Below is my early list of the top ranked fullbacks heading into the 2020 Draft season.
Looking at fullbacks, this year is one of the most exciting
and difficult to pick.
See below for a critical breakdown of each key player and full strategy analysis for fullback selection come Draft day.
The rankings will be based on a mixture of value as well as overall ability.
*Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a key on all SuperCoach relevant abbreviations and an explanation of tiers in Draft.
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1 – JAMES TEDESCO
You simply can’t go past Teddy as the best fullback (if not
player) in Draft.
I picked him number 1 overall last year and this made my line-up
very difficult to beat.
Teddy ended up taking The Spys to the Draft title much to
the dismay of my highly competitive mates.
Essentially every week that the Roosters rack up a score he
will dominate, and this happens a lot.
This is especially true later in the year come Draft finals
when the competition in actual NRL is not as tightly fought as the early
With 10 scores above 84, three above 130, and only two below
50, you can see that even in lower scoring matches (whether it be a quality
defensive unit or monsoon like weather), Teddy is simply the best.
You may miss him for a few weeks around Origin but he has
otherwise been quite healthy the last couple of years (touch wood).
His upside is quite frankly scary to imagine! Lock him in and don’t look back.
2 – RYAN PAPENHUYZEN
This might be contentious and perhaps my slight man crush
has clouded my judgment a little, but hear me out.
Whilst Tommy Turbo is an out and out superstar his injury
concerns of last year would make me very nervous taking him too high this year.
And you will have to go early to get him. He would still be
my number two fullback however if it wasn’t for this man.
Papenhuyzen last year scored at a rate of 1.37 points per
minute (PPM). He came off the bench a lot of the year and some of it was as a
roving lock type position which may slightly skew things but 1.37PPM equates to
an average of 109.6PPG if he played 80 minutes each week!!!
He won’t be that good (I don’t think), but I’ve never seen a
bloke run the ball more than Pap.
He is a brilliant support player off Cam Smith, Cam Munster
and the Storm back-rowers, busts a million tackles, busts the line, scores a
heap of tries and that’s just the main stats.
I would be very happy taking him as my second fullback and
will determine where I would take him overall in my round up article prior to
season kick off.
But given his youth and not being as big a name as Turbo or
even Latrell, RTS, Valentine etc. you might be able to get an absolute Draft
day bargain if you are willing to take a little punt.
I’m thinking something along the lines of taking another gun
in Round 1 and grabbing Pap in round 2.
Imagine locking in Cleary and Papenhuyzen if they can both
average 75+ and then build a forward pack around that.
Key Stat – Pap averaged 95 in six starts at fullback last year.
3 – TOM TRBOJEVIC
This is a testament to the quality of fullbacks!
Essentially, in a battle with Payne Haas, Jason Taumololo and Damian Cook these
top 3 guys may well finish with the best averages for the upcoming season.
I would say total points as well but the Origin period (and
the chance of a rest) will impact Tommy & Teddy.
Check your league settings as many will have the Origin weeks
set as a bye. Regardless, Tommy is an out and out superstar so don’t let Origin
worry you too much.
It’s only at worst
one extra game missed given the schedule plus a rest if this occurs.
With averages over the last three years of 77, 74 & 76PPG
the pedigree is as good as it comes.
As noted above his hamstring worries me after some issues
last year and then he hurt his pec upon returning.
Whilst I still think he will be okay after strengthening up
his body in the off-season, I would just be wary of taking a top 5 pick on him.
That isn’t to say don’t do it, but just be aware that if his
hammy does go again it can often be a recurring injury or require well over a month’s
The beauty of Draft is that these kinds of decisions could
decide your season. It’s worth noting that Tommy played the majority of games
in the previous three seasons and did score at a rate of 1.07PPM last year when
on the paddock (85.6PPG average if playing 80 minutes).
I’ll leave this one to you to decide where you want to take
him. I have no objection if you have him as the second best fullback behind
Teddy and at the end of the day anyone can get injured so go for it if you
TIER 2 (4-7):
Let’s take a look at the next tier down. All of these guys
are top class.
