Scout Report: Round 3 teams wrap
NRL.com's Lone Scout takes a look at the key NRL Fantasy news to come out of the Round 3 NRL team lists.
Cowboys v Roosters
Cowboys: Jake Granville has been named to start after being relegated to the bench before kick-off last week, with no other changes to a very steady-looking Cowboys side. Ethan Lowe has made a flying start to the NRL Fantasy season with tries in both the first two rounds – he's averaging 70 points a game so far but beware he's usually a high-40s scorer (take out his try last week and he would have scored 48 in Round 2).
Roosters: Fantasy cheapie Vincent Leuluai has a knee injury and is replaced by Mitchell Frei on the bench for the Roosters. Latrell Mitchell ($144,000) looks like a must-have in the tricky winger/fullback position – he's guaranteed another price rise after last week's 43 and is the kind of player who could get decent scores from the back on a regular basis. Mitchell Aubusson's price has dropped slightly despite getting big minutes in the back row.
Bulldogs v Eels
Bulldogs: Young gun Kerrod Holland is out of the side despite slotting a match-winning conversion on debut last week, with Chase Stanley returning from injury in the centres. Moses Mbye will be in high demand after a stunning 94 last week. His base stats (kick metres, tackles) haven't been that great for a half but his attacking stats have more than made up for it so far – can he keep that up all season? James Graham is scoring in the 60s but his minutes and scores have arguably been inflated by a fellow prop going down with injury, with Aidan Tolman concussed early on last week.
Eels: Nathan Peats will miss 2-4 weeks according to the Eels after dislocating his elbow, which makes things very tricky for NRL Fantasy coaches who own him. Two weeks out is usually a hold; four weeks is probably a sell. If you're playing to win your head-to-head league and your comp starts in Round 4, or if you're playing overall and plan to have him in your side for the major bye rounds, I'd probably hold if you've got other pressing trades to make elsewhere. Manu Ma'u has had a strong start to the season but is suspended this week, while Michael Gordon has been underwhelming so far but I'll be holding him for another week.
Knights v Raiders
Knights: David Bhana is out injured, while Sione Mata'utia is set to return but has been named on the bench of a line-up that could be tweaked before kick-off on Saturday. Dane Gagai reportedly trained at fullback on Tuesday, suggesting Jaelen Feeney's days in the team could be numbered. After a big first-round score Tyler Randell's minutes dropped to 50 with the Knights including a bench hooker in Round 2, and his score dropped to 27.
Raiders: Shaun Fensom and Lachlan Croker have both been named despite leaving the field with injury on the weekend, while Joey Leilua (suspension) has been replaced by Brenko Lee. Elliott Whitehead is a hold with his scores slowly improving while Jarrod Croker is a rock solid option in the tricky centre position – especially considering his point-scoring potential against a ragged Newcastle defence this week.
Panthers v Broncos
Panthers: Will Smith replaces the injured Dean Whare in the backline, with Tyrone Peachey to partner Jamie Soward in the halves like he did last week with Peter Wallace covering for James Segeyaro at hooker. That's not a great sign for Te Maire Martin's first grade chances in the short term. Trent Merrin is yet to really make much NRL Fantasy impact in 2016 at his new club but he's only dropped $8000 in price so far and he's a hold for me. If he doesn't make a lot of tackles against Brisbane it'll be time to reassess his status as a Fantasy gun.
Broncos: Corey Oates will be sidelined until Round 6 thanks to a shoulder injury with Greg Eden returning on the wing. Corey Parker and Andrew McCullough are both holds despite quiet starts to the season.
Titans v Wests Tigers
Titans: Agnatius Paasi has been named to start like he was last week, but he was shifted to the bench before kick-off and his score nosedived to 22 – so beware that could happen again this week with Ryan James and Luke Douglas both possible starters. Don't sell Ashley Taylor for somebody like Cody Walker – Taylor has a break even of 2 so if you've got him you've got several more guaranteed price rises on your hands.
Wests Tigers: James Tedesco is in red-hot form and is almost certain to be the top-scoring NRL Fantasy fullback in 2016, but at $517,000 he's now very expensive. His price will probably keep climbing in the short term but if he has a few games on the trot without a try he'll become more affordable later. Aaron Woods is a hold despite a couple of quiet games, while Sauaso Sue is a sell.
Warriors v Storm
Warriors: Albert Vete and Charlie Gubb replace the injured Sam Lisone and Raymond Faitala-Mariner this week. Apart from Simon Mannering, James Gavet has been the Warriors' big Fantasy success story so far, jumping $34,000 in value after starting both games at prop. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's price is plummeting but you've probably got to hold him if you've got him – just about everyone will want to snap him up halfway through the season when he starts hitting his usual attacking stats, so those who have him already are better off holding their trades rather than ditching him now and bringing him back later.
Storm: Cameron Munster will start at fullback for the foreseeable future at Melbourne with Billy Slater ruled out for eight months with a shoulder injury. He's a good Fantasy scorer but with a break even in the low 40s he's not a bargain. Curtis Scott is a cheap centre option with good job security now, but with 22 points in Round 1 he's not necessarily a better scorer than someone like Dale Copley.
Dragons v Rabbitohs
Dragons: Josh Dugan has been named despite doubts over a hamstring injury and the incumbent NSW fullback is back in the No.1 jersey, with Kurt Mann out with an ankle injury after an error-prone performance against the Sharks on Sunday. Russell Packer is the only Dragons forward not losing money after the first fortnight of the season.
Rabbitohs: Not many changes were needed after the rout of Newcastle last weekend. Hymel Hunt has been the best cash cow in the centres so far, while Cody Walker will probably be the most popular buy of the week after scoring 60 and jumping a massive $49,000 in value in Round 2. Sam Burgess isn't wasting much time getting the hang of rugby league again either.
Sea Eagles v Sharks
Sea Eagles: No changes this week for Manly, with Tom Trbojevic getting anther week at fullback. The key buys here are two forwards who switched positions last week – Jake Trbojevic made 46 tackles in 73 minutes at lock while Martin Taupau played the full 80 in the second row and wreaked havoc against his old Tigers teammates with three line breaks, 11 tackle breaks and a try.
Sharks: Chris Heighington returns from suspension, bumping Joseph Paulo to 18th man. Ben Barba is slowly climbing in value with a couple of solid performances while Andrew Fifita didn't quite explode as his 8,499 Fantasy coaches would've liked with Paul Gallen out of the side last week. After a great Round 1 score Jack Bird managed just 17 in the centres in Round 2.