As NRL Fantasy coaches start snapping up keepers and continue to deal with the injury and suspension dramas of the past couple of weeks, now's the time to start planning for the long run – including the bye rounds if you're aiming to climb the overall rankings.
Greg Inglis – keep or sell?
(From Jacky Lam)
If you're playing to win your head-to-head league, I'd keep him. He's an established Fantasy gun, and despite a sub-par start to the season is still averaging 42.5 points a game – which is keeper territory for a winger/fullback. Now that he's dropped a little in price, trading him out for somebody like James Tedesco or Roger Tuivasa-Sheck would actually lose you money, and cost you a trade – with no guarantees either of those two will be a better scorer than Inglis in the long run. Remember, outside backs are notoriously erratic scorers in Fantasy, so a few big games would be all it takes to shoot Inglis back to the top of the Fantasy fullbacks rankings.
If you're playing for overall points on the other hand, it could be worth selling him. Like Robbie Farah, Inglis is a definite sell before Round 11 for overall as he'll miss three games through Origin and two more with his club's byes. If you were going to sell him anyway, then now might be the time to make the move to an in-form player like Tedesco, whose Tigers will play in all three major bye rounds.
Again, if you're not worried about your overall score and just want to win your private league, I wouldn't worry about Origin.
With Michael Lichaa's minutes looking to stall over the coming rounds is he a hold or is it better to trade for Isaac luke who also has good bye schedule?
(From Andrew Jackson)
I'm holding him – even though Lichaa is likely to get another mediocre score this week. Here's why.
Lichaa had been playing close to 80 minutes until last week when he only played 53, and after averaging 56 Fantasy points a game he scored just 27 last week. (You can check out how many minutes each player plays in their player profiles on NRL.com.) Lichaa was benched because fellow hooker Moses Mbye was in the side as Josh Reynolds returned from injury, with Mbye covering Reynolds at five-eighth and then Lichaa at dummy-half. Mbye is on the bench this week and will probably take minutes off Lichaa at dummy-half again. He's been playing well, but Des Hasler generally prefers to have four big men on the bench – and Mbye is likely to make way again when star props David Klemmer, Sam Kasiano and James Graham return from suspension in the next few weeks. (Mbye could even be shifted into the centres on Friday night if Josh Morris is ruled out.)
When that happens, there's every chance Lichaa will play big minutes again, and he'll be handy over the Origin period with the Bulldogs to play in the first two major bye rounds. Sure, Issac Luke's Rabbitohs play in all three major bye rounds, but as he's not quite a top-quality keeper at hooker you'd likely have to use an extra trade upgrading him to Cameron Smith or Robbie Farah after Origin anyway. At the very least I'd hold Lichaa for a week or two to see how the Bulldogs line up when their big boppers are available again.
Is Robert Jennings likely to play enough games to be a possible cash cow?
(From Michael Carroll)
He's a risk with Dean Whare set to return in the centres soon, and Waqa Blake the preferred option as Idris's long-term replacement at the moment. Of course if Jennings plays the house down against the Titans that could change...
Is Jake Trbojevic still a good buy or has the ship sailed?
(From Aidan Rath)
At $193,000 Trbojevic is hardly a cut-price cheapie, but after four straight scores in the 30s the young Manly prop will continue making money (he's got a break even of zero this week). So if you're looking for a cash cow who will also help out your 17 with some solid scores, he's a handy option.
If your main priority is getting the most spare cash out of downgrading another cash cow though, I'd look for somebody who costs close to $128,000 instead. Remember, any new cash cow you buy will effectively cost you two trades (one to get them, one to trade them out) so it's a case of working out what you'll need more in the long run: that extra bit of cash they'll make or that extra trade you could keep up your sleeve.
I was wondering your thoughts on Sam Williams, he has strung together some good consistent scores, and is at a good value, is he a good replacement option for Cornish?
(From Anthony Baldwin)
I usually wouldn't rate Williams highly for Fantasy but his base stats have been very solid, doing most of the kicking alongside Blake Austin at Canberra. With only two games and scores of 40 and 56 there's not too much to go off, but so far he's scoring about 20 points a game from kick metres and another 20 from tackles. With a few attacking stats (he has just the one try assist so far) he could become a consistent scorer – assuming he keeps Mitch Cornish out of the Raiders side for good. He's still a gamble and by no means a guaranteed keeper, but at just $269,000 and with a break even of nine he could be a smart buy if he can hit regular 50s. Aidan Sezer's another half (albeit a bit more expensive) who also has the potential to be an undervalued keeper if he keeps up the 50+ scores, but again he's not as safe a bet as Ben Hunt or Daly Cherry-Evans.
If you're looking to free up cash this week, four new cheapies have been added to the Fantasy player database - Panthers centre Robert Jennings, Warriors forward Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Bulldogs prop Herman Ese'ese and newly recruited Rabbitohs half Darren Nicholls.
That's it for this week, keep an eye on the late mail, happy trading and good luck to your team this weekend.