So we’re nearly done with our positional review, and today we’re looking at Centres. Let’s check out what last year looked like:
So last year there was plenty of value to be had around the $200k mark and I expect this year to be the same. There’s plenty of optionality as well with many of the top players and players you’ll want to target playing centre in addition to other positions, which is what I’m after as a fantasy manager.
There’s a number of premium centres in the $300k+ bracket, a couple already covered as part of the FH review, so you’ll know my opinion on Beale (too expensive) and Pollard (boderline). The others I miss here are just too expensive for the points return they’ll likely get you – SBW, Ben Smith, Kuridrani, Crotty, Kriel.
Folau – Total fantasy stud. Has some funny views off the pitch, but on it he’s superb. Much better for your fantasy team when he’s playing at FB, he was second only to the guy below in attacking points last year, and that was with a couple of quiet periods. Led the position with over 1k run metres, and in a reasonably strong Tahs team, in a kak division, he should be a lock this year as well. $394k isn’t cheap, but for someone who’s guaranteed to top 30+ points per game, ship him in. Covers CE and FB.
Reiko – Amazing player, but does come across as a bit of an arrogant c*ck a lot of the time on and off the pitch. Still, nothing to worry about from a fantasy perspective. The only concern is where the Blues play him, as last year when he lined up at inside centre he just doesn’t have the space. A little cheaper than Folau at $375k, and slightly less PPG last season, just nudging up against 30. Most attacking points, most defenders beaten, realistically you’re probably going to have to make a call on whether you have Folau OR Reiko in your team, but both will be solid all year. Covering CE and WG is nice, if you can get them both in, good times.
Laumape – one of my personal favourites, an absolute wrecking ball with an eye for the try line. Another player that didn’t quite get as much ball or hit the heights we know he can from previous seasons, but in an attacking Hurricanes team he’s always pretty good for points. I’d rank him marginally below the top two guys simply because he can only cover CE so you don’t get any extra positional utility. Just over 25 PPG last season and at $329k it’s a relatively high price for those points – I’ve got him here because I expect a better season this year – but at the same time there’s a few players below that I’ll probably take ahead of him.
So we’ve already talked about Robert Du Preez in the previous FH article, so whilst I’m not going to list him below I think it is very hard to look past him for your squad. I’ve also talked about the versatility or Jordie Barret being able to cover FH, CE, WG & FB. However, there’s plenty of others who are also great value picks:
Michael Little – very much in his fathers mould and really showed us what he was all about last year. Tackle busts and linebreaks all over the place, which translated to 56 defenders beaten last year, 2nd only to Boffelli and Rob Thompson. An average of 27.8 ppg was a stonker as well, and in a team that invariably likes to throw the ball around, and has to throw the ball around to try to chase points, I’m expecting similar things this season. Much more liable to get points when the Sunwolves are at home, the risk is the games where they simply don’t get enough ball in the backs. Listed as FB and CE so for $189k a great option that maybe you only start when he’s at home, but he’s in your 23 each week.
Gelant – let’s face it he’s really a FB, but listed as CE as well. Had a great season last year, and in a Bulls side this year that should be trending in the right direction. Averaged 26.3 PPG last season and is only $152k. Even if he’s low 20s he’s a great squad player and someone you play, or have on the bench based on match-up. Love the upside for this price.
Ben Lam – I’m kind of stealing the thunder from the last article on FBs and WGs here, but Lam is listed at a CE as well. $245k isn’t cheap for the 26.5 ppg he got last season, but it certainly isn’t expensive. You can argue he’s less value than a lot of these guys, but someone that with the joint 2nd top attacking points last season is a total difference maker for the Hurricanes who might not make the ABs which would be great news for fantasy managers, but thoroughly unwarranted for Lam given his play last year.
So if I keep up with the picture per player, this post is going to be massive. There are a whole load of value plays at centre, and whilst I like the top 3 best, here’s a few other runners and riders:
Goodhue at $239k should be somewhere similar to last year in terms of 25+ ppg, however, I’m slightly less keen on him as he can only cover CE. Boffelli is similar to Jordie in that he’s got get flexibility covering FB, CE, WG and he’s under the $200k mark at $195k. Again, he should be somewhere close to 25 ppg. Leinert Brown, Am, Rona, Dyanti, Rob Thompson will all probably top 20 ppg, but none of them really get me going.
Kerevi & De Allende – These are the guys I’m really torn on. Neither are cheap at $245k and $284k respectively, but both have previous at being total monsters in Fantasy rugby. De Allende looked like he was coming back to his best in the recent (ish) internationals. Kerevi is captain for the Reds, and for some reason lasy season the Reds went away from their – give the ball to Samu anywhere near the line strategy. I expect both those guys to have better seasons that last year with the potential to explode. That probably puts them somewhere in the 25 ppg to maybe pushing 30 ppg if they really are back to their best. However, with such depth at centre given so many players have it as a listed position it’s gamble I’m not yet sold on, but that could really pay off to those brave and faithful managers.
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Kriel, has all the tools, but always flatters to deceive, and at $305k he’s too much. Beale we’ve already covered, but Ben Smith is another at $327k that just won’t give you the return week in week out. I’ve never managed to pick him when he has that run of a couple of games of knocking it out of the park – I think he’s been mocking me the last 5 years. The other big two names to watch out for are Kuridrani, who like Smith, has just been too inconsistent for $327k and the returning Adam Ashley Cooper, who, whilst he can cover WG, CE and FB, is just too rich at $327k compared to most of the guys we covered earlier in this article.