No mucking around here guys. Cash cows. Every one loves cash cows. This year there aren't nearly as many as previous years but we'll try and make it worthy of an article anyway. Here goes!
Kaysa Pritchard, Parramatta Eels, $185,000
Cameron King, Parramatta Eels, $138,000
What seemed like a shoe in one week ago, King has now been left out of the Eels trial team and will play for feeder club Wentworthville this week. Either he has the spot locked down or Arthur doesn't have a clue what he's doing yet. Pritchard could also be value if he gets the start and the Eels run with 4 forwards on the bench as has been speculated. Wait for TLT on this one.
Update: Pritchard has been given the nod to start round one. With a four man bench and a ppm of 0.73, there are definitely worse options. There is also some news floating around that Isaac de Gois' concussion problems are lingering and he may not play for some time. Pritchards problem is his propensity to pick up the odd injury which could open the door for Cameron King. A tough decision here.
Jacob Liddle, Wests Tigers, $221,000
Matt Ballin, Wests Tigers, $214,000
Matt McIlwrick, Wests Tigers, $143,000
With Liddle and Ballin struggling to be fit for round one, McIlwrick could get some decent minutes to start the season. However, his position in the team comes with some very high risk. If the Tigers decide to go with an 80 minute player there could be some value here but the order at the moment of these 3 is up in the air.
Update: McIlwrick has won the #9 jersey by virtue of being the only fit hooker at the Tigers. Both Ballin and Liddle return soon and Mcilwrick is bad at fantasy. Avoid.
Manaia Cherrington, Cronulla Sharks, $143,000
Jayden Brailey, Cronulla Sharks, $138,000
Provided Daniel Mortimer doesn't get the starting spot at the Sharks - and he shouldn't - there will be some value in either Cherrington and 2016 NYC Player of the Year Brailey. Personally I hope Brailey gets the start as Cherrington had his chance at the Tigers and never impressed anyone. Brailey looked busy in the World Club Challenge and his minutes should only increase through the season. Shane Flanagan 'thought he was outstanding' which can only mean good things for the youngster. He looks to be the Sharks #1 hooker to start the season.
Update: Finally some good news. Brailey has been named to start at hooker for the Sharks which should mean auto selection for your fantasy team. After 2 years of 50+ averages in the NYC, and Fa'amanu Brown (a half more than anything) on the bench, Brailey looks set for atleast 60 minutes and some decent scores.
FRONT ROW FORWARD
Ben Spina, North Queensland Cowboys, $143,000
Sam Hoare, North Queensland Cowboys, $151,000
Patrick Kaufusi, North Queensland Cowboys, $167,000
John Asiata, North Queensland Cowboys, $186,000
With James Tamou moving to Penrith and Ben Hannant retiring, there is both a starting front row spot and an interchange spot with increased minutes available. This looks to be decided between these 4 cheapies and Scott Bolton. Assuming Bolton starts and Coen Hess has a spot on the bench, there will be 2 spots left on the bench for a selection of these two. Asiata is more of a ball-playing backrower (he played five-eighth in a reserves game last year) so hopefully it comes down to the first 3. There should definitely be some value here. Spina was the only one left out of the final trial so he could be the least likely to nab a spot.
Update: Kaufusi and Asiata have been named on the bench for the Cowboys with only Hoare on the extended bench. Neither are great fantasy options as they shouldn't really see hugely increased minutes on last year, especially with Fensom coming into the team which would likely send Taumalolo to prop for a spell.
Toafofoa Sipley, New Zealand Warriors, $143,000
Isaiah Papali'i, New Zealand Warriors, $138,000
With Ben Matulino on the sidelines for an extended period and Charlie Gubb nursing a sore neck after a crusher tackle in the trial against the Titans, one of these young props could be pushing for a bench spot in round one. The Warriors desperately need some go forward up front if they want to win some games this year and blooding a couple of young guys who are keen to make an impact would not be a bad idea.
Update: Sipley was left out of the side whilst Papali'i was named in the 17. With Ben Matulino set for an extended spell on the sidelines one would think he will cement his spot there unless he has an absolute shocker.
Luke Yates, Newcastle Knights, $138,000 **DPP
Nathan Brown has apparently announced that Yates will make their debuts in round one (Brown loves to name his team early doesn't he?). Yates had a strong final season in NYC scoring at 0.82 PPM. If he gets around 30 minutes he should be good for a small price rise but remember that Sam Mataora is still returning from injury.
Update: Yates was indeed named on the Knights bench and looks set to debut this weekend in New Zealand. A solid option for a basement priced FRF as Brown showed last year he was not afraid to hand big minutes to rookies.
Moses Leota, Penrith Panthers, $143,000
With Sam McKendry going down with an ACL injury, a spot opened up on the Panthers bench for a front rower and it would seem that Leota has won that spot for now. With a four forward bench though, I'm definitely not too keen to jump on.
