NRL Fantasy – Draft v Classic: Choose your game

Think you know your footy, or want to become an expert fast? Want to take on your mates each week? Want to go in the running for weekly and major prizes? Want to do it all for free? Then NRL Fantasy is for you.

At its core, the concept of fantasy footy is simple: pick a team of real players, and when they perform on the field your team earns points.

Take on your friends, family or colleagues in head-to-head leagues each week for bragging rights and (hopefully) grand final glory, and take on thousands of other players for prizes throughout the season.

There are two ways to play the game, and you can play either or both. Here's a quick breakdown on how they work.

Draft

It's the "newer" form of NRL Fantasy here but the dominant type of fantasy game in US sports, and even though most beginners don't start with Draft it's arguably the simpler version of the game to get into.

Draft is purely about taking on your mates in a league, and the twist to this version of the game is each NRL player can only be owned by one team in your league.

Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo.
Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo. ©NRL Photos

Once you've got a group of people (from four to 20) signed up in a league – both versions of Fantasy are free to enter – the game kicks off with one of the thrill of the live draft. Damien Cook, Cameron Smith, Jason Taumalolo – who do you pick?

You can customise your league size, time, how the draft works and how much time you have for each pick, from a range of options – and if you're not online when the draft begins the game will make your picks for you, based on last year's average scores or on a draft order you can set yourself.  

Once the draft is done, you can start trading with rival teams or pick up free agents from the list of undrafted players.

You can continue trading as much as you like throughout the season as your team earns points based on your players' performances. (See the end of this article for how player scoring works.)

The web version of Fantasy Draft has been rebuilt from the ground up for the 2019 season so there's no better time to give it a go.

Classic

The original version of Fantasy is the game you can really sink your teeth into – it's the most addictive way to follow the footy.

In classic Fantasy you can pick whichever players you like in your team, but they all come with a price tag. This game is all about making the most of the salary cap and finding undervalued players early in the season.

Player prices are crucial to your selection choices here. Each player's price will change after every game they play, depending on their score.

High-priced players – guys who performed well last season – will see their price tags drop if they struggle early.

Meanwhile, unsung players who were quiet in 2018 will rise in value, effectively "earning money" for your team, if they start the season with a bang.

The key strategy in classic Fantasy is to find as many of these undervalued players as you can at the start of the season, as you can trade them out later at an increased price and use the profits to bring in star players.

For example, last season my team started well under the $9.4 million salary cap but by round 25 was worth $14.6 million, with 17 stars in my line-up.

Need a hand spotting undervalued players? I'm here to help. I've prepared guides to the best value players at all 16 NRL clubs, and will have more articles on NRL.com in the lead up to the 2019 season and before every round of the season, including Q&A articles answering your big questions.

NRL.com will also have Fantasy preview videos each week, plus the NRL Fantasy Podcast offering up advice, so it's easy to stay on top of the best bargains throughout the year.

NRL Fantasy scoring system

Try: 8 points
Try assist: 5 points
Line break: 4 points
Line-break assist: 2 points
Tackle break: 3 points
Forced drop-out: 2 points
Goal: 2 points
Offload: 2 points
Tackle: 1 point
Kick defused: 1 point
Run metres: 1 point for every 10 metres
Kick metres: 1 point for every 20 metres
Field goal: 5 points
Try save: 5 points
40/20 kick: 4 points
Missed tackle: -2 points
Error: -2 points
Penalty conceded: -2 points
Sin bin: -5 points
Send-off: -10 points