to the Knights poor bye schedule I would only advise picking him up now if you are a head to head player but at $ 258,500 and with a BE of 20 he is not a bad buy and a solid option to shift to CTW once the cheapies have peaked.

Another guy there has been a few whispers about is Michael Chee Cam from Wests. Playing only 45 minutes off of the bench in the last 3 rounds he has averaged 57 points at a PPM of 1.4 and holds a BE heading into round 8 of only 16.

This week with Idris out with a hamstring injury MCC should see the 80 minutes but I doubt he can keep the PPM. Although he is on the favourable side of the Tigers attack he is too awkward a price for mine at $290k and the Tigers draw isn’t getting easier anytime soon. One for the risk takers, but IMO he isn’t a keeper and certainly isn’t worth two trades.


Let me tell you, Halfback is a real wasteland this year for those who skipped the SJ rollercoaster. With JT out I am now forced to run the lethal combination of Lamb and Frawley for the next few weeks because there just isnt any worthwhile trades. Out of the relevant options available Norman and SJ are both going to drop significantly over the next few weeks so are not buys just yet, Pearce or Arey could be playing origin; and DCE and Cleary both have rubbish early bye schedules so are hard to justify right now.

Because of this Gareth Widdop is now looking far more appealing than he should be and I think many will be forced into paying overs for him. Despite his season 82 average and BE of 12 – $465,400 is far too much to be paying for the englishman.  In the next few games he has Roosters, Sharks and Storm back to back and then has the bye. With a base platform of only 17 points he is going to crumble hard. His BE will be about 200 once his 124 drops out of his rolling average.

Let me digress, I will probably be buying Widdop – just not yet. The Dragons have an outstanding second half draw and don’t play Melbourne, Sharks or the Cowboys from round 13 onwards whilst playing the Titans and Newcastle twice. I’m hoping to pick up Widdop for around 400k prior to round 13/14 but refuse to pay his current price especially in light of the matches he has coming up. How’s this for a bold prediction – I’l eat my hat if Lamb doesn’t outscore Widdop in the next 3 rounds.


With no rookie cheapies on offer this week there is some desperation seeping through the trade ideas. I cannot beleive that nearly 3000 people have already traded in Kirisome Auva’a, he is Dale Copely 2.0 with worse job security. If you have traded him in just reverse now and save yourself the I told you so comments. In 4 years in first grade he has never eclipsed the 300k barrier and I cant see that changing anytime soon.

If you are desperate for a cheapie cash cow consider this guy, Kyle Feldt. Due to a toxic start to the year you can now get him in for just 188k which is bang on his current average of 28 points a round. The upside with Feldt is that he scored a 50 last start and has a be of 12 heading into round 8. He also is kicking goals while JT is out and plays the knights at home this week. Despite rumours he would  be dropped this week, Paul Green confirmed with fox sports in an article this week that that wont be happening and he will be keen to repay the faith. Obviously he isn’t a long term option, but out of the options sub 200k this week he is the most likely to make $100k and in the shortest time-frame.


RTS and Teddy are the premium options and Jack Wighton is the best of the rest. I don’t get the Billy Slater appeal regardless of his BE. If he is fit he will play origin which means he will miss 4 out of 8 games over the bye period. If he’s not fit then he is injured again. Either way he isn’t worth the two trades you would be using to get him in now and then get him out again pre-origin.

He is priced at a 45 average, so its a reasonable price but even if he goes back to his glory days of a 60+ average he is only going to see about a 100k rise and that is not worth the two trades. The End.

For those interested my other trade this week is likely GGM to Valentine Holmes. There isn’t really enough stats to justify his inclusion, but as a Sharks fan he is my home boy and looks to be getting more comfortable in his new role every week. He also plays the Tigers and Titans back to back and my gut says that something special is on the horizon. Sometimes you have to forget the stats and remember this is meant to be a fun game. I’m looking forward to cheering on a player I like for once and enjoying my footy this round.


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.

Written by Kyle Robson –  Instagram: underdog_fantasy

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