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NRL Fantasy Draft guide: The backs

Playing NRL Fantasy Draft? There's no salary cap to deal with but there's still plenty of strategy involved in which players you should take in a live draft.

We've broken down every position by tiers, identifying the elite scorers in each position worthy of an early draft pick, as well as which positions you can wait to fill late in the draft.

First up it's the best of the backline players, and next we'll bring you the key draft targets in the forward pack.


Top tier

James Tedesco

Arguably the world's best player it's no surprise to see Tedesco is the standout scorer in his position in Fantasy, capable of making close to 60 points per game when most of his rivals struggle to hit 45. A great tackle-busting ball-runner with superb playmaking and finishing skills, and playing at the reigning premiers, Tedesco ticks every box for what you want in a Fantasy fullback and should be a top-five selection in every draft.

NRL Fantasy player in focus - Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Second tier

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Kalyn Ponga, Tom Trbojevic, Ryan Papenhuyzen, David Nofoaluma

These players all capable of scoring 50 points per game or better. Tuivasa-Sheck and Ponga did that last year (despite a slow start at five-eighth for Ponga), Nofoaluma wasn't far behind with 49 points a game, while Trbojevic struggled a little with injuries and Papenhuyzen spent the bulk of the season on the bench.

The new Storm No.1 is the X-factor here – his knack for finding the tryline made him a sensational scorer when he did start at the back in 2019 and he's a great sneaky option to collect if Tedesco, RTS, Ponga and Trbojevic get snapped up early.

NRL Fantasy player in focus - Mitchell Moses

Third tier

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Will Hopoate, Valentine Holmes, Jahrome Hughes, Jamayne Isaako, AJ Brimson, Brian To'o, Maika Sivo, Moses Mbye

This group should all score close to 40 points per game, with the potential to go higher. Nicoll-Klokstad was a revelation at the Raiders last year, Hopoate gets through a ton of work even playing at centre, Hughes is the halfback at what has been the best attacking team in the competition and Mbye is a potential big improver if he fills in at hooker for the Tigers.

Val Holmes is a bit of an unknown after his time in the NFL but is capable of pushing 50 points a game at fullback, Jamayne Isaako and AJ Brimson are capable of big things after being handed the No.1 at their respective clubs, while To'o and Sivo are tackle-busting, try-scoring wingers coming off excellent rookie seasons.


Top tier

Moses Mbye, Will Hopoate, Latrell Mitchell, Paul Momirovski, Bronson Xerri, Jack Bird

Centre is a position where you'd absolutely take 40 points a game, as not many candidates can be trusted to deliver that kind of score each week.

Moses Mbye may spend time at hooker this season which would strengthen his chances through tackle counts alone (although he hasn't been a huge scorer at dummy-half in the past), while Latrell Mitchell's move to fullback may mean more metres and involvement but he'll lose goal-kicking duties with the switch to Souths.

NRL Fantasy player in focus - Payne Haas

Hopoate gets through a huge amount of metres while Momirovski, Xerri and Bird are the type of tackle-busting ball-runners you want in the outside backs.

Second tier

Joseph Manu, Esan Marsters, Euan Aitken, Jesse Ramien, Braidon Burns, Kurt Capwell

Any or all of these guys could step up to the 40-point range this year, having mostly scored in the high 30s last season. Joey Manu could be more of a focal point of the Roosters' attack in the absence of Mitchell, while Ramien joins a strong attacking backline at the Sharks and Capewell could get good minutes in the Panthers' forward pack.

Third tier

Joey Leilua, Jarrod Croker, Dane Gagai, Brian Kelly, Josh Morris, Tyrone Peachey

These players were mid-30s scorers last year with the potential to improve if they get amongst the tries (or at least the tackle breaks). Don't be put off too much if you're forced to pick up centres late in the draft as the lack of elite scorers in this position means most of these players should remain unselected in the early rounds.


Top tier

Daly Cherry-Evans, Nathan Cleary, Mitchell Moses

This trio are the leading candidates when it comes to scoring 55 points per game or more this season. All three are dominant playmakers who do the bulk of their team's kicking in general play, and all three are strong ball-runners for halfbacks. Cherry-Evans and Cleary are both very strong defenders while Cleary and Moses kick goals, and Moses led the league for try assists in 2019. 

Second tier

Anthony Milford, Shaun Johnson, Ben Hunt, Luke Brooks, Adam Reynolds

The gap between the top two tiers is probably the closest for any position in Fantasy, with these players all easily capable of scoring 50 points per game. Don't be surprised if one or two of these guys joins the top tier of Fantasy halves this season.

Any dominant playmaker who collects a lot of kick metres, doesn't have too many missed tackles and (ideally) kicks goals can rack up the Fantasy points even without the bonus of big attacking plays.

NRL Fantasy player in focus - Ryan Papenhuyzen

Third tier

Luke Keary, Jack Wighton, Mitchell Pearce, Michael Morgan, Corey Norman, Lachlan Lewis, George Williams, Cody Walker, Connor Watson, Tyrone Roberts, Chad Townsend

These playmakers are expected to score in the mid-40s with the potential to reach around 50 points a game. Keary is now the Roosters' dominant playmaker after the retirement of Cooper Cronk, Wighton is coming off a stellar season as Canberra's five-eighth, while Pearce has been a great scorer in previous years and enjoyed one dream seven-week run last season.

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Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.