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Newcastle Knights centre Dane Gagai.

Last year's wooden spooners will be desperate to kick off a new era under coach Nathan Brown. Jarrod Mullen returns after an injury-ravaged season, but will the playmaker still be a Fantasy gun alongside NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson?

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Fantasy gun

Kade Snowden: He may no longer be a rep star but Snowden produced some surprisingly strong numbers in 2015, with high tackle counts helping the prop to a season average of 52 from 21 matches. He was the only Knight to average more than 50 Fantasy points a game.

Wild cards

Jarrod Mullen: Once a definite Fantasy gun thanks to his knack for racking up a lot of kick metres, Mullen will start the season with a mid-range price of $349,000 and a break even of 39 after an underwhelming 2015 season. Usually that would make him great value, but with Hodkinson now at the club, the kicking in general play at Newcastle could be split evenly between the two halves. Hodkinson's presence could free up Mullen to play a more natural running game, but the loss of guaranteed kick metre numbers means the five-eighth is a gamble – especially with his injury record.

Dane Gagai: A big talent and Queensland Origin representative, Gagai could be one of the year's top Fantasy centres – or finish the year as a middle of the pack 35-point player again. His Fantasy fortunes last season matched the Knights' own rollercoaster season – he kicked off the year with a huge 82 points in Round 1, and finished it with an 8-point effort in Round 26. He's a natural tackle-breaking ball runner and if he fires consistently he'll be great value, but it remains a big "if".

Value buys

Robbie Rochow: With Beau Scott and Chris Houston no longer at the club and Tariq Sims suspended for the opening five rounds of the season, there are minutes up for grabs in the Knights back row at the start of the new season. Not only is Rochow capable of playing the full 80, but he also started last season with scores of 57 and 49 and has a discount price of $305,000 after playing just five matches in 2015. Now back from injury, Rochow will have a break even of about 34 and could make some quick cash – although he did also produce a couple of scores in the 20s last year and is just as likely to make a slow start to 2016.

Joseph Tapine: Like Rochow, Tapine could capitalise on the absence of Scott, Houston and Sims at the start of the season. Tapine is more of an impact player than Rochow – capable of making more tackle busts but also likely to play fewer minutes – but despite his relative lack of experience is capable of pipping Rochow to a starting spot in the back row. 

2016 NRL Fantasy prices
Kade Snowden ($468,000)
Tariq Sims ($408,000)
Trent Hodkinson ($371,000)
Jeremy Smith ($363,000)
Jarrod Mullen ($349,000)
Korbin Sims ($318,000)
Dane Gagai ($317,000)
Jake Mamo ($312,000)
Robbie Rochow ($305,000)
Jack Stockwell ($295,000)
Akuila Uate ($289,000)
Tyler Randell ($270,000)
Joseph Tapine ($269,000)
Mickey Paea ($268,000)
Sione Mata'utia ($255,000)
Sam Mataora ($224,000)
Paterika Vaivai ($214,000)
Nathan Ross ($211,000)
James McManus ($194,000)
Dan Levi ($179,000)
Lachlan Fitzgibbon ($134,000)
Chanel Mata'utia ($134,000)
David Bhana ($130,000)

More NRL Fantasy guides for 2016

NRL Fantasy opens later this month: Pre-register now

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