Round 24 Fantasy winners & losers
It was a mixed bag of a round for NRL Fantasy stars in a do-or-die weekend for head-to-head leagues. Here are this week's big winners and losers.
It was fitting that at the business end of the NRL Fantasy season the game's best player Cameron Smith came to the fore, producing 100 run metres, a line break, a try, four goals, 40 tackles and a couple of offloads in a superb 86-point effort against Manly.
Just behind Smith this week were a trio of backline stars, in the form of Roosters fullback Blake Ferguson (two tries, 11 tackle breaks, 207 metres, 85 points), Knights centre Dane Gagai (14 tackle breaks, two line breaks, 167 metres, 85 points), Storm try-scoring sensation Suliasi Vunivalu (four tries, six tackle breaks, 168 metres, 62 points) and Rabbitohs playmaker Cody Walker (try, seven tackle breaks, 32 tackles, 81 points).
Tackle-hungry back-rowers Simon Mannering (81), Mitch Barnett (80), Jack de Belin (75) and Ryan James (75) also thrived, as did in-form Wests Tigers five-eighth Mitch Moses (78), Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough (75), Raiders centre Jarrod Croker (73), Broncos forward Sam Thaiday (72), Storm half Cooper Cronk (69), Rabbitohs stars Sam Burgess (69) and Greg Inglis (67) and Sharks duo Andrew Fifita (68) and Wade Graham (68).
James Tedesco's broken jaw last week created a real headache for thousands of NRL Fantasy coaches, and the "who do I replace Tedesco with?" question was the toughest one to answer last week.
Frankly, a lot of us got it wrong. While Ferguson, Walker, Gagai, Vunivalu, Cameron Munster (60) and David Nofoaluma (55) fired, the likes of Josh Dugan (17), Euan Aitken (20), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (16), Jarryd Hayne (13), Jordan Rapana (23), Brett Morris (23) and James Roberts (29) all struggled to make much impact in attack. It was the same story for Ben Barba, already in more than 61,600 Fantasy teams, who finished with 21 points in a quiet performance against the Rabbitohs on Monday night.
For Dugan – the most traded-in player of the round – it was his lowest score of the season.
Elsewhere, an early injury to Mitch Aubusson limited the Roosters utility to just 18 minutes and 12 Fantasy points, while Broncos winger Corey Oates suffered a concussion after scoring 21 points and Tigers centre Kevin Naiqama was kept quiet in attack and missed six tackles in defence on the way to 9 points.
Paul Gallen meanwhile was a late withdrawal with a calf injury for the second time in as many weeks.