The first of the three daunting major bye rounds has arrived, bringing with it a new set of headaches for budding Holden NRL Fantasy coaches. Should you keep hold of that Origin superstar? Which playmaker should you pick up to survive the bye rounds? How many players should you have in action this week?
I've said it a few times now but it's worth repeating – if you're playing in a head-to-head league with the default settings, you won't have any league match-ups on this weekend (or in Round 14 or 17). If that's the case, breathe easy and don't worry too much about how many of your 25-man squad will actually play this weekend.
If you're playing for overall points though, or if your league plays through the bye rounds, you'll need to have an eye on which players to get and which to avoid for the byes. Every NRL club has two byes, and every Origin player will miss the round that precedes an Origin game. The basic rule is: look for non-Origin players from the Roosters, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Tigers and Titans. These guys will play in all three major bye rounds (although they will obviously miss a couple of weeks elsewhere).
If you're wondering which Origin players in your team to keep, look for ones who will miss the minimum number of games. The Broncos, Raiders, Sea Eagles, Storm, Knights, Eels and Warriors play both their byes on pre-Origin weeks, so their Origin reps (if they have any) will only miss three games across the bye period if they stay fit. So keep hold of guys like Cameron Smith, Corey Parker and Jarryd Hayne.
Now, onto this week's big questions.
From Nine In A Row (@T1T4NS)
Is Beau Henry a good buy given Aidan Sezer is out for 3 to 4 months now? Will he rise in price any more?
Henry will make money in the short term – he costs $234,966 and has a break even of 23 after scoring 46 last week – but he's still no certainty to be a great buy. If he remains a mid-40s scorer while Sezer it out of action for the Titans then he'll be excellent value, particularly for overall points with the Titans playing on all three major bye rounds. If you're happy to gamble on him he's a much cheaper option than other halves with friendly bye schedules like Adam Reynolds ($362,334), John Sutton ($344,895), James Maloney ($306,981) and Henry's halves partner Albert Kelly ($298,919).
Kelly is probably the biggest factor in how Henry will score while Sezer's on the sidelines. As the club's first-choice halfback, will Kelly now take on the bulk of the general kicking? Henry is set to replace Sezer as goalkicker and looked solid in defence last week with 29 tackles, but he's not traditionally a huge fantasy scorer. If he does split the kicking 50/50 with Kelly he should be able to string together a few 40s, and that could be enough to make him a handy mid-range cash cow. If he starts scoring 50s on a regular basis he'll be a bargain.
If you're starting to get low on trades and would be better off with a long-term keeper then Henry's not your man (opt for Adam Reynolds instead), but if value and the ability to make money is what you're after he could be the right fit.
From Mark Jacobson
Who would you pick up in the halves this week, Henry or Mbye?
I'm probably going to pick up Moses Mbye, for a few reasons. For one, he's very cheap at $114,218, allowing me to free up cash. For another, he's set to play a major role in all three big bye rounds at halfback for the Bulldogs with Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds both on NSW Origin duty. After that, he'll either spend the rest of the season in the lower grades (which is OK by me as I will no longer need him in my 17) or if he gets more game time he'll become a handy late-season cash cow.
Henry is a longer-term option and – if he plays well – is more likely to make you cash, but at this stage of the season I'm more focused on surviving the bye rounds and picking up keepers rather than spending more trades on mid-priced cash cows.
From Andy Donaldson
How does rolling lockout work with teams not playing this weekend (ie. players who have the bye)? When do their players get locked out?
Players from teams with a bye this week will be able to be traded out of your team up until the final lockout of the round on Monday night.
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From Jai Kretchmer (@JairoK5)
Hey Scout, just wondering with the Origin bye rounds coming up if I should keep Matt Scott or trade him?
Scott will miss at least four rounds over the bye period – the pre-Origin rounds 11, 14 and 17, plus the Cowboys' bye in Round 18, and potentially Round 12 or 15 if he fails to back up from Origin I or II. It's also worth keeping in mind how much depth you have in the front row and whether you're playing to win head-to-head or overall.
If you're playing for overall points you should trade him, but if you're focused on head-to-head then hold.
From Graeme Lock
Who will be goalkicking for the Bulldogs, Titans and Cowboys this week?
Krisnan Inu will probably take on the kicking duties at the Dogs this week, Beau Henry replaced Aidan Sezer as goalkicker last weekend at the Titans so should do the same again on Saturday, and Michael Morgan was spotted practicing his goalkicking at Cowboys training earlier in the week.
As always, double check the official team lists, NRL judiciary results and the casualty ward – plus the Friday late mail – before locking in your team. Good luck this week.