SuperCoach NRL: Best trades, worst traps for round three
THIS week is vital for SuperCoaches as it is our last chance to snap up a player before his price increases.
There are some buys, and sells which make a strong case and there are some that reek of knee-jerk reaction to unsustainable scoring, or lack thereof.
Before I take a look at specific trades, I'd like to make a general point - do not be beguiled by projected 'BE' numbers when attempting to calculate future price rises.
You need to dig behind the headline number and look at the categories in which players are producing points and then ask if they are replicable week in week out. I'll tease this out with some specific examples below.
With that said let's rate the most popular trades of the round:
Sam Burgess 2RF|FRF ($560,000) BE: -13
The most popular buy in SuperCoach this week and prima facie it's easy to see why. Big Sam has plenty of pedigree when it comes to posting big season scores, in fact he owns the greatest season in the game's history - 2014 when he played 23 games for 2055 points at 89PPG. 'Surgess' has also started 2019 on fire with opening round scores of 68 and 129. The past and the present both favour putting a strong 'Buy' recommendation on Burgess, and if you are looking to replace Jason Taumalolo and you already own those players I rank above Burgess for those unfortunate 'Lolo' owners, then I can see the point in the move. However, I'm seeing far too much social media chatter from people considering trading out the likes of Cameron Murray and Martin Taupau to fund the trade as both a points and cash grab and here's why that's a horrible mistake.
Points: Burgess, season average 98.5PPG, is currently averaging fewer than 50PPG in base (yes I know it's a small sample size) and that is the lowest base he has achieved in four seasons. Burgess is currently averaging 35.5PPG in scoring and linebreaks, that exceeds his career norms by near enough 30 points. So let's assume that Sam is not going to maintain his current rate of snaffling tries and give him a best case continued average of 68.5 - that's best case I do not believe he can do that but for the sake of argument below let's do that.
Money: Currently rocking a negative BE, Burgess only needs to take the field on the weekend to make money. But I urge would-be purchasers to look beyond next week. Should Burgess score 68 next week his price will increase around $55K. A similar score in round four and owners will be sitting pretty with close to a $100K profit. However, should Burgess revert to his 2018 season average of 60PPG from here that two week price rise is now 'just' $80K and you lose all of that profit by round nine.
Summary: It can be hard to ignore the siren call of last week's points combined with the promise of profit. And, in certain circumstances I can understand why some are trading for Burgess. But, and it's a Sir Mix-A-Lot sized but, those circumstances require that you are trading out an injured player with no better options. They demand that you are not trading out a proven gun who had plenty of round one excuses but bounced back (Taupau) and they insist you do not trade out a young gun who is set to make you money (Murray).
Rating: Conditional Buy and a strong Hold (having reasons not to buy is quite different from finding reasons to sell)
Braidon Burns CTW ($286,000) BE: -53
Hasn't Burns come from the clouds in 2019? In the past, Burns has been derided as a SC dud, lacking workrate and impact. This season, seemingly enjoying the coach's trust, and certainly enjoying life on the vaunted Rabbitohs left edge (who wouldn't enjoy playing outside Cody Walker?) Burns has posted scores of 70PPG and 77PPG. He's a strong buy recommendation for mine and here's why.
Points: The headline scores aside, it's Burns' base - 34 in both rounds - which sees him being welcomed to The Beasts with open arms this week. On top of the base, Burns is averaging five tackle busts per round, and that's sustainable in my books (at least over the short term but more on that in a minute). Actually, more on that now - the Rabbitohs' draw over the next four weeks is juicy, comprising the Titans, Sea Eagles, Warriors and Bulldogs. It's overly optimistic to expect any outside back to consistently average 74PPG over a four-game span, but with a soft draw it's certainly possible for them to average 65PPG - and that's just what I'll do below.
Money: With such a low BE, Burns will see a big price jump after round three. How big? Well should Burns score 65 points against the Titans then his price will jump $85K, a score of 50 points will see a $75K increase. Assuming Burns can then average 65PPG against the remaining three opponents, and let's be honest the sky is the limit in the games against the Warriors and Bulldogs, then come the end of round six his price will sit close to $200K more than it is now and you will either have a 'keeper' at a bargain price or a stepping stone to a fallen gun like Angus Crichton (via duals).
Rating: Strong Buy.
Robbie Farah HKR ($581,800) BE - 42
The Wests Tigers veteran hooker has turned back the clock and is currently the third most bought player in the game. With consecutive tons, Farah's spectacular early season form sees thousands of players dropping pre-season darling Josh Hodgson and the G.O.A.T. Cam Smith to join the Tiger - now a better pick than Cam Smith - at least that's what 1,090 SuperCoaches are thinking at the moment.
Points: If Sam Burgess' output can be deemed unsustainable, then Farah's is surely unbelievable. This is not some youngster on the up here, it's a 35-year-old veteran. I would argue, as with Burgess that the past is a fair example of what is on offer and so a comparison to historic output is a better indication to future scores than this small two game outlier. With three tries, two linebreaks, three try assists and four linebreak assists across two games, Farah is currently averaging 65.5 PPG across just those four stat categories. In the 11 games he played last year (in which he averaged a very acceptable 62PPG), Farah averaged 16PPG across those four stats. That's almost 50PPG which seem unlikely to be maintained. Take 50 PPG off Farah's average and he would still be averaging 67PPG which is excellent. Sadly, I don't see that continuing for Farah especially as he is currently averaging 10PPG more in forced dropouts than he has in the past. Let's be generous though, and take just 7PPG of those away. This leaves Farah at 60PPG and that, for mine, is what any optimistic owner should expect going forward.
