Fantasy NRL: Smith continues to lead the way

By Jeremy Redmore

Cameron Smith just keep getting better as a fantasy force - he posted his best game of the season in Round 14 of NZ Herald Fantasy NRL.

Dragons 16 Cowboys 22
The star: Ray Thompson (61pts) - the Dragons must have formed a strategy to run at Thompson and, as a result, he came up with 49 tackles - 20 more than his previous season-best. We actually have him listed as a five eight, despite him playing hooker for the Cowboys, so he could be a sneaky play if he keeps up this form.
The dud: Matt Prior (16pts) - he's been averaging over 30 points per game this season so this was a dud for him, though he's not much of an option for you anyway.
Value pick: Tariq Sims (41pts) - he's a little too inconsistent overall for my liking but at 121k he's definitely a great, price-effective option as your bench second rower.

Sea Eagles 30 Bulldogs 32
The star: James Graham (61pts) - he's been evading many people's radars due to missing the start of the season with injury but since joining the 'Dogs in early May he's averaged 51 points per week. Buy.
The dud: David Williams (8pts) - that's two duds in a row for Williams and this time in a match that certainly wasn't low-scoring. Find another option until he shows some form again.
Value pick: Brenton Lawrence (38pts) - there weren't any true cheap-picks in this fixture but Lawrence posted another solid week for 260k.

However, he's a bench option at best for your front row.

Raiders 24 Panthers 12
The star: Shaun Fensom (60pts) - that's two 60+ weeks in a row from Fensom. He's bettered the 50-point mark in more than half his appearances this year and is an elite second row option.
The dud: Lewis Brown (10pts) - he's not an expensive player but he's a popular selection that just didn't come through this week. It was his worst performance of the season but there are much better options for you out there so take this as a wake up call.
Value pick: Mark Iaone (36pts) - there were plenty of cheap stars in the Raiders lineup this week but Paul Vaughan took the cake with 35 points for just 103k.

Sharks 32 Eels 14
The star: Wade Graham (49 pts) - this is probably the lowest starring performance of the season for any one fixture but Graham deserves the highlight with his second best score of the season. He's an elite option at halfback.
The dud: Ken Sio (15pts) - well, it didn't take long for Sio to reappear here, despite scoring a try for the third straight week. He's just not the type of back that will generate fantasy points and for 455k you'd be crazy to pick him up.
Value pick: Peni Terepo (38pts) - he featured in this spot last week and I mentioned he was hard to predict. Well, after another 35+ point effort that job's getting much easier. One more decent performance from him and I'll pop him and his 118k salary on my bench.

Rabbitohs 30 Titans 24
The star: Albert Kelly (57pts) - he's been a solid, consistent fantasy halfback option but the past few weeks have seen him rocket to the top of the rankings with five tries in three games. Start him now and enjoy the heat.
The dud: Kevin Gordon (12pts) - similar to Ken Sio, he's another backline option that doesn't consistently generate good fantasy points despite being a great real life player.
Value pick: George Burgess (42pts) - if you've spent large on players like Billy Slater and Greg Inglis and run out of cash for your front row or bench, then Burgess is THE value pick of the league at 138k. Unfortunately he's just been suspended for two games, so wait till he's back and running.

Storm 16 Knights 14
The star: Cameron Smith (77pts) - who else? This was his best fantasy performance of the season. He's unrivalled in fantasy prowess.
The dud: James McManus (12pts) - he's one of the better backs out there for his price but this was an off-week for McManus. Hopefully you saw this coming against the Storm.
Value pick: Maurice Blair (45pts) - every time Blair has been given decent minutes this season he has delivered in a big way. Watch the team lists and, if he's starting, play him for just 157k.

Roosters 12 Warriors 23
The star: Nathan Friend (61pts) - it's fitting that a Warriors player topped the scoring in this one as it was an immense effort by the visitors that was fully reflected in Friend's stats. 54 tackles equalled his season-best.
The dud: Aidan Guerra (14pts) - for 300k he's just not an option for your fantasy team.
Value pick: Sonny Bill Williams (56pts) - he did his very best to down the Warriors on his own and his fantasy score reflected that. For 143k he is undeniably one of the best fantasy second rowers in the league.

Broncos 32 Tigers 12
The star: Matt Gillet (66pts) - While Rabbs was floundering over how to pronounce his name, Gillet produced his best fantasy score of the season against the Tigers. He's a little inconsistent but you could do worse in your second row.
The dud: Benji Marshall (19pts) - if you still have Benji in your side, hoping for a turnaround in performance this season, then take this week as another sign that it's not likely to happen. While the Tigers don't score and Benji misses tackles he's not worth using.
Value pick: Masada Iosefa (56pts) - that's two games started and two huge fantasy scores (49 points last week). For 144k you can safely start this tackle machine - just check that he's starting for the Tigers before you make the switch.

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