Lloyd Perrett, Manly Sea Eagles, $138,000
I have no idea why Perrett wasn't in here before as I have had him in my team since day one. Unfortunately, due to the make up of the Manly bench I'm a bit worried about the minutes that he'll receive. I'd take Papali'i and Yates over him at this stage.
SECOND ROW FORWARD
Joe Stimson, Melbourne Storm, $138,000
There is a lot of talk surrounding Stimson this year. Originially he was touted to possibly take Proctors right-edge spot, it now seems he will be a bench player at best, but considering the lack of other options in the second row, he is probably worth picking. Oh and he can kick goals. GET IN MY BELLY!
Update: With Tohu Harris' injury I was certain that Stimson would make his debut this week. Alas, he has been pushed onto the extended bench by Brodie Croft. He's probably still the only basement priced 2RF worth selecting (other than Yates)
Sam Stone, Newcastle Knights, $138,000
Nathan Brown has also apparently announced that Stone will make his debut this weekend. With a PPM of 0.579 in NYC, unless he gets big minutes (60+) he won't be worth a spot.
Update: Named on the bench but as above, unless he shows he's going to play big big minutes he's probably not worth selecting.
Brock Gray, Sydney Roosters, $138,000 **DPP
Jed Cartwright, Penrith Panthers, $138,000
Ligi Sao, New Zealand Warriors, $143,000
Jack Gosiewski, South Sydney Rabbitohs, $143,000
Kurt Capewell, Cronulla Sharks, $143,000
Chris Smith, Sydney Roosters, $143,000
Pickings are super slim behind Stimson. The rest of these guys could see some action at some point this year but unless there are big changes ahead of them, most won't get the opportunity to make a lot of cash.
Update: Kurt Capewell was the only one of these guys to be named on an extended bench but have been joined by fellow cheapies Sitaleki Akauola, Adam Elliot and Vincent Leuluai. I wouldn't be jumping on with any of them.
Michael Chee-Kam, Wests Tigers, $158,000
It really is 2013 all over again with Tautau Moga being named and MCK making his way onto the bench. We were all so high on him 4 years ago but in reality, hes not very good for fantasy. Maybe more minutes will mean an uptick in production but until we have some proof, I'm staying away.
Kane Elgey, Gold Coast Titans, $197,000
Elgey comes back into the side after a year out. He has previous NRL experience and should prove a much better foil for Ashley Taylor than Tyrone Roberts was. I expect big things out of the Titans this year and Elgey will be a big part of that. Will likely be the most popular half to start the year.
Update: No changes here, should be a pick and stick. Looked good in trial vs Warriors.
Ata Hingano, New Zealand Warriors, $143,000
Likely to play the first two rounds until the triumphant return of Kieran Foran to NZ shores (I jest). Unlikely to do much with his chance as he is in a similar mould to Shaun Johnson. Probably best to avoid.
Update: Again, one I wouldn't bother with with Foran returning in two weeks.
Jai Field, St George Illawarra Dragons, $138,000
A half decent showing by Josh McCrone in the Charity Shield has probably earnt himself the starting spot for round one but it shouldn't take long for the Dragons to give Field a shot. Worth stashing for the start of the season. Coach McGregor has stated that the race for the 7 jersey is still open but one would think McCrone has the inside lane.
Update: With McCrone getting the 7 jersey, Field has been named on the bench. Some will tell you that you shouldn't pick him but why not? He can't lose value and I can't see another 138k half that will get game time.
Josh Cleeland, Canterbury Bulldogs, $138,000
Darren Nicholls, Penrith Panthers, $138,000
Lachlan Croker, Canberra Raiders, $143,000
Big wraps on these guys too but will need some injuries to get some game time.
Update: Croker was named on an extended bench but wont see the field unless there is a pre-match injury. I wouldn't take any of them.
Ryley Jacks, Melbourne Storm, $138,000
Jamal Fogerty, Parramatta Eels, $138,000
Both of these guys were named on extended benches but I wouldn't take either. Jacks is backing up the backup (Croft) and Fogerty is in the same boat as Croker, looking for an injury to take the field. If you were dead set on taking one, I would say Fogerty but probably best to avoid both.
Siosifa Talakai, South Sydney Rabbitohs, $177,000
Talakai is battling WFB Robert Jennings (see below) for the vacant left centre spot at the Rabbitohs. Either one should be good for a decent amount of cash.
Update: Named as starting centre, if you're willing to pay just above basement price for a centre, He's not a bad choice.
Tautau Moga, Brisbane Broncos, $152,000
'The Myth' has switched clubs again and will look to stake his claim for a spot at the Broncos. Confirmed (by himself) that he will start in the centres in round one, he's worth taking a shot on.
