8 Apr 2021

Fantasy League rundown

Super League Fantasy kicked off last week with John Bateman (170k) making an early statement as the top fantasy contender for 2021. Bateman’s high score in round 1 left some onlookers perplexed after the Warriors star claimed to have had one of his quieter games against newly promoted Leigh Centurions.

However, it seems as though a quiet game for Bateman is still an impressive outing from a stats and Fantasy perspective. Bateman’s performance in round 1 emphasised the unique nature of Fantasy League – the best performances on the pitch do not always translate into the best scorers in fantasy.

So, how can you work out which players will score consistently high points and what positions to invest the most money in?

After the opening two rounds, 8 of the 10 top players in Fantasy are forwards. The two exceptions are Gareth Widdop (135k) and Jake Bibby (100k).

Bibby has been exceptional for the Warriors in the opening 2 rounds and tops the try scoring charts with 5 tries. Those 5 tries have helped him to 50 points alone - along with 6 clean breaks for 30 points - enjoying a great run of form on the wing at a relatively cheap price.

The experienced Widdop rose to second in Fantasy after his round 2 antics – he scored a mammoth 95 points with 2 tries (20), 2 try assists (8) and 2 clean breaks (10) helping him on his way to the biggest single score so far this year.

The rest of the top performers are dominated by forwards - players that are typically involved in the key base stats more - tackling and running. Hookers are always high value in fantasy – Daryl Clark (170k), James Roby (165k) and Paul McShane (170k) are all in the top 10 after round 2. The talismanic number 9's get through a shed load of work in defence and score well through their tackles made - the rest is made up of their individual quality in attack - all posing different threats to make them premium fantasy players.

Elijah Taylor (155k) and Benjamin Garcia (160k) both sit in the top 3 for tackles made after 2 rounds – so unsurprisingly feature in the Fantasy top 10.

As for Bateman, his shrewd defence (he made 52 tackles in round 1) along with his attacking capabilities - particularly his tackle busts and offloads - make him a constant point scoring threat in Fantasy - even during his quieter games.

 

Key players

It’s hard to look past Wigan Warriors John Bateman (170k) as the must have Fantasy player in 2021. With Adrian Lam’s somewhat depleted back line, Bateman could have easily slotted into the centre role during the opening rounds. But Lam chose to keep him in the forwards – a reassuring sign for the remainder of the year.

It’s great news for Fantasy owners as well – with Bateman in the forward pack, he will score points. His teammate Liam Farrell – the top Fantasy scorer in 2020 – has seen his fantasy scoring reduced after moving to the centre position early on in round 1, before playing the full contest against Wakefield at centre once again.

A quality hooker should be top of the list for consistently high points. The top 4 hookers (Clark, Roby, McShane & Hood) all averaged over 60 points in the opening rounds and are a safe captain option for high weekly scores.

Liam Hood (125k) was a cheaper option at hooker and scored an impressive 86 points in the opening round – but saw his scoring drop after reduced minutes against the Wolves in round 2 – something which could continue once new signing Nathan Peats is introduced to the squad.

Ben Garcia (160k) and Dean Hadley (140k) look like safe bets at loose forward – both averaging over 50 points and set to play big minutes this year.

 

Fantasy bargains

Jake Bibby (100k) has shown plenty of value early on after being priced relatively low compared to the higher echelon of wingers. His 69.5 average has given owners plenty of early points and left-over cash to invest elsewhere.

The Rhinos academy conveyer belt looks to have produced another star in the making with young Jack Broadbent (80k) bursting onto the scene in 2021. The versatile back made the perfect start to his Rhinos career during their round 1 victory against Wakefield – scoring 63 points at centre. His move to full back last week was detrimental to his points scoring – finishing with a disappointing 12 – but if he makes the centre spot his own again in the coming rounds, he could prove to be a great points scorer.

The Centurions arrival in Super League brought several unknown prospects to Fantasy. Ben Hellewell (95k) has shown his worth with an impressive 58 point average – sitting joint top in the centres. Hellewell has played the opening 2 rounds in the back row – gifting Fantasy owners a back row forward, who typically score more points, in their back line. 

George King (100k) looks to have cemented a starting spot in the Hull KR front row- helping boost his Fantasy scoring - despite the Robins signing 2 props from the NRL in the off season. King is in the top 5 Fantasy prop forwards with a 49.5 point average after 2 rounds, and is the cheapest prop in the top 36 front rowers in Fantasy.


Injury list

Elliot Minchella (165k) was a standout player in Fantasy last season – priced at 50k, he averaged 65.2 points and was easily the bargain of the season. Big things were expected from the Robins new vice captain before Minchella was dealt a cruel blow rupturing his ACL and prematurely ending his season.

On the opposite side of Hull, new signing Josh Reynolds (150k) made a great start to life as a black and white and is the fifth highest scoring stand-off in Fantasy with a 53 point debut score in round 1. Reynolds suffered a hamstring injury in round 2 and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks as a result.

Giants half-back and skipper Aidan Sezer (135k) was a popular Fantasy pick before the start of the season due to his reasonable price tag and ability to score big points. To many owners frustration, Sezer was omitted from the Giants 17 through injury and is yet to feature in 2021. He may still be a couple of weeks off from appearing in Super League - so hold off from selecting him until he's had a run in the first team again.

Fantasy team of the rounds

1. Jake Connor (125k) - 90 points

2. Jake Bibby (100k) - 139 points

3. Ben Hellewell (95k) - 116 points

4. Toby King (150k) - 116 points

5. Ryan Hall (110k) - 97 points

6. Tui Lolohea (140k) - 101 points

7. Gareth Widdop (135k) - 143 points

8. David Fifita (125k) - 128 points

9. Daryl Clark (170k) - 135 points

10. Adam Sidlow (135k) - 124 points

11. John Bateman (170k) - 160 points

12. Oliver Holmes (130k) & Ben Currie (150k) - 118 points

13. Ben Garcia (160k) - 132 points

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