Warrick D. Nicolson, NRL.com
If you jumped on Matthew Bowen for Round 20 it is okay to thank ‘The Postman’ for the heads up in last week’s DT Market Watch. The North Queensland fullback scored 44 DT points as our first ever Point of Difference Maker - so the question now is: will you get the good oil two weeks in a row?
Below are the best buying options, the stars you should be holding on to and the players you should sell sell sell!
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Cooper Cronk | HLF | $367,600 @ 49.4ppg
Melbourne currently sit 4th on the ladder with six games to play - so the chances that Cronk gets a rest before the playoffs are extremely slim, meaning you should get him into your team at the bargain basement price of $367,600 (he started 2013 at $442,600). The Storm halfback is going to score 40+ every week from here on out and although he has only one game over 70pts this season - that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of doing it multiple times during your DT Finals campaign. Give Cooper a chance and he won’t let you down.
Corey Oates | CTR/2RF | $137,000 @ 31.7ppg
Okay so you’ve missed the first price rise from the Brisbane rookie - but so what? We’re up to Round 21 - he’s still cheap, the whole cash cow thing has pretty much run its course and it’s all about strengthening your roster for the DT Finals. Oates is playing in the outside backs (first the centres and now the wing) but he’s getting it done - scoring 36pts and 45pts the past two weeks. His form means he’s likely to hold his spot ahead of Lachlan Maranta when Jack Reed returns (Reed returns Friday night), gives you a chance to add him as a decent depth option in two positions (2RF/CTR) and then use the cash you get from downgrading to him - on upgrading somewhere else.
Sonny Bill Williams | 2RF | $336,200 @ 49.8ppg
The only reason you should be contemplating SBW is if you have to win your next two Head to Head games to make the DT Finals because he’s going to miss both games due to suspension. Biggest downside of trading the star second rower is if you manage to make the dance - the team you play in the semis will probably have SBW in their squad. That is because if you are destined for the big games, you will need Sonny Bill in your squad to win the title. His 64 point output against the Knights underlined his quality and once he returns in Round 23 - he’s unlikely to be rested in the run home as he looks to get some football under his belt.
Adam Reynolds | HLF | $429,000 @ 52.2ppg
Yes A-Rey has bled $50,000 in two weeks and has scored less in those games than he did in Round 17 against the Warriors (66pts v 73pts) - but that comparison is exactly why you should be holding him. The same goes for Daly Cherry-Evans who has also faltered recently - you simply don’t trade a premium at this time of year unless he’s injured. Given you've likely spent a few trades and a great deal of cash to add Reynolds, stick solid and back him in for your DT Finals campaign. While he has been down on form the last two matches (39pts and 27pts) - check out his scores the 7 games before that: 88pts, 56pts, 48pts, 68pts, 90pts, 50pts and 73pts. KEEPER.
Ben Barba | WFB | $292,300 @ 31.1ppg
It pains us to recommend you sell the genius fullback but he’s been playing with a bad ankle for much of the season and when he limped off against Parramatta last Friday night - the prognosis was 4-6 weeks. For DT coaches - this news followed the potential Jarryd Hayne out for the year talk (but note: news this week is Hayne might return within a fortnight - hurrah!) and the continued absence of Greg Inglis - so odds are you are in damage control in your WFB position. Of the three it appears that Barba will be back last... if at all before the end of the NRL regular season which is when the DT Finals are played. We know and love what Barba can do when in form - but right now you need to make a call... and we say sell.
Reece Robinson | WFB | $180,600 @ 31.2ppg
Was a tasty option playing at fullback given his ability to break tackles but since he’s been shifted to the wing to accommodate Anthony Milford - Robinson’s involvement has practically disappeared... and as a result so have his points. Robinson scored just 12pts in his final game at fullback in Round 16, then has tallied only 19pts, 9pts and 19pts in his last 3 games on the wing. So if you picked him up hoping he was about to break your DT season open after his back to back scores of 44pts and 57pts in Round 8 and 9... the dream is over. Time to sell... unless you have no trades left and are stuck with Barba, Inglis and Hayne as your other WFBs.
Point of Difference Maker
Justin Hodges | CTR | $292,500 @ 40.1ppg
Last week’s 'PODM' Bowen grabbed 44pts and this week’s recommendation is coming off a match-winning 55pts and may be the x-factor in your DT Finals campaign. Hodges has his share of injury concerns week to week - both hamstrings are held to his legs with sticky-tape - but there isn't a player in the game who can match his ability to rack up multiple tackle break and offload points from a single dummy-half run. The danger - aside from injury - with Hodges is he doesn't make double figure tackles often and knows how to knock-on and commit a cheap penalty... but those tackle breaks and offload points coupled with metres gained make him a DT weapon. It’s only fair that The Postman acknowledged that he traded Bowen in to his team last week, and will do the same with Hodges - so he’s backing his own advice.
Round 21 Captaincy Contenders
Cameron Smith | HOK | $573,700 - Projected: 74pts
Robbie Farah | HOK | $530,400 - Projected: 74pts
Corey Parker | 2RF | $491,200 - Projected: 62pts
George Burgess | FRF | $383,300 - Projected 59pts
Wildcard: Jamie Lyon | CTR | $373,000 is playing Parramatta and has averaged 58.3pts in his last 3 games.
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