Fantasy by the Numbers: Round 12
A closer look at some of the key recent NRL Fantasy performances, and what they mean for your planned trades for the upcoming round.
Bye rounds begin
With State of Origin just around the corner, the bye rounds have hit the NRL and with it comes the first week of the year where NRL Fantasy coaches have the opportunity to make three trades.
Those playing to win their head-to-head league (with most leagues having byes themselves in Rounds 12, 15 and 18) should resist the temptation to use any trades this week, but it's an entirely different story for those coaches chasing overall glory.
It's highly unlikely most will be able to field 17 players this week, but a few key trades could see you surge higher up the overall standings. Here are some of the in-form options to consider drafting into your side ahead of Round 12.
Semi Radradra (WFB, $364,000): We discussed the pros of drafting Radradra last week, and despite a reasonably tame (yet still solid for a winger) score of 30 against the Storm, the Kangaroos flyer will be one of the most popular buys of the week for a reason. He still ran for 216 metres and made two line breaks against Melbourne, and a trip to Hunter Stadium should prove fruitful for one of the most damaging runners in the game.
James Graham (FRF, $514,000): The Bulldogs captain averages 66.7 in his past three starts, and 62.6 in his past five. Playing big minutes in the middle of the part, Graham is will become even more crucial for his side with David Klemmer and Josh Jackson away on Origin duty. The fourth highest scoring player overall this season, and playing in Rounds 12 and 18, Graham is very much in must-have territory.
Ethan Lowe (2RF, $386,000): After starting the season with 85 against the Sharks, Lowe has been a bit quieter of recent weeks, with a few scores in the 30s and 40s. Improved against the Broncos with 53, and should take on goal-kicking duties in the absence of Thurston in Rounds 12 and 18. Perhaps undervalued, Lowe is still a gamble but could be worth the risk, particularly with an average of just under 52 against the Cowboys' Round 12 opponents the Dragons.
Manu Ma'u (2RF, $397,000): Coming off a season-high 75 against Melbourne, Ma'u is primed for another big game against the Knights in Round 12. Parramatta's bye schedule means overall coaches need to strongly consider picking up Eels players, and Ma'u is the pick of the bunch despite two scores in the 30s this season.
Elijah Taylor (2RF, $360,000): Rising in popularity on the back of his 61 against the Bulldogs, the Wests Tigers lock added two try assists and two line-break assists to his 42 tackles in Round 11. Filled in at hooker for the injured Matt Ballin at times during the contest and played 71 minutes following his 70 minutes in his club debut the week prior. Plays in Rounds 12 and 18 when Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods will be missing from the Tigers' middle, so should at the very least be a solid option through the Origin period.
Jahrome Hughes (HLF/WFB, $130,000): A bit of an unknown quantity, Hughes is the ideal cash-out option for the bye rounds. Should play both in Round 12 and 18, before dropping out of the side when Thurston and Morgan return from Origin duty, avoiding the possibility of an auto emergency headache down the track. Dual position status is also a massive plus.
Euan Aitken (CTR/WFB, $346,000): While he stole the headlines with his golden point intercept try in Round 10, the Dragons centre has been quietly going about his business in an NRL Fantasy sense and looks like one of the better selections for the bye period. Scores of 56, 54, 55 and 54 in his last four starts only include two tries, with the bulk of his points coming from run metres and tackles, with 17 tackle breaks in that period for good measure. Matches against weakened Cowboys (Round 12) and Storm (Round 15) sides at WIN Stadium look promising for the Country Origin representative.
Jason Taumalolo (2RF, $392,000): With Scott and Tamou away on Origin duty, you'd think Taumalolo would take on a larger role in the middle of the park for the Cowboys. He averages 48.3 points per game in his past three starts, but encouragingly his 56 last week came against the Broncos. Also has an average of 167 running metres in his past four appearances. Taumalolo would be another gamble, but the Kiwi wrecking ball might be a handy point of difference in coming weeks.
Top scores in Round 11
Matt Gillett (2RF, $431,000): 88
Andrew Fifita (FRF, $515,000): 79
Manu Ma'u (2RF, $397,000): 75
Sio Siua Taukeiaho (2RF, $395,000): 70
Ryan James (FRF/2RF, $468,000): 68
Bottom scores in Round 11
Matt Ballin (HOK, $321,000): 2
Peta Hiku (WFB/CTR, $231,000): 3
Sam Perrett (WFB, $326,000): 5
Corey Oates (WFB/2RF, $288,000): 5
Sam Kasiano (FRF, $219,000): 6
Top Round 11 price increases
Josh Addo-Carr (WFB, $191,000): +$40,000
Suliasi Vunivalu (WFB, $269,000): +$40,000
Luke Bateman (2RF, $233,000): +$37,000
Tyrone Phillips (WFB, $171,000): +$32,000
Leilani Latu (FRF, $304,000): +$31,000
Top Round 11 price decreases
Alex Glenn (2RF, $286,000): -$32,000
Jake Mamo (WFB, $249,000): -$32,000
Matt Ballin (HOK, $321,000): -$29,000
Corey Oates (WFB/2RF, $288,000): -$29,000
James Segeyaro (HOK, $372,000): -$27,000