Lone Scout, NRL.com
The 'Big Three' will dominate again for the Storm this year but the departures of Gareth Widdop and Brett Finch means there is a spot up for grabs for one of Melbourne's promising young halves.
It doesn't get any better in Holden NRL Fantasy than Cameron Smith ($523,600). The Storm hooker and captain controls the game for his club, state and country and is similarly dominant in fantasy, making a ton of tackles each week, kicking goals, making canny runs from dummy half and setting up tries. He plays the full 80 every week – with the rare exception of a post-Origin or pre-finals rest – and is odds on favourite to be the top scorer in NRL Fantasy once again this season.
Unsurprisingly, the other big guns for the Melbourne from a Fantasy perspective are the remaining two thirds of the much-celebrated 'Big Three'. Halfback Cooper Cronk ($363,300) dominates Melbourne's general play kicking and frequently tops the NRL's try assist charts, while Billy Slater ($343,800) is a weapon in attack and is even more valuable in Fantasy this season with the introduction of points for try saves and kicks defused. All three are likely to be reliable options for your Fantasy squad this season.
Ben Hampton ($201,900) has the inside running to replace Gareth Widdop as Melbourne's first-choice five-eighth, and comes with the added bonus of being a dual-position half and winger/fullback. With regular game time and a few decent scores you should expect to see his price rise this season.
The Storm have recruited George Rose ($157,400) as a replacement for fellow veteran prop Jason Ryles but it could be the younger Kenneath Bromwich ($141,000) who makes a bigger impact in the front-row rotation this year. Bromwich has signed a new deal with the club, is a dual-position front- and second-rower in NRL Fantasy and comes at a very affordable starting price. He'll start behind Bryan Norrie and brother Jesse Bromwich in the pecking order but could be a moneymaker if his game time increases in 2014.
Two young backline guns grab the attention here. Cody Walker ($107,000) was the star of the Queensland Cup last season and could get a run early in the season in the halves if Cooper Cronk fails to recover from shoulder surgery in time, although he'll need to outplay Hampton in order to steal a regular starting spot.
Centre Hymel Hunt ($107,000) is another youngster who could get his shot if injury strikes. Hunt was a member of last season's Holden Cup Team of the Year and did play one game for the Titans in 2013, and has been brought to the Storm as cover for the centres following the exits of Maurice Blair and Junior Sa'u. Will Chambers and Justin O'Neill remain the team's first-choice centre pairing but an injury in the backline could give Hunt his chance.
Storm player prices
Cameron Smith (HOK) $523,600
Cooper Cronk (HLF) $363,300
Billy Slater, WFB) $343,800
Ryan Hinchcliffe (HOK (2RF) $309,200
Jesse Bromwich (FRF) $305,300
Ryan Hoffman (2RF) $301,500
Tohu Harris (2RF) $288,800
Will Chambers (CTR) $274,600
Kevin Proctor (2RF) $251,600
Sisa Waqa (WFB) $234,800
Bryan Norrie (FRF) $223,000
Ben Hampton (WFB, HLF) $201,900
Jordan McLean (FRF) $188,200
Junior Moors (FRF) $184,500
Siosaia Vave (FRF) $183,700
Justin O'Neill (CTR, WFB) $180,300
Mahe Fonua (WFB) $170,600
Travis Robinson (CTR) $163,100
George Rose (FRF) $157,400
Slade Griffin (CTR (2RF) $151,300
Kenneath Bromwich (FRF, 2RF) $141,000
Tim Glasby (FRF) $140,200
Mitchell Garbutt (FRF) $138,000
Dayne Weston (2RF) $107,000
Matthew Duffie (WFB) $107,000
Hymel Hunt (CTR) $107,000
Kurt Mann (WFB, HLF) $107,000
Cody Walker (HLF) $107,000
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