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Thursday, December 14, 2017

2018 NRL Fantasy guide: Bulldogs

Des Hasler has moved on, as has James Graham, with the new Kieran Foran era at the club beginning under Dean Pay. It's interesting times for a Canterbury team that defended stoutly in the NRL last season but struggled with the worst attack in the league. That does mean they have a lot of room for improvement, which could be good news for Fantasy coaches on the lookout for a bargain.
Fantasy gun: Aiden Tolman
The Bulldogs may have lost one hard-working, fair-haired prop but they do still have the underrated Tolman, who actually outscored former skipper James Graham in Fantasy last season. Tolman doesn't have the ball-playing skill of Graham but he's great at the meat and potatoes of getting big tackle counts and making a lot of run metres. He averaged a tick under 50 points a game in 2017 to be Canterbury's best Fantasy performer, although he'll have some help up front again in the form of Kangaroos front-rower Aaron Woods.
Value buy: Michael Lichaa
It's all about minutes for Michael Lichaa. At his best, he's an 80-minute hooker with a solid defensive game and a (rarely seen) running game. But for much of 2017 he was instructed to keep it simple out of dummy half, and was often restricted to limited minutes off the bench. When he played more than 70 minutes last season Lichaa averaged 45 points a game (including bumper scores of 67 and 56 in the final fortnight of the season) but in the nine games he played fewer than 70 minutes he averaged just 20. His $533,000 price tag is based on a season average of 38, so he is undervalued if he resumes his usual 80-minute running role next year.
Wildcard: Brett Morris
The Bulldogs might not have any brand new faces in their starting side in Round 1 but one old head suddenly looks good value after one of his quietest seasons in years. Morris usually averages close to 40 points a game in Fantasy but managed just 28 a game last season, scoring just six tries in his what was the leanest season of his career in that regard. Canterbury are set to take a new attacking mindset under coach Dean Pay in 2018, and if it clicks and Morris starts finding the tryline again he could earn $100,000 in price rises.
2018 NRL Fantasy player prices
Aaron Woods: FRF, $716,000
Aiden Tolman: FRF, $703,000
David Klemmer: FRF, 2RF, $640,000
Josh Jackson: 2RF, $621,000
Will Hopoate: WFB, CTR, $607,000
Moses Mbye: HLF, WFB, $558,000
Kieran Foran: HLF, $543,000
Michael Lichaa: HOK, $533,000
Brenko Lee: CTR, $508,000
Adam Elliot: 2RF, $464,000
Josh Morris: CTR, $459,000
Kerrod Holland: CTR, WFB, $441,000
Marcelo Montoya: WFB, $429,000
Matt Frawley: HLF, $429,000
Brett Morris: WFB, $423,000
Raymond Faitala-Mariner: 2RF, $389,000
Fa'amanu Brown: HLF, HOK, $372,000
Danny Fualalo: 2RF, $365,000
Clay Priest: FRF, $364,000
Greg Eastwood: 2RF, $317,000
Francis Tualau: FRF, $268,000
Asipeli Fine: CTR, $228,000
Andy Saunders: FRF, $228,000
Rhyse Martin: 2RF, $228,000
Renouf Toomaga: CTR, 2RF, $212,000
Josh Cleeland: HLF, $212,000
Zac Woolford: HOK, $212,000
Reimis Smith: WFB, $212,000
Mason Cerruto: CTR, $212,000
*2018 salary cap: 9.4m. Fantasy squad size: 21