So you’ve entered yourself in a fantasy league in 2014 and now have to go through the grueling process of picking the lineup for the season. It can be a very long process, especially if you have entered yourself in more than one competition and they are run by separate organisations. You have a certain salary to work within and each different competition rates the players in a different way. Regardless of which platform you use, peel back the layers and they can all be viewed the same way. This guide is going to take you through a few tips that may help you this season, along with a few players that may be worthy to wear your team colours.
1. Always read the scoring system before you select your team
Every competition is going to be different. There have been some changes this year as to the points that forwards accumulate. If you are a statistically based person, you could use the 2012 stats to base your decision on. For example; players who gain 0-8m in a hit up get 1 points but 8m+ collects 2 points. This may also make your decision easier when selecting playmakers (for try assists) and goal kickers.
2. Try to have more than one recognised goal kicker within your team
This ensures that you will be able to collect points on a player if they have a bad game. Of course, their side does have to be scoring tries for them to have a chance at points. In that case, make sure that they play for a team that scores a lot of points or a player that has a very high kicking percentage. In this instance, I would recommend Jonathan Thurston, Adam Reynolds, Krisnan Inu and/or Jarrod Crocker.
3. Take a gamble on a few young players
The way most competitions work, you can gain value on the cheaper players as their value rises. This means that the combined value of your team rises. But make sure you pick the right time to sell those players. They may only increase to a certain amount before they start to drop again.
4. A new club may offer a player a chance at redemption
Look at players who have switched clubs this season and inspect their price. There may be a number of reasons they have left. Perhaps they want a change of landscape, more money or even a challenge. Either way, it could be a spark that they are looking for and boost their value throughout the season.
5. Injury plagued 2012 may mean a cheaper price in 2013
Some players were unable to catch a break in the 2012 season with a horrible run of injuries. But it does not have to be the same in 2013. Their price may have dropped significantly and it could be a great value for your team.
6. Check out a few other teams within your competition and see how they function
You may be in a competition with your family, mates or random individuals. Either way, you have the chance to have a look at the players they select for those sides. Go in and have a look at their teams to see which players are scoring well and how their teams function. It may give you a few ideas for your own side as well.
7. Make sure that you have a mixture of players
Teams are going to have their good weeks and their bad ones. So to avoid a complete meltdown on a week, make sure that you do not overload your team with too many players from one side. This goes for the teams that are in form as well.
8. Check the weekly team lineups and news
It seems like a very simple idea, but it is a must for those who are looking to take this competition seriously. It could give you an insight into which players to select for each week and it can also help you with the selection of your captain and reserves.
9. Pick your side around 80-minute players
The longer your player spends on the field, the greater chance that they have of scoring points. This is especially important for forwards but the last thing you want is a player taken off the field for an extended period of time. The closer you can get to the player playing a full game, the better position you will be in.
10. If a player is hot, try to get them in your team
The way the NRL works, you cannot wait for players to “find form”. You need to make sure that you are selecting players that are scoring a lot of points each week. Never feel bad about cutting a player, the idea is for you to win and you will never hurt their feelings. Make the call and cut them for a player that is “running hot”. If not, you could find yourself accumulating a small weekly total.
Recommended Players for 2014
Jonathan Thurston (Cowboys) = Not too much has to be said about this guy, but he does score a lot of points when the Cowboys are firing. He scores pretty high as he is involved in majority of their play and their goal kicker. Important note though, Thurston’s performance is impacted by the amount of points the Cowboys are scoring.
Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs) = The Rabbitohs are tipped to go very well this season so there is no reason why you should not try to include this guy in your side. Like Thurston, he is their goal kicker and is involved in a lot of their scoring plays with his very accurate kicking (in play).
Alex Glenn (Broncos) = The value of picking this guys lies within his ability to be selected as an outside back. He will play majority of his time in the forwards and should be able to score pretty well as he plays long minutes, making a lot of metres and scoring points through his tackling.
James Maloney (Roosters) = He kicks goals, scores tries and is strong in defence. What more could you want in a player? He could be a very good purchase, especially with the potential that the Roosters are exemplifying heading into the season. They are expected to score plenty of point and so too should Maloney.
