The Fantasy King: Corey Parker and Preparing for Round 3
By Mick Adams
Corey Parker became the seventh highest Twitter trending topic in Australia on Monday afternoon when news of his impending thumb surgery broke. No disrespect to the big fella, but I don’t think much of the talk was centred on how the Broncos would go without him. That’s right, the enforced four to six week layoff is huge fantasy news, and has sent team owners into panic mode en masse. However, I advised last week to keep a cool head following an opening round of unusually low scores, and nothing’s changed in this case. There are a number of positives to be taken from this, and a shrewd player can use it to his/her advantage. Here’s the upside:
Gun for Gun
Parker, Gallen, Fensom, Hindmarsh. I’d hate to see the rest of your squad if you bought these four players at opening market price. As such, the obvious move is to purchase one that you don’t have. However, an intrepid gambler might consider taking a hit this week and waiting to see if there are any price drops before making the trade. Fensom is unlikely to decrease in value following his superb Round One score, and Hindmarsh’s late scratching from the Eels’ Monday night game against the Warriors means that his price won’t be adjusted until after Round Four. Paul Gallen was heading for a big drop following a less than stellar opening match, but posted a 90 in the Sharks’ loss to the Knights on Sunday. With a Break Even of 92 this weekend, there remains a strong chance his price will go down. Many fantasy players will feel it’s not worth taking a risk, but remembering that Parker will have to be traded back into your team at some stage, that extra cash could make the difference.
Now this is pure speculation, but hear me out. After two rounds, Parker is below his break even, although admittedly not by much. Obviously he needs to play one more game before his price changes. Given the depth of back row talent at the Broncos, is it possible that he will be eased back into first grade by coach Griffin, with a lighter workload his first game back? A huge gamble to not trade him back into your team as soon as he returns, but one that could save you $$$ if it comes off.
This is perhaps the biggest positive to the Parker injury. In the past, the silver fox was so coveted not just for his superhuman work rate, but that he was perennially overlooked for the Maroons. That all changed last year however, and he played all three games. I guess Choppy Close had him in his fantasy team or something. The injury might harm his chances this year. If he is out for the full six weeks, he will have only two games to prove himself to the Queensland selectors. More than enough for a genuine superstar, but for Parker perhaps not. As a proud Cockroach, I’d much rather see Parker on the Queensland bench than a Matt Gillett or Dallas Johnson. With all the talent Queensland have in the forwards (and in the halves, and everywhere else), Parker will have some work to do to hold his place.
IN OTHER NEWS
Those like me who were looking at Round Two to provide a gauge on player form before making those all important trades would be thoroughly annoyed at the inconsistency of scores from week one to two. Many questions were raised, none were answered. Very frustrating.
With JT underperforming at the Cowboys, the young Warrior seemed a very possible trade option following his first round 84, and at a juicy price too. His 8 against the Eels on Monday night has made the decision a tough one, particularly as his halves partner Maloney has been just as erratic, posting scores of 21 and 103 to begin the year. For me, Thurston’s got to go, even if he did improve greatly against the Broncos. The certainty of a significant price decrease (his Break Even is 130) and the fact that he does not seem to be head and shoulders above other halfbacks (fantasy-wise) this year suggests that the value for money is not there, and punting him this week will ensure maximum return. The only question is how to replace him.
I’m actually not too worried about this one. The poor old Sharkies were abysmal on Sunday, and he was one of the worst, making a number of key mistakes. However, a couple of these came when the Sharks were on the attack, close to the Newcastle tryline. We know what Carney can do when he’s in the mood, and on another day these mistakes could have just as easily been replaced by tries and try assists. There is a downside of course. The Sharks have the slowest backline I’ve ever seen, and will need Carney playing out of his skin every week if they are to avoid a wooden spoon dogfight with the likes of the Panthers and Eels. Can he handle all that responsibility?
David Stagg was a massive disappointment in Round One, but almost doubled his score in Saturday night’s defeat of the Dragons. However, how much of this was due to James Graham? As Stagg doubled his score, Graham’s was halved due to the time he spent off the field. If he plays a full game this week, will Stagg drop off again? Another mystery. While we’re on the subject of Bulldogs forwards; with Stagg, Graham and Tolman in the starting side, is this the blondest pack in Rugby League history?
ROOKIE ROUND UP
At the start of the season, he seemed perhaps the least likely of this year’s batch, given that he was only included in the team to cover for what was supposed to be a short-term injury to Jarryd Hayne. Two weeks later and he is set for a 40k price rise following scores of 37 and 65, with his stocks rising even higher due to Hayne’s ill-fated return on Monday night.
His first game as a starter demonstrated that Hurrell is still the undisputed must-have of the rookie crop. He is also set to jump in price, and is probably a better long-term option than Sio, as the centre spot at the Warriors appears to be his to lose.
Two games in, I think it’s safe to say he’s no DCE. Solid performances without looking exceptional.
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