NRL Fantasy 2018
Connor Watson, HLF, HOK, $401,000
Last year's player of the tournament at the NRL Auckland Nines, Connor Watson is a big talent who had to make do with limited minutes at a star-studded Roosters side in recent years. He gets his chance as a starter at the Newcastle Knights this season, with the expectation he'll wear the No.6 in Round 1.
Scoring potential: 4/5
Predicting how Watson will score in NRL Fantasy this season is no easy feat: he produced 27 points a game in 2017 and similar numbers the year before, but tended to spend half the match on the bench during that time.
An elusive ball-runner, Watson had three big games last season (74 points against the Tigers in round 14, 69 points against the Knights in round 20 and 60 against the Storm in round 23) but two of those scores came when playing at fullback and he had moderate returns in his only two games at five-eighth (19 against the Raiders in round 12 and 36 against the Broncos in round 13).
If he maintains his points-per-minute from 2017 in 2018 he'll score more than 50 points a game, but that's a big "if" at this stage.
Not only are Watson's scores tough to predict, but his job security isn't set in stone either. He'll undoubtedly have a role in Newcastle's 17 whenever fit but in Brock Lamb, Watson has a serious rival for the five-eighth role alongside Mitchell Pearce.
A slow start to the season could potentially result in Watson being bumped to the bench. On the other hand an injury to Kalyn Ponga could lead to Watson being shifted to fullback – where he has more chances of racking up tackle breaks and run metres.
Thankfully, the argument for Watson being a good value buy is relatively simple: if he plays 80 minutes, his value should rise. Even scores in the mid-to-high 30s would be enough to earn Watson a generous price boost, and his dual position status gives you another reason to consider him for a bench spot this season.