The toughest period of the NRL Fantasy season is behind us, and with the end of the season in sight the race is on to pack your team with stars for the run home.
Here are my answers to some of your Fantasy questions.
Will Shaun Johnson reach $600K?
(From Scott Moyes)
With a break even of 15, a price tag of $499,000 and an average of 96 points across his last three games, I wouldn't put it past him on current form. By the same token, I wouldn't be shocked if Johnson scored 30 against the Roosters this week either. Five games ago Johnson scored just 11 against the Rabbitohs, so while he has the highest scoring 'ceiling' of any half in Fantasy, he is also capable of having a very quiet game if the opposition dominates. If you're hunting for a Fantasy half, he's obviously a very good option – even if he costs about $120,000 more than Rabbitohs playmaker Adam Reynolds.
Hey Lone Scout you were the only person to beat me this year so far. My question is: is it time to jump of the Jack Bird ship?
(From Daryn Young)
Not in my book. Among halves, Bird is obviously off the pace a little with Johnson, Reynolds, Johnathan Thurston, Daly Cherry-Evans and Ben Hunt all averaging more than 50 points a game. You want three of those guys in your squad if possible. Bird isn't on that level, but at 45 points a game he's still among the best centres in Fantasy, where you should be holding him. If Bird's in your halves and you want an upgrade, you're better off selling a lower-scoring centre and shifting Bird to centre. If he's already in your centres, leave him there – any other trade will probably be sideways at best and you don't want to be wasting trades at this point of the season.
Does Nathan Friend have another price rise in him? I want to trade for Smith but also need to extra cash if he does.
(From Mathew Allan)
Yes he does. Despite that outrageous backflip pass on the weekend Friend only scored a solid 36 against the Storm, but with a break even of 21 his price will climb a little higher next week. If you're playing for overall points you may want to get Cameron Smith into your side as soon as possible, but for head-to-head give it another week to make the upgrade.
Should we be concerned about Moses Mbye on the Bulldogs bench when it comes to Michael Lichaa's minutes? Or should we hold off on any panic trading?
(From Brandon Scott Lee)
Hold off on the trade. The fear about Lichaa's minutes have been around since early in the season, but for the most part Des Hasler has been content to play Mbye in the backline, recently sharing the halves roles with Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds. That could change this week, but recent evidence suggests Lichaa has become an 80-minute hooker. Since Round 6 Lichaa has spent a grand total of five minutes on the bench in 10 matches. He made 63 tackles last week. I'm holding him for now.
Loney, do we keep Shaun Fensom? Playing reduced minutes so scores will go down and could be worth getting an 80-minute player with the potential to get bigger scores.
(From Antony Petrie)
Again, I think the fears about Fensom's minutes are a little overblown this season. The fact he isn't an 80-minute forward this year has scared me off buying him, but if he's in your team I wouldn't be selling. He's averaged about 63 and a half minutes a game, and is still scoring more than 55 Fantasy points a week. He actually ranks third among second-rowers for total points this season, and only Corey Parker, Simon Mannering and Paul Gallen are better scorers in the back row. He's a keeper.
Trying to decide on Tyson Frizell or unsung hero Bodene Thompson? What do you think? Thompson has been great the last three games.
(From Shaun Russell)
He has indeed, and he isn't a bad buy. My only concern with the Warriors second-rower is he's scored a try in each of those three games, and you can't rely on that kind of trend continuing (let's face it, the Warriors have a number of more likely try-scorers in their side). Frizell meanwhile has scored just one try all season but still has a slightly better average than Thompson. So, Thompson is the form player, but Frizell is still the safer bet, and a little cheaper. Elijah Taylor is another similar scorer if you haven't got him already.
Is Wade Graham a good option? Looking at the Sharks bench looks like he may be the only 80-minute forward they have.
(From Jarrah Miller)
He might be, but beware, he's a risk. He was massive for the Sharks last weekend with 210 metres and six tackle breaks plus a try assist and 31 tackles, for 83 points, but he still only has six scores above 50 this season from 16 games. By comparison, Elijah Taylor and Tyson Frizell average 54 and 53 points a game respectively and come at a similar price. So Graham's not a bad point of difference, but he could also be a mid-40s scorer who's just having a purple patch at the moment.
Got enough cash to upgrade Taumololo to either Corey Parker or Paul Gallen, which one's the safest bet for the finals run?
(From Cade Taikato-Wheeler)
With a better injury record and about four more points per game, Parker is the man to buy out of those two.
News on Blake Leary? Worth holding?
(From Ricky Turner)
Leary's nagging back injury just keeps him off the field, and although he will make more money after his next game I'd still be looking to sell – unless you're playing for head-to-head only and can easily make your league's finals series without him. Otherwise, now's the time to be assembling your best 17 and Leary isn't quite a keeper.
Is Greg Inglis a good POD compared to Teddy and RTS? Could he be in for a big run into the finals?
(From Buell Capital)
There's a reason why Greg Inglis costs about $145,000 less than James Tedesco and $90,000 less than Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – he's been a mid-40s scorer this year, while Tuivasa-Sheck has averaged 65 over his past three games and James Tedesco has averaged 71 over his past five. Tedesco and Tuivasa-Sheck are obviously safer bets when it comes to big scores, but Inglis is a superstar and could well be in for a big finish to the season. He admits he struggled with the club captaincy early in the year, dropping more than $100,000 in value in Fantasy, but he looms as a value buy now if you're in the hunt for a winger/fullback.