NRL.com's Lone Scout analyses all the key ins and outs for this week's Holden NRL Fantasy action.
Don't forget, registrations are now open for the second-chance 'Plate' competition, so set up a new team now to go in the running for an extra chance at the major prize.
Panthers v Rabbitohs, Sportingbet Stadium, Friday night
Panthers: Penrith are unchanged after last week's win over Canberra. Hard-to-pronounce rookie Dallin Watene-Zelezniak ($120,222) scored twice on debut to reward adventurous NRL Fantasy coaches with 40 points first up. He's set for a few early price rises but don't expect try-scoring doubles every week. Jamal Idris ($310,900) is looking like one of the strongest centres in Fantasy this year with his 69 points on the weekend taking him to an average of 48 a week, despite not crossing the try-line yet. Meanwhile Josh Mansour ($328,478) tackle-busted his way to another 47 points against Canberra and is probably the safest genuine winger in Fantasy.
Rabbitohs: Souths have named a 20-man squad but their first 17 is unchanged. The big names cashed in on the Rabbitohs' big win against the Dragons on Friday night, with Sam Burgess ($398,426) hitting 76 while Greg Inglis ($361,246), Adam Reynolds ($361,680) and George Burgess ($341,426) all passed the half-century mark. Cash cow Apisai Koroisau ($151,471) made another $30K after scoring 48 from hooker, and there are a few more price rises in him.
Titans v Broncos, Cbus Super Stadium, Friday night
Titans: Aidan Sezer ($353,996) is back after being a late withdrawal with a quad injury last week, with Brad Tighe ($141,344) set to miss four weeks with a shoulder injury. David Mead ($189,303) had a big game at fullback in the Titans' surprise win over Melbourne, scoring 60 points including a try. His break even is 9 this week, so expect a few more price rises if he continues that kind of form.
Broncos: Justin Hodges ($285,871) started off the bench last week but has been named to start in the only change, with Dale Copley ($153,931) starting on the wing and Lachlan Maranta missing out. Corey Parker ($429,892) spent about 15 minutes on the bench in Brisbane's loss to Parramatta, finishing with an underwhelming 47 points. He's still one of the best forwards in Fantasy though and that means he's a keeper – I wouldn't be trading him out now only to bring him back later in the season (even though a straight swap to tireless Raider Shaun Fensom is very tempting). Ben Hunt ($299,543) keeps on truckin' as a high-scoring cash cow, with another 48 points on the weekend and a current break even of 15, while 60s are the norm for Andrew McCullough ($410,868) these days.
Raiders v Knights, GIO Stadium, Saturday
Raiders: Josh Papalii ($365,535) is back after a stint on the sidelines with an ankle injury, along with young cheapies Shannon Boyd ($163,042), Jarrad Kennedy ($133,239) and Bill Tupou ($152,211). Shaun Fensom ($428,518) will be a must-have for the best Fantasy teams at the end of the season, tackling his way to 82 points on the weekend. Mid-priced money-makers Jack Wighton ($218,744) and Paul Vaughan ($287,969) also impressed in the loss to Penrith with scores in the 40s.
Knights: Newcastle have named an unchanged side, with Jarrod Mullen still at least a week away. There is not much doing when it comes to Fantasy buys at the Knights, apart from tracking the progress of popular cash cow Michael Dobson ($200,949) who should keep making money until Mullen retuns.
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Eels v Roosters, Pirtek Stadium, Saturday
Eels: Fuifui Moimoi ($194,807) returns from injury to replace Junior Paulo in the only change. Parramatta secured a great win over the Broncos last week, and things are looking good all-round on the Fantasy front for them as well. Nathan Peats ($269,668) hit the mid-50s yet again on the weekend and could well be a keeper, having already grown more than $144,000 in value this season. Jarryd Hayne ($343,234) is well and truly back after following up last week's 76 with a 60 on the weekend, even Chris Sandow ($301,786) is getting into the action with 68, Manu Ma'u ($264,388) made another $29,000 and slow-burning star recruit Will Hopoate ($197,115) posted his highest score of the season so far.
Roosters: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves ($277,309) is back from suspension, bumping Aidan Guerra to the bench. After a fairly quiet start to the season Michael Jennings ($281,893) posted his first 50+ score of the year in the Tricolours' narrow loss to the Bulldogs on Friday, while returning superstar Sonny Bill Williams ($346,272) made just 36. Following up his 39 in Round 1, SBW has dropped $27,928 on his starting price and needs to score 63 or better to avoid another price drop this week. Still, for Fantasy teams chasing overall points his bye schedule is probably too good to ignore if he's in your side already. Daniel Mortimer ($92,156) is very cheap and has been picked by 17,349 Fantasy coaches, but I wouldn't be snapping him up until Origin time, if at all. He is averaging less than 10 points a game and could just leave you with a nasty auto emergency score should you lose a player to a late withdrawal over a weekend.
