Fantasy League: Leeds Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos resurgence took a huge step forward when they lifted the Challenge Cup last year. The clubs cup success allowed their future generation of stars to get a taste of Super League during their busy playing schedule in 2020.
That mix of exciting young stars alongside their seasoned campaigners should make the Rhinos an exciting prospect heading into 2021.
2020 points: 824
Ash Handley was a stand-out performer on the pitch and in fantasy last season. The Rhinos winger excelled in 2020 - topping the try scoring and metre making charts, Handley averaged 58.8 fantasy points-per-game, proving to be one of the highest scoring outside backs in the league.
Handley made 65 tackle busts, 24 clean breaks, 2541 metres and scored 14 tries in the regular season – a phenomenal year across the board. His end of year form should make particularly good reading for fantasy owners - he scored 11 tries in his last 7 regular season games - ending the season in blistering form and a sure fire option for 2021.
2020 was another huge year in Super League for @leedsrhinos Ash Handley 👏
✅ Top metre maker
✅ Top try scorer
✅ Dream team selection
Same again in 2021? 🤔 #SuperLeague #BeReady pic.twitter.com/2lF9bZJfAG
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) February 18, 2021
2020 points: 495
Hurrell had a stop start year in 2020, playing just 9 of Leeds 17 regular season games. However, when he did take the field, he was impressive. The Tongan powerhouse is a notoriously strong ball carrier, and his stats reflect that - he averaged over 120 metres a game last season with a 9.45 metre gain per carry. He also made 57 tackle busts and scored a respectable 4 tries in his second season at the Rhinos.
He's no stranger to playing big minutes across a season either - Hurrell played in 24 of Rhinos 29 Super League games in 2019 – and is capable of being a huge fantasy points earner if he stays fit in 2021.
2020 points: 698
A player who quietly goes about his business, Martin averaged an impressive 58.1 points-per-game in 2020 – an all round scorer who's defensive efforts paired with his attacking workload make for a steady influx of points - albeit in a reduced number of games for the PNG international.
Martin also offers a notable point of difference through his goal-kicking – he kicked 47 goals in 2020 for a side that finished joint fourth in the tries scored charts. He also averaged more minutes on the pitch per game than any other Rhinos back row – demonstrating his value as a player that plays big minutes - which usually converts into more fantasy points.
2020 points: 897
Smith gave a huge return in last seasons fantasy league - he averaged a colossal 74.7 points from his 12 regular season appearances. That average was achieved in large from the loose forward’s unrelenting defensive work. Smith made 508 tackles and 114 marker tackles last year, equating to almost three quarters of his overall fantasy score.
His hard-working defence paid dividends for fantasy owners who got great value from the young forward. Smith's 15 carries a game and 16 offloads during 2020 should make for a great foundation to improve his attacking threat even further, as he continues to be a sure fire fantasy option in 2021.
2020 points: 794
Oledzki is quickly cementing his place as one of the most consistent front rowers in Super League. The young prop missed just two regular season games last year and proved to be an integral part of the Rhinos middle third. His contributions in attack and defence saw him make 433 tackles, 183 carries and 1605 metres, a stellar effort from Oledzki who will only improve on those efforts.
Despite the inclusion of 2 new props at the Rhinos in 2021, Oledzki should still feature often. He will be spurred on from his performances last year and at just 22 years old, is yet to reach his peak in a position that requires more from younger players than any other.
5 props to watch in 2021 👊
Which front rower are you excited to see in Super League this season?
The action starts on March 26 live on @SkySportsRL 📺#BeReady #SuperLeague
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) February 21, 2021
One to watch
2020 points: 247
20 year-old Walters benefitted from Rhinos successful Challenge Cup run - he made 4 appearances in 2020 as head coach Richard Agar rested players in between key cup fixtures. The young back rower grabbed the opportunity with both hands – playing 80 minutes in all 4 fixtures – and averaging 61.7 fantasy points-per-game.
Walters has shown he can score well if he is given the chance to play – and will hope to become a regular feature in the Rhinos 17 this season. Should he break into the squad, you can expect him to score well at a reasonably low cost.