Scout Report: Round 19 Fantasy recap
Inglis and Cronk get their groove back, JT fires again, Johnson flops, and DCE picks up an untimely injury for Fantasy coaches.
Maroons superstars show their class
It's been a relatively quiet year for Queensland stars Greg Inglis and Cooper Cronk at NRL level, and particularly in Fantasy. Inglis has been overshadowed by younger fullbacks Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and James Tedesco, while Cronk hasn't even been the highest-scoring half at the Melbourne Storm. Both got back to their best this weekend with season-high scores: Inglis racked up eight tackle breaks, a try save and a try assist for 79 points; while Cronk found the tryline twice for 74 points – 21 more than his next best score in 2015.
Two Maroons who didn't need any help finding form were 300-game man Cameron Smith (76) and odds-on Dally M favourite Johnathan Thurston (74), while other impressive scorers this week were Knights prop Kade Snowden (77), in-form Sharks wrecking ball Andrew Fifita (72), Warriors captain Simon Mannering (70), Cowboys pivot Michael Morgan (69) and Storm back-rower Kevin Proctor (a round-high 85, thanks to his first two tries of the season).
Johnson back to earth at last
I said last week I wouldn't be surprised if Shaun Johnson followed up his three straight 90+ scores with a mediocre 30 against the Roosters, and it turns out I wasn't far off. The Warriors were walloped 24-zip by the Tricolours on Sunday, and without his usual attacking output Johnson scored just 32 and was only the Warriors' ninth-best Fantasy scorer of the day (13 Roosters outscored him as well).
If he's in your side, never fear – the occasional low score is part and parcel of being a Shaun Johnson owner in NRL Fantasy, so just cross your fingers the next big score is coming against Manly at Mount Smart Stadium this Saturday.
Injured DCE on the chopping block?
Monday night's loss to the Cowboys may have ended any realistic hopes of Manly making the finals but it also came at a cost to almost 19,000 NRL Fantasy coaches, with Daly Cherry-Evans picking up a shoulder injury.
No news at this stage on how long DCE will be sidelined for, but with a short five-day turnaround until Saturday's trip to New Zealand he's probably long odds to play this week at least. If you're playing for overall points or have plenty of trades left you're probably looking to trade this week. Johnathan Thurston is the year's best half with almost 60 points a game, while Johnson remains a man in form, although both would set you back more than $500,000 (almost $100,000 more than Cherry-Evans). Other options are Ben Hunt ($437,000) and the relatively cheap Adam Reynolds ($368,000) who seems to have bounced back into form with 58 on the weekend after a string of low scores following his return from injury.
Jack Bird goes quiet
It's hardly an emergency, but the year's most popular cash cow-turned-keeper Jack Bird has been a little underwhelming of late. He's still an attacking threat at five-eighth who makes close to 30 tackles a week, but it's hard to ignore the fact that he's only passed 40 points once in his past six games, and in games when he hasn't scored a try he's only scored 50 once all season. He did score 70 points in Round 15 thanks to a try-scoring double against the struggling Knights, but with four tough opponents coming up (Bulldogs and Warriors away, then the Cowboys and Storm at home) it could be worth considering benching the young Shark if you have another strong option in your outside backs.