So you’ve entered yourself in a fantasy league in 2013 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 2013
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) = Maloney could very well be in another category after his move to the Roosters. But this could be a very good purchase, especially with the potential that the Roosters are exemplifying heading into the season. He will also be the goal kicker, which should add to his points tally.
Aaron Woods (Tigers) = Woods is an expensive front rower to purchase but does deliver with his weekly performances. He eats up a lot of metres and does a lot of work in defence. If he can remain on the field for a longer amount of time, his value can only grow. He does have the potential to suffer through a few injuries so be cautious.
Matthew Scott (Cowboys) = Compared to Woods, Scott is a cheaper purchase and a more reliable pick. 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.
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. In 2012, he broke out as a player and was able to gain representative honors for NSW. Expect him to only get better.
Gavin Cooper (Cowboys) = Cooper is very similar to Glenn as he can be selected as an outside back. He has another very high work rate and found himself scoring tries on a regular basis. His likelihood of scoring tries is increased the better the Cowboys play.
David Klemmer (Bulldogs) = Klemmer was named the Toyota Cup player of the year in 2012 and the hype surrounding this kid is huge. He is said to be bigger than most of the forwards at the club and is still growing. He is very cheap as he is yet to debut at the top grade and could find himself making his first start earlier than normal with the suspension to James Graham.
Josh Drinkwater (Dragons) = The Dragons acquired the services of Drinkwater from Manly and he could be the answer to their problems within the halves. He may not see a lot of play at the start of the season, but once they pick him, make the move to include him in your weekly lineup.
James Roberts (Panthers) = Like Drinkwater, he may not see a lot of football at the start of the season. But once he is picked, he can easily find his way to the try line. He was also very dynamic when scooting out of hooker in the NYC and could get some decent metres up the middle of the field.
Adam Blair (Tigers) = By his own admission, it was a very lean year for Adam Blair after he moved to the Tigers. Many people were saying that Blair just didn’t fit into the Tigers style of play. Fortunately, he has a new coach leading him this season and he will be hungry to improve on his 2012 performance.
Michael Crocker (Rabbitohs) = Crocker has just been named the sole captain of the Rabbitohs after they had 5 last season. This can only mean that they are aiming to have him play more minutes every week. He isn’t exactly cheap, but his value may rise within the first few weeks.
Kevin Locke (Warriors) = Locke’s value has dropped last year due to the woeful performances of the Warriors. So now he is very cheap. If he scores well in the opening games, his price will rise from the low level that it is now. He may not be a player you stick with for the whole season but could add value to your side.
David Shillington (Raiders) = Many people forget that Shillington is a QLD representative player. He is very good value at the moment and will need to be a leader within the Raiders side this year. They’re a very young side and an old head like Shillington’s will be very value.
Matt Srama (Titans) = This kid is a very talented player made in the mould of Nathan Friend. He is small, but boy is he dynamic in attack and defence. He gets through a mountain of tackles and has a great running game from dummy half. If the Titans do not name a utility on the bench, he is sure to play 80 minutes and score very well.
Returning from Injury
Terry Campese (Raiders) = To suggest Campese has had a horror run with injuries is a gross understatement. As a result, his value has dropped dramatically. But if he can get back to full fitness, he will be a key figure in the Raiders attack and a their charge towards the premiership.
James Tedesco = There was a lot of hype surrounding his debut at the beginning of 2012, but he suffered a season ending injury in the first game against the Sharks. That was his debut game and his potential is yet to be tapped. If he starts at fullback, he could be a good pick up to have as a reserve.
Willie Tonga (Eels) = Being at the Eels in 2012 wasn’t ideal for any player but Tonga’s predicament was made worse with the amount of injuries he suffered throughout. If he can get back to full fitness, he will be very dangerous for opposition teams.
Justin Horo = Horo was in and out of the Parramatta team in 2012 and was one of the few shining lights for them when he played. A change of scene to the Sea Eagles could be the spark that he needed. He is cheap and he is sure to get some good minutes early in the season with the news that Glenn Stewart will have a delayed start to the season due to injury.
Darcy Lussick = He has done the opposite of Horo and gone from the Sea Eagles to the Eels. He was on the cusp of something big at the Sea Eagles and it could be the guidance that Ricky Stuart offers that has this very talented front rower realising his potential.
Ben Te’o (Rabbitohs) = Te’o has made the move south from the Broncos for a number of reasons, but mainly he wants more time on the field. That can be a great sign for selectors as he is sure to get greater minutes on the field. He has the added advantage of being selected as an outside back or within the forwards.
Travis Waddell (Knights) = Waddell has left the Raiders to move under the guidance of Wayne Bennett up at the Knights. He had limited exposure down at the Raiders, but wen he was on the field, he was a very dynamic player. With Buderus out for the first 8 weeks, he may find himself with increased game time to begin with.
Eddy Pettybourne (Tigers) = Pettybourne was squeezed out of the Rabbitohs with the purchase of Te’o but the move to the Tigers could be a good one. He is a tough player and will be looking for more minutes on the field with the Tigers back row stocks thinning. But again, pick the right time to sell him and make some money on him.
Corey Parker = There is a reason that this guy is valued so 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. Factor in that the Storm will be returning from the UK and their WCC bid. This traditionally affects a side’s performance at the start of the season. Maybe a slow start for the Storm may see Smiths overall price drop.
I have followed Rugby League since I was young enough to watch it and growing up in Sydney, it was inevitable. I will always make it my business to watch all 8 NRL fixtures per week and follow it with more than just passion. During my playing career, I have played at several representative levels, with and against current players. I began writing previews on NRL games early on in 2012 and really found a passion within this. I enjoy listening to various people and their opinions on the game, and then forming my own. Coupled together with another passion, gambling, I soon learnt that there was a market out there for more than the rugby league diehards. Hopefully I can pass on my knowledge of the game to help you win some cash.
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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Photo by By Stormfan85 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons