Scout Report: Round 7 NRL Fantasy recap
Ben Hunt comes crashing back down to earth, while there was good news for a few popular cheapies, a rising Roosters star, Shaun Johnson and more.
What goes up...
Broncos halfback Ben Hunt proved to be a godsend to those NRL Fantasy coaches desperate to replace the injured Adam Reynolds last week, scoring two tries and making seven tackle breaks – plus a whopping 145 run metres and 479 kick metres – on the way to 90 points in Brisbane's win over the Roosters. But the playmaker came crashing back down to earth this week, with no tries or tackle breaks and just seven run metres for a meagre 17 Fantasy points as his team was beaten by the Dragons.
On the bright side he still averages 53 over the past fortnight (and for the season) – but that won't be of much comfort to those who bought him last week. There's every chance he's already posted his best and worst scores of 2015 in the past two weeks. Expect him to bounce back against the Eels.
The week's big winners
Old Fantasy favourite Cameron Smith – amazingly just the ninth-most popular hooker in Fantasy right now – is back on top of the overall scorers list with his second straight 70+ effort, and as usual is the most reliable captaincy option in the game. But there were a few other big winners this week.
Jake Granville scored his first NRL hat-trick in a bumper 84 to lead the Cowboys to victory over the Warriors (beware he won't be doing that on a regular basis though). Similarly, Will Zillman was on fire in the Titans' win over Penrith, with two tries, eight tackle breaks, a whopping 269 metres and 81 Fantasy points. Before that he only averaged about 25 points a game so he's still a very risky buy.
The more promising options to come out of the weekend's games were Dane Gagai, whose 71 makes him the second-best scorer in the centres this year behind must-have Raider Iosia Soliola; Dragons prop Mike Cooper, who now averages 50 this year thanks to a 65 this round; Lachlan Coote, who was the other standout in the Cowboys' win with 64; Mitchell Pearce, who now has four straight scores in the mid-50s; and cash-cow-turned-likely-keeper Sio Siua Taukeiaho, who hit an impressive 58 entirely from base stats (41 tackles and 163 run metres). Another Rooster who could be destined for keeper status is prop Dylan Napa, who is coming off scores of 55 and 57 and should play a larger role at the Tricolours following the injury to fellow front-rower Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Rookie Warriors centre Solomone Kata remains the most-owned player in Fantasy and he rewarded his 46,533 teams with a season-high 55 against the Cowboys, while his star teammate Shaun Johnson got his first price rise of the season after scores of 48 and 51 – and could be a bargain after dropping a total of $130,000 on his starting price. Sharks rookie sensation Jack Bird still has a negative break even despite jumping $159,000 in value this year, with scores of 83, 50 and 50 since breaking into Cronulla's starting side.
Paul Gallen's withdrawal from the Sharks side on Monday night was a major blow to his 31,261 Fantasy teams, but he's expected to be back in action soon. That's not the case for Panthers winger Josh Mansour, who's likely to miss six weeks with a knee injury (meaning George Jennings could finally get another shot in first grade this week).
Elsewhere, Waerea-Hargreaves could also be out for six with a pectoral injury, Jamie Lyon could miss a few weeks with an ankle injury, and Justin Hodges has a hamstring problem.
On a positive note, the early signs are star hookers James Segeyaro (arm) and Robbie Farah (shin) are both on track to be play this week despite picking up niggling injuries on the weekend.
We'll get more info on those injuries and all the rest in this afternoon's team lists, named at 5pm Australian Eastern time, with the Warriors side named a couple of hours earlier.