NRL Fantasy: cheapie traps to avoid
With a seeming lack of quality cheapies on offer a few short weeks ago, the Round 1 team lists instead produced an absolute glut of debutants and bargain buys in their team's top 17, if not starting 13 players.
But before you get carried away loading up on every $130,000 player set to run out in Round 1, bear in mind there is a stack of NRL talent headed back from short-term injuries and suspensions that will threaten many of these cheapies in the next few weeks and relegating those players to NSW Cup or the NYC.
Here we run the rule over which potential cash cows may not be yielding much milk in the short term.
Nathan Davis: The young Titans centre has been named to debut in Round 1 but with Nene Macdonald due back in Round 2 it could be a long time before Davis gets so much as a second cap. Avoid.
Zane Musgrove: This hulking Rabbitohs debutant has earned jersey No.17 on a six-man bench named by coach Michael Maguire but with George Burgess back from suspension next week and Tom Burgess from an ankle injury a few weeks later, Musgrove's time in the top grade looks limited. Avoid.
Greg Eden: The "English Billy Slater" had a wow of a time back home in the Old Dart putting Wigan to the sword with over 200 metres, including a long range try, confirming his place on the Broncos' wing for Round 1. With first-choice winger Lachlan Maranta still around six weeks away, he seemingly has enough time to make a bit of coin. But centre Jack Reed is returning from injury via the Intrust Super Cup in Round 1 and if he pushes Jordan Kahu to a wing next week then Eden may make way (or Corey Oates could be pushed back to the bench and the forward rotation). Use caution.
Pat Mata'utia: The only one of the four Mata'utia brothers yet to make his NRL debut, Knights centre Pat may get just a single game in the top flight before being displaced by his younger brother, the suspended Sione, for Round 2. Avoid.
Daniel Saifiti: One of the two little-known Newcastle twin towers named to debut in Round 1, prop Daniel has stiffer competition for spots with injured props Jack Stockwell and Micky Paea potentially available from Round 2. (His brother, starting second-rower Jacob, looks a better bet with Tariq Sims not back from suspension until Round 6). Avoid.
Cody Walker: Journeyman playmaker Cody Walker makes his long-awaited debut against the Roosters on Sunday but unless he has a blinder will probably lose his spot to the suspended Luke Keary from Round 2 onwards. Avoid.
Jack Littlejohn: The former Manly back-up half was a heavy scorer in five games for the Sea Eagles in 2014 but starts this year at bottom dollar after no NRL starts last year. He'll get 80 minutes for the Wests Tigers in Round 1 in the absence of the suspended Luke Brooks but will likely be biding his time in NSW Cup from Round 2 onwards. Avoid.
Josh Aloiai: This young Tigers back-rower will make his debut on Saturday but with veteran Dene Halatau back from suspension next week his stint is likely to be short-lived, for now. Avoid.
Richie Kennar: Rookie Storm centre Richie Kennar starts Round 1 but with Cameron Munster set to take his spot as early as next week, there's little to get excited about here for Fantasy coaches. Avoid.
Leivaha Pulu: The Titans back-rower makes his debut in jersey 17 this weekend but with Luke Douglas back from suspension next week the reshuffle could easily push Pulu back to reserve grade. Either way his minutes (and money-making potential) are in severe doubt given the number of big-minute players in the Titans pack. Avoid.
Danny Fualalo/Adam Elliott: These two forwards are both named to play Round 1 but with Shaun Lane on an extended bench and David Klemmer back from suspension in Round 2, one will only play a single game to start the season and the other will be a week by week proposition. With Des Hasler famous for easing young forwards into the NRL very slowly (think Shaun Lane last year, David Klemmer the year before and Dale Finucane before that) neither is likely to see major price rises even with a solid run in the top grade this year. Avoid both.
Nathanial Roache: Young Roache is a hooker playing behind Issac Luke at the Warriors. He is bottom dollar but bench hookers are a no-go in Fantasy while the Warriors are a lottery in terms of team selections at the best of times. Avoid.
Better bets and mid-rangers
Nathan Green: The former Dragon was a shock selection to start for Manly in Round 1, with Feleti Mateo and Blake Leary named on the bench and Tom Symonds out of the side altogether. He's got there on merit but he does still have to play well enough to keep Symonds out of the side, while he will have to contend with the return of Jamie Buhrer from a broken jaw in a month or so. Possible value buy.
Agnatius Paasi: One of the stars of the Auckland Nines, Paasi looks set for a big season and has drawn interest from plenty of Fantasy coaches. He starts at prop in Round 1 with Luke Douglas out and will likely revert to the bench thereafter, limiting his money-making potential. Use caution.
Tepai Moeroa: Moeroa interested a lot of coaches last year but was largely a let-down as he battled a shoulder injury. This year he looks to have moved past his injury woes, was a major threat in the pre-season games and will start at lock in the absence of Anthony Watmough (knee, indefinite). He does rely on attacking stats for Fantasy value and has 'Choc' looming over his shoulder but if things go well this could be the year the 20-year-old evolves into a Fantasy keeper. Major gamble.
Paul Carter: The ex-Titan has earned a starting berth at the Bunnies with a few forwards out but with George Burgess back next week, Sam could move to lock, which means Carter is jousting with Kyle Turner to partner John Sutton in the starting back row. He does look set for a solid run in first grade though so still represents fair value. Use caution.