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.
Roosters v Bulldogs, Allianz Stadium, Friday night
Roosters: Sonny Bill Williams ($367,466) returns from suspension in a major boost for the premiers, while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves ($277,309) has copped a one-match ban for his high shot on Glenn Stewart. Mitchell Aubusson ($296,353) has been scoring in the mid-40s in SBW's absence but expect to see those scores drop now with him shifting back to the bench. James Maloney ($309,219) is only averaging 35 this season but is almost $70,000 cheaper than he was the start of the year and could be a buy in the weeks to come if he gets back to his old self. The same goes for Michael Jennings ($282,688).
Bulldogs: The Bulldogs are unchanged after impressing against the Storm in Perth last week. Halfback Trent Hodkinson ($371,586) has been in genuinely good form for the Doggies and is averaging better than 60 points a week in Fantasy – running just behind Albert Kelly as Fantasy's best half so far this year. Aiden Tolman ($361,483) continued his great form with 52 last week, while Josh Jackson ($239,510) was a standout in the win over Melbourne with 69.
Broncos v Eels, Suncorp Stadium, Friday night
Broncos: Justin Hodges ($297,300) is back, bumping cash cow centre Daly Copley to the wing and Lachlan Maranta to an extended bench. Ben Hannant ($321,335) is also back from injury on the bench. Corey Parker ($442,530) may still be losing money but he proved his worth with a handy 65 on the weekend – filling the role of vice captain with a lot of Fantasy teams after the withdrawal of Cameron Smith – while Andrew McCullough ($403,642) bounced back from last week's 43 with another strong score in the 60s. McCullough remains $100K cheaper than Smith if people are tempted to jump off board the Storm skipper this week. Ben Hunt ($271,494) is one of the year's best cash cows with another strong 53-point effort.
Eels: Everyone's favourite cash cow Nathan Peats ($224,827) doubled up as Round 4's top Fantasy scorer with a whopping 78 in Parramatta's strong win over Penrith, just ahead of Eels talisman Jarryd Hayne ($326,955, 76 points). Barnstorming back-rower Manu Ma'u ($235,367, 64 points) isn't far behind in the popularity stakes this year amongst Fantasy coaches. Will Hopoate ($193,862) remains solid but unspectacular with another effort in the low 20s, and could be a trade this week if you can find a decent upgrade.
Sharks v Warriors, Remondis Stadium, Saturday
Sharks: After a tumultuous week, Andrew Fifita ($467,318) finally did his talking on the field with a strong 61-point effort in a beaten side. Cash cow Tinirau Arona ($229,915) remained the Sharks' top Fantasy scorer this season with 47 points, while halves Todd Carney ($303,259) and Daniel Holdsworth ($163,042) were the big disappointments in a limp attacking display against the Knights with scores of 17 and 13 respectively. Carney and Michael Gordon ($300,642) are in some doubt this week with hamstring and knee injuries respectively.
Warriors: Konrad Hurrell ($305,657) is back with a bang, coming off the bench to terrorise the Wests Tigers last week to the tune of 74 points, and he starts this week with Jerome Ropati out due to a broken jaw. Feleti Mateo ($236,915) also returns. Meanwhile Shaun Johnson ($352,251, 67 points) notched his second big score on the trot and Sam Tomkins ($280,580, 59 points) finally showed what he can do. Don't get too excited about Glen Fisiiahi's 59-pointer from the wing – the Warriors speedster will not be scoring four tries every week. Cheapie John Palavi ($114,920) is a sell after failing to even grab a spot on a six-man bench this week.
Panthers v Raiders, Sportingbet Stadium, Saturday
Panthers: Tackle-busting machine Josh Mansour ($318,241) returns on the wing, while rookie Dallin Watene-Zelezniak ($107,000) lines up for his debut on the opposite flank, with David Simmons injured until Round 10 and Kevin Naiqama dropped. Peter Wallace ($221,148) and Tim Grant ($298,671) both return. There was nothing much to write home about for Penrith against the Eels on the weekend, with even the usually-reliable Elijah Taylor ($350,797) only producing a mediocre 33 points from 72 minutes.
