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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Turner

NRL Fantasy's Best Wingers for 2024

Best NRL Fantasy Wingers for 2024: Fantasy Rugby League Tiers: It's that exciting time of the year again when we delve into the realm of fantasy footy! In the fourth blog of this series, we will be looking at the newest position to GDS: the wingers! We'll take a deep dive into the elite players from 2023, identify potential breakout candidates, and assess the older players who might be showing signs of slowing down. Get ready as we break down the winger position into tiers for the upcoming 2024 Rugby League season!


You may see some acronyms in this blog that you may not have come across before. Please feel free to see what they mean under this link - GameDay Squad's 2024 Rugby League - Classic Competition Strategy. Also, you will see the terminology base stats, attacking stats and demerits used. Base stats are points that a player scores through run metres, tackles and kick defuses. Attacking stats are points that a player scores through tries, line breaks, tackle breaks and offloads. Demerits are points that a player loses through missed tackles, errors, and penalties.

There are so many good wingers to select from and there isn't a lot separating the top 10 at this position. With the boom or bust nature of the position, we can often see the top averaging winger finish outside the top 10 scoring wingers on any given week. Most of this comes down to the winger's matchup that they have from week to week. If you want to see which teams were or were not good matchups for wingers in 2023, check out Breaking Down GameDay Squad's 2024 Rugby League Strength of Schedule.


When I looked back at the 2023 averages at this position, I found out the following.


  • The league average was 37.6 points

  • The league average in base points was 21.1

  • The league average in attacking points was 20.9

  • The league average in points lost through demerits was 4.3 


Being aware of these averages is just another data point that may help you when it comes to selecting your starting wingers. All the above averages are based on wingers playing the full 80 minutes.


https://www.gamedaysquad.com.au/

Tier 1


Greg Marzhew - 2023 AVG of 59 points, Positional Rank 1st

Jamayne Isaako - 2023 AVG of 53 points, Positional Rank 3rd


Marzhew had a career year in 2023 and he deservedly made the GDS All Star Squad. He had seven scores of 60+ points with three of them being 95+ points and he finished as the WNG1 on six occasions. Marzhew offered coaches an average of 25 points through base stats, 42 points through attacking stats and 7 points in demerits. The main base stat we look at for wingers is run metres as they don't need to do as much tackling as all the other positions. Marzhew had a huge year with ball in hand, averaging 200m a game. This offered coaches 20 points a week just through this one metric. Marzhew has a compact frame, and this makes him very difficult to tackle when he's at full speed. This makes him one of the best tackle breaking wingers in the NRL. He averaged eight tackle breaks a game last season and this came to 24 points. After Ponga moved to fullback in round 13, this improved the Knights attack massively. Marzhew didn't receive a bump in his average as much as Best did but he still averaged 2 points more when Ponga was at fullback. With the departure of Dominic Young, I wouldn't be surprised if we see even more ball go Marzhew's way this year. This season I think the Knights will still be a very good team and will be in or around the top eight when it comes to the finals. If this comes to fruition, it's good news for Marzhew. With winger being such a boom or bust position, he offers coaches a safe floor through run metres and his tackle breaking ability. Last season he didn't have one score of less than 30 points and only three scores of less than 40 points. Marzhew will be a starter in my squad most weeks.


Like Marzhew, Isaako had a career year and ended up being the top points scorer in the NRL with 244 points. He was also the second top try scorer with 24 tries. He had eight scores of 60+ points and he finished as the WNG1 on eight occasions. Isaako offered coaches an average of 23 points through base stats, 28 points through attacking stats, 11 points in demerits and 9 points through goal kicking. If it wasn't for his goal kicking, Isaako wouldn't be in this tier. What really impressed me about Isaako last season was his consistency. Earlier in the season when the Dolphins were fast out of the blocks, he averaged 53 points over the first ten rounds. For the remainder of the season when they struggled to win games, he averaged 53 points. I think the Dolphins will improve this season and they have made a few decent signings. One of them being Herbie Farnworth and at this stage it looks like he will be lining up on the right edge with Isaako. Farnworth is a strong ball carrier and likes to take the ball into contact. Due to this we may see Isaako have less ball and we might see a slight dip in attacking stats for him. However, this might go the other way and we see Isaako receive the ball in better positions on the field. This could lead onto more tries, line breaks but less running metres. All this being said, Isaako will likely be starting in my squad most weeks as a goal kicking winger is just too good to ignore.


Tier 2


Reuben Garrick - 2023 AVG of 50 points, Positional Rank 4th

Brian To'o - 2023 AVG of 48 points, Positional Rank 5th


All the players mentioned in this tier are fantasy-relevant players that can do a decent job for your squad. Some weeks they may have a more favourable matchup than the players in tier 1 and become your preferred starter. Everyone in this tier should be able to average 45+ points.


Garrick had a solid season in 2023 and we saw him play either at centre, wing, or fullback. At centre he averaged 52 points (this average was inflated due to 118 points against the dolphins), at wing he averaged 47 points and at fullback he averaged 52 points. Garrick had six scores of 60+ points and he finished as the WNG1 on five occasions. He offered coaches an average of 22 points through base stats, 24 points through attacking stats, 7 points in demerits and 9 points through goal kicking. By all reports, Garrick will be playing in the centres this season and I think he will perform well at this position. We will likely see a rise in base stats and a decrease in attacking stats. Overall, we may see a slight dip from his 2023 average as I'm expecting him not to score as high at centre. However, I think the Sea Eagles will be a lot better this year and have a very good chance of making the finals. If this does happen, we will likely see an uptick in points scored through goal kicking. If Turbo was to miss any time, Garrick may not go back to fullback as he has done in recent years. Late last year Koula was given the opportunity at fullback, and he made the most of it. Over the two games he played there he had scores of 87 and 130 points. Fullback does seem to be Koula's best position and he may be preferred over Garrick in this position if Turbo was to miss any time. I think Garrick is a very solid option for your starting squad each week but if you have the likes of the tier 1 wingers, I'd be starting them ahead of Garrick until we see how Garrick performs in the centres.


To'o had a decent 2023 and we saw his average improve from 46 points in 2022 to 48 points in 2023. He had five scores of 60+ points and only once finished as the WNG1. He offered coaches an average of 27 points through base stats, 26 points through attacking stats and 7 points in demerits. Before I see how the Panthers start this season without Stephen Crichton, I'm a little cool on To'o. The main reason for this is because it's unclear at this stage on who will be the right centre at the Panthers. I assume it will be Tago and To'o averaged 60 points when playing outside of Tago last season. If Peachey was to play inside of To'o, this would be a big down grade in my opinion as Peachey doesn't like to pass as much Tago. That's the worst case but like I said, I assume that we will see Tago and To'o on the right edge. Like Marzhew, To'o is very strong with ball in hand and he's a metre eater, averaging 200m a game last season. To'o is a good tackle breaker but doesn't break as many tackles as Marzhew. These two wingers are of a similar mould and having both in your squad will allow you to alternate between the two of them if either player has a negative matchup. All in all, To'o is one of the better wingers in the NRL and should provide GDS coaches with decent scores most weeks.


Tier 3


Dallin Watene-Zelezniak - 2023 AVG of 44 points, Positional Rank 6th

Dominic Young - 2023 AVG of 42 points, Positional Rank 7th

Selwyn Cobbo - 2023 AVG of 41 points, Positional Rank 9th

Sunia Turuva - 2023 AVG of 40 points, Positional Rank 10th

Ronaldo Mulitalo - 2023 AVG of 39 points, Positional Rank 11th

Jacob Kiraz - 2023 AVG 39 points, Positional Rank 12th


In tier 3 we have players that are more boom or bust starting options. They all have the upside of finishing as a WNG1 in any given week, but they also have a higher chance than the tier 1 and 2 players of scoring outside the top ten wingers.  Everyone in this tier should be able to average 40+ points.


DWZ was an excitement machine and a terrific finisher in 2023. After missing the first six rounds he hit the ground running and scored 24 tries in his 20 games. That's a strike rate of 1.2 tries per game and that was a better try strike rate than any of the wingers mentioned in this blog. He had six scores of 60+ points and he finished as the WNG1 on three occasions. He offered coaches an average of 22 points through base stats, 31 points through attacking stats and 12 points in demerits. 2023 was a career year for him but I'm not sure if he will be able back it up. It's nothing to do with how good he is, it's just the nature of the wing position being boom or bust. Sure, he will be a WNG1 on occasions but trying to predict when that will occur is very hard to do. He is a great depth player to have in your squad and on occasions he can be a great POD option if he has a positive matchup.


Young had a breakout season in 2023 and was the leading try scorer of the NRL with 25 tries. He had seven scores of 60+ points and he finished as the WNG1 on five occasions. He offered coaches an average of 19 points through base stats, 29 points through attacking stats and 9 points in demerits. Young is now at the Roosters and I'm expecting big things from him this season. He finds himself in a backline of stars and I think the Roosters will have plenty of points in them this season. Ideally, we see him cut down the number of errors. Last season he made 45 errors, and this works out to be a loss 7.5 points a game. If he can tidy his game up in this area, I think he has every chance to average 45+ points. Before starting him in my squad, I would like to see how he fits into the Roosters system and see how much ball goes his way.


Cobbo had a decent 2023 season, but he wasn't on many coaches' radars. This was due to wingers and fullbacks both falling under the old winger/fullback position designation. He had three scores of 60+ points and he finished as the WNG1 on two occasions. He offered coaches an average of 24 points through base stats, 30 points through attacking stats and 10 points in demerits. With Herbie Farnworth's departure, there is now a vacant centre spot up for grabs. Many reports indicate that Cobbo will have the first shot of securing the centre spot. He has played in this position four times in his career at the NRL level and averaged 37 points over these games. It's only a small sample and I won't be reading too much into it. Before selecting him, I'll want to see how he adjusts to his new position. At this stage, I don't really see too much change to his overall fantasy production as he will just score points in different ways compared to how he did on the wing.


Turuva had a solid season compared to a lot of wingers, but he did lack consistency. He had four scores of 60+ points and he finished as the WNG1 on two occasions. He offered coaches an average of 25 points through base stats, 19 points through attacking stats and 7 points in demerits. Ideally this season we see an increase in points scored through attacking stats. Honestly, I can't see that happening if Tyrone Peachey is playing inside him at centre. There was talk of the Turuva moving to the centres but that's unlikely at this stage. If he were to move to the centres, we might see an uptick in fantasy production as Turuva tends to score more points through base stats than attacking stats. I think there are several other wingers that will outperform Turuva consistently but there will likely be a few positive matchups where he could be started as a POD.


Ronaldo had a rollercoaster of a season in 2023, he was either rocks or diamonds at times. He had two scores of 60+ points and he finished as the WNG1 on three occasions. He offered coaches an average of 22 points through base stats, 25 points through attacking stats and 10 points in demerits. To be honest, Ronaldo was rather consistent, but he did have three coach killer scores of less than 10 points. He also didn't quite have the ceiling that many of the wingers in this blog did. Ronaldo will be a risky option from week to week, but he'll likely make a start in my squad this season if he has a positive matchup.


Kiraz was the best winger in GDS over the opening 6 rounds in 2023 and he averaged 52 points across these games. He then picked up an injury and struggled to impress for the rest of the season while starting on the wing. Kiraz had two scores of 60+ points and only once finished as the WNG1. He offered coaches an average of 25 points through base stats, 22 points through attacking stats and 9 points in demerits. In round 20 he shifted into centre and averaged 45 points at this position. At this stage, it's unclear which position Kiraz will play in the new look Bulldogs backline. In my opinion, he will have a similar average if he plays either on the wing or at centre. On the wing he will offer a higher ceiling and lower floor. At centre I expect he will have more consistent scores. Kiraz will need to pass the eye test before I consider elevating him to my starting squad.


It’s worth keeping an eye on the below players as they are all situational and match-up dependent.

Phillip Sami - 2023 AVG of 41 points, Positional Rank 8th

Mikaele Ravalawa - 2023 AVG of 38 points, Positional Rank 13th

Jordan Rapana - 2023 AVG of 37 points, Positional Rank 14th

Alex Johnston - 2023 AVG of 35 points, Positional Rank 16th

Josh Addo-Carr - 2023 AVG of 34 points, Positional Rank 18th

Murray Taulagi - 2023 AVG of 32 points, Positional Rank 22nd

Taylan May - 2023 AVG of N/A, Positional Rank N/A


 


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