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With Fantasy megastar Shaun Fensom joining the growing list of walking wounded, Paul Gallen and Sam Burgess returning for their teams, Jarryd Hayne winning games on his own and trades at a premium, it's a testing time for the humble Holden NRL Fantasy coach.
With that in mind, here are my answers to this week's best questions.
From Eamon Vanzyl
Hey Scout, who do you think is a better trade for Fensom: Gallen or Merrin?
Paul Gallen's a bit of a risk this week as he returns from injury, but at he's best he's a 65-points a game player, where as Merrin is more like 55 points a game. If Gallen plays then I'd say he's the best buy.
From Lolo Fifita
Will Paul Gallen price drop if he plays?
Not necessarily. Gallen's break even this week is 60, and he has averaged 65 points a game. He is coming back from injury and could get a bit of a rest, but this is Paul Gallen we're talking about so there's every chance he busts out a big score anyway. I don't expect his price to change too much, but it's almost as likely to go up as it is to go down.
From Tom Dixon
What are your opinions on who to bring in as a straight swap for Fensom in the 2RF given Sam Burgess, Merrin, Gallen, Parker, Fifita and Scott are in my side already and Elijah Taylor and Wade Graham are injured too? I also have Yeo who is likely to get more game time given Taylor is injured.
Is it worth bringing in Cordner or Guerra, considering their game time is likely to be reduced once SBW returns in the middle of the Fantasy finals? For this reason I'm leaning toward Matt Gillett, Paul Vaughan given he may get extra minutes in the absence of Fensom, or Jason Taumalolo given his workload is rumoured to increase – although the last two are more risky?
There's not much in it once you get down to the 7th or 8th best options in the back row. I prefer Taumalolo over Gillett now that he's likely to spend more time in the middle (and he was great on the weekend). Cordner and Guerra are solid customers as well, and I'm quite happy to have Josh Jackson in my team at the moment. Vaughan's a great worker and might get more minutes without Fensom there, but he has been named on the bench again for Canberra this week.
Out of all them, I'd say Jackson might be the most likely to hit 50 on any given week, but Taumalolo, Cordner and Vaughan are the most capable of hitting 60+. Depends how risky you want to play it.
From Jessika Hill
Hi Lone Scout, I've got $213k in my salary cap and I'm going to buy Jarryd Hayne – but I don't know who to get rid of: Moylan or Milford? Milford hasn't been getting top scores recently and Moylan is a bit unpredictable. What do you think?
The real unknown here is how Anthony Milford's move from fullback to five-eighth this week will affect his scores. Milford is a little cheaper than Matt Moylan and his Fantasy average is a little higher, but he could lose more points than he gains when playing in the halves (where he's replacing the injured Terry Campese over the next couple of weeks). Milford scores the bulk of his points from run metres, tackle breaks and line breaks, and he's less likely to get the chance to run in broken play from five-eighth than he is bringing the ball back from fullback. He should get more points through kick metres and tackles, but he isn't a noted defender so a rise in missed tackles (worth -2 points each) could come back to bite him.
Moylan's Panthers have a tough run home but he is playing in a stronger team than Milford, and his scores generally have lifted since the start of the year – he averaged a mediocre 26 points a game across the first six rounds and 44 points a game since then. He's a bit of a point of difference (he's in less than 4000 Fantasy teams, compared with the 26,000 teams who have Milford) so for those reasons I'd probably opt to keep him, and upgrade Milford to Hayne.
From Boyd Macpherson
I have Paul Gallen, Robbie Farah, Cameron Smith, Sam Burgess, Jared Hayne and Corey Parker, who should I captain?
Farah or Smith are the safe bets. The Tigers should have a tighter game this week against the Cowboys, while Smith might have less tackling to do or even get a rest if the Storm thump the Knights, so Farah might be just ahead of Smith for that reason. Of course Gallen and Sam Burgess are both capable of big scores, but both are coming back from injuries. Hayne is a wildcard (it's hard to know when a WFB is going to go big) but he is up against a poor defensive team in Canberra so anything's possible.
For me, I'm likely to stick with Andrew Fifita as captain this week as the big man chases a third straight 80+ score.
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. Best of luck for the weekend.