NRL Fantasy guide: Front-rowers
While the second row is the place where you're likely to see the majority of your NRL Fantasy points each week, neglect the front row at your peril.
The changes to interchange rules will see most front-rowers spend slightly more time on the field in 2016, with a boost in scores likely to follow. With that in mind, here are some of the front-row metre-eaters you should be looking at ahead of Round 1.
Andrew Fifita (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, $543,000)
The blockbusting Sharks front-rower played 16 games last season with a very handy average of 60.8. Is capable of a monster score on his day, with some big attacking bonuses to accompany sound base stats.
Pros: Tries, tackle breaks, run metres, tackles, offloads... Fifita is a Fantasy machine. Some are concerned by Paul Gallen's influence in the Sharks side, thinking it will reduce Fifita's point-scoring ability, but those fears are largely unfounded. Scores well regardless of who he lines up alongside.
Cons: For a player with a 60-plus average, you're going to pay a premium. Fifita doesn't start cheap as the third-highest valued player behind Corey Parker and Cameron Smith, so the Sharks prop will need to hit the ground running to maintain his value. That being said, you're likely to get what you pay for. Does also rely heavily on tackle breaks to boost his score, but that hasn't been too much of an issue in the past.
Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm, $470,000)
One of the best props in the game is also one of the busiest, with Bromwich averaging over 64 minutes per game for the Storm in 2015.
Pros: Blessed with a massive engine, Bromwich should up his workrate this season. You know what you're going to get from Bromwich most weeks: 30-plus tackles and 150-plus metres. Also smashed through the 200-metre barrier on five occasions in 2015, and didn't miss a single game last season.
Cons: Probably the only downside for Bromwich is his price, but even then, that's not really a concern. A solid, bankable option in the front row. You can't really go wrong here.
Kade Snowden (Newcastle Knights, $468,000)
Enjoyed a strong 2015 in a disappointing Newcastle side, going on to average over 52 points per game.
Pros: Is very much the front-row leader in a side devoid of depth in that position. Much like last year, will again be looked towards to lead the Knights pack, which should again equate to great Fantasy outputs. Surprisingly consistent and selected in just over one per cent of Fantasy sides, so could be a real point of difference.
Cons: After his strong run in 2015, there's not really that much more Snowden can do numbers-wise, meaning he's unlikely to hold or increase in value. There are also a few other safer options around the same price as Snowden who might appeal more.
Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers, $440,000)
The new Wests Tigers skipper experienced a few injury-impacted rounds towards the backend of last season, meaning he starts the season slightly undervalued.
Pros: The cornerstone of a young Tigers pack, Woods will again shoulder much of the work in 2016. Capable of scores over 60 across consecutive weeks, and will be a safe option with the majority of his points coming from run metres and tackles. One of the more affordable premium FRF options.
Cons: Woods will again miss some time through rep selection, out for at least four games with another heavy playing schedule expected. How Jason Taylor manages Woods' workload is another question that needs answering. While Woods might not be rested from games completely, you can't rule him out from being given longer stints on the bench during the rep period.
Josh McGuire (Brisbane Broncos, $430,000)
The Broncos prop is back after an Achilles injury in Round 16 ended his 2015 season. More than capable of getting through big minutes, he should handle the interchange modifications.
Pros: Given a slight discount due to the time he missed, McGuire has plenty of room to grow. Tackles and run metres are where McGuire gets the bulk of his points, meaning he would normally be a safe option, particularly at this price.
Cons: How will he respond from his injury? Will he need time to work his way back to his industrious best? If you feel like McGuire might need a period of readjustment, then there are plenty of other options in and around his price to look at.
Others to consider:
Kane Evans (Sydney Roosters, $273,000): Was initially expected to reprise his interchange role, but an injury to Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has Evans in line to start in the front row alongside fellow young gun Dylan Napa. If he nails down a starting role and can play 50 or more minutes, there's money to be made with Evans.
Mike Cooper (St George Illawarra Dragons, $466,000): The Dragons forward should make the No.13 jersey his own in 2016 after playing there for periods last season. Available in the front or second row, has a massive workrate and can score the occasional try.
Aiden Tolman (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, $457,000): An underrated Fantasy performer, Tolman can even smash out the 80 minutes in the front row, as he did against the Raiders in 2015.
George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, $453,000): Will miss Round 1 through suspension, but after off-season hip surgery should be raring to go back alongside older brother Sam. Averaged 50.6 in 2015 and played all 24 regular season games.
Read more on other dual position players Paul Gallen, Sam Burgess Sauaso Sue and Agnatius Paasi here.