The NRL season kicks off tonight so it's time to get your Fantasy squad sorted. Which stars are you going to lock in? Which rookies are you taking a punt on?
We've all got last-minute questions on what could be the most important day of the Fantasy season, so here are my answers to a few of them. (Send me your questions during the season via Facebook or Twitter.)
What position will be the most consistent/top scoring/best value for money this year?
(From Ross Lapthorne)
Looks like hooker is the key position at this stage of the season, with great options for cash cows (Michael Lichaa, Adam Clydsdale, Kierran Moseley, Jake Granville, etc), mid-priced guns (James Segeyaro, Issac Luke), and genuine Fantasy superstars (Robbie Farah and Cameron Smith). With a lot of tackles to be made in the middle and playmaking opportunities on offer as well, it's a great position to score Fantasy points – but the pity is there are only two hooker spots in your squad so you need to choose wisely.
Would Cameron Smith be worth putting in now he's playing?
(From Will Bird)
The smart money was on Smith being ruled out this week – and possible for another couple of weeks – with an ankle injury, but the Storm sprung a surprise on Tuesday when they named their skipper to play against the Dragons on Monday night. He's traditionally one of the best, if not the best, scorers in NRL Fantasy, and will probably rival Robbie Farah as the top scorer in the game this year.
In saying all that, he does still have to be under some injury cloud, and if he's not a late withdrawal on Monday he could still spend a little bit of time on the bench if necessary with Ryan Hinchcliffe capable of replacing him from the interchange. So right now Farah is a safer bet, but in a week or two I can see Smith and Farah going neck-and-neck for scores each week. Of course, there are a lot of other cheaper options at hooker as well.
Lone Scout, should I keep a fair bit of money in the bank so I can afford to upgrade some of my average players which may not perform to the guns?
(From Mitch Kersnovske)
I like to have a little bit of spare cash in the bank after Round 1 as you pretty much always need to make a few trades in the opening rounds to get your squad right, and you don't want to be left $5K short when trying to make that crucial trade. How much spare cash you keep depends on your goals really – if you're playing in a head-to-head comp that doesn't start until Round 4 then by all means keep a lot of money up your sleeve, but if you're trying to keep pace with the overall leaders you'll want to put your salary cap space to good use from the get go.
Can we please have a list of likely goal kickers?
(From Andrew Vautier)
Here's my stab at the first choice and back-up kickers for each club.
BRONCOS: Corey Parker, Ben Hunt, Anthony Milford
RAIDERS: Jarrod Croker, Blake Austin
BULLDOGS: Trent Hodkinson, Tim Lafai
SHARKS: Michael Gordon, Michael Ennis
TITANS: Aidan Sezer, Kevin Gordon, Greg Bird, Daniel Mortimer
SEA EAGLES: Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, Daly Cherry-Evans
STORM: Cameron Smith, Will Chambers, Tohu Harris
KNIGHTS: Kurt Gidley, Tyrone Roberts, Dane Gagai
COWBOYS: Johnathan Thurston, Robert Lui, Ethan Lowe
EELS: Chris Sandow, Reece Robinson
PANTHERS: Jamie Soward, Matt Moylan, Peter Wallace
RABBITOHS: Adam Reynolds, Issac Luke, Bryson Goodwin
DRAGONS: Gareth Widdop, Benji Marshall, Josh Dugan
ROOSTERS: James Maloney, Blake Ferguson
WARRIORS: Shaun Johnson, Chad Townsend, Ben Henry
WESTS TIGERS: Pat Richards, Curtis Sironen, Mitchell Moses
With Kahu and Hodges sharing the centre/fullback roles at Brisbane; how will that effect Kahu's Fantasy scoring and is he still worth a look in?
(From Chris Rawlins)
My guess is it helps Hodges and hurts Kahu. Hodges still gets his tackles in the front line plus the odd tackle break/try assist/etc when chiming in from the back, but Kahu loses those attacking opportunities and also won't be making any tackles in defence. He will still get kick defusal points plus metres from his kick returns, and might get a few more tryscoring chances finishing off backline moves out wide though.
Will there be unlimited trades during rolling lockout? Change team every game?
(From Pravin Chanmugam)
Yes, this weekend you have unlimited trades right up until the start of the Dragons v Storm game on Monday night. Of course players will be locked into your team (or out of it) across the round as each game begins – so you have to have all your Rabbitohs and Broncos locked in today – but you will still be able to tweak the rest of your squad tomorrow.
What are your thoughts on picking both Fifita and Gallen?
(From Tal Cohen)
They're both Fantasy superstars, but they're also both expensive – with some suggestions Paul Gallen's minutes could drop a little this season. Yet we've heard those kind of suggestions before and it's never really stopped Gallen being a dominant player in attack and defence, with him and Fifita both posting big numbers for run metres and tackles whenever they're fit and firing. Gallen's dual position status in the forwards is also handy.
So the only real concern with those guys is the amount of salary cap space they take up – meaning you'll probably have to make sacrifices in your squad elsewhere if you want to fit them both in. If you can find enough cheapies that you're confident in, then go ahead. Otherwise, look to downgrade one or both of them to one of the slightly cheaper gun forwards available.
Need more info? I may have answered your question already in one of my other features:
Full Fantasy wrap of the Round 1 team lists
Strategy talk: Head-to-head v overall points
Scout Report: Pre-season Q&As
Prizes: What's up for grabs this season
Rating the popular Fantasy halves
Why 2015 is a fullbacks frenzy in Fantasy
Snapshot of this year's cash cows
More Fantasy feature articles