The first round of the season is about to begin so it's time to lock in your starting squad ahead of another bumper NRL Fantasy season.
Round 1's big questions
Who are the latest dual position players?
Several players have been given a new position in Fantasy following Team List Tuesday:
- Tesi Niu (Broncos) WFB +CTR
- Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Cowboys) WFB +CTR
- Nick Cotric (Bulldogs) WFB +CTR
- Lachlan Crocker (Sea Eagles) HLF +HOK
- Mitch Barnett (Knights) MID +EDG
- Josh Kerr (Dragons) MID +EDG
- Tui Fuimaono (Dragons) EDG +MID
- Josh Jackson (Bulldogs) EDG +MID
- Adam Elliott (Bulldogs) MID +EDG
- Reimis Smith (Storm) WFB +CTR
NRL Fantasy teams show - Round 1
Any traps from players named to start, who won't hold their spot? I'm looking for job security!
From Adrian Estrich
There are players like Sebastian Kris (replacing Jarrod Croker, round 2) and new Bulldogs bench hooker Bradley Deitz (Jeremy Marshall-King, round 3) who are only likely to get limited game time in round one or two.
The tricky ones for Fantasy coaches are Tex Hoy and Daine Laurie.
In Hoy's case, if Ponga's return is delayed, Hoy could be a handy cash cow with goal-kicking duties in the early rounds. But if Ponga is back in round four or sooner, Hoy is probably not going to make the cash to be worth it.
Then there's Laurie, who is effectively replacing the suspended Adam Doueihi (round 2). With Doueihi out, Moses Mbye has shifted to five-eighth with Laurie starting at fullback.
The difference for Laurie is that he's a genuine chance of winning the fullback position at the Tigers full-time, which Hoy isn't.
It would require the Tigers to shift the more experienced Mbye somewhere else, but potential for Laurie to become a very high-earning cash cow if he gets an extended run in the No.1 jersey makes him probably worth the gamble at $246k.
Is Cleary a must have? Who's the next best value out of the mid-rangers. Brooks, Morgan, Harris-Tavita, Townsend, Lam?
From Charles Walters
Nathan Cleary's not a must-have player, with last year's scores difficult to match and the likelihood that he'll come back to the pack a little this season. But he still starts the new season as the game's top (and most popular) captaincy candidate so he remains a very solid buy even if he does get a little cheaper later on.
Of those mid-range halves you mentioned, Townsend and Lam are both solid-looking cash cow options, with Townsend likely to score well while Shaun Johnson remains on the sidelines. Brooks is priced at 40 points but could potentially score 50 or better in the main playmaker role if he can regain the form he showed in 2019.
Harris-Tavita could continue to improve but in my eyes is a less reliable option than Townsend or Lam, while Michael Morgan isn't particularly cheap and has never really been a dominant Fantasy scorer.
The other option is Anthony Milford, whose Fantasy stocks fell dramatically last year but who could be great value if he could match the scores he produced in 2019.
Real deal: Panthers full of self-belief you can’t fake
How much cash is a trade worth? If I'm starting with a player who I'll trade out in a few weeks, how much cash would they have to make for it to worthwhile?
From Eddie Lismore
Great question. I'd be aiming at making a profit of $150k or above. That requires a player outperform their break even by at least 10 points per game, and they probably need to maintain that level for five or six weeks to reach their peak price.
If you sell players after their value increases by, say, $80k you'll burn through your 34 trades without being able to afford a star-studded team.
Is Brandon Smith worth a shot while Harry Grant is out? If he averages 60 would that make $100k in 3 weeks?
From Colin Gledhill
At $602k Brandon Smith isn't cheap so he's projected to jump in price by about $75k if he scores 60 in the first three weeks. That's not enough to justify using him as a cash cow, so if he goes back to scores in the mid-40s after that when Grant returns you're probably going to be looking to sell him for not much profit.
I'm still not 100% sold on Tino. He's priced awkwardly but I cannot see him losing value from a price avg of 42. At worst he stays at this price, but his ceiling is mighty high. If I don't go him then the likes of Welch, NAS, BS9 and Paulo comes in play. Thoughts?
I'm similarly on the fence with Tino Fa'asuamaleaui. The potential upside is certainly there but there's also the "risk" he remains a mid-40s scorer, as a middle forward who relies more on big attacking plays than reliable base stats (tackles, metres).