Raiders: Shaun Fensom ($419,561) has been named to start despite suffering an elbow injury on the weekend, with Jake Foster included in the squad as 18th man. The Raiders had seven players with scores in the 40s from their impressive win over the Rabbitohs on Sunday. Anthony Milford ($336,841) remains Canberra's best Fantasy option and isn't far off being a must-have player at the back.
Dragons v Rabbitohs, SCG, Saturday night
Dragons: Some big ins for the Red V this week with Josh Dugan ($445,400) to make his first appearance of 2014 while cash cow Michael Witt ($120,666) returns at halfback and Dan Hunt ($234,205) is back at prop. At his price, Witt could be a great pick-up if he holds his starting spot. Trent Merrin ($413,964) continues to rampage up the Fantasy scoring charts while Gareth Widdop ($325,938) is establishing himself among the elite Fantasy halves.
Rabbitohs: Quite a shake-up at Souths this week after a shocker of a performance against Canberra. John Sutton ($353,196) is back in the halves, with Dylan Walker ($223,083) into the centres, Bryson Goodwin ($210,653) on the wing, Lote Tuqiri out, Sam Burgess ($381,327) at lock, David Tyrrell starting at prop and Ben Lowe making way. Jason Clark and Luke Burgess return to the bench. Souths missed Issac Luke badly on the weekend, but at least cash cow hooker Apisai Koroisau ($121,463) cashed in with 41 points. Despite the poor showing against Canberra the Burgess brothers Sam (66 points) and George (60 points) scored well, as did Greg Inglis ($362,500, 58 points).
Storm v Titans, AAMI Park, Sunday
Storm: Didn't Cameron Smith's bad back put a cat amongst the pigeons on the weekend? The Storm skipper's absence caused a fair bit of turmoil in Fantasy land, with tens of thousands of coaches scrambling to check who they had selected as vice captain. He's been named to return this week. Despite Melbourne's loss to the Bulldogs there were still strong returns from Cooper Cronk ($368,315, 59 points), Billy Slater ($297,153, 55 points), Tohu Harris ($243,484, 50 points) and Jesse Bromwich ($311,036, 46 points), while cash cow Young Tonumaipea picked up 34 points for an $18,633 price rise. Ben Hampton's price ($203,239) is going backwards fast, so sell him if he's still in your squad.
Titans: The Titans are unchanged, with William Zillman and Ryan James sidelined again. After a stunning start to the season Albert Kelly ($396,301) came crashing back down to earth with just 26 points from the Gold Coast's win over the Cowboys on Monday. He has made almost $90,000 in price rises this year but has probably peaked, meaning a trade to someone like Daly Cherry-Evans could be the smart move this week. David Mead ($176,634) will again play at fullback in Zillman's absence, but he only scored 13 at the back last week.
Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles, Leichhardt Oval, Sunday
Tigers: Liam Fulton ($293,836) and Tim Simona ($265,632) are back after sitting out a week with concussion, while James Tedesco ($293,591) has also been named despite leaving the field early with concussion last week. The injury-hit Tigers predictably struggled against the Warriors on the weekend, particularly after the loss of Tedesco who has become a real weapon in attack. Captain Fantastic Robbie Farah ($485,981) hit his season average of 67 on the weekend as is the top-scoring player in NRL Fantasy this season.
Sea Eagles: Jason King ($129,080) and James Hasson ($111,571) return to the bench, with Glenn Stewart ($226,717) in doubt with concussion. Daly Cherry-Evans ($378,419), Kieran Foran ($229,843), Anthony Watmough ($377,838) and Brenton Lawrence ($284,142) all brought up half-centuries in Manly's gutsy win over the Roosters last Friday. Foran will make a bit of short-term cash but beware his style of game rarely translates into Fantasy points.
Cowboys v Knights, 1300 Smiles Stadium, Monday night
Cowboys: North Queensland are unchanged despite losing a pretty ordinary game to the Titans on Monday night. Tariq Sims ($266,551) has hit three straight 50+ scores from lock to earn another $23,775 this week, and his price will rise again with a break even of just 11. Jason Taumalolo's price ($306,748) is also still going up.
Knights: No changes to Newcastle's 17, with Zane Tetevano added as 18th man. Joey Leilua ($279,998) scored a hat-trick against the Sharks on the way to 73 points last week, while Tyrone Roberts ($275,419) starred with 69. Michael Dobson ($192,190) will keep making cash for the next few weeks.
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