NRL Fantasy stars James Tedesco and Jack de Belin have joined the injury list, Newcastle rookie Brock Lamb looks like a cash cow in the making and the bye rounds are just a couple of weeks away. Which trades should you be making this week?
Here are my answers to this week's big NRL Fantasy questions.
Is James Tedesco worth holding on to with injury and possibly Origin?
From Nick Pittard
The Tigers have said he'll return from his shoulder injury sometime between Round 12 and 14, which is a very tricky prognosis for NRL Fantasy coaches. Round 12 would mean a two-week injury, which is usually a hold – but will he be playing State of Origin and therefore miss Round 12 anyway? (Although it's hard to see him getting picked without a game under his belt following the injury.) So, best case scenario, he misses a couple of games then isn't selected for Origin - making him a hold and a very handy player for a couple of the major bye rounds.
If he is out until Round 14 that means he'll miss four weeks, and then could still make the NSW team and miss Round 15 and/or 18, and the Tigers have a bye in Round 19. That would mean he could play just three games in the next 10 rounds. That's the worst-case scenario.
So, what's the best option? It could be to hold him for now and see if we get a clearer picture of his return date in a week's time. You're definitely going to want Tedesco in your final squad, so a decision to trade him effectively costs you two trades (trade him out now, bring him back later) and you'd be kicking yourself if he returns in Round 12 and posts a big score while not being in your team. If in a week's time he looks like being out long-term you could trade him then.
Who is the best Jack de Belin replacement considering Origin and byes?
From Steve Berka
Take a look at Adrian McMurray's guide to the best options for replacing de Belin here.
My take? Jesse Bromwich and James Graham are good options for overall points, with improved scores this year and no Origin duty (Graham plays on a couple of major bye rounds as well), while Paul Gallen is the best-scoring option but is a bit of a risk ahead of the Origin period, and Andrew Fifita scores almost as well as Gallen but is more likely to keep his minutes up across the bye period – and could play in Round 18 if not selected for NSW. Fifita is the way I'm planning to go.
Who will gain JDB's minutes?
From Sean Markham
Will Matthews is starting at lock for the Dragons this week and will presumably pick up a good chunk of de Belin's usual minutes, although it's hard to predict whether Matthews will play close to 80 minutes at lock like de Belin usually does (he's played big minutes a couple of times recently, but either in the centres or as a wide second-rower). He also hasn't shown signs of being a big-scoring player, with his highest score of 40 coming when playing in the centres in Round 7 and the two games in which he's played big minutes in the back row giving him scores of 26 and 24.
Lock is a busier position than the second-row or centre, so Matthews should score more heavily there – but that's also the reason why most NRL locks don't play the big minutes that de Belin does. With de Belin missing Matthews and a few other Dragons forwards will get some extra minutes, but I'm not convinced it will be enough to make any of them a cash cow so I wouldn't be buying any of them if they're not in your team already. Reconsider it next week if Matthews goes big.
In your opinion who is the best Fantasy winger/fullback to get at the moment?
From Jason Hinson
I'd say Cameron Munster.
Worth taking a punt on Tohu Harris this week in the 2RF with Ben Henry able to swap from centre if he gets DPP? Or just hold de Belin for a week and do it next week?
From Brent Deacon
With Will Chambers (Round 18), Jeremy Hawkins (Round 13) and Richie Kennar (indefinite) in the casualty ward and Cameron Munster covering for Billy Slater at fullback for the rest of the season, the Storm are very light on for centres at the moment. That means that Tohu Harris is likely to stay there for a little while yet, which is not a great sign for his scores in the short term, but it also means he's likely to become a dual position player soon after his fourth game of the season officially named at centre in the final team lists.
His break even is 40 this week so he's unlikely to drop much in value even if he scores well below his season average of 53, but it might be safer to bring him in once somebody like Kennar returns to the starting side and Harris can revert back to the forward pack. Certainly he's a great chance to be the top-scoring Fantasy centre in the game in the long run if he does return to the forwards after this week, but you could be right in holding off a week on trading him in to make sure.
Alternatively, if you've already got a couple of good centres in your squad then trade de Belin for another gun forward instead.
Is Michael Gordon still a hold? The injury in Round 9 killed his break even and he is going to lose money unless he can pull something out of the hat. I'm thinking to downgrade him to Vai Toutai to still give me an Eels player for bye rounds and use the cash to upgrade in other part of my squad. I was contemplating Peats but will have to wait and see how the cap drama plays out.
From Rachael-Robert Jane
I wouldn't be banking on Toutai scoring you points for all the bye rounds, with Kieran Foran a chance of coming back in the next few weeks and bumping Brad Takairangi back to the centres – meaning Toutai would be out of the side.
Gordon's break even is 51 and his average score this season is a tick under 31, including his injury-affected 13 in Round 9. So with scores around 30 he's projected to drop around $30,000 in value in the next three weeks but will probably start rising again after that (price changes are based on a player's previous five scores). He's not a keeper, so I'd recommend selling him if you were playing for head-to-head or if he was one of your three starting winger/fullbacks. But if he's in your reserves and have the bye rounds in mind, I don't think he's an urgent trade – if he scores as he has done this season he'll get you around 100 points across the three bye rounds and if you sell him after that he'll probably be worth about the same as he is now.
Of course, selling him now would free up cash to spend elsewhere so if doing that would also earn you 100 points between now and Round 18 that's not a bad move either. It depends on your squad make-up, and whether you have any more urgent trades to make this week.
What are your thoughts on Jazz Tevaga, he played big minutes and scored well last round. Do you think his scoring will be affected by the return of Thompson and Matulino?
From Jarrod Wilson
As well as having one of the best names in the NRL, Jazz Tevaga has become an interesting prospect after taking the starting hooker spot off Issac Luke. He scored 58 in 71 minutes last week and certainly has the potential to keep scoring big if he keeps that starting spot all season. But that is a big "if". Luke may be struggling for form but he is one of two massive recruits for the Warriors this season, and with the other star recruit out for the season the Warriors will surely be keen to get the best out of Luke in the long run. With a player of Luke's quality capable of taking his starting spot off him at any time, Tevaga still looks like a risky Fantasy buy to me.