Wests Tigers v Cowboys, Campbelltown Stadium, Saturday night
Tigers: The big Fantasy news for Wests is the injury that will keep this season's revelation James Tedesco ($290,718) out of action for between six and nine weeks, opening up an opportunity for rookie fullback Kurtis Rowe ($107,000). The length of Tedesco's injury means he's a sell. Robbie Farah ($493,404) continues to dominate with a monster 81-point effort in the Tigers' win over Manly, while halfback Luke Brooks ($181,780) is on his way down after scoring just 16. Aaron Woods ($330,648) was well worth his 60 points against Manly but is probably Origin-bound, while David Nofoaluma ($262,218, 59 points) is a quality finisher and a tackle-busting machine – so could be a straight swap for Tedesco this week.
Cowboys: Jason Taumalolo ($312,130) has been named to play despite missing the end of Monday night's game with a shoulder injury, and should be fine. Those who sold Michael Morgan ($211,655) early on would have been a little disappointed to see the fullback score 57 in his best showing of the season against Newcastle on Monday night. Johnathan Thurston ($388,661) remains the most popular Cowboy in Fantasy and is due a big total after three straight scores in the low 40s.
Warriors v Bulldogs, Eden Park, Sunday
Warriors: New acting head coach Andrew McFadden has made a few big changes for his first game in charge, most notably dumping Chad Townsend and Feleti Mateo for Thomas Leuluai ($232,271)and Sebastine Ikahihifo ($136,498). Ngani Laumape ($203,900) also comes into the side to replace the injured Glen Fisiiahi (shoulder). Nathan Friend ($367,901) made 70 tackles in the Warriors' loss to the Sharks and would probably have been a great buy at hooker if Cameron Smith, Robbie Farah, Andrew McCullough and Api Koroisau weren't around this year. Elsewhere Simon Mannering ($256,937) finally hit the 40s last week and Shaun Johnson ($358,859) and Konrad Hurrell ($316,397) also put up decent scores despite the team's poor performance in attack. Prop Charlie Gubb ($107,000) is yet another potential cash cow on the bench, but with a new coach it's going to be tough to trust many of these Warriors players this season.
Bulldogs: Mitch Brown ($153,374) replaces the injured Chase Stanley (shoulder, back in round 9) in the only change. Tim Lafai ($269,090) has been a bit of a Fantasy surprise packet in the centres this year, scoring a combined 112 points over the past two rounds. He's owned by less than 1% of teams and has a break even of 16 this week.
Sea Eagles v Sharks, Brookvale Oval, Sunday
Sea Eagles: Glenn Stewart ($226,717) and James Hasson ($111,571) return, with Jesse Sene-Lefao and Tom Symonds dropping out of the 17. It was pretty much business as usual for Manly's Fantasy stars despite their shock loss to the Wests Tigers, with Josh Starling ($160,079) making a bit more cash and Anthony Watmough ($381,427) remaining a consistent mid-50s scorer. Steve Matai ($233,717) picked up 58 points but won't score two tries every week.
Sharks: Tinirau Arona ($262,362) has been named on the bench after starting on the weekend, with Chris Heighington returning to lock. Todd Carney ($306,053), Andrew Fifita ($464,758), four-try hero Nathan Stapleton ($163,262) and Arona all cashed in on Cronulla's thrashing of the Warriors with Fantasy scores in the 60s, while Michael Gordon ($298,747) is averaging almost 40 points a game at fullback and is a possible replacement for James Tedesco.
Storm v Dragons, AAMI Park, Monday night
Storm: Just one change on the bench for Melbourne, with Tim Glasby replacing the suspended Dayne Weston. Cameron Smith ($497,961) didn't let us down on the weekend, putting the previous week's back spasms behind him to rack up 76 points. Elsewhere Young Tonumaipea ($157,114) is making some nice cash, Cooper Cronk ($374,411) is good for 55 points every week and Ben Hampton ($183,661) must be sold if you're one of the 5628 teams who still has him for some reason.
Dragons: Michael Witt ($120,666) has been named in the No.7 (again) after the experiment of using Adam Quinlan at halfback backfired in the Dragons' big loss to Souths. Elsewhere Jack Stockwell starts in place of the suspended Jack de Belin, with Bronson Harrison joining the bench. Last week was a bad time to buy Gareth Widdop ($312,853), who slumped to a season-low score of 11 as the Dragons were smashed by Souths. I expect him to bounce back this week, although it won't get any easier against the Storm in Melbourne. Josh Dugan ($410,507) will be much cheaper in a few weeks unless he starts hitting some massive scores. Trent Merrin ($420,272) will be a must-have by the end of the season.
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