NRL Fantasy Finals: Week 3 preview
This weekend's two games will decide who makes the 2016 NRL Grand Final – and could take you a step closer to winning the $2,000 Finals Match Day Fantasy prize. Which Fantasy stars and left-field options should you be considering this week?
Sharks v Cowboys
The guns: Sharks forwards Andrew Fifita and Paul Gallen are the established Fantasy guns here, with both averaging well over 55 points a game. Johnathan Thurston is obviously a superstar, even if his Fantasy scores have been a little quiet by his usual standards this year, while Ben Barba is the only winger/fullback in this clash to have averaged better than 40 points a game in 2016.
The wildcards: Jason Taumalolo was sensational last week with a game-high 79 points featuring a staggering 265 run metres and could outscore Gallen if he maintains that kind of form. With a couple of tries, an assist and a try save, Justin O'Neill bagged 64 points against Brisbane last week. James Maloney scored 50 against the Raiders a fortnight ago and is a decent chance of outpointing Thurston here.
The gambles: If you're backing the Cowboys to win the likes of Lachlan Coote, Antonio Winterstein or Kyle Feldt could be a better option at the back than Barba, who generally needs attacking stats to score well.
Storm v Raiders
The guns: Cameron Smith is the obvious standout, despite Josh Hodgson's ability to smash the occasional big Fantasy score. Jesse Bromwich is the only consistent 50-point prop in this contest while Jarrod Croker and Joey Leilua will once again battle for the one centre slot in your team. Cameron Munster shades Jordan Rapana as the best option at winger/fullback, but go with Rapana if you're expecting the Raiders to run in a few tries. Cooper Cronk is the standout option at half.
The wildcards: The back-row position is a tricky one here with rival second-rowers Tohu Harris and Elliott Whitehead both averaging 52 points a game during the regular season. Harris is the safer option considering Melbourne's favouritism, but both are capable of matching strong base stats with the occasional try.
The gambles: Josh Hodgson would be a big gamble only because it means leaving out the game's best Fantasy player in Smith, while left-field options Jack Wighton (55 last week) and Suliasi Vunivalu (61 in Melbourne's last game) could both outscore Munster and Rapana at the back.