Money: As per those above, with a big negative BE this week you are guaranteed a price rise next week. However, just like Burgess I predict that will be a short-lived sugar hit. If Farah averages 65PPG over the next five rounds he will have given back much of the price surge and heading in to round nine he will be priced just $30K above his current price and facing a nasty BE.
Verdict: A conditional Buy. Josh Hodgson has really not hit the heights many of us expected coming in to the season. Not only is he failing to find attacking stats his base has dropped through the floor. A trade from him to Farah is a Buy. Not so sure I'd be selling Smith though - I feel he and Farah will finish the season neck and neck and you're burning a trade.
Corey Oates CTW ($504,000) BE -40
Brisbane winger Corey Oates has started the season on fire and has caught the eye of 6,000 SuperCoaches which makes him currently the fifth most traded in player this round. Oates has scored two tries in each game this year and is sitting pretty averaging 103 PPG.
Points: Along with the four tries, Oates has five linebreaks, 12 tackle busts and thanks to his willingness in bringing the ball back from kicks a solid base for his position (averaging 30PPG almost exclusively in hit-ups). Of course, if you believe Oates can maintain that rate of scoring I've got a bridge to sell you, but while some regression in tries and linebreaks is assured, Oates has been increasing his tackle bust numbers each of the last four seasons and I'd expect a lesser slide there. Early evidence suggests Oates is enjoying his partnership with Jack Bird and he has scored well despite neither Brisbane half really hitting their straps. The big rig averaged 54PPG last year and 52 the year before that. It's a fair bet he finishes 2019 closer to 60 and that's the number I'll use for the calculations below.
Money: Any player who gets off to such a big start will make money in round three, and Oates is poised to do just that. With a 60PPG average over the next two rounds, Oates will jump near enough $100K. However, over half of that profit will be handed back in the three weeks that follow. Priced at $504,000, Oates is not a player you buy with money making in mind, that's what cheapies are for (to put this in perspective Reuben Garrick can average 35 over the next four games and make you $80K more profit than Oates would averaging 60PPG).
Verdict: Would I buy Oates? No, but not because I do not see him as a very solid CTW, rather there are just too many money-making options available at that position. On that basis Oates is a Hold.
Jai Arrow 2RF ($598,00) BE 26
I'm nearing 1700 words at this point so am going to keep this brief …
Points: Provided he does not break down under the workload Arrow will score lots and lots of points. He will score them with a big base, plenty of offloads and an occasional linebreak.
Money: Priced at $598,000, Arrow will not make you a fortune. However, he will go up in price from here to around $670K and hold that value barring injury.
Verdict: If you have all the usual money-making suspects then Arrow should be your priority Buy this week.
Luke Garner 2RF ($265,100) BE: -43
The Wests tigers promoted Luke Garner to their starting side following a pre-season injury to Chris Lawrence and he certainly delivered for those coaches who took a chance from the off with a try and linebreak boosted 80 point effort in round one. Garner backed that up with a largely all base 50 points in round two.
Points: I had Garner as a watch following round one, as it's always wise not to get too excited by a score boosted by attacking stats. However, 50 points in 68 minutes in round two is enough for me to get excited. The runs were down in round two (just 10 hit-ups in round two as opposed to 14 in round one) and as a result the tackle busts were down too - well that and the Warriors defended better than the Sea Eagles. However, Garner's workrate in defence lifted to largely make up and deficit in runs/tackle busts. Garner played 65 minutes in round one (41 base) and 68 in round two (46 base). On an edge he will never deliver a tremendous BPPM but seems to have enough attacking nous in his game to make a forecast of 50-55PPG average over next few weeks realistic.
Money: If Garner can average 55PPG over the next few weeks then his price should rise to around $425K by the end of round six - that changes to $400K with a more conservative 50PPG average.
Verdict: It's a Buy for me. Not an elite money-maker like Briton Nikora, Garner nonetheless should increase in price significantly more than the likes of Junior Tatola over the next 3-4 weeks.
Luke Keary 5/8 ($460,400) BE: -12
The Roosters' five-eighth has started the season well and had a big game in round two - as a result Keary is currently the eleventh most purchased player for the round. Some of those jumping on Keary might want a bit of a history lesson …
Points: With four try assists, two linebreak assists and three forced dropouts for good measure, Keary (105 points) was a maestro in guiding the Roosters to victory over Manly in round two. That big score on top of a very serviceable 58 in round one, has Keary currently the top scoring player at his position. However, those jumping on Keary might want to take a look at his 2018 numbers. In Keary's first two games of the season (he missed round one) he scored 72 and 97. Big things looked likely, and while there were a couple of decent scores in the next five (a 63 and a 59) there were also scores of 19, 40 and 11. That's Keary's game. When he is the dominant half he will score well. When Cronk takes over he won't. And when they share the duties Keary will score just ok. Keary averaged 59PPG in 2017 playing alongside Mitch Pearce and 49PPG in 2018 alongside Cronk. Let's be generous and say he averages 54PPG in 2019 for the purposes of the below.
Money: If Keary can maintain 54PPG over the next four weeks his price will jump $50K. If that average is 50PPG then the increase over that span will be closer to $30K. However, as I have pointed out above, Keary can be rather rocks and diamonds. If he strings together a couple more good games you will see big price jumps fast. The risk is a couple of quiet games happen next and suddenly the guy you bought as a stepping stone to a premium gun is more of a trapdoor.
Verdict: Keary is a No for mine. Halves, in particular - though this can happen in other positions - sometimes are tremendous real-life players but lack the type of game to score well in SuperCoach consistently. Keary is one of those and you should not be dazzled by one game..