I agree he won't go backwards in price but if he's neither a keeper (average score of 55 points or better) or a cash cow (10-point increase on his starting price – so 52 points per game) then he's a player you'll be trading out later with no significant benefit, compared with a player you can trade out for a large profit.
For the same reason I'm wary of the other middle forwards you named, who all have the potential break into "keeper" status this year but could also be underwhelming with scores in the 40s rather than 50s. I'm sure at least one of them will take the step up, but without knowing which I'll probably be looking elsewhere.
Big Tino lights up Lismore
I'm carrying 3 hookers on bench (Rein, Liddle, Croker) plus Townsend as he kicks and is guaranteed 80 minutes. I've got Jayden Brailey starting hooker. Thoughts?
Apart from Rein being a risky option with the Titans carrying Erin Clark on the bench, I don't mind the idea of running four hookers in your squad at the start of the season. Jake Turpin at the Broncos may be a better bet.
Who are the must have cash cows to start the season?
From Chris Adams
I'd say Connor Watson, Jordan Riki, Jacob Liddle.
Is Luciano Leilua worth grabbing after the big involvement he had in the trials or maybe someone cheaper would be a better option?
Leilua looked great in the trial win against an understrength Manly side but he also was excellent last season, so there's not really significant upside in buying him at this point unless he can push his average towards 60 points a game. It's safer to spend a little more on the likes of Angus Crichton, David Fifita or Ryan Matterson or less on the edge forward cash cows like Jordan Riki.
In saying that, if you back Leilua to match Fifita's scoring this year, go with your gut.
Simonsson or Saab? Last spot in my squad, not starting.
From Dean Josephs
Bailey Simonsson gets the nod for me for his job security, as he's a definite first-choice winger at the Raiders this season. Both come with very low price tags, but beware young wingers can be very erratic scorers in Fantasy.
Will Wayde Egan play 80 minutes now he's named at No.9 for the Warriors or do you think he will share mins with Jazz Tevega?
Yeah, I expect Tevaga will spend at least some time at hooker, at least in the early rounds, although there's a reasonable chance Egan pushes towards an 80-minute role.
Back-rower Bayley Sironen also spent some time at dummy-half in the trials. The positives for Egan are that Tevaga much prefers playing as a running middle forward and Egan himself has played the full 80 six times, including four last season, for a Fantasy average of 46.
If he gets back to that role he will make good money, but it's no sure thing just yet.
NRL Fantasy hookers - the best of the rest
Looking for a cheap edge. Toying between Gosiewski, Fuimaono or just buying CHN as a non-playing reserve for two weeks assuming he walking into the starting 13 then? Or anyone else jump out?
From Dean Longley
I don't like the idea of picking a non-starter for round one, especially this year when there's money to be made elsewhere – and in Corey Harawira-Naera's case there's the risk he doesn't actually win a starting edge forward spot over Hudson Young who gets first crack at the job this week.
There are job security risks over both Jack Gosiewski at Manly and Tyrell Fuimaono at the Dragons, with Gosiewski in a battle with new signing Andrew Davey for his edge forward role and Fuimaono named at lock despite having never started a game there before – with experienced middle forwards Trent Merrin and Daniel Alvaro on the bench and Blake Lawrie and Paul Vaughan in the starting side with Josh Kerr (usually a prop) starting on an edge.
Both the Sea Eagles and Dragons are tipped to struggle this season so it wouldn't surprise to see their coaches make changes early on.
Fuimaono's game time isn't certain at all, but if you're going to gamble on one of them I'd probably lean towards him over Gosiewski who has struggled to score well even in big-minute appearances (and even with tries) in the second row. Fuimaono also has the advantage of covering both the middle and edge positions.
Is Paul Momirovski worth a gamble at his price of $368K? Does he have a good chance of keeping the centre position at Penrith?
Momirovski has scored well in the centres in the past and is slightly under-priced based on his record so far, although his strike rate of 14 tries in 19 NRL appearances will be hard to maintain – even in a team as strong as Penrith.
His scoring range is very high – in 2019 he scored 96 points including a hat-trick and seven goals for the Tigers, while in round nine last year he scored just seven points in 80 minutes for the Storm.
Still, you can expect a few mid-range centres to become keepers this year and Momirovski certainly has the chance to do that.
Most Fantasy coaches will err on the cheap side and pick up lower-price players with more moneymaking potential, but if you want to take a gamble on a potential cut-price keeper from the get-go Momirovski isn't a bad bet.