With a new coach at the helm, North Queensland are looking to get back into finals contention.
With a crop of young talent – and a few superstars – they could be a great club for Fantasy coaches looking for value buys in 2021.
Players to watch
This year Fantasy is replacing “front-rowers” and “back-rowers” with “middle forwards” and “edge forwards”, and Taumalolo is just about the best middle forward in the business.
Blessed with size, power, footwork and endurance, he can bust tackles and eat up metres with one or two hit-ups each set, and keep that up for 70 minutes.
Taumalolo doesn’t come cheap based on his performances last year – averaging almost 62 points a game – but he usually stays on the field for at least 60 minutes and in those matches averaged a staggering 69 points per game. He’s an elite Fantasy scorer, and potentially still undervalued at the start of 2021.
Analysing the Cowboys’ 2021 draw
Holmes averaged 35 points a game last season but that included two injury-affected matches in round five and round nine, plus three appearances on the wing. He’s likely to get the nod at fullback in round one, where he scored 41 points a game last year when playing the full 80 minutes.
Last season was his first in the NRL in a couple of years, following a brief stint in the NFL, and ideally, he can get back to the kind of form he showed at the Sharks in 2018.
In that year he scored 47 points a game but was incredible in the run home, scoring just under 60 points a game in the final eight weeks of the season. If he can get anywhere near that kind of scoring he’d be a steal at $498,000.
The Holmes and Hammer show finishes Cowboys season in style
One of the slow-burning Fantasy success stories of 2020, Robson played his way off the bench and into the Cowboys’ starting hooker role and quickly started racking up some monster scores.
He made at least 50 tackles four times during the season and also crossed for five tries, including a two-try, 95-point effort against the Roosters in round nine.
No longer the cheapie he once was, there’s still the chance Robson could improve on his $658,000 starting price this year if new coach Todd Payten gives him an 80-minute role. He’s priced as a 49-point player, but when playing the full 80 minutes he scored a superb 68 points a game.
He’s not yet a household name but Tom Gilbert could prove to be a very handy Fantasy buy this season. For one thing, he’s a dual-position forward, meaning you can slot him into either the middle or edge roles in your starting side.
For another, he could make a lot of money if he keeps a starting spot.
Gilbert averaged 32 points a game last year but averaged 45 when playing as a starter. Arguably a front-runner for one of the Cowboys’ two edge forward roles, Gilbert scored 44 and 57 on the two occasions he played more than 60 minutes there last season.
Still only 20, there is a lot of room for improvement in the youngster this year.
The Cowboys’ 2020 season in review
2021 NRL Fantasy player prices
Jason Taumalolo MID $827,000
Josh McGuire MID $702,000
Reece Robson HOK $658,000
Jake Clifford HLF $607,000
Coen Hess EDG $559,000
Jordan McLean MID $519,000
Michael Morgan HLF $516,000
Reuben Cotter HOK $505,000
Valentine Holmes WFB $498,000
Francis Molo MID $492,000
Kyle Feldt WFB $478,000
Scott Drinkwater HLF, WFB $477,000
Shane Wright EDG $446,000
Mitchell Dunn EDG $437,000
Tom Gilbert MID, EDG $434,000
Lachlan Burr MID $417,000
Esan Marsters CTR $386,000
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow WFB $356,000
Corey Jensen MID $350,000
Jake Granville HOK $339,000
Justin O’Neill CTR, WFB $304,000
Connelly Lemuelu WFB $288,000
Ben Hampton WFB, CTR $246,000
Emry Pere MID $246,000
Benjamin Condon EDG $246,000
Peter Hola MID $246,000
Murray Taulagi CTR $246,000
Kane Bradley WFB $228,000
Wiremu Greig MID $228,000