Scout Report: Round 2 Fantasy Q&A

The second round of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership season is here, and it's another big week for NRL Fantasy. Will you pull the trigger on a couple of trades and bring in an underpriced star? Or will you stay patient with one or two big names who misfired last week?

Here are my answers to some of the week's big questions from Fantasy fans, sent to me via Facebook and Twitter.

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Hey Scout is Segeyaro an 80-minute hooker for the season? Worth trading him in for Farah? Your thoughts?
(From Jay Walker)

My thoughts are that Segeyaro will be an 80-minute hooker, and it's not worth trading him in for Farah. 

Segeyaro was sensational in Penrith's win over the Bulldogs, an all-action dummy-half who was also the only Panthers forward to not spend a minute on the bench. The game was played in hot conditions on a Sunday at the start of March, so if he can play the 80 then he can do it every week.

In saying all that, I have Robbie Farah in my side and will be keeping him rather than downgrading to Segeyaro. Two reasons. One: Farah remains the safest captaincy option in the game alongside Cameron Smith, as players capable of going big but also reliable 60+ scorers each week. Two: Segeyaro is great value but in the long run I expect him to score less than Farah, by 5-10 points. Last week's 79-point effort included a try, two line breaks, seven tackle breaks and five offloads – all great attacking stats but numbers that no player can repeat every week.

Farah is a busier defender than Segeyaro, and doesn't rely too much on attacking stats for his Fantasy points, that means he should be a more consistent scorer. And if he scores five or 10 points a week more than Segeyaro on average, that becomes 10 or 20 points a week difference if he's your captain. I'd only seriously consider it if I was absolutely desperate for cash, but trading one keeper for another is generally a bad move.

If you have any of the mid-range hookers who didn't start the season well though, snap up Segeyaro as soon as you can.

Do you expect Corey Parker's minutes to increase? If not do you think he's a sell?
(From Christian De Blonk Smith)

I think his minutes will go up – and more importantly, he should be playing exclusively at lock from now on. The Fantasy legend played just 57 minutes in sweltering conditions in the first game of the season, including spending some time at dummy half to give Andrew McCullough a rest. Ideally for Fantasy, Parker would be making a lot of runs, metres and offloads – and that should start happening more now with Kodi Nikorima named as a back-up hooker on the Broncos bench this week, leaving Parker to stick with his natural role. With a game under his belt and easier conditions, Parker should go back to playing big minutes and scoring big points. If he doesn't, you can seriously consider trading him next week.

When will Martin Taupau be made a dual position FRF/2RF?
(From Jason Norman)

Now the season has begun, a player has to play four games in a new position to be made available in that position in Fantasy. The four-game rule is in place so if someone plays obviously out of position for a few games (or if man mountain Tony Williams plays in the halves for three games, like he did last year during the Origin period) they don't automatically get dual position status.

So in Taupau's case he was moved into lock before kickoff for Round 1 and has been named to play there again this week – if that continues he'll become available as a back-rower in NRL Fantasy (as well as in the front row) after Round 4.

Can players lose their DPP throughout the season?
(From Tau Kapow)

No. Removing a player's position would wreck Fantasy teams that already included the player in that position. For that matter, a player can't have more than two positions in Fantasy either (so Mitch Aubusson couldn't be available as a second-rower/centre/hooker even if he played at dummy-half for the Roosters all year). 

Hey Lone Scout, will player prices increase by more in coming weeks or will the first round see the largest increases? Not a lot of big changes...
(From Geoff Derry)

Yes, I expect to see price rises continue to grow for players who continually hit scores well above their break even. Someone who jumped $20,000 in value this week could jump $30,000 in value with a similar score next week.

Price changes are based on a player's last five games, weighted towards more recent scores. After Round 1, the system assumes a player's previous four games matched their starting price (usually based on last year's average, or about 14 or 15 for rookies). So if a player keeps scoring well above his break-even, his price will keep jumping higher and higher. Player prices start moving earlier than they used to a few years back but they now move a little more gradually– meaning you have more time to snap up the rising cash cows and aren't punished so much if one of your players gets a very low score due to injury.

Hey Lone Scout, quick question. What are your thoughts on Tepai Moeroa? Should I bite the bullet and do an early trade for Ryan James?
(From Mitchell Nisbet)

It's very tempting – if you bought Moeroa purely for his potential as a cash cow then it's probably worth a trade as it'll take him a little longer to make money now, although if you have faith he'll start posting decent scores (I'd be surprised if he gets another single-digit score all season) then hold him for a week. He did manage some very big scores at the end of last season when given 80 minutes.

Don't forget that Johnathan Thurston started with a single-digit score a couple of seasons ago – and he averaged 54 last season and remains one of the top halves in Fantasy.

In saying that, Ryan James looks like a quality buy assuming he continues playing big minutes all year.

Would like to know your thoughts on having both Andrew Fifita and Paul Gallen?
(From David Venner)

Great if you can afford it. Neither of them are expected to rise much in price (they're both well over $500,000 already) but they're both genuine keepers and among the top five or so scorers in Fantasy. I'd love to have them both in my team by the end of the season. 

Hey Scout. We all thought Dene Halatau was going to be starting lock soon to find out he was benched! Is he a trade out or if your team isn't too bad is he worth saving a trade and holding until the brutal bye rounds?
(From David Delaney)

I'd sell. Halatau isn't a huge Fantasy scorer even when he plays 80 minutes in the back row, so off the bench I don't see much value in him. When there are cash cows around the place and a few mid-range players who should regularly hit 40+, I'd look to jump off Halatau. 

I need to get Sam Lisone into my team, for the cash, but is it worth the two trades?
(From Jeremy Seve)

No, I wouldn't be making two trades just to get one cash cow into your team. Lisone did very well with 42 points from about 40 minutes off the bench against Newcastle, but the cheap Warriors prop may not always get so much game time – with starter Jacob Lillyman only playing 22 minutes in that game and the versatile Ben Henry back in the forward rotation this week after playing in the centres last week.  

Lisone made the most of his chance though and will continue making money (he'll be one of the most traded in cash cows of the week) but he does come with a little bit of risk with Sam Rapira to bump either Lisone or fellow rookie prop Albert Vete out of the side when he returns from injury. In short, he's probably a good cash cow to get but not worth using up two trades for. 

Will Rory O'Brien get more minutes? And will trading in Lolohea be a waste now that he's been moved to centre?
(From Sam Heyes)

Fantasy coaches who picked up rookie Dragons prop Rory O'Brien based on the fact he was given good game time in St George Illawarra's pre-season games were stung when the youngster played just 15 minutes off the bench on Monday night. He'll obviously need more minutes in order to make any money, let alone be a valuable cash cow, and he does have a bit of competition on the bench from hard-working forwards Trent Merrin, Mike Cooper and Jack de Belin. In saying that, one of those three will be promoted to the starting side after Ben Creagh was ruled out for a month, meaning O'Brien should get more game time. You'd think his role will increase as his first season goes on, but it's impossible to say by how much. I'd probably stick with him for another week, but if you're desperate to trade you could switch him for somebody like Lisone. 

Lolohea looked a real talent filling in for Sam Tomkins at fullback last Saturday and he should do OK again in the centres this week – he'll probably lose points with fewer run metres and tackle breaks but gain a few from tackles. He won't stay there forever though with first-choice centres Konrad Hurrell and Ngani Laumape both currently on the injured list. If Lolohea ends up playing on the wing in the long run his scores will probably drop; but if he keeps impressing enough to, say, bump Chad Townsend out of the five-eighth role, he'll be an absolute steal. This week he's guaranteed another price rise.

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