Fantasy by the Numbers: Week 1 wildcards
The NRL Fantasy Finals Match Day games are here. Need a breakdown of how Fantasy works across the 2016 Telstra Premiership Finals Series? Lone Scout has you covered here.
It's always tempting to stick with the tried and true Fantasy guns even in the lottery of the Match Day games, but it's easy to forget that there are several less fancied players who on their day could go big and give you the points needed to clinch your league or the $2,000 on offer for the overall Finals Match Day winner. To break clear of the pack, you might need to take a few gambles.
The following players all posted huge individual scores during the regular season, and despite being left-field selections might come into consideration when putting together your six-man squad for each game this weekend.
Moses Mbye (Bulldogs, HLF, 94 v Panthers in Round 2)
The Bulldogs halfback started the year in superb form, with Mbye's two-try, 11-tackle break effort seeing him fall six points short of a ton. That score coincidentally came against the Panthers, the same side he faces this Sunday. While most will opt to stick with teenage sensation Nathan Cleary or out-of-position gem Bryce Cartwright for the half spot in that game this weekend, you could do worse than roll the dice on Mbye.
Luke Lewis (Sharks, 2RF, 89 v Knights in Round 10)
The experienced Sharks back-rower might not be the most fancied choice for the Raiders v Sharks second row slot behind the likes of Elliott Whitehead, Paul Gallen, Wade Graham and Josh Papalii, but he can score well, particularly with added attacking stats. Two tries, a try assist and five tackle breaks from Lewis in Round 10 caught many by surprise, and while his work rate may deter most, taking a chance on Lewis could pay dividends.
Valentine Holmes (Sharks, WFB, 84 v Knights in Round 10)
With four tries in a single match, a player's Fantasy output is generally going to be reasonably positive, as was the case for the Sharks winger in the same match that Lewis performed so well in. Seven tackle breaks and 217 run metres formed the basis for his monster total, and while it's highly unlikely he'll be allowed to run riot at GIO Stadium on Saturday night, Holmes offers a viable alternative to Jordan Rapana or Ben Barba at wing/fullback.
Suliasi Vunivalu (Storm, WFB, 82 v Sea Eagles in Round 24)
Want a try-scorer? How about 22 tries in 18 games? There's no denying this man can find his way across the line, as he did on four occasions in the first half of Melbourne's win over Manly in Round 24. Vunivalu also had six tackle breaks and 168 run metres on that night, and would definitely provide a point of difference to Cameron Munster at wing/fullback. Outside backs' scores are often dictated by tries in finals matches, so why not back a proven try-scorer to get you across the line?
Greg Bird (Titans, 2RF, 81 v Panthers in Round 25)
An experienced campaigner is just what the Titans need for their first finals game since 2010, and Bird might be the man for your Fantasy back-row as well. A haul of 34 tackles, a try, try assist, line break, line-break assist, six tackle breaks, and 183 metres against the Panthers showed he's capable of mixing attacking and base stats on his day. While many might look to Corey Parker, Matt Gillett or Ryan James in the Broncos v Titans match-up, Bird is one to consider.
Darius Boyd (Broncos, WFB, 77 v Raiders in Round 14)
While not a noted Fantasy scorer, the current Australia, Queensland and Brisbane fullback can deliver, as seen with his three-try effort against the Raiders in Round 14. Boyd also produced three line breaks and seven tackle breaks, and offers James Roberts, Corey Oates and David Mead competition for a spot in your six-man side for Friday night.
Game on. Data off.
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