As we draw ever closer to the new season, I have asked a number of seasoned professionals to rank (in their opinion) the top 5 players in each position. I asked them to take the players price into consideration but as always, points are king. I'll analyse each position separately and it next up are the big boppers in the Front Row position.
Note: For any non-vote, I have assigned a value of 6 which will place more value on receiving a vote than missing out altogether.
1. Andrew Fifita, $601,000
Just as Cameron Smith has a stranglehold on the hooker position, Fifita has a perfect score in our rankings. With 14 scores over 60 and 7 over 70, Fifita could be considered the most consistently explosive player in the game. Fitting both him and Smith in your team will be a struggle but will also guarantee you have a great captain and vice-captain option in your team from day one.
2. James Graham, $541,000
Another prop capable of big minutes and big scores, Graham's value is always slightly elevated by the fact there is no chance of him playing Oranges. An absolute workhorse who will run and tackle all day, if Graham is in your team you can almost always be sure he's going to score atleast 50.
3. Ryan James, $573,000
I imagine that James is ranked below Graham purely because it would be absolutely astonishing if he kept up his try scoring record from last season. With 11 tries in 24 games (with 2 doubles), James exploded as the second best prop for 2016. Even if he only scores 5 tries this season, he will still be a great option provided he continues to get big minutes.
4. Jesse Bromwich, $482,000
Bromwich continued as one of the games top big boys last year and finished with an average of above 50. This was slightly below his 2015 effort but his PPM actually increased. If he can continue his workrate and increase his minutes he'll be a solid option this season.
5. Josh McGuire, $457,000
With a big motor capable of big minutes, McGuire is proving to be a very popular pick this season after his move to lock. All he needs to make a push to the top tier is an increase of minutes. Capable of scoring high 50s and 60s if given the chance, many will be hoping he does just that.
6. Aaron Woods, $435,000
Woods PPM dropped to 0.80 last year and that was a big reason his average finished at 46. If he can get back up 0.88 he could be undervalued but as stated in the Renegades Prospectus, unless he starts breaking some tackles and throwing some offloads, he wont be a top option again.
7. Daniel Saifiti, $345,000
Aiden Tolman, $451,000
Jarrod Wallace, $291,000
Saifiti owners will be hoping a decent increase in minutes results in his scores climbing above the 45 mark on a regular basis. Jarrod Wallace has a great work rate and is all but guaranteed to see more field time at the Titans so is great value. Aiden Tolman's PPM has dropped every year for the last three and with the emergence of Klemmer and Kasiano I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen again.
8. David Klemmer, $426,000
George Burgess, $302,000
James Tamou, $399,000
Klemmer averaged over 48 when he started at lock last year but is priced at a 45 average. His PPM dropped below 0.90 for the first time in 3 years but his minutes got a big boost from 43 to 53. At lock he averaged 59 minutes so if he can increase his PPM again, he could be great value.
A lot of people are expecting Burgess to bounce back this season but judging by his performance in the Charity Shield, this could turn out to be hopes and dreams. While he probably won't lose any money, I can't see him getting back to his 2014 best.
With a change of scenery comes a change of fortune, or so some think. Following his first performance in the Nines where he broke the line and ran away for two tries, some are touting Tamou for big things this year. Nines is a completely different game to the NRL. I can't see Tamou doing anything special but I'm more than happy to eat my words.