So if you miss out on one of the top couple then don’t panic because you won’t have to take as high a pick to get them! Let’s look at each below:
If he can get back the goal-kicking duties I would easily have
him top of this pile.
He will only get better and the kid is exactly as
advertised. To be honest even if he doesn’t kick I would still take him but not
with as much confidence.
Mason Lino last year had 39 shots at goal, so if we add 30
goals onto Ponga’s overall score – based on his 80% success rate – he would
have upped his average to 74PPG.
He also started the year at five-eighth and upon returning
to fullback averaged 73PPG (even with the disastrous end to Newcastle’s season
and losing the kicking duties at times).
Personally I think Ponga is in for a monster season in real life and SuperCoach. If he can get back the kicking duties I’m super high on him in both Classic & Draft!
5 – VALENTINE HOLMES
It was only a season ago that Valentine Holmes was
absolutely tearing apart the NRL.
The back half of 2018 was phenomenal. He averaged 67PPG for
the year but took over the fullback duties fulltime for the last 11 games and
averaged 88.45PPG. This only included goal-kicking for the last five weeks. In
this time Val averaged exactly 100!!
I’m no expert of the training methods of the NFL but it
seems every chance he may take a little bit of time to get back to his best.
But on the fast tracks of Townsville, possible goal-kicking
and the fact that he should be firing come the second half of the season I
would love to get Val in my side.
Right in the mix with the second tier fullbacks and could
end up on top of the other guys here. Based on the above he could even push for
the best fullback this year if he can start where he left off.
What a position this is… I personally would be happy to take
Valentine a little later and not have to spend a top 5-10 pick on someone like
6 – LATRELL MITCHELL
This again may come down to goal-kicking. If he can nab the
duties off Adam Reynolds (to give him some extra rest) and combine this with
playing fullback then absolutely anything could happen.
Whilst he won’t be playing with the Roosters, Souths are
still a very decent side so he should score plenty of points.
Latrell could honestly be anything if he can stay healthy
and motivated. He is again in the slight risk pile and it’ll depend on your
style of drafting but the talent is there and he averaged 70PPG last year while
barely touching the ball.
I’m excited to see his season unfold regardless of whether I
own him or not. (I owned him last year and the combination of himself and Teddy
as first and second round picks was electric).
One thing I love is his ridiculous ability to bust tackles and then offload. It gets his score moving quickly north and the more he runs the better this will be.
7 – ROGER
Not much really need to be said here. RTS is as solid and
consistent as they come and doesn’t play Origin which is good for his body.
Whilst he only averaged a very respectable 60 and 57PPG
before last year, the departure of Johnson saw RTS become even more important
in attack for the Warriors and an average of 71PPG ensued which outshone
Latrell narrowly. If he doesn’t hit 71PPG again he shouldn’t be too far off.
There is an enormous drop off here. So it’s my advice to try
and lock in one of the above guys if you can. But if you can’t then never fear.
There are a few serviceable fullbacks still to come.
They simply don’t have the upside of anyone already
mentioned. In order I would initially rank the next batch as follows. This may
update closer to season kick off:
8. Clint Gutherson
9. Jahrome Hughes
10. Anthony Milford
11. Matt Moylan
12. Alexander Brimson
13. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
14. Zac Lomax
THE TAKE AWAY
The fullback position is absurdly stacked up top. I think it’s vital to get one of the top seven mentioned above.
Without this you lack fire power. Mark them off as they are
taken and make sure you get one.
It won’t ruin your season if you miss out on one of the top seven but I just think it’ll be far more difficult.
I think one of the top five guys contains the most upside.
Therefore if you miss out on one of my top three guys I would look to take
Ponga or Valentine in the next round pending how you are sitting! Best of luck and
I’ll be back with an updated analysis closer to kick off!
SUPERCOACH TERMINOLOGY KEY
MPG = Minutes per game
PPG = Points per game
PPM = Points per minute
BPG = Base per game (point accrued in tackles + runs + missed