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Shaun Johnson has been struggling in NRL Fantasy this season, but is more than capable of turning things around.

With NRL Fantasy stars Shaun Johnson, Martin Taupau and Andrew Fifita sidelined, it's crisis time for some Fantasy coaches with trades running low at the business end of the season. 

Should you trade, and if so, who for?

Here's my two cents.

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These two will probably be popular, but who should I replace Shaun Johnson and Andrew Fifita with?
(From Matthew Lippiatt-Sidman)

These are the big questions – plus what to do with Martin Taupau, who's been suspended for three weeks. Shaun Johnson is a definite trade, Taupau is pretty much a definite trade as well unless you're very short on trades remaining and can cope without him for three weeks, and Fifita is a potential trade as well – he's out this week, and could be out for longer depending on any action taken against him by the Sharks or the NRL. 

Your decision on Fifita should probably be based on how many trades you have left, and how desperate you are for extra points this week – if you're low on trades or can cope with benching him for a week, you could be wise to hold and see how the Sharks' investigation into the Fifita brothers pans out. 

Here's how I rank the best replacements.

Johnson replacements: 

Johnathan Thurston ($503,000) – JT has been in crazy form this season, with last week's 48 the first time he has scored less than 60 since Round 9. Before last week he'd averaged 71 over his past five games. The obvious replacement for Johnson with a like-for-like price tag.

Ben Hunt ($464,000) – The Broncos halfback can go very big on his day (see last week's 98) and averages 57 points a game.

Daly Cherry-Evans ($394,000) – Is playing through the pain of a shoulder injury picked up a couple of weeks ago but is super-reliable, making a lot of tackles and kick metres plus try assists. Could have a big run home with Manly gunning for an unlikely finals berth.

Adam Reynolds ($374,000) – Has a great price and could be back in form after a mid-season lull with 66 points against the Knights last week. Should score more than 50 points a game and if you need more spending power he seems the obvious option.

Top Taupau/Fifita replacements: 

Paul Gallen (FRF/2RF, $469,0000) – Coming off an 80 last weekend, has just re-signed with the Sharks and he's only likely to get more involved while Fifita is out of the Cronulla side.

Corey Parker (2RF, $482,000) – In-form captaincy option, averaging close to 63 points a game. Could bring in if you've got a dual-position player in your second row.

Simon Mannering (2RF, $472,000) – Super-consistent scorer, although he's been shifted from lock – where he's made about 50 tackles a game – to the second row this week. 

Shaun Fensom (2RF, $427,000) – A solid mid-50s scorer, who managed 65 with a try last week. Super-busy defender but (usually) hasn't played the full 80 this season.

Kade Snowden (FRF, $450,000) – Has lifted from a consistent 50-point player to a great scorer recently thanks to three tries in his past four games. Chances are he won't score another one this year though.

Mike Cooper (FRF/2RF, $443,000) – Recently made a dual-position player in Fantasy, Cooper has been rock solid for the Dragons thanks to a great defensive game. Only managed 43 last week. 

Elijah Taylor (2RF, $390,000) – An 80-minute back-rower who makes an average of 50 tackles a game, with four scores over 70 this season. Doesn't generally produce a hell of a lot in attack though.

Aaron Woods (FRF, $396,000) – Still the best metre-eating forward in the competition, Woods's star has faded a little recently and last week's 30-point effort will scare a few Fantasy coaches off. Still averages about 53 for the season.

If you've made the playoffs in H2H but been hit by these injuries/suspensions are you better off saving trades and taking a loss this week or keeping your team up to date?
(From Naly D Moran)

If you are playing to win your head-to-head comp and don't need a win in your league this week, definitely consider holding Fifita and possibly even Taupau. Shaun Johnson is definitely out for the season though so can be traded when you like, depending on your likely replacements. For example, Ben Hunt and Adam Reynolds have low break evens this week so now is a good time to bring them in, while Johnathan Thurston and Daly Cherry-Evans have break evens in the 70s so you could be better off snapping them up next week.



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