NRL Fantasy coaches were hit hard by injuries to the likes of Michael Lichaa, James Segeyaro, Ben Henry and Adam Reynolds this week, but after the first lot of Fantasy scores for 2016 there are also clues about which players are going to become great buys this season.
So, who should you be trading in and out? Read on for this week's advice.
Hey there Scout, should I trade in Nathan Peats or Tyler Randall for Lichaa in your opinion? Is Randall likely to keep his minutes for the year?
From Suyash Pareek
This question came in before the Round 2 team lists, which showed that Randell won't be staying as an 80-minute player this season – with fellow hooker Danny Levi named on the bench for the Knights. Considering coach Nathan Brown is happy to drop anybody from his Newcastle team this year – with Kade Snowden on an extended bench this weekend – Randell could also find himself out of the starting side if he has a few off games. I'd avoid.
Peats is coming off an 80-minute 66 and while he probably won't play the 80 every week he's always a solid scorer and has a great bye schedule if you're playing for overall points, with his Eels in action on all three major bye rounds.
Then there's new Bulldogs hooker Craig Garvey*, who's at the rookie price and will start while Lichaa is out, or – if you have Jayden Nikorima in your halves – you could make an Advanced Trade by trading Lichaa out, shifting Nikorima to hooker and trading a half in, like Cody Walker.
I trading out Segeyaro and can get one of Garvey, Cody Walker or Lachlan Croker. Which do you choose?
From Andy Donaldson
This one's incredibly tough to predict at this stage, but if I had to rank them based on scoring potential and job security I'd go Walker, Garvey*, Croker.
*UPDATE: The Bulldogs have confirmed Michael Lichaa will miss four weeks, so Craig Garvey is worth avoiding as he won't have a long enough run in the first-grade side.
The club can confirm hooker Michael Lichaa will miss 4 weeks due to the knee injury suffered in last week's match. pic.twitter.com/wF2byqjBOV— NRL Bulldogs (@NRL_Bulldogs) March 9, 2016
I have both Lichaa and Segeyaro. The temptation is there to grab Garvey and shift Nikorima to hooker and pick up Walker. Is it worth it for the potential cash to be made or are am I leaving myself too exposed with two mid-range-at-best hookers?
From Andrew Alan Wilkinson
If you're playing head-to-head only, and your league doesn't start for a few weeks, then the cash grab makes sense. Even if you start your comp a bit weak in the hooker position you could make that up later with the extra money gained from the cash cows. If you're playing for overall points through it's a big risk to not use either of your starting hooker spots on an established big scorer.
I have two keepers in the hooking position, but Garvey looks like a very solid cash cow. Keep the keepers or chase the potential cash cow of the year?
From Tony Fallon
I think by naming your two hookers as "keepers" you've answered your own question there. The only reason to trade out a keeper is if he's injured for several weeks or – maybe – because of Origin. Otherwise, save yourself the trade. The point of cash cows is to free up the money to buy keepers, so it's a bit pointless trading a keeper out in the first place just for the sake of getting another keeper in later (and using up valuable trades in the process).
There will be more cash cows this year, you can't get every one. Never trade out a keeper for the sake of taking a chance on a cash cow.
Scout would trading out the unlucky Ben Henry for Paul Carter? Even though a try helped Carter's score he did have a solid game Fantasy-wise and is under $200k.
From James Hatch
Yep, if Henry is in your back row and you don't have more pressing trades elsewhere, an upgrade to a genuine moneymaker in Carter looks a good move.
Hey Scout, what should I do with Ben Henry? Hold for a week or two keeping in mind with all other injuries in Round 1?
Because of Henry's low price tag there's not really a major rush to replace him in your squad – his price won't drop so you're probably better off replacing any genuine flops in your team first. When a suitable replacement for Henry becomes available, snap him up.
Thoughts on Mike Cooper? Jack de Belin looks to have taken his minutes and without them he can't score anywhere near consistent 50s. Trade?
From Richard Rodden
A lot of teams these days tend to play their edge second-rowers for close to 80 minutes and their middle forwards (locks and props) for around 50, which is the pattern the Dragons used on the weekend as well. Guys like Trent Merrin and Shaun Fensom showed on the weekend that busy locks can still score well with 50-60 mins. Cooper has the potential to be a quality Fantasy scorer – if not quite on the Merrin/Fensom level – so it's probably too early to write him off now unless you really want to bring in a particular guy in the forwards.
Hey LS, would you hold onto Adam Reynolds for 6 weeks? I already have DCE, Hastings & J.Nikorima in my halves.
From Heather Harris
Nope, I think you've got to trade for an injury that long. On the bright side, there is some great value in the halves available in Ash Taylor and Cody Walker now.
Hi Scout, have we missed the train on Oates or will he keep going low BE this week will it be a short increase?
I wouldn't say you've missed the train, but keep in mind Oates is a mid-priced winger at $282,000 and so is unlikely to have consistent scores. Yes he was great last Thursday and scored 66 but that included a try, a try assist, three line breaks, six tackle breaks and 193 run metres – and he's very unlikely to manage those kinds of numbers on a regular basis. Like any winger he'll have big scores and small scores, so in that position I'd be targeting instead players who are either likely to be amongst the very best in their position (think Tedesco, maybe Greg Inglis, and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck later in the year) or underpriced players.
What are your thoughts on Jake Trbojevich? Looked good at prop and could get even more minutes now he's been moved to lock.
From Terence Hiamoe
He looks the goods, doesn't he? There were question marks over his role at Manly purely because of the number of props they have this season, but 56 points from 58 minutes, mostly in base stats (tackles and run metres) suggests he could be in for a big season in Fantasy. As you say the move to lock this week could make him even more secure in that team, although with a new coach and a lot of new players at the Sea Eagles I wouldn't be surprised to see a few changes from week-to-week early in the season. If he gets another good score this week I can see him being a popular buy in Round 3.
Question: if I make a trade now, am I able to reverse the trades before a player plays this weekend if I change my mind?
From Jason Boon
Yep, you can reverse trades until lockout.