Scout Report: Round 16 Fantasy Q&A

After a couple of brutal rounds with byes, injury and Origin causing havoc with Fantasy teams, Round 16 shapes as a bit of calm before the storm that is next week's final major bye round. All teams bar the Bulldogs and Titans are in action, with a whole host of big name Fantasy stars back on deck.

Before I get started on this week's questions it's worth mentioning some upgrades to NRL Fantasy this week. Apart from a raft of improvements to the display of stats across the site and new filters for trading, this week's key addition is the ability to shift multiple dual-position players around your squad while making a trade. 

In practice, this could save you trades if you can get creative with the utility players in your squad. You can now move players in your squad around as much as you like once you've selecting a player to trade out, by clicking the 'S' button next to a player's name in your team list. For instance, you can trade out a winger, then shift a half/winger-fullback (like Anthony Milford) to the back, then shift a hooker/half (like Daniel Mortimer) to half, then trade in a hooker. Trading a winger for a hooker wasn't possible at the start of the year. The new feature has been some time in coming but its arrival is a case of 'better late than never', and could be particularly handy now for those of you who are running short on trades.

If you're one of those coaches who's into the single digits for trades remaining, it's time to avoid wasting trading if you can. Each trade is only getting more and more valuable at this stage of the season, so if a trade doesn't take you closer to your ideal "final" team, don't make it.

From Jordan McManus
With limited trades (10), is Milford an urgent trade or should I keep him for the rest of the season?

Milford's an erratic scorer but he's still a borderline keeper... he's a rocks-or-diamonds kind of player who can score some points even when his team is struggling (which, at the Raiders this season, is often). Last week's switch to the bench was a one-off according to Ricky Stuart, who put it down to Milford's limited time in training during the week after his selection in the extended Queensland Origin squad. Whether you should trade him or not really depends on how many trades you need to make elsewhere to get to your "ideal" team. The best move is to start planning which players you want to trade in and how you're going to free up the cash to buy them – and then how many trades that will cost you. You want at least 4/5 trades left over once you've got your final team together – the more the better for a head-to-head finals series.

If you'll have enough trades (and cash) left over after getting to your final team, then you can safely spend an extra trade upgrading Milford. Milford's 40 points a week is not too shabby for a winger/fullback, but Jarryd Hayne, Greg Inglis, Josh Dugan, James Tedesco and Josh Mansour look a class above in Fantasy terms.

From Errol Crossley
If you had $60K and needed to get rid of Ma'u and Jennings due to injuries, what would you do? Is Jennings actually out for rest of the season?

Jennings is due to miss about six weeks, Ma'u is out for 10. I'd trade both – swap Jennings for a keeper and downgrade Ma'u to free up cash, unless you need to bring another scorer into your best 17.

From Daniel Moy 
Any advice regarding Issac Luke and his game time for the rest of the season? Since Koroisau is getting named alongside him these days, I'm not sure if I should hang on to him or free up some cash by getting De Gois.

As always, it depends on your trade count, cash in the bank and what you want your final team to look like. Koroisau's presence on the bench doesn't necessarily hurt Luke much – Luke still played the full 80 in Round 14 despite Koroisau getting a run – but Luke has been a rung below the top hookers in Fantasy this season. If you don't rate Luke a long-term keeper then De Gois makes sense as a trade both as someone who could contribute some handy 40-point scores from hooker, and a helpful late-season cash cow to upgrade to one of the gun hookers (Smith/Farah/McCullough/Friend). 

On the other hand, if you can find the spare cash to upgrade Luke straight to one of the guns without using an extra trade on De Gois, then that might be the smart move. If you need cash then De Gois (or Daniel Mortimer) makes sense, if you need to save trades then hold off for now.

From Jesse Hocking
Is Drury Low a good cash cow option while Sam Perrett's out? Obviously he's got the buy round but I need a cheap swap now and hoping he'll play the next few rounds?

After last week's 56, Low will definitely make cash in the short term (according to his break even he can score -10 this week and still rise in value). And with Sam Perrett out until about Round 20, Low could get a prolonged run in the side on the wing (with Mitch Brown taking Perrett's fullback role) – but don't expect him to post big scores every week. Low found the tryline twice against the struggling Raiders and made an uncharacteristic six tackle breaks, leading to easily his best Fantasy score from the past couple of years. 

When he drops back to his usual scoring in the teens he could be an unhelpful auto emergency option in your squad, and he's likely to drop out for the Bulldogs altogether when Perrett returns. But if you need to free up cash at the back and want a player with the potential to contribute a few points and make some short-term cash, Low could be your man. No guarantees it'll pay off though.

From Anthony Donald
Hi Loney, was wondering do you think Curtis Sironen would be a good buy. I currently have Ethan Lowe but I’m looking at freeing up a bit of money to be able to bring in Greg Inglis after Round 18. Does this sound like a good move?

You're on the right track, but Sironen isn't your answer I think. Especially this week, when he needs to hit the mid-40s to avoid another price drop. 

The way to get the most bang for your buck is to trade out mid-range players for genuinely cheap guys (I'm talking $107K-or-less cheap) and then have those guys as a back-up to your top 17. 

Depending on your squad, Lowe could be a keeper in the long run – or at least a handy 18th man. If you have a lower scorer in your side you can trade out for a genuine cheapie then that's probably the better way to free up cash for Inglis. Or if you're set on trading Lowe, bring in one of the very cheap forwards.

From Trevor Maggs
I wanted some advice on whether to bring Daniel Mortimer in. 
 
I need to make 2 more trades to set my final team (cash out Littlejohn and bring in Farah) at which point I will have 10 trades and pretty much $0 but will have close to the best side available on paper with a few spares in different positions.
 
My thoughts are is Mortimer a good back up for future injuries? And/or do I still have enough trades to use him as a cash cow in case a player  I need to trade down the track loses/gains money?
 
I am playing for head-to-head and was thinking 10 trades should get me through to the end of the year with injuries etc. How many would you be suggesting having up my sleeve at this point of the season with a settled team?

The first thing to remember is that you don't need to grab every cash cow that arrives on the scene. If you can get to your ultimate team without them, all the better as you'll be saving a couple of trades.

I picked up Mortimer last week, but as much for his ability to free up cash and add some points on two tough bye rounds (Round 15 and 17) than anything else. He should be a handy cash cow down the track, but I'll only trade him out if I need more cash. 

Mortimer's job security could be in a little bit of doubt anyway – he's got the bye this week and Albert Kelly should return the week after, and if the Titans opt to pair Kelly and Maurice Blair in the halves then Mortimer will miss out. Aidan Sezer's due back towards the end of the season.

In saying all that, if you can get to your final team with 10 trades left, then you can afford to use up one or two of them to bring in a handy cheapie like Mortimer – if only to give you more spending power. 

It's impossible to know how many trades you'll need at the end of the year; the more the better for a head-to-head finals series, but about half a dozen is probably enough. I think you can risk the Mortimer trade.

From Brendan (@Brendan_James_)
Will Kyle Turner be made a dual position 2RF/CTR after playing in the centres in round 14? He's named to play at centre for this week also.

Yes he has been, along with Fa'amanu Brown (WFB/CTR), Matt Allwood (CTR/WFB), Matthew Wright (WFB/CTR) and Peni Terepo (2RF/FRF). 

As always, double check the official team listsNRL judiciary results and the casualty ward - plus the Friday late mail - before locking in your team. Best of luck for the weekend.

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