With Matt Parcell on the sidelines, Ben Barba and Ben Hunt struggling for Fantasy form and Jack de Belin back in the Dragons' starting side, there are plenty of big questions from NRL Fantasy coaches this week.
How many games do you hold Lolohea if he stays on the wing? And is Hurrell a chance to be a late season cashie?
From Caolan Cullinane
For overall points, and if you've got a few trades remaining, Tui Lololea is probably a trade now. For head-to-head, or if you're light on trades, hold onto him and cross your fingers he'll be named at fullback after the Warriors' Round 18 bye.
For Konrad Hurrell, he's out this week and the Titans have the bye next week so he's not really one to consider right now. Even so, the time for cash cows has come and gone for most Fantasy teams unless you have a lot of trades left.
Is it time to upgrade Matt Parcell to Jake Friend? There's no good downgrade options and I already have Smith.
From Terence Hiamoe
Probably – although only if you're playing for overall points. Matt Parcell is due back in Round 19 but his minutes could take a hit when he gets back with Apisai Koroisau set to spend some time at dummy-half now that Daly Cherry-Evans and Jamie Lyon are fit and firing in the halves. Friend's price is still dropping after his big start to the season so he'll be better value next week or the week after, meaning if you don't need his extra points in those rounds you're best off getting him then. If you want a score boost now though he is the second-best hooker in the game and has already got both his byes behind him.
With Parcell currently injured, who (barring Smith and Friend) is the best replacement for him?
From Joseph Grant
Issac Luke and Mitch Rein are the two form hookers at the moment outside of Smith and Friend, who have been the best two No.9s in Fantasy across the season.
Ben Hunt lately has a lot of miss tackles and is obviously not performing well so is it smart to sell him for Cody Walker?
From James Hannan
I don't think so. Walker is a good buy – especially now he's available at winger/fullback in Fantasy – but Hunt is still a 50-point player and can easily get back to his old scores if and when Brisbane get their act together and start getting a few wins again.
If you compare their recent form, Walker has five try assists and two line breaks in his past three games, while Hunt hasn't had a try assist since Round 13 – but before that he had three straight scores above 55. I'm pretty confident Hunt will bounce back when he gets a few attacking stats.
What can we expect out of JDB when Mike Cooper isn't injured?
From Cameron Holden
The issue for Jack de Belin is the presence of yet another big-minute back-rower in that Dragons pack in Tariq Sims. The mid-season arrival of Sims is the only reason de Belin might not continue to score as well as he did early in the year, but it's hard to predict at this stage if it will affect his minutes or not now that he's back in the starting side. As you say, with Cooper currently out we won't really know how de Belin's minutes will change, so even if he scores well this week his minutes could drop when Cooper returns. My advice is don't sell de Belin if you still have him – he's one of the few Fantasy players capable of hitting regular 60s – but don't buy him right now if you haven't, particularly with his price still falling.
Is Trent Merrin any chance of playing Origin III? If not, is he a good trade this week?
From Pablo Calaby
He's a definite keeper coming off a 70-point score built almost exclusively on base stats, so he's a good buy for me either way. For what it's worth I don't think he'll get picked for Origin III – he's a good enough player but I reckon if the Blues make changes they will be made with an eye on the future, and as a former player Merrin would probably seen as the past. Someone like Bryce Cartwright is a better chance of getting picked if NSW ring the changes.
Croker and Leilua as my CTR pairing for the run home in my head-to-head league... bad idea?
From Dom Griffin
Not at all. They're both 40+ scorers, making them keepers in the centres, and the fact they are both at the same club doesn't really make a difference. Sure, they are both more likely to score well against weaker defensive teams (like against Newcastle this weekend), but for such a strong attacking team they're also a good chance of getting a decent score on any given week.
Was the Whitehead low score a one off? Should I be looking to trade him out for JDB or Merrin or too sideways?
From Luke Williams
Yep it would be a sideways trade. Don't trade one 50+ scorer for another. Whitehead's an 80-minute forward who scores both through attacking and defensive stats, so when those attacking stats aren't there he'll have the odd quiet game. But when he clicks in attack (like he could against Newcastle this week) he is capable of scoring 70+. For more details on Whitehead and the rest of Canberra's Fantasy stars, check out this week's Fantasy by the Numbers article.
That's it for me this week, best of luck to your team.