By Lone Scout
NRL Fantasy guru
The Storm will go into another season without key big-name players, with legendary fullback Billy Slater, club great Ryan Hoffman, Maroons prop Tim Glasby and playmaker Ryley Jacks having all departed.
But coach Craig Bellamy is the best in the business at getting the most out of his players and turning journeymen into stars. Here are four Storm players worth looking at when it comes time to select your NRL Fantasy team.
Two-thirds of the Storm's fabled "Big Three" are gone but Munster is the club's new superstar, a freakish talent whose barnstorming running game makes him a Fantasy threat at either fullback or five-eighth.
He scored just under 45 points a game last season but could step up a gear in the absence of fellow playmaker Slater – in the seven games when Slater was sidelined in the past two years Munster notched scores of 62, 89, 56, 62, 57, 54 and 73 for an average of 64.7.
He started at fullback in two of those games and played five-eighth in the others. I'm not suggesting he'll average 60+ this season, but there is a lot of potential upside in Munster at his price considering the responsibility he'll have at Melbourne this year.
Haven't we been through this before? Sure, there was a lot of hype around Croft following his strong cameo performances in 2017 and in the 2018 World Club Challenge, only for the young halfback to struggle in the first half of his first full season as Melbourne's first-choice No.17.
But Croft was an under-the-radar success in the latter part of the year, averaging 56.8 in his final four regular season games and a tick under 50 in his three finals appearances (including a solid 46 in a well-beaten side in the grand final).
With Slater not popping up as an extra playmaker the chance is there for Croft to carry on that form an exceed his 39-point break even – but beware another slow start could make him another awkwardly priced flop.
A former captain of Melbourne's under 20s side and a perfect fit for the prototype of no-frills, no-nonsense professionals Bellamy has surrounded his stars with over the years, Stimson made an 80-minute starting spot his own in 2018.
But along the way he played eight games from the interchange, where his minutes (18) and Fantasy scores (8.9) plummeted. That means he is priced as a 30-point player at the start of 2019, despite the fact he scored just under 42 points a game when starting in the second row.
The front-runner to replace Billy Slater at fullback, Hughes has spent time at the back and in the halves in the past few seasons but is at his best with the No.1 on his back. In 2017 he scored 69, 44 and 51 at the back (then 22 at five-eighth) while last season he averaged 38 from six games at fullback and 32 from five at halfback.
He only had one big score last season – a 76 including a try and nine tackle busts against the Dragons – but with a break even of 35 he's an underpriced borderline keeper if he can lift his average above 40.
Storm player prices & positions
Cameron Smith $894,000, HOK
Cameron Munster $667,000, HLF
Felise Kaufusi $659,000, 2RF
Nelson Asofa-Solomona $586,000, FRF
Josh Addo-Carr $584,000, WFB
Scott Drinkwater $583,000, HLF
Brodie Croft $561,000, HLF
Jesse Bromwich $543,000, FRF
Dale Finucane $529,000, 2RF
Jahrome Hughes $502,000, WFB, HLF
Kenneath Bromwich $458,000, 2RF
Suliasi Vunivalu $425,000, WFB
Christian Welch $416,000, FRF
Joe Stimson $416,000, 2RF
Will Chambers $399,000, CTR
Curtis Scott $398,000, CTR
Brandon Smith $343,000, HOK
Justin Olam $330,000, WFB, CTR
Sam Kasiano $304,000, FRF
Cheyse Blair $276,000, CTR
Albert Vete $230,000, FRF
Patrick Kaufusi $228,000, FRF
Sandor Earl $228,000, WFB
Tui Kamikamica $228,000, 2RF
Billy Walters $212,000, HLF
Marion Seve $212,000, CTR
Ryan Papenhuyzen $212,000, WFB
Tino Faasuamaleaui $212,000, 2RF
Tom Eisenhuth $212,000, CTR