Two superstar Sharks forwards will once again be in high demand in NRL Fantasy this season, while one new Kangaroo could also be on his way to becoming one of Fantasy's elite scorers.
Paul Gallen (2RF, $538,000): Gallen has been a Fantasy gun for years but has traditionally been a player you avoided picking up until after the Origin period, due to his tendency to best rested in the middle part of the season. With Gallen's representative retirement that's no longer a concern, and while he may be into the twilight period of his career he's hardly slowing down with a league-high 175 run metres per game last season. With 30 tackles per game and the ability to break the defensive line he's one of Fantasy's elite forwards.
Andrew Fifita (FRF, $601,000): He may grab some unwanted headlines off the field but on the field Fifita remains one of the game's most effective players, combining a rampaging running game and a knack for getting offloads away with a surprisingly high workrate in defence. His 63 Fantasy points per game last season was second only to Cameron Smith, and he's odds on to be the most value front-rower in Fantasy once again in 2017.
Matt Prior (FRF, $322,000): One of Cronulla's unsung heroes in the 2016 NRL Grand Final, Prior's minutes increased late in the season and so did his scores. In the first 20 rounds Prior played less than 50 minutes in all but one game; while in the final six rounds of the regular season Prior played more than 50 minutes in all but one game. When playing more than 50 minutes Prior averaged 47.5; when he played less than 50 minutes he averaged 29. So if his big-minute performances continue he will be good value in 2017.
Valentine Holmes (WFB, $301,000): Holmes – now an Australian Test star – scored 31 Fantasy points a game on the wing for Cronulla last season. Those numbers are likely to lift if he gets the chance to replace Ben Barba at fullback in 2017. One of the game's most promising ball-runners, Holmes would almost certainly get more run metres and tackle breaks in the custodian role – making him a probable money earner and a possible Fantasy keeper.
Manaia Cherrington (HOK, $143,000): Former Wests Tigers rake Cherrington could be the new Sharks No.9 this season, replacing the retired Michael Ennis. Ennis scored 41 points per game – well above Cherrington's average of 17 from five games in 2016. Cherrington only played about half an hour per game in those appearances, so a starting spot would guarantee his scores (and price) increase in 2017.
2017 NRL Fantasy prices
Andrew Fifita (FRF, $601,000)
Paul Gallen (2RF, $538,000)
Wade Graham (2RF, $417,000)
Luke Lewis (2RF, $380,000)
Chad Townsend (HLF, $370,000)
Jayson Bukuya (2RF, $340,000)
Jack Bird (CTR, $335,000)
Matt Prior (FRF, $322,000)
Ricky Leutele (CTR, $321,000)
James Maloney (HLF, $319,000)
Valentine Holmes (WFB, $301,000)
Daniel Mortimer (HLF, HOK, $286,000)
Tony Williams (2RF, $282,000)
Gerard Beale (CTR, $259,000)
Chris Heighington (2RF, $256,000)
Sosaia Feki (WFB, $238,000)
Jeremy Latimore (FRF, $236,000)
Sam Tagataese (FRF, $216,000)
Joseph Paulo (2RF, $164,000)
Fa'amanu Brown (HLF, $149,000)
Kurt Capewell (2RF, $143,000)
Manaia Cherrington (HOK, $143,000)
Jordan Drew (CTR, WFB, $138,000)