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Should you trade out Issac Luke or your State of Origin stars? Should you trade in Michael Morgan, Ben Spina and Aaron Gray? Do you get a bonus trade when the major bye rounds start next week? The Lone Scout answers this week's big NRL Fantasy questions.

Official Round 10 team lists
NRL casualty ward: Round 10

We all want to know your thoughts on Isaac Luke?
(From Paul Luckett-Smith)

Issac Luke's prospects as an NRL Fantasy went from great to ordinary on Monday night when he was benched by coach Michael Maguire, with Cameron McInnes promoted to starting hooker at Souths. After stringing together a few 50+ scores, Luke only managed 16 off the bench and his price dropped by $23,000. Things got worse when Luke was again named on the bench in Tuesday's team list for the Rabbitohs' clash with the Storm on Saturday.

Maguire insists Luke's demotion was a form issue rather than a move motivated by Luke's decision to join the Warriors next season. Luke has played off the bench a bit at Souths in the past, which is also a bad sign. 

If you're playing to win your head-to-head league only, I'd look to upgrade Luke to a more reliable option like Cameron Smith or James Segeyaro. 

But if you're playing for overall points (and are getting short on trades) like me, I'd recommend holding. Luke's dumping may just have been a bit of a wake-up call from Maguire, and he could be back in the starting side in Round 11 (or even this weekend if Maguire springs another late change). If he does start again, Luke is an 80-minute hooker who plays in all three of the major bye rounds (11, 14 and 17) so will be very valuable over Origin for Fantasy coaches playing for overall points.

Holding him gives you the chance to see how the weekend pans out, then next week's team lists – and the Rabbitohs actually play the first game of Round 11, so you could even leave it to next Friday night (when the final team lists will clarify whether he's back in the starting side) before making the decision. Coincidentally, Souths play Parramatta on that night, meaning you could make a late trade straight from Luke to fellow bye-friendly hooker Nathan Peats if Luke's still on the bench.

How many State of Origin players should you hold onto? (I have Parker and Cronk)
(From Aaron Prohm)

I've made this point a few times, but keep in mind that the vast majority of State of Origin players will only miss three matches over the Origin/bye period. All players will miss at least two games with the byes. So the only Origin players I'd look to trade out are the ones who will miss five games due to Origin and the byes – which is Origin players from the Wests Tigers, Rabbitohs and Eels (Robbie Farah, Aaron Woods, Greg Inglis, etc). 

If you're playing to win a standard 16-team head-to-head league, then you shouldn't really worry about Origin players at all – the three rounds they miss are the three rounds that head-to-head leagues also go on hiatus.   



Michael Morgan worth trading in?
(From Shae Roberts)

I'd be wary. On the one hand, he has just hit back-to-back 70+ scores, and he should take on more playmaking responsibilities in Round 11 and Round 17 when Johnathan Thurston is away on Origin duty. On the other hand, Morgan's base stats aren't great – he has three scores in the 20s this season (and two below 20 when starting at fullback) so he's been relying on tries, try assists and a lot of tackle breaks for his big scores. 

Last week's 71, for example, included two tries, two line breaks, a try assist, four tackle breaks, and a season-high 152 run metres. He won't do that every week.  So he's not a keeper in Fantasy in the halves but he is averaging better than 40 for the season so could be a keeper in the winger/fullback position – and one who will play in two major bye rounds. That makes him a decent buy – but don't be surprised if he scores as many 20s as 70s.

James Graham: how will he fair over the next six or so weeks coming into Origin? Will he still get big scores if his halves play Origin? I'm thinking of bringing him in over any other player.
(From Ross Lapthorne)

He's been in my squad from the start, and will give you a solid 50 points every week. The Bulldogs also play on two major bye rounds, making him a great pickup for overall points. George Burgess is still the No.1 target for props if you want to score well in the bye rounds, but Graham isn't far behind.

What are your thoughts on bringing in Ben Spina and Aaron Gray? Worth the trades to make some coin and what do you think their future prospects are?
(From Josh Sawtell)

They're both a little risky, but cheap and potential cash cows. Cowboys prop Spina costs $151,000, scored a rock solid 40 of pure base stats last week and will be a handy scorer in a couple of the bye rounds – especially with Matt Scott and James Tamou away on Origin duty. Gray costs $10,000 less and is likely to play in all three major bye rounds – especially with his Rabbitohs teammates Greg Inglis and possibly Alex Johnston playing Origin. The mystery is what kind of scores they'll produce – Spina could play limited minutes or even drop out of the side when the Cowboys are closer to full strength, while Gray plays predominantly on the wing so is reliant on attacking stats for his scores (without his two line breaks and two tries on Monday night he would have scored 17 instead of 41).

Marty Taupau has a high BE, time to offload? He could get mid 50 but it's unlikely.
(From Andy Air)

Is it that unlikely? Yes, Taupau is averaging 39 over the past three rounds. Before that though, he was averaging 51 after six rounds. Between Round 3 and Round 5 he averaged 62. 

His minutes and base stats have stayed pretty consistent all year (about 50 minutes, 20-something tackles and 120 metres a game) so his big scores depend on tackle breaks. He made just the one bust last week and scored 35; he made nine busts back in Round 3 and scored 83. 

If you're playing head-to-head you could sell if you've lost the faith, but for overall he's definitely worth keeping as he plays the three major bye rounds and could still be a 50+ scorer in the long run.

Do we get extra trades for the big bye round next week?
(From Sharn Manawa Pere)

Yep. This is from the game guidelines in the Help section of the Fantasy site: "During the bye weeks, users will be allocated an extra trade. Therefore, during the bye weeks, users will have 3 trades." 

You don't have to use that extra trade, but if you need a lot of changes to prepare your squad for the bye rounds, you'll get your chance.


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