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Lone Scout's NRL Fantasy Q&A: Round 1

Footy is back! And that means the Holden NRL Fantasy is also about to kick off for another massive season.

If you haven't picked a team already, do it now. There are a stack of prizes up for grabs, including $20,000 and a trip to the NRL Grand Final for the overall winner plus weekly prizes, club champion prizes and much more. You can also beat your mates in head-to-head leagues every week to prove who really knows their footy.

Need help picking a team? First stop is the Official Round 1 team lists, and then my analysis of which players you should keep an eye on in Fantasy from every team. 

Then there's the Fantasy checklist to tick off, including picking up a few of those all-important cash cows and dual position players.

For more info on particular players, check out my Fantasy profiles of all 16 clubs.

And now, before the Roosters and Rabbitohs kick off the season, a few quick answers to this week's popular questions.

From George @geeekayyy
Do you think Corey Parker's move to front row will affect his scores in a bad way?

Not necessarily. My guess is that Parker will start at prop but shift back into the back row as usual when Brisbane's bench props (Ben Hannant, Martin Kennedy, Jarrod Wallace) come on. He's their captain and goal-kicker and is a proven 80-minute player, so it makes sense the Broncos still give him as many minutes as possible.

From Jason Murray @Odin009
Hey LS, great to be back for 2014. With Round 1 here, do you suggest spending all salary cap or save some for later?

Spending all your salary cap is tempting (some people strive to have $0 left in their bank balance) but I always prefer to keep a little cash up your sleeve for the inevitable trades you'll want to make next week. Having between $20,000 and $50,000 left should give you enough room to make any minor upgrades you'll want ahead of Round 2. There's nothing worse than identifying the ideal trade but finding yourself $1000 short.

From Cameron Oosthuizen
Hey mate, just wondering what's the low down with the best rookie halves. Cornish is supposedly classy. What about Kelly from the Eels, Brooks from the Tigers and Hunt from the Broncos? I want four new up and coming halves looking to make some cash...

Any help would be appreciated if you suggest anyone else let me know.

Brooks & Hunt are good options, as cheap halves who should dominate the playmaking duties at their clubs. Cornish isn't named this week and Kelly's not as cheap as the rest. Other cheap (if not young) halves to watch are Michael Witt, Daniel Holdsworth and Michael Dobson, who are all named to start in Round 1 and should be good value.

From Jordan Steer
Hey Scout I have a few questions before the season kicks off tonight. Is Sam Burgess worth the cash? Or should I grab Gallen for a little extra? Also out of the two cheap halves Dobson and Holdsworth who is the best pick up to make cash?

They're all good options. Gallen's a slightly better scorer than Burgess, but he's priced accordingly. Burgess does have a better bye schedule if you're playing for overall points (the Rabbitohs play in all three major bye rounds) 

In terms of the cheap halves, Dobson will probably keep his first-grade spot a little longer than Holdsworth, purely because the injured player he's replacing - Jarrod Mullen - is out longer than the guy Holdsworth's replacing - Jeff Robson. Although of course if Holdsworth and the Sharks make a strong start to the season he could keep his place in the side even when Robson returns to full fitness.

I'd probably just lean towards Burgess and Dobson, but there's very little in it.

***

Still stuck on who players to get? You can always follow the pack. Here's a hypothetical 25-man squad made up of the most popular players in NRL Fantasy heading into Round 1: 

HOK: Cameron Smith, Issac Luke
FRF: Corey Parker (yes, he's a front-rower now as well), Andrew Fifita, Josh Starling, Trent Merrin
2RF: Sonny Bill Williams, Sam Burgess, Nathan Peats, Paul Gallen, Shaun Fensom, Cory Paterson
HLF: Luke Brooks, Johnathan Turston, Shaun Johnson, Daly Cherry-Evans
CTR: Willie Tonga, Jamie Lyon, Simon Mannering, Michael Jennings
WFB: Greg Inglis, Sam Tomkins, Will Hopoate, Jarryd Hayne, Ben Barba, Michael Witt
(Note: this squad wouldn't fit under the salary cap)

Now all that's left to do is finalise your squad – particularly the Roosters and Rabbitohs you'll want in your team. Remember there's a rolling lockout so you can keep making changes to your side all weekend, but players will be locked in once their game begins.

Good luck!

Start playing Holden NRL Fantasy now, get more hints and tips on my NRL.com page, or join in the Fantasy conversation on Twitter, Facebook or by sending me an email at iamthelonescout@gmail.com.

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