Broncos utility player Jack Bird.

Bird started 2018 as a star recruit for the Brisbane Broncos but finished it in the casualty ward. An underwhelming season at his new club featured eight matches, four wins, zero tries and no try assists.

But that quiet season is the very reason why he could be a steal this year, with Bird's price tag as cheap as it's been since his debut year at the Sharks.

Positives

The 2015 NRL Rookie of the Year, Bird was a premiership-winner in 2016, and a NSW Origin player in 2016 and 2017.

In every way, his 2018 season was an outlier compared to the three years he spent at Cronulla, particularly in Fantasy where his 21-point average was well below his previous career average of 39.

He would only need to score in the 30s to earn a hefty price rise in Fantasy this year, and if he can match his output from his rookie season (45 points a game) he'd be an absolute steal.

Negatives

For one thing, Bird is coming back from a long-term injury, having not played a game since early May. There's no guarantee he can immediately get back to his old self at the start of 2019.

For another, his Fantasy scoring has actually declined year-on-year. At the age of 23, it seems unlikely that a player's best days are already behind him – particularly a player as talented as Bird – but there is an element of risk in picking him up at the start of the season.

To buy or not to buy?

Assuming Bird comes through the pre-season strongly and is named to start in round one, he looks like one of the best options available in the centres at his price point.

His credentials are first-rate and his job security looks better than most of the rookies available, and even if he's a slow burn to start the year he should be expected to score 30+ once he gets back into the groove of first-grade footy.