Fantasy by the Numbers: Round 20
A closer look at some of the key recent NRL Fantasy performances, and what they mean for your trade plans for the upcoming round.
A new must-have for your backline?
Many Fantasy coaches started the season with Josh Mansour (WFB, $417,000) in their sides, and a fair few unlucky coaches then also cashed out the NSW winger once his Origin selection was confirmed on the back of a lacklustre month of scores (22, 28, 30, 22) from Round 6 onwards.
But since Round 16 Mansour has gone from strength to strength, powering his way to scores of 57, 81 and 98 in his last three starts, gaining $103,000 in value in just two weeks.
Where have all these points come from? Tackle breaks certainly help, with Mansour busting 29 tackles in his past three games including a huge 15 tackle breaks against the Eels in Round 19. The Penrith flyer has also made eight line breaks, and a staggering 676 metres (including 246 metres in each of his past two starts) and three tries on this three-game run.
Can Mansour sustain these massive numbers? It's not certain whether he can against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium this Friday, but a trip to Mt Smart Stadium to face the Warriors (who he averages 49.4 against) and upcoming clashes with bottom sides the Roosters and Knights hold much more promise. While Cameron Munster and James Tedesco are near essential at the back, there's plenty to suggest Mansour is the ideal third WFB to round out your squad. With a break even of -8, this is the week to snap up Mansour if he's in your plans for the run home.
The rise (and fall) of Jake Trbojevic
There's no doubt Jake Trbojevic (FRF/2RF, $418,000) continues to improve and is one of Manly's best each week. While his development in football terms has been remarkable, his Fantasy output has diminished somewhat in recent weeks.
As recent as Round 15 the elder Trbojevic brother was playing 80 minutes (or close to it) every week and averaging above 55, proving to be an astute purchase for those that drafted him in early in the season. But a change in his role from Round 16 onwards has seen his game time drop significantly, playing 50, 53 and 59 (including golden point) minutes in his last three.
The Manly lock relies on playing big minutes for a big Fantasy return, with his base stats simply not matching those numbers from earlier in the season. With Manly in winning form, it'd be unlikely that anything changes on the run home. Thankfully for Trbojevic owners looking to offload the young Sea Eagle, there are plenty of other great options at FRF and 2RF.
Jake Friend (HOK, $439,000) was at one stage of the season a must-have alongside Cameron Smith. At his peak in Round 8, the Roosters skipper was averaging just under 70 points per game and saw his price smash through the $600,000 barrier. But Friend has struggled relative to his early-season success since Round 11, and with a last-five average of 47.8 he is no longer necessarily the next-best option to Smith.
Matt Parcell (HOK, $427,000) had been a solid alternative but has been missing with injury since Round 15 and his return date remains unclear.
For those in the market for a solid alternative, a cut-price Andrew McCullough (HOK, $345,000) might fit the bill. With an injury to Kodi Nikorima Brisbane are now rolling without an interchange hooker and McCullough has returned scores of 51 and 57 in his last two starts, both 80-minute performances. Strong tackle counts (46 and 50) show McCullough is a handy second hooker behind Smith, but things might change when Nikorima returns around Round 23. It comes with a risk, but McCullough could be used to free up funds while still providing similar or better scores than Friend.
Top scores in Round 19
Josh Mansour (WFB, $417,000): 98
Tyrone Peachey (2RF/CTR, $371,000): 71
Simon Mannering (2RF, $471,000): 70
James Roberts (CTR/WFB, $346,000): 69
Cody Walker (WFB/HLF, $430,000): 69
Bottom scores in Round 19
Tui Lolohea (HLF/CTR, $257,000): 1
Jordan Kahu (WFB/CTR, $210,000): 7
Kalifa Faifai Loa (WFB, $198,000): 8
Christian Welch (FRF/2RF, $176,000): 9
Fa'amanu Brown (HLF, $185,000): 9
Top Round 19 price increases
Josh Mansour (WFB, $417,000): +$63,000
Bunty Afoa (2RF, $189,000): +$39,000
Jamie Buhrer (2RF/HOK, $380,000): +$35,000
Jai Arrow (2RF, $163,000): +$28,000
Luke Keary (HLF, $259,000): +$26,000
Top Round 19 price decreases
Aidan Guerra (2RF, $361,000): -$38,000
Tui Lolohea (HLF/CTR, $257,000): -$35,000
Ryan James (FRF/2RF, $561,000): -$31,000
Michael Ennis (HOK, $364,000): -$29,000
Jordan Kahu (WFB/CTR, $210,000): -$29,000