It's one of those good news/bad news weeks for Holden NRL Fantasy, with the dreaded byes now finally behind us (good news) but a few key injuries arriving at a crunch time of the season (bad news).
For head-to-head leagues who have played through the bye rounds, the finals series has already arrived, meaning every trade matters. For others, the finals are a few weeks away – meaning your focus should be on ensuring you've got a spot in your league's top eight and that your squad's at full strength come finals time. And then there's the all-important race for the overall title, and the $20,000 prize that goes with it.
So with a lot at stake, here are my answers to this week's most popular questions, starting with what to do if you've got an injured Paul Gallen in your squad.
From Nicholas Heffernan
Fifita is back and Gallen will play the rest of the season with an injury when he returns. Does this make Gallen a trade and is a straight swap to Fifita the best option? Or given he is an injury prone player are we better of looking elsewhere?
From David Delaney
I'm playing overall – what to do with Gallen: is it worth holding him until next week and hope he plays or just swap for the likes of Fifita, keeping in mind trades are limited?
Paul Gallen's biceps injury has come at an extremely awkward time for Fantasy coaches. Earlier in the year a two-week injury to a player of Gallen's quality wouldn't require a trade, but things are different now. If you're playing in a head-to-head league that played through the bye rounds you could be facing a sudden-death finals match-up this week, and need every point you can get. Likewise, Fantasy coaches aiming for overall points can't afford to slip behind the pack by having $470,000 worth of star player sitting in the reserves while other teams are at full strength.
If you're in one of those two camps, I'd suggest trading Gallen out and taking your chances. Fifita has had his own injury problems this year but is a proven Fantasy performer and is fairly cheap (and getting cheaper) at $381,947, meaning a swap with Gallen could also fund an upgrade to your team elsewhere.
If you don't need the points so badly this week, or you have other more long-term issues in your squad that need fixing, then hold onto Gallen now and hope he repays the faith in the final half dozen rounds of the season. After all, if Cronulla's opponents the Cowboys are to be believed, Gallen could be back as early as this week.
From James Hannan
Should I get rid of Mansour for Inglis? I've only got two trades left?
With two trades left, probably not.
I had this trade pencilled in at the start of the week, but Tuesday's injury news changed my mind. Mansour is now touch and go to play this week (he was actually named in Penrith's Tuesday team list) but even if he fails to recover from his ankle injury in time he'll have to be close to playing next week. He remains a keeper after that, injury permitting.
If you had trades to burn then this move makes sense (Inglis is very cheap by his standards at the moment) but there's every chance of a major injury or suspension striking your squad somewhere between now and the end of the season, which is what those final trades should be saved for.
From Elic Tang
I brought in De Gois to make some money before a direct upgrade to Farah, when is it optimal for me to make this trade?
In terms of points, the sooner the better. Robbie Farah will go close to doubling Isaac De Gois's score on most weeks, and it's never too soon to bring in the best player in the game.
If money is tight though, then it might be worth holding off a week or two. De Gois is still rising in value (his break even is 21 this week, which he should clear easily despite only managing 22 from the Eels' thrashing last weekend) while Farah's price is dropping (his break even is 91). So the price gap between the two should be closer next week.
From Alex Boukogiannis
Has Parker regained his 2013 form or would Fifita be a stronger player on the run home?
Parker's form has been superb of late but it's more the role he plays as a prop for the Broncos that has hurt his Fantasy scoring this year. He (like Fifita) has still been a mid-50s scorer, and after last week's 78 his price is on the rise. He is $30,000 cheaper than Fifita, whose price is still on the way down, so if you have to split them then that's probably reason enough to go with Parker. Ideally you'd find space to fit them both in your squad.
From David Brealey
Hey LS, I've waited and gotta trade out Tedesco who has been storing my salary cap in his back pocket on the bench. Surely Inglis and Dugan are the only two feasible options left with Mansour out, and current stats point towards Dugan... but GI is just special now and could go big on a finals run? Is Moylan a smokey?
Both are great options. Dugan's probably more reliable due to the extra defensive work he's getting through at centre, and his dual position status could also come in very handy if you need to cover injuries in your backline. Inglis on the other hand is a great price (almost $50,000 cheaper than Dugan) and after a week off he could be about to explode against an ordinary-looking Eels defence. He has had a few quiet games this season, but he also probably has more potential to go big on any given week than Dugan. It's a gut decision between those two.
Moylan was superb last week and his price is on the rise, but I wouldn't quite put him in that top bracket just yet. He could be a great point of difference for the run home if you're willing to take a gamble on him though.