Warriors 2017 NRL Fantasy guide
The Warriors are erratic at the best of times but with three genuine guns and a cut-price Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in their ranks they'll be a popular team for NRL Fantasy coaches this season.
Simon Mannering (2RF, $550,000): He may no longer be the captain of the Warriors but Mannering hasn't slowed down as a Fantasy force, ranking second in the league for tackles last season as his side's defensive linchpin in the centre of the park. He's the only NRL player who managed 40 tackles per game plus five tries for the season last year, and he could get more attacking opportunities if the Warriors can become a top-eight force again.
Bodene Thompson (2RF, $516,000): Thompson tends to fly under the radar in Fantasy, perhaps because of Mannering's presence in the Warriors' back row, but he remains arguably the most reliable point-of-difference buy in the game. Thompson averaged 54 points a game last season and yet was owned by just 4,775 Fantasy teams at the end of the season – that's six times less than Mannering. Like Mannering, Thompson plays the full 80 minutes, gets through a lot of tackles and knows his way to the try-line, so could be worth snapping up early if you want a Fantasy keeper who is unlikely to be picked by many other teams.
Shaun Johnson (HLF, $484,000): With 10 tries, 18 try assists and 62 tackle breaks, it's no surprise Johnson was again amongst the elite Fantasy halves in 2016, especially considering he kicks goals and dominates his team's general kicking game as well. He's not the most consistent half and ended last season in poor form with scores of 31, 34, 33 and 18, but still managed to finish with an average score in the 50s. If the Warriors find themselves on the winning side more often than not in 2017, expect Johnson to be a big beneficiary in Fantasy.
Issac Luke (HOK, $459,000): Luke's first season in Warriors colours wasn't his best – the New Zealand Test hooker was briefly dropped to the bench midway through the campaign, and only played the full 80 minutes nine times in 20 appearances. In those games he had a strong Fantasy average of 54, but in games in which he spent time on the bench he scored only 43 points a game. So the formula for Luke as a Fantasy prospect in 2017 is simple: if he's going to be an 80-minute hooker he's a keeper; if not, he's not.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (WFB, $286,000): The superstar Warriors recruit averaged 33 Fantasy points a game across seven matches in 2016, before his season was ended by injury. Those scores are well down on his return of 56.5 points a game for the Roosters during his breakout season at fullback in 2015. He's unlikely to match those massive scores this season – considering the Warriors aren't quite the minor premiership-winning team the Roosters boasted in 2015 – but with a starting price of $286,000, even if Tuivasa-Sheck scores in the mid-40s next season he'll be great value.
2017 NRL Fantasy prices
Simon Mannering (2RF, $550,000)
Bodene Thompson (2RF, $516,000)
Shaun Johnson (HLF, $484,000)
Issac Luke (HOK, $459,000)
Ben Matulino (FRF, $385,000)
Kieran Foran (HLF, $369,000)
Solomone Kata (CTR, $363,000)
Jacob Lillyman (FRF, $337,000)
David Fusitua (WFB, $322,000)
Ryan Hoffman (2RF, $321,000)
Bunty Afoa (2RF, $301,000)
Albert Vete (FRF, $289,000)
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (WFB, $286,000)
Jazz Tevaga (HOK, 2RF, $285,000)
Manu Vatuvei (WFB, $269,000)
Blake Ayshford (CTR, $267,000)
Tuimoala Lolohea (HLF/WFB, $263,000)
Sam Lisone (FRF, $240,000)
James Gavet (FRF, $221,000)
Charlie Gubb (FRF, $200,000)
Ken Maumalo (WFB, $191,000)
Nathaniel Roache (HOK, $155,000)
Matthew Allwood (CTR, $143,000)
Ma'afoaeata Hingano (HLF, $143,000)
John Palavi (2RF, $143,000)
Ligi Sao (2RF, $143,000)
Toafofoa Sipley (FRF, $143,000)