2020 Clive Churchill medallist Ryan Papenhuyzen opens the 2021 NRL Fantasy season priced at $658k, a break-even of 49 and is a fan favourite with an ownership of 25.5%.
The injury to Tommy Turbo has left fantasy coaches in tatters and it wouldn’t surprise me to see many moves towards Lil Paps before the start of the season.
Because of his blistering performance on the field, it is often forgotten that 2020 was Papenhuyzen’s first full year in first grade. He debuted at full-back in round 10, 2019 and was only a permanent fixture in the Storm spine in round 23 when coach Bellamy moved Jahrome Hughes to halfback. Given his inexperience, you favour that he is nowhere near hitting his ceiling as a player.
Given an average of 49 in 2020 you would anticipate that he continues to improve as a footballer and the new rules will only continue to suit a player of his speed and body type. I would project an additional 5-6 points to give him a mid 50's average and that's not even with him being considered as a potential goal kicker.
With Cameron Smith likely now moved on the Storm will have to find a new goal kicker. Smith averaged 4.2 goals (8 points) and the back-up kickers in the past have been Munster and Papenhuyen with neither setting the world on fire with percentages in the 50% area. However on close examination of their kicking, Papenhuyzen does appear to be the more confident kicker and with a more natural right foot style.
So with a breakeven of 49, I think I can work my cap a little better and am very confident he significantly exceed his 49 BE. I’ll be tuning in to that first trial to see who’s kicking goals and if it's Paps it’s a major buy signal for you to make room for him in your fantasy team and if you have him in draft makes him captain material.
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