Update: With so many cheap options in the centres how can you not give him a chance?
Jamal Idris, Wests Tigers, $148,000
The big dreaded monster is back in the NRL and there is no doubt that somewhere in Campbelltown there have been a number of houses that are down after his training. Will be one of the most popular selections in Fantasy this year so jump on in case he goes boom.
Update: Named to start, definitely a good selection. Averaged over 40 in 2014 and 2015. A potential keeper for $148,000? Yes please.
Curtis Scott, Melbourne Storm, $143,000
Looks to have nailed down the left centre spot at the Storm. Showed some flashes last year before getting injured. Should be good value this year.
Update: Named on an extended bench, he is apparently stuck behind Cheyse Blair. Blair is like the ugly cousin of Matthew and Johnathon Wright. I would expect Scott to win that spot back in due course.
Nick Cotric, Canberra Raiders, $138,000
Battling Jordan Turner for Jarrod Crokers spot for the first 4 or 5 rounds, there is some mail that suggest Cotric has got the spot all but sewn up. After being named in last year's NYC team of the season, the 18 year old will be pushing hard for his NRL debut come round one.
Update: With Elliot Whitehead named in the centres for round one, Cotric has been given the wing berth vacated by Edrick Lee's move to Cronulla (and has received DPP CTR/WFB status). Has the potential to be a great player, especially if he can push inside one spot. A great candidate for a bench spot in WFB.
Brian Kelly, Manly Sea-Eagles, $138,000
One can only hope that Trent Barrett and the Manly training staff aren't stupid enough to pick either of the Wright brothers (they aren't actually brothers) over Brian Kelly. If the goal kicking really has come down to DCE vs Walker vs Kelly, that would suggest Kelly is a shoe in. He should be worth locking into one of your CTR spots regardless - he will get his chance at some point.
Update: One of the happier moments of my TLT was seeing Kelly named. I can't wait to see this kid get a run. He's a starter for me this week.
Karl Lawton, Gold Coast Titans, $143,000
Lawton is a hooker or half that somehow manager to get classified as a centre in fantasy. With the Titans hookers all dying off a cliff, Lawton has found himself on the bench as a back up to Tyrone Roberts. One can only assume that Roberts is there out of loyalty because he's absolutely rubbish and definitely not an NRL standard hooker. Lawton was rather impressive in NYC and should Roberts find himself dangling from aforementioned cliff, Lawton might be a decent pick up in the CTR position.
Braidon Burns, South Sydney Rabbitohs, $138,000
Robert Jennings, South Sydney Rabbitohs, $138,000
Jennings is battling CTR Siosifa Talaki (see above) for the vacant left centre spot at the Rabbitohs. Either one should be good for a decent amount of cash.
Burns is also in the battle and could push Bryson Goodwin into the centres and nab a wing spot. Rookie wingers are normally not a great idea but we have seen guys like Vunivalu make decent coin from out wide. With Adam Reynolds looking a bit sharper than last year and Cody Walker igniting the attack, the Rabbitohs wide men could be poised to make their mark.
Update: Both Burns and Jennings missed out to Talakai and are probably not worth having on your bench.
Dylan Phythian, Newcastle Knights, $143,000
Jaelen Feeney the second? I sure bloody hope not. Brown has asserted that he will get an extended run at fullback for the Knights, but the Knights are terrible. Hopefully the Python isn't. A starting fullback at near basement price needs to be selected.
Update: This was set in stone a few weeks ago. Basement priced fullback = gold. A lot of people forget that Jaelen Feeney was a half moved to fullback. And he liked to throw the ball at the referees. I think Phythian will do a lot better.
Moses Suli, Wests Tigers, $138,000
His debut on the wing in this weekends trial did nothing to hurt his chances of playing first grade in round one. The NRL's newest teenage millionaire only has to beat out the likes of Jordan Rankin and Justin Hunt to secure his spot. Shouldn't be hard.
Update: Jason Taylor doesn't like to name debutants in his 17 (apparently) so it wasn't really a surprise to see Suli named at #21. Unless he's left of the 19 man squad named tomorrow night, I would still expect him to make his debut.
Gideon Gela-Mosby, North Queensland Cowboys, $138,000
Kalyn Ponga, North Queensland Cowboysm, $138,000
If Antonio Wintersteins trial injury forces him out of the team, one of these two (or Javid Bowen - $337,000) will likely take his spot. If it is one of the two cheaper guys, they are worth a pick as they will also likely get some game time later in the year when other injuries occur. Wont be huge cash makers to start with though!
Update: All three of the above mentioned possible replacements make their way onto the Cowboys extended bench. GGM has been named at 19, Bowen 20, and Ponga 21. While this could be just in first-name alphabetical order, it could also be in order of preference. Either way I'm not risking anything. Especially with the fact that none may see the field with Winterstein named on the run on side.