Matthew Scott (Cowboys) = Scott is a cheap purchase and a player that will have a lot of responsibility for 2014. He is a key player in the Cowboys pack and leads from the front with his performances. Without all the injuries, he is also a representative player and knows how to get the job done.
Jake Friend (Roosters) = Friends profile in this game is increasing and he has his form to thank for that. The Roosters rely heavily on him in attack and defence, giving him a greater opportunity to grab points. Not only that, he is part of a successful team that aims to score plenty of points.
Sam Tomkins (Warriors) = Make no mistake about it; Tomkins is a footballer with enormous potential. There is a reason why the Warriors paid so much money for his services and Elliot will involve him in the Warriors game plan as much as possible.
Tim Grant (Panthers) = Grant is another value pick in the front row as this season his maturity will be tested. He is only young and will have to be a leader of the Panthers pack in what is set to be a very tough season. He has openly stated that he has a point to prove and how he wants to “win back” his NSW SOO jersey.
Shaun Johnson (Warriors) = You only have to look as far as Johnsons involvement in the Auckland 9’s to realise that he is going to be crucial to the success of the Warriors. He should touch the ball around 2-3 times a set and adding to his value is his ability to kick goals.
Adam Blair (Tigers) = By his own admission, it has been a rough patch of form for Blair since he has left the Storm. His value has plummeted and he is not producing what he is capable of. This selection does rely on Blair increasing his involvement but it could be a short-term purchase to make some money on him and then sell once the Tigers begin to struggle.
Beau Falloon (Titans) = Falloon came of age last year as he took over from Srama as number 1 hooker at the Titans. This brought about increased game time and greater involvement. Injury is his one concern though and perhaps the best decision on his inclusion in your team will be his selection in the Titans team in the opening rounds.
Nathan Peats (Eels) = This is certainly one player that is undervalued heading into season 2014. He was squeezed out of Souths due to salary cap pressure and this was after his debut season as a representative of City. Heading to the Eels will increase his game time and he is one player that thrives on involvement in the game. Definitely one of the best buys of any fantasy competition.
Gerard Beale (Dragons) = Beale was unlucky last season after suffering a season-ending injury early on. This has not deterred his spirit and hunger though; he made this move down to St George for increased game time. He has a point to prove and along with Dugan, a lot of the Dragons hopes will ride on his ability and involvement.
Will Hopoate (Eels) = Two years out of the game is sure to test anyone’s ability, but before he left the game, Hopoate was one of the hottest young talents around. It may take a few weeks for him to find his groove again but you cannot doubt his capacity as a game-changer.
Chris McQueen (Rabbitohs) = One player that can be selected as a centre, yet plays majority of his time in the forwards. This should yield a strong return and increase his value in opening rounds. Don’t forget, 2013 was a breakthrough year for McQueen, where he played Origin and became an important leader of the Rabbitohs pack.
Luke Keary (Rabbitohs) = 2014 hasn’t started on the right foot for this talented half, but when he recovers from injury, he will be called upon to steer the Rabbitohs in the right direction. Adding to his value is his ability to take the ball to the line. You may have to wait to include him in your team but his price is certain to increase.
Tom Symonds (Sea Eagles) = Similar to McQueen, Symonds can be played in the centres but will feature more in the forwards for the Sea Eagles. His involvement in the Sea Eagles increased in 2013 and Toovey used him well in important games.
Corey Parker = There is a reason that this guy is valued to highly. He is a workhorse forward and is a goal kicker. If he plays the full 80 minutes and the Broncos win by a lot, expect him to score very highly. He will expensive in early rounds though, with good reason. But when you look at the Broncos opening 6 games, 4 of them are against tough opponents and it could bring his value down. I would recommend not selecting him to begin with.
Paul Gallen = Similarly to Parker, Gallen’s value is justified with the work that he gets through on the field. But things will be a little different this year. He is the heart and soul of his club but the Sharks have a roster this year that will decrease the amount of work that Gallen has to get through. His value is high now, but it will drop in the first few weeks.
Cameron Smith = Smith is always going to be a player that is highly sought after. But his price to start the season is very high. Plus, he is going to spend a lot of time out of game over the SOO period. This traditionally affects a side’s performance throughout the season. May pick him initially and drop him as they head into the representative season.