NRL Fantasy is both wildly popular, with over 100,000 yearly users, and also hyper-competitive. It’s back for another year of enjoyable highs and brutal lows in 2024.
You can smell it in the air, can’t you? With the bright, dazzling lights of Las Vegas glaring to kick things off this time around, we are now charging full steam ahead toward the beginning of the 2024 NRL season, which kicks off in Sin City on 3 March.
With the imminent dawn of a new season comes the beginning of a new NRL Fantasy season. Right across Australia, the competition pits fans against each other week-to-week, testing their rugby league nous and allowing them to act as football managers.
Whether you’re a repeat offender, or a newcomer considering dabbling in the world of NRL Fantasy, we’ve compiled a guide with all the necessary information for you to enrol and excel in season 2024.
This piece forms the first part of our extensive NRL Fantasy coverage this year.
Is NRL Fantasy worth playing?
We may be unbelievably biased here, but an overwhelming ‘yes’ would be the answer here. Maybe it ruins your fan experience, putting you on edge in games where you’d otherwise be neutral, forcing you into passionately celebrating a random Jesse Ramien try, despite your devotion to the Tigers, or screaming as Payne Haas misses a tackle despite having no Broncos allegiance.
But aside from that extra edge it inspires, NRL Fantasy is extremely fun to play. It’s no walk in the park, that’s for sure; injuries, suspensions and form cause major mid-week selection headaches. But you gain a deeper appreciation for players and a better understanding of rugby league — there’s no doubt about that.
You may find yourself drawn into extreme admiration for Reuben Cotter, or similar workhorses, whose efforts might’ve otherwise gone unnoticed. The hard workers become elevated to star status because of their unbelievably resolute defence garnering points. Ask yourself this, is that a bad thing?
In essence, NRL Fantasy increases your engagement with rugby league and recognition of the output of every player. If you aren’t already all-in on Fantasy, what’s stopping 2024 from being the year you do so?
How to play NRL Fantasy
It’s quite straight forward really. Fantasy players begin the year with a $10 million budget to select a squad of 21 – 13 starters with four each on their bench and in their reserves, with just the 13 starters and four bench players’ points going towards your team’s weekly total.
Players can opt to play draft mode, which is the predominant play mode in NFL Fantasy, or classic mode. The former, much like its NFL counterpart, means players must draft their team, selecting players only they can play. For example. if someone takes Nathan Cleary with the first pick of their respective draft, no one else can select him for the Fantasy season.
Classic mode allows players to freely select their entire squad of 21, without any restrictions on who can be selected.
According to the NRL Fantasy site, there are two types of leagues in Fantasy; Head-to-head (H2H) and Open.
H2H leagues replicate the NRL draw, pitting your team against others in your league for each round of the competition, resulting in a rolling ladder from these match-ups and a Finals series come year’s end.
Open leagues can have any number of teams with rankings determined on a total points-scored basis only. H2H leagues require an even number of teams.
It should be noted NRL Fantasy draft players are only able to compete in H2H leagues.
Are there any NRL Fantasy changes for 2024?
Ahead of the 2024 season, there have been a few key adjustments made to NRL Fantasy, including:
- The salary cap reduced to $10M
- Total trades adjusted to 44 (up 2) with a maximum of 36 available thru to end R19 and another 8 available from R20,
- Weekly trade maximum is now 2 from R1 to R6, 3 from R7 to R12 and 4 from R13 onwards
- Bye round (13, 16 & 19) score reduced to 13 players
How does scoring work?
NRL scoring is simple, yet complex, rewarding or penalising players for the smallest statistics. It should be noted that your captain scores double points and, in the event miss a game, your vice-captain will score double.
The NRL Fantasy scoring system is as follows:
8pts – Try
2pts – Conversion
5pts – Field goal
5pts – Try assists
4pts – Line break
2pts – Line break assist
1pt – A tackle
2pts – Tackle break
4pts – Offload to hand
2pts – Offload to ground
4pts – 40/20 or 20/40
Total metres gained – Total metres run divided by 10 (i.e 200 run metres = 20 points)
Kick metres – Total kick metres gained divided by 30 rounded down to the nearest whole number
5pts- Try save
1pt – Kicks defused
2pts – Forced drop-outs
4pts – Forced turnovers
2pts – Escape in goal
-1pt – Missed tackle
-2pts – Error
-2pts – Penalty conceded
-1pt – Six-again infringement
-5pts – Sin bin
-10pts – Send off
Please explain NRL Fantasy price changing
This, my friends, is a little more complex to explain. Players prices change on a weekly basis, with their performances the main driver of their respective price gain or loss.
However, these price movements are not based on vibe. Each week, player’s breakevens are updated based on a complex mathematical equation that’s as secret as KFC’s herbs and spices.
Essentially, a break even is the approximate score a player must reach for their price not to change in value. If they exceed their break even, their prices rises, and if they finish below their break even, their price drops.
For example, if Nathan Cleary enters a round 3 clash with the Dragons with a break even of 50 and scores 85 points, his price will rise by $35 grand. However, if the Penrith halfback scores 41, his price will drop.
While it can get confusing, the system works perfectly and means players can often start the Fantasy season with a squad of low-to-mid priced guys with the potential for price growth allowing them to upgrade positions